In this definitive account of the conflict, acclaimed war correspondent and bestselling author Bing West provides a practical way out of Afghanistan. Drawing on his expertise as both a combat-hardened Marine and a former assistant secretary of defense, West has written a tour de force narrative, rich with vivid characters and gritty combat, which shows the consequences when strategic theory meets tactical reality. Having embedded with dozens of frontline units over the past three years, he takes the reader on a battlefield journey from the mountains in the north to the opium fields in the south. A fighter who understands strategy, West builds the case for changing course. His conclusion is sure to provoke debate: remove most of the troops from Afghanistan, stop spending billions on the dream of a modern democracy, and insist the Afghans fight their own battles. Bing West’s book is a page-turner about brave men and cunning enemies that examines our realistic choices as a nation.
With a new Afterword by the author.
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|Title of eBook: The Wrong War|
|Release Date: 02-22-2011|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Random House Publishing Group|
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|Parent title||The Wrong War|
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The Wrong War
According to Greek mythology, the gods punished prideful King Sisyphus by forcing him to endlessly push a boulder to the top of a mountain, only to have it roll back each time. When the American Army encountered the towering mountains of northeast Afghanistan, they came to appreciate the Sisyphean task. When American soldiers trekked up the mountains, the insurgents fled, returning after the Americans left. Like ocean waves, the Americans rolled in, and out, and in again.
The Korengal Valley became the symbol of that frustration, if not the metaphor for the war. Although abandoned in mid-2010, the American outpost in the Korengal was not a memorial to a clueless military. Far from it – and far more sobering – the Korengal was key to a diligent, thoughtful strategy. The notion that “true counterinsurgency” began with President Obama’s surge strategy in 2010 was incorrect. Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan began four years earlier, with decidedly mixed results.
From the capital of Kabul, a wide valley stretches 30 miles eastward to the Khyber Pass, the main crossing point into Pakistan. North of the Khyber, the high mountain passes are snowbound during winter. The four provinces northeast of Kabul are of little commercial value, inhabited by insular tribes resentful of outsiders. Beginning in 2002, Special Forces teams and Army and Marine battalions pursued the terrorist bands hiding in Nuristan, Nangarhar, Konar and Laghman, or N2KL.
Konar consists of bundles of forested mountains sliced by capillary valleys and riverbeds. In ...