It was supposed to be the good war, as opposed to the one in Iraq which was based on dubious intelligence. Now the longest war in American history — it will be eleven years in October — Afghanistan languishes. Rajiv Chandrasekaran followed troops into Marja during Obama’s “surge” starting in early 2010. He’s a correspondent for The Washington Post and his new book chronicles the war on the ground and in the White House Situation Room, as it’s all unfolded on Obama’s watch. Little America: The War Within the War in Afghanistan details the various stakeholders, their characteristics, personality traits, and motivations here inside the beltway and there, halfway round the world, of the Afghans and military personnel charged with defeating the Taliban. It’s an unfortunate portrait teeming with corruption, ego, and compromise.
Here is an excerpt from Little America, which describes the infighting between Richard Holbrook, the State Department’s representative to Afghanistan and James L. Jones, national security adviser. There are almost too many splits, alliances and competing interests to track. And all the while, 90,000 American troops are still fighting their (arguably) aimless fight. Just this morning I received notice that U.S. Army Spc. Michael Strachota is being repatriated at Dover AFB today after being killed in Afghanistan this week.