Making the War on ISIS Look Good

The military’s Central Command has been writing reports on the war on ISIS that include positive conclusions that aren’t justified by the information.

Jason Ditz reports for Antiwar.com, “Centcom Skewed ISIS War Intel To Be More Upbeat.”

The perennial positivity of all public Pentagon assessments on the war against ISIS, despite major, glaring losses on the ground, has been a matter of no small controversy for awhile, and has also successfully kept the elected officials who are on the receiving end of those assessments maintaining the war strategy as-is.

Even the Pentagon is less confident in how this is happening these days, and the matter is now the subject of an internal investigation being carried out by the Inspectors General, focusing on Central Command (Centcom) deliberately “reworking” the conclusions of several assessments produced by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) to seem more upbeat on the war.

[See also, “What Has Bombing ISIS Accomplished, Cost?]

You can tell that politicians skip to the end of these reports and Centcom knew it:

According to one of the DIA analysts, the agency was providing “draft” versions of their analyses to Centcom, and Centcom was editing the conclusions wholesale to make the war sound like it was going better, then passing along the edited versions to policymakers.

[…]

Interestingly, it appears that the reports weren’t changed as a whole, but simply the conclusions were altered to put the whole thing in a better light, which would also explain why reports with clearly negative revelations, like the one about a solid year of US airstrikes not significantly weakening ISIS, were incongruously concluded with claims that the war is going fine.

It might be worth pointing out that this demonstrates how little accountability exists in the government and military. The point of the reports is that the military is supposed to be held accountable to the government. Yet our elected representatives (or their staffers) basically skip to the findings and don’t bother to see if the facts, as reported, match up with the conclusion of the report.