Stanley A. McChrystal
“How we got to where we are in Afghanistan.”—Matthew Kaminski, Wall Street JournalThis definitive account of the American experience in Afghanistan “[zeroes] in on what went awry after America’s successful routing of the Taliban in late 2001” (Michiko Kakutani, New York Times) to explain how a growing sanctuary for insurgents in Pakistan and a collapsing government in Kabul catalyzed the Taliban resurgence. Examining what has worked thus far—and what hasn’t—Jones lays out “a blueprint for winning in a region that has historically brought mighty armies to their knees” (Doug Childers, Richmond Times-Dispatch).
One of the Washington Post Book World's 10 Best Books of the Year
One of Time's 10 Best Books of the Year
USA Today's Nonfiction Book of the Year
A New York Times Notable Book
The definitive account of the American military's tragic experience in Iraq
Fiasco is a masterful reckoning with the planning and execution of the American military invasion and occupation of Iraq through mid-2006, now with a postscript on recent developments. Ricks draws on the exclusive cooperation of an extraordinary number of American personnel, including more than one hundred senior officers, and access to more than 30,000 pages of official documents, many of them never before made public. Tragically, it is an undeniable account—explosive, shocking, and authoritative—of unsurpassed tactical success combined with unsurpassed strategic failure that indicts some of America's most powerful and honored civilian and military leaders.
A high-ranking general’s gripping insider account of the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and how it all went wrong.
Over a thirty-five-year career, Daniel Bolger rose through the army infantry to become a three-star general, commanding in both theaters of the U.S. campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan. He participated in meetings with top-level military and civilian players, where strategy was made and managed. At the same time, he regularly carried a rifle alongside rank-and-file soldiers in combat actions, unusual for a general. Now, as a witness to all levels of military command, Bolger offers a unique assessment of these wars, from 9/11 to the final withdrawal from the region. Writing with hard-won experience and unflinching honesty, Bolger makes the firm case that in Iraq and in Afghanistan, we lost — but we didn’t have to. Intelligence was garbled. Key decision makers were blinded by spreadsheets or theories. And, at the root of our failure, we never really understood our enemy. Why We Lost is a timely, forceful, and compulsively readable account of these wars from a fresh and authoritative perspective.
Afforded extensive access by General Petraeus, his mentors, his subordinates, and his longtime friends, Broadwell reported on the front lines of fighting and at the strategic command in Afghanistan to chronicle the experiences of this American general as they were brought to bear in the terrible crucible of war. All In draws on hundreds of hours of exclusive interviews with Petraeus and his top officers and soldiers to tell the inside story of this commander's development and leadership in war.
When Petraeus assumed command in Afghanistan in July 2010, the conflict looked as bleak as at any moment in America's nine years on the ground there. Petraeus's defining idea—counterinsurgency—was immediate put to its most difficult test: the hard lessons learned during the surge in Iraq were to be applied in a radically different theater. All In examines the impact in Afghanistan of new counterinsurgency as well as counterterrorism strategies through the commands of several Petraeus protégés.
Broadwell examines his evolution as a solider from his education at West Point in the wake of Vietnam to his earlier service in Central America, Haiti, Kuwait, Bosnia, and Iraq. All In also documents the general's role in the war in Washington, going behind the scenes of negotiations during policy reviews of the war in Afghanistan in Congress, the Pentagon, and the White House.
Broadwell ultimately appraises Petraeus's impact on the entire U.S. military: Thanks to this man's influence, the military is better prepared to fight using a comprehensive blend of civil-military activities. As America surveys a decade of untraditional warfare, this much is clear: The career of General David Petraeus profoundly shaped our military and left an indelible mark on its rising leaders.
The Insurgents is the inside story of the small group of soldier-scholars, led by General David Petraeus, who plotted to revolutionize one of the largest, oldest, and most hidebound institutions—the United States military. Their aim was to build a new Army that could fight the new kind of war in the post–Cold War age: not massive wars on vast battlefields, but “small wars” in cities and villages, against insurgents and terrorists. These would be wars not only of fighting but of “nation building,” often not of necessity but of choice.
Based on secret documents, private emails, and interviews with more than one hundred key characters, including Petraeus, the tale unfolds against the backdrop of the wars against insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan. But the main insurgency is the one mounted at home by ambitious, self-consciously intellectual officers—Petraeus, John Nagl, H. R. McMaster, and others—many of them classmates or colleagues in West Point’s Social Science Department who rose through the ranks, seized with an idea of how to fight these wars better. Amid the crisis, they forged a community (some of them called it a cabal or mafia) and adapted their enemies’ techniques to overhaul the culture and institutions of their own Army.
Fred Kaplan describes how these men and women maneuvered the idea through the bureaucracy and made it official policy. This is a story of power, politics, ideas, and personalities—and how they converged to reshape the twenty-first-century American military. But it is also a cautionary tale about how creative doctrine can harden into dogma, how smart strategists—today’s “best and brightest”—can win the battles at home but not the wars abroad. Petraeus and his fellow insurgents made the US military more adaptive to the conflicts of the modern era, but they also created the tools—and made it more tempting—for political leaders to wade into wars that they would be wise to avoid.
As we wind down our combat operations in Afghanistan and slouch toward withdrawal, the time is right for a full accounting of what went wrong. In The Good War, acclaimed author and war correspondent Jack Fairweather goes beyond the battlefield to explore the righteous intentions and stunning hubris that brought the United States and its allies to the verge of defeat in this far-flung theater. Drawing on hundreds of interviews, troves of previously untapped material from Afghan government archives, and months of experience living and reporting in Afghanistan, Fairweather traces the course of the conflict from its inception following the terrorist attacks of 9/11 to its steady drawdown during President Obama’s second term, in the process offering a bold reassessment of the war. He describes how the Bush administration came within a hair’s breadth of making peace with the Taliban in 2002. He shows how Afghan opium could have rebuilt the country rather than destroying it. And he provides the most intimate portrait yet of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, arguing that Karzai’s gravest mistake was giving in not to warlords but rather to the international community, which has consistently prevented him from taking the necessary steps to help Afghans seize their own future.
A timely lesson in the perils of nation-building and a sobering reminder of the limits of American power, The Good War leads readers from the White House situation room to Afghan military outposts, from warlords’ palaces to insurgents’ dens, to explain how the US and our allies might have salvaged the Afghan campaign—and how we might rethink other “good” wars in the future.