Maj. Danny Robert Scheer SI Podcast

Maj. Danny Sjursen: America’s War Machine Refuses to Let Afghanistan Go

On this week's "Scheer Intelligence," the veteran weighs in on the U.S. exit from Afghanistan and Gen. David Petraeus’ dangerously false narrative about our country’s longest war.
Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of NATO and International Security Assistance Force troops in Afghanistan, visits the 1-16th Infantry 2nd Battalion at Qalat Mangwal, Afghanistan, during a battlefield circulation, in support of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.
Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of NATO and International Security Assistance Force troops in Afghanistan, visits the 1-16th Infantry 2nd Battalion at Qalat Mangwal, Afghanistan, during a battlefield circulation, in support of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. [ U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Joshua Treadwell]

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When Kabul swiftly fell to the Taliban in recent weeks, war hawks emerged from all corners of the U.S. government and mainstream media to criticize the Biden administration’s decision to withdraw from America’s longest war. One such figure is General David Petraeus, the U.S. military official who commanded all forces in Iraq and later in Afghanistan during his 37-year military career before being confirmed as CIA director in 2011. The general was forced to resign in disgrace in 2012 after it was revealed that he shared highly classified information with his biographer–a journalist with whom he was having an extramarital affair.

Despite having to resign in ignominy, Petraeus has continually been handed a megaphone by some of the most popular U.S. publications and shows, including The New Yorker, which recently published a somewhat fawning interview with the general regarding Afghanistan in which the author refers to Patraeus as “the most famous and revered member of the armed forces during the war on terror and the war in Iraq.” Not so, says West Point graduate and historian Maj. Danny Sjursen, who fought in both Afghanistan and Iraq under Patraeus’ command after the September 11 attacks. The author of “A True History of the United States,” Sjursen described Patraeus’ words in the interview as “a cartoonish depiction of himself by himself” and derided the general’s strategies in both countries as failures, adding that the vast majority of troops supported withdrawal from Afghanistan.

On this week’s edition of “Scheer Intelligence,” Sjursen joins Robert Scheer to discuss what the retired major calls the fully debunked myths at the heart of Petreaus’ arguments about Afghanistan. Sjursen thoughtfully goes through each of the disgraced general’s arguments–all of which he views as fallacious at best. He also criticizes the revolving door between the Pentagon and the defense sector, in addition to other obscenely profitable industries, that allow former military officials to gain money and status despite having led the country through disastrously failed wars.

“The former generals who are now in the military industrial complex are the same people who are appointed to give advice to the president [or] are unofficially giving public advice on CNN,” says Sjursen. “The whole system locks out most people and [allows] these same insiders to control the narrative even after they’re out of uniform.”

The Eisenhower Media Network director and a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy (CIP) highlights the double standard with which generals like Petraeus and whistleblowers like Chelsea Manning are judged: The general not only seems to have gotten off relatively scot-free for his actions, but has also gone on to have a lucrative career in finance and punditry, whereas Manning has served time in prison more than once. Sjursen and Scheer also speak at length about the folly of the 20-year war in Afghanistan and how the U.S. empire’s insatiable militarism is the one thing many in leaders and pundits refuse to acknowledge as the source of the occupation. Listen to the full discussion between Sjursen and Scheer as they tackle one of the biggest U.S. foreign policy blunders of the 21st century.


Robert Scheer

Joshua Scheer

Natasha Hakimi Zapata 

Lucy Berbeo 


  1. It really isn’t all that complicated. This is what happens when you let madmen and sociopaths rule you. Now that they are in firmly ensconced, it will be the devils own time to displace them. You can’t vote them out and you can’t wish them out and if you continue to let them rule, they will as sure as the sun comes up in the morning, eventually turn their attention to destroying you too.

    It is no longer a moral issue, it has now become an issue of survival.

    1. Wow ! Great comment. It really isn’t that complicated. Yet, quite deadly.

    2. Right. He is a pimp for the military industrial complex.

      They are psychopaths.


    3. Can the author please answer the question:Did you kill anyone during your military career?

  2. As Noam Chomsky pointed out, the US didn’t “lose” the wars in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, or any of our other of our interventionist “blunders” that resulted in the deaths of millions , created “failed states”, and forced the migration of tens of millions into Europe and the US. A huge percentage of the corporations that comprise the stock market are directly or indirectly involved in the US war machine. US weapons manufacturers such as Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Raytheon, et al, Silicon Valley giants like Microsoft and Amazon that provide “surveillance”, military contractors, etc. made huge profits from these wars and created our “booming stock market”. This is WHY they never end. War is America’s business. We could have made the same amount of money building bridges instead of bombing them, but that’s not on the agenda of the military industrial congressional complex

  3. Am wondering why you don’t provide a full transcript of your podcasts. I have two close friends and a family member who are extremely hard of hearing and in two cases deaf, so they are shut out of being able to listen to what we should all hear. When can we expect that to happen?

