WASHINGTON—A federal commission tasked with studying the conduct of Operation Enduring Freedom has identified the exact PowerPoint slide that turned a corner in the war, making it unwinnable.
“It stands to reason that if slides could win the war, that slides could lose the war,” said Nathaniel Riggins, chair of the Afghanistan Reconstruction Group House Hearings, or ARGHH. “We had a lot of slides to study, and I do mean, A LOT, but our best forensic experts have identified the exact slide that rendered political, military, or economic success untenable. While it’s painful to make the public wait a whole year to release this information, these hearings are an important step in creating a national discussion.”
“God, the slides….” Riggins continued as his eyes drifted back to distressing waves of quad charts. “So many slides.”
Army Maj. Benjamin Lowey, an operations officer in the 10th Mountain division in 2009 assigned as second shift battle captain, has been identified as the slide’s primary author. He has been assessed a statement of charges for $8 trillion dollars in the waste and abuse of government resources.
Lowey has declined to comment based on the recommendations of his lawyer.
The slide, innocuously labeled 142215LOCT09CUB_v4_FINAL_USETHISONE.ppt, contained multiple layers of misguided strategy, operational short-sightedness, incorrect tactical updates, and incoherent jargony nonsense.
Lowey’s supervisor at the time, Col. Matthew Hillary, denied involvement with the slide in testimony before the hearings.
“Lowey’s slide wasn’t top-notch, but I corrected his most egregious errors. One of the campaign plan arrows didn’t quite touch the end state, and one bullet was in Arial 12.5 instead of Arial 12. There wasn’t anything else I could do.”
Lowey’s attorney issued a statement asserting that if the military courts chose to call Lowey back into service (he has since left active duty and works as a warehouse manager for Amazon) to be court-martialed, he plans to plead not guilty due to the assertation that since the slide mainly was cut and pasted from a 2004 update from his first deployment to Iraq, he was not the actual author of the slide.
Gen. Stanley McChrystal, commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan at the time the slide was created, revealed deep reflection in an interview with CSPAN-8 (the Nerd Ocho), in the only media attention the Hearings received.
“We won every battle in Afghanistan. Every battle. But we lost 2,448 American lives in Afghanistan, destroyed our host country, and kicked up regional tensions we will be facing over the next century. Maj. Lowey should be ashamed of himself.”
Microsoft, the company responsible for facilitating America’s longest war, sent its spokesman, Clippy, to the hearings.
“Hey!” said Clippy, tapping the microphone. “Looks like you’re trying to fight and win America’s wars through sustained, land-based combat. Can I help you?”
Blondes Over Baghdad lets someone else take the top block because it’s the selfless service thing to do. She’ll go to ranger school when there’s a 3-beer policy. Follow her on Twitter at @BlondsOvrBaghd