By Jon Dougherty
(TNS) Freshman GOP lawmaker Dan Crenshaw of Texas, a decorated former Navy SEAL who lost an eye in combat, said he saw “first-hand” the failures of U.S. military and diplomatic policy in Afghanistan long before confidential documents detailing those failures were published.
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As reported by CBS News, Crenshaw was deployed three times to active combat zones as a member of Seal Team Three.
In 2012, while he was on his third deployment in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, Crenshaw was struck by an IED blast that went off next to him; the blast killed a member of his elite unit.
“It’s like being hit by a truck, but everyone in the truck is shooting you with shotguns,” Crenshaw told Major Garrett on this week’s episode of “The Takeout.”
The bomb destroyed Crenshaw’s vision in his right eye and severely impacted vision in his left, but he nevertheless remained in the SEALs and was deployed in non-combat roles twice after he recovered.
CBS News noted further:
In December, The Washington Post published the Afghanistan Papers, an investigation into 2,000 pages of previously unpublished notes of interviews with people who played a direct role in the war, from generals and diplomats to aid workers and Afghan officials. The investigation revealed that although U.S. officials said they were making progress throughout the 18-year conflict, they knew those declarations were false.Â
Crenshaw told CBS News he was pleased the Afghanistan Papers were released because they confirmed what the military â€”Â and the soldiers he served with â€” knew: That taking control of the region and then giving that control up was a “politically-driven” decision.Â
“What you’re seeing from the Afghan Papers is what you would see from any large, complex organization doing a very complex mission. There’s going to be very different opinions on how well things are going,” Crenshaw, who was a SEAL officer, said.
“You’re going to talk about the good stuff and you’re going to make it sound that way. I think it’s good the Afghan Papers came out actually and forced us to rethink that.”
At present, Crenshaw said the decision on whether to leave Afghanistan rests on a single question: Whether U.S. national security would be negatively impacted if the Trump administration pulled out completely and allowed the Taliban to retake control over the government, which would no doubt happen.
“It’s deterrence against future strongholds for terrorists, that’s really what it comes down to,” Crenshaw said, adding that he favors keeping current troop levels — about 12,000 personnel — to help train Afghan forces and deter terrorist organizations.
“The days of roaming around grape fields where I was getting blown up, those are over,” Crenshaw said. “Unless we’re going to put 200,000 troops [in Afghanistan] and hold the territory, it’s over and it needs to be over.”
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