"The war in Afghanistan, now in its 19th year, is about as protracted and bloody as it has ever been. Throughout the entire conflict, hawks have told skeptical voters to sit down, be quiet, and leave it up to the professionals. For years they’ve said victory is supposedly just around the corner and that we’re making progress. And yet all the while, the situation on the ground tells a vastly different story. Still, those of us on the outside have never truly been able to witness the full gravity of Washington’s extravagantly expensive misadventure in Afghanistan — because the national security bureaucracy has a knack of keeping bad information hidden away in a vault."