The Wrong War

The Wrong War

Grit, Strategy, and the Way Out of Afghanistan

Book - 2011
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From one of America's most renowned war correspondents comes the definitive account of the Afghanistan war, a damning policy assessment, and a compelling and controversial way forward
Publisher: New York : Random House, [2011]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2011
ISBN: 9781588369321
1588369323
9781400068739
1400068738
Branch Call Number: 958.104 West 2011
Characteristics: xxii, 307 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : color illustrations, maps ; 25 cm
Additional Contributors: West, Francis J

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LRS1969 Mar 04, 2015

West, who should know better, having served in a War where conventional military approaches did NOT result in victory. And having been in position to see the difference of a true counterinsurgency effort in Afghanistan Phase One (winning) in 2001-2002 versus an Afghanistan Phase Two conventional military approach to counterinsurgency (losing) from 2008-2011 (and thru to today) - with all the gains of Phase One were lost... because we scampered off to invade Iraq in the war, totally unjust - unlike Afghanistan which did fit international Just War definitions, but was THE war that Bush - Cheney - Rumsfeld wanted, in very early 2003!

As to Petraeus....

Like so many others, this author has a Petraeus idolization fixation (similar to the mythology of great generalship this sprung up relating to CSA General Robert E. Lee)... in this case, as many others by fine people, brought on by the Petraeus PR squad and the ultra conservative Petraeus fan club brayings.

Yet Petraeus, while personally intelligent, in fact was not militarily brilliant nor particularly savvy (repeating a myth often enough does NOT make it Truth)... though he indeed was one of the Perfumed Princes who believes absolutely in the Three Ps: Power, Perks, and Privileges!

EVERYTHING that Petraeus did in his military and post military life has had one and only one agenda - to do what is right for Petraeus and his personal benefit. Entitlement is an expectation of his (which he got even in "the end"... a deal that converts multiple severe felonies demanding decades of imprisonment down to one misdemeanor that carries no jail time and allows him to maintain his oligarchic and highly wealthy post treasonous career!).

So much for his oft repeated claims of innocence. And this is the deal if the century. He should have been prosecuted for every count and once convicted, sentenced to life without parole in Leavenworth!

"Petraeus Takes Plea Deal"

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/04/us/petraeus-plea-deal-over-giving-classified-data-to-lover.html

BTW, if you read West's Vietnam War memoir, "The Village" you will find that - very interestingly - West served in a USMC "CAP Platoon" (CAP being "CIVIC ACTION PROGRAM) where Marine Rifle Platoons were assigned to Vietnamese hamlets and villages in I Corps where they trained, patrolled with and fought alongside local village militias in what was one of the most successful counterinsurgency programs in the Vietnam War (along with the EARLY efforts of the Special Forces, Green Berets, in their CIDG program developing armed and fortified camps near villages of Vietnam's indigenous peoples)... in both cases the program "winning the hearts and minds" of that area's population (and expanding outwards like "inhibits"). The Marine CAP Program (which utilized only a small fraction of the in-country Marine presence) was shut down by Westmoreland and higher level conventional army military commanders while the Special Forces CIDG program was subverted into a conventional military role. And yet here is (an obviously now more conservative and conventionally militant West strongly downplaying the very (and strongly legitimate) true counterinsurgency programs that potentially could have by far the better chance of salvaging victory.

r
rstolzster
May 20, 2012

Solid and compelling first-hand reporting after being embedded in different parts of Afghanistan, with good insights into counter- insurgency strategies and how they have changed over time. The insights may not be new, but the stories of first hand accounts certainly give meat to the commentary on military strategy (or lack thereof) in Afghanistan.

s
sdstrunk
Apr 09, 2011

Great reporting. Mr. West spent a long time with combat troops in two very different parts of Afghanistan and saw for himself why past and current strategies to eliminate the Taliban have failed. He gives a soldiers perspective as a retired Marine and can compare ongoing operations with his own experiences as an observer in Iraq and as Marine in Vietnam. Hightly recommended.

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