    1. Our transcriber is out currently, normally Scheer Intelligence does have one.

  4. American militaristic foreign policy is counter productive to our national interests, severely weakens the US, wastes vast amounts of resources and is assinine almost beyond belief, but of course that does not matter a whit, not a whit. Literally the only thing that matters is that we do whatever it takes so that the MIC can keep reaping billions upon billions in profit every year. That is why military (and civilian) leaders are the moral equivalent of old time carpetbaggers, flimflammers in uniform, self-serving careerists, unscrupulous yes men that will lie, deceive, and obfuscate as much as it takes as their prime directive is to advance their career and do whatever it takes to get into that revolving door of ending up sitting posh on a corporate board to do their part in feeding the vast pig trough of corruption and themselves in the process. That is why US generals that lose wars through their sheer stupidity, incompetence, mismanagement and blatantly losing strategies (or on top of that are even guilty of divulging secrets and getting in bed with “biographers”, conduct unbecoming…?) are celebrated, eulogized heros (incompetent buffoons like McChrystal, Petraeus) paraded on corporate media like Sun Tzu sages of war or brilliant commanders following in the footsteps of Clausewitz. A far cry from honorable Japanese commanders committing Seppuku when they lost a battle or war. Sadly, the only ones committing suicide (and sadly there are alarming numbers of them) in the US military are rank and file troops suffering from PTSD or severe war wounds and nightmares having been chewed up and spit out while their top level superiors, flush with cash, drink champagne in corporate boardrooms having successfully navigated their way up there to those posh suites as only high end hookers can do. As long as they can keep conjuring up new conflicts, new enemies, new “threats”, more nations in dire need of “nation building” or just needing to be whipped into line for having the temerity to defy US economic interests, in other words to keep concocting endless “justifications” for spending more on the military and private mercenary armies then the next 10 or so nations combined, ensuring that the floodgates of taxpayer money keeps flowing down the endless MIC trough. The sad fact is we don’t care a hoot about learning from past mistakes, monumental screw ups like Vietnam, Afghanistan etc in fact that might be threatening and be anathema if it meant there was less incentive to invade, interfere and wreak havoc in other nations, justifying the endless, ever more vast cannibalizing of US resources for the MIC. Really now, ask yourself honestly who really gives a rats arse that we wasted 2+ trillion $ in Afghanistan over 20 futile years or bequeathed billions upon billions in military equipment to the Taliban, just another excuse to churn out more ad infinitum….

    1. True Words Henry. The only thorn left in their sides is Freedom of Speech, and with what they have to done to Assange and such, that will be gone soon too.

  5. “Biden himself ignored warnings from senior military commanders in the spring when they urged him to avoid a total withdrawal and to leave some form of troop presence to avoid a power vacuum. Sopko’s report recalls the repeated assurances given by US military high command, including Generals David Petraeus in 2011, John Campbell in 2015 and John Nicholson in 2017, of the “growing operational capability” of the Afghan security forces.”

    I guess these totally inept, incompetent military buffoons festooned with ribbons and medals like cartoon characters, general Buck Turgidson understudies, brazenly know absolutely no shame or self-critique, or just a sense of decency for their colossal levels of stupidity and bungling in these wars (shameless brazen-faced self-promoters like Petraeus, oozing cockalorum and bombast, who does not have the basic decency to crawl in a hole and disappear after being given a pass for his serious crimes and moral failings). Wow, “power vacuum”, no kidding, and have they have the brazen chutzpah to say this after 20 years of so called “nation building”, really, after 20 years of this charade you have a government and military that implodes in a matter of weeks with almost no resistence, just melting away like an ice cream on a hot sunday. This is all the more egregious when these same generals lied and obfuscated for all these years, hiding the true state of affairs, whitewashing a rotting mess and looming catastrophe, painting a fanciful rosy picture for public consumption in order to reap their promotions, and accolades and the windfall profits they so richly deserve once they get on corporate boards doing their best to perpetuate endemic corruption.

  6. Will a transcription become available when transcriber is back and how can we get it?

  7. Given that “the Pentagon spends more on war than all 50 states combined spend on health, education, welfare, and safety” that makes it, overall – for all intents and purposes, the Military Junta (governing body) of the nation.
    And America, ideologically a democracy?
    Oh, how we frown on Military Juntas – governments abroad, led by a committee of military leaders wherever else they exist globally, we blithely overlook the fact that America itself, bar none, is internationally the foremost brutally violent Military Junta on the planet.
    “Although the U.S. constitutes only 5% of the world’s population, America boasts almost 50% of the world’s total military expenditure, spending more on the military than the next 19 biggest spending nations combined.”

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