this is wild
December 1, 2020

One of Georgia's top election officials has a harsh message for President Trump and his continued conspiracy theorizing.

Trump has yet to acknowledged President-elect Joe Biden won Georgia and the whole presidential election a month ago, preferring to doubt the accuracy of the vote and rail against Georgia officials of his own party. And in a Tuesday press conference, Gabriel Sterling, a Republican and Georgia's voting system implementation manager, made it clear Trump has gone too far.

In a direct message to Trump, Sterling said that "it looks like you likely lost the state of Georgia," though the president "has the rights to go through the courts" and wait for a formal recount before conceding. "But what you don't have the ability to do, and you need to step up and say this, is stop inspiring people to commit potential acts of violence," Sterling forcefully said. "Somebody's going to get hurt, someone's going to get shot, someone's going to get killed."

Sterling went on to bring up Joe diGenova, a Trump campaign lawyer who called on fired cybersecurity official Chris Krebs to be "taken out at dawn and shot." Election workers in Georgia have also had death threats, with one in Gwinnett County told he should be "hung for treason," Sterling added. He once again turned to call out Trump and Georgia's Republican Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue for failing to "condemn this language" and "these actions." "This has to stop," Sterling finished. Kathryn Krawczyk

December 9, 2019

U.S. officials have doubted the war in Afghanistan since its very beginning.

Just six months after the longest war in American history began, then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld tellingly wrote in a memo that "we are never going to get the U.S. military out of Afghanistan unless" the U.S. ensured there was "stability ... necessary for us to leave." And for the 18 years since, U.S. officials have been privately relaying the same concerns while publicly touting "progress," documents and interviews obtained and published by The Washington Post reveal.

Rumsfeld wrote an estimated 59,000 memos he called "snowflakes" during his tenure, but most of them remained private until now. The Post had filed a lawsuit against the National Security Archive and has since obtained more of those snowflakes, including one from 2003 where Rumsfeld complained that he had "no visibility into who the bad guys are."

In interviews with the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction also obtained and published by the Post, U.S. officials continually said the same thing: "We didn't know what we were doing," said Army Gen. Douglas Lute, who was the White House's Afghan war czar under former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Retired Navy SEAL and Bush and Obama staffer Jeffrey Eggers similarly suggested Osama bin Laden would be "probably laughing in his watery grave considering" the $1 trillion spent on the ongoing 18-year war.

"If the American people knew the magnitude of this dysfunction ... 2,400 lives lost. Who will say this is all in vain?" Lute also questioned in his government interview. That's a reference to the 2,300 U.S. military personnel killed in the ongoing 18-year war, not to mention the estimated 64,124 Afghan security forces and 43,074 Afghan civilians who have been killed.

Find all the "Afghanistan Papers" at The Washington Post. Kathryn Krawczyk

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