The Dogs Are Eating Them Now: Our War in Afghanistan
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With a new foreword by the author,The Dogs are Eating Them Now is a highly personal narrative of our war in Afghanistan and how it went dangerously wrong. Written by a respected and fearless former foreign correspondent who has won multiple awards for his journalism (including an Emmy for the video series "Talking with the Taliban") this is a gripping account of modern warfare that takes you into back alleys, cockpits, and prisons –telling stories that would have endangered his life had he published this book while still working as a journalist. Smith was not simply embedded with the military: he operated independently and at great personal risk to report from inside the war, and the heroes of his story are the translators, guides, and ordinary citizens who helped him find the truth. They revealed sad, absurd, touching stories that provide the key to understanding why the mission failed to deliver peace and democracy.
From the corruption of law enforcement agents and the tribal nature of the local power structure to the economics of the drug trade and the frequent blunders of foreign troops, this is the no-holds-barred story from a leading expert on the insurgency. Smith draws on his unmatched compassion and a rare ability to cut through the noise and see the broader truths to give us a bold and candid look at the Taliban's continued influence–and at the mistakes, catastrophes, and ultimate failure of the West's best intentions. And with the American retreat from Afghanistan in 2016 still a point of contention, there has never been a more urgent need for a comprehensive and intelligent look at our war in Afghanistan.
disastrously wrong in the past, so the troops blasted into their objectives with bone-rattling intensity. Engineers ran up to the walls of farmhouses and set up charges using so much plastic explosive that the detonation kicked up rolling clouds that swept over the troops like the end of the world, blotting out the sun and immersing them in an otherworldly universe of filtered light and falling debris. Sometimes the sheer oomph of those explosions made the soldiers shake their heads and swear.
Canada’s battle group commander and watched the sun setting over the valley from the same rooftop where I had witnessed a hail of air strikes several days earlier. Leaning back in his metal folding chair, Lieutenant-Colonel Lavoie expressed pride that the combined NATO forces had successfully beaten a major gathering of insurgents. But he still seemed taken aback that so many Taliban had surfaced in the first place. He looked tired. “After fighting one of the biggest engagements we’ve seen here
hiding, but it seemed whoever was following hadn’t noticed us slip away. I never visited Malik again, and stayed away from the Taliban reconciliation office for several months. My next meeting with an insurgent was arranged more informally. It was the autumn of 2006, in the aftermath of Operation Medusa, and one of my translators scheduled a chat with a relative who had participated in the fighting. Like many Afghans, my translator’s extended family included both government workers and
I took photographs, recorded audio, filled a suitcase with leather-bound notebooks. I filed the material into folders on my computer, and later took a leave of absence from my job so I could sit quietly and let the echoes settle. I tried to pick out scenes and bits of dialogue that might help you understand. This was a healthy process. The nightmares faded, and I stopped obsessing about the tactical properties of every room. Eventually I could attend a fireworks show without feeling nauseous. My
present. At a bustling ticket agency inside the city, a veteran salesman excused himself from the throng of passengers and sat with me inside a sweltering car, preferring the windows rolled up so nobody would overhear him talking with a foreigner. The core of the problem, he said, is that no single force controls the countryside. “During the Taliban government there was only one system, but now there are many opposing forces, so it’s very dangerous.” For all of those interviews around the edges