Synopses & Reviews
With the vague intention of winning hearts and minds in Afghanistan, the US government has mismanaged billions of development and logistics dollars, bolstered the drug trade, and dumped untold millions into Taliban hands. That is the sobering message of this scathing critique of our war effort in Afghanistan. According to this book, America has already lost the war. While conducting extensive research and fieldwork in Afghanistans war zones, a drumbeat of off-the-record and offhand remarks pointed the author to one conclusion: "We blew it." The sentiment was even blazoned across a US military fortification, as the author saw at Forward Operating Base Mehtar Lam in insurgency-wracked Laghman Province: "I glanced over at a concrete blast barrier while waiting for a helicopter," Wissing says. "Someone had spray-painted in jagged letters: ‘The GAME. You Lost It." The authors vivid narrative takes the reader down to ground level in frontline Afghanistan. It draws on the voices of hundreds of combat soldiers, ordinary Afghans, private contractors, aid workers, international consultants, and government officials. From these contacts it became glaringly clear, as the author details, that American taxpayer dollars have been flowing into Taliban coffers, courtesy of scandalously mismanaged US development and counterinsurgency programs, with calamitous military and social consequences. This is the first book to detail the toxic embrace of American policymakers and careerists, Afghan kleptocrats, and the opportunistic Taliban. The result? US taxpayers have been footing the bill for both sides of a disastrous Afghanistan war.
"Examining the nuts and bolts of the Afghanistan war, investigative journalist Wissing (Pioneer in Tibet: The Life and Perils of Dr. Albert Shelton)Â reviews the conflict in terms of a 'toxic system' of links between diplomats, private military organizations, aid workers, the Kabul government, and jihadists that has led to the squandering of billions of American dollars, an increase in the opium trade, and rampant corruption leading to funding the Taliban opposition. He effectively outlines how the Bush administration dropped the ball by outsourcing military battles to inept Afghan militants, making bogus deals with drug lords and insincere Pakistani officials, and permitting Osama bin Laden and top al-Qaeda officials to escape into Pakistan. Carefully documenting the hapless capability of the U.S. Agency for International Development, a vital tool of American foreign policy, in the war, Wissing looks into the high life of Kabul diplomats in their booze-filled nights of sex and hijinks, while soldiers risk their necks in the dangerous terrain. One of the most candid behind-the-scenes examples of Afghan War reportage, this book contains a host of voices that spell out the chaos and mayhem of America's longest war. Agent: Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Douglas A. Wissing is an award-winning independent journalist who has reported widely on the war in Afghanistan for print, radio, and the Web. He has contributed hundreds of stories to media outlets that include the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Asia Times, Forbes Life, the Independent on Sunday (UK), Salon, and National Geographic Traveler, as well as the BBC, VOA News, and NPR networks. He is the author of six books, including Pioneer in Tibet: The Life and Perils of Dr. Albert Shelton.