Why was the US wrong about Ukraine and the Afghan war

The extent to which intelligence agencies misunderstand the matter is up for debate. Prior to the invasion, Ukraine experts “clearly and repeatedly” told policymakers in the White House and Congress that Ukraine’s government and people were “likely to resist a Russian invasion,” a US official said.

But intelligence reports are usually protected. Under questioning from Senator Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas, Lieutenant General Scott Perrier, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, said this month that he believed, prior to the invasion, that the Ukrainians were not ready to attack. as they want.

So I doubted their desire to fight. This was a poor evaluation on my part because they fought with courage and honor.

In an interview, Mr. Cotton said intelligence agencies were at their best assessing the state of Russia in the run-up to the invasion. Once the invasion began, ratings of the capabilities of Ukraine and the Russian army were “less than excellent.” However, he said, judging the effectiveness of a state’s defenses before a potential attack is difficult.

“The will to fight is not a separate area of ​​intelligence that you can get out of and collect,” Cotton said. “It’s not like how many fighters are in the Air Force? There is a lot of subjectivity.”

Recent counterattacks by the Ukrainian military indicate that the country’s leaders are determined to do more than just defend Ukraine against a Russian invasion. Over the past week, Ukrainian forces have used tanks and fighter jets to attack Russian positions outside Kyiv and other cities in a way that shows their goal is not to reclaim territory, but to destroy Russian forces. It is a sign not only of a shrewd strategy but a clear intent by Ukraine to defeat the Russian army and win the war.

Representative Adam B. Schiff, the California Democrat and chair of the House Intelligence Committee, said it’s easy to overstate the mistakes the intelligence community has made, both in Ukraine and Afghanistan. Last summer, intelligence agencies repeatedly warned that the Afghan government would collapse, and military leaders would surrender to the Taliban, Mr. Schiff said.

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