The book, excellently narrated by the author himself, paints a vivid and disturbing picture of the US efforts to win the war against the taliban and Al-Qaeda, in Afghanistan. The narration starts a few decades back, describing the American efforts to develop agriculture in the Helmand valley and uses it as an interesting backdrop to the war efforts being waged today. It goes to describe the dysfunctional relation between military and civilian efforts to not only win the war militarily, but to build the Afghan economy in a sustainable way that could prevent the lack of employment and occupation to constitute a breeding ground for the insurgency.
Listening to the book, it's possible to begin to understand the magnitude of the challenge the US was facing in Afghanistan and how the strategy applied, right from the Bush's years, was wrong and how the US seemed woefully unprepared to deal with them. All aspects of the military and civilian strategy (or lack of it) are analyzed, as is the role of Pakistan and the ineffective and corrupt Karzhai administration.
It's not hard to understand, after having read the book, why Afghanistan is a lost war, another one, for the US, even if militarily, no battles were lost. It is also a tale of wasted lives (of US soldiers,) and money, huge amounts of US taxpayers money. Things were bad with Bush and improved only minimally with Obama, probably with no lasting effect, given the politically imposed timeline for withdrawal.
This is a well written and narrated book and it should be read by anyone wanting to know how a war that could have been won, was lost by neglect and lack of decent strategy from two different administrations. I finished the book thinking that both Bush and Obama really did a disservice to the sacrifice of thousands of American soldiers and their families and, of course, to the Afghans themselves
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