"THE AFGHANISTAN PAPERS: A SECRET HISTORY OF THE WAR", with Craig Whitlock
The Afghanistan Papers : A Secret History of the War
Craig Whitlock joins us to discuss his reportorial triumph, The Afghanistan Papers, A Secret History of the War. His book tells the story of the story of strategic bungling, distorted statistics, a nation-building project doomed to failure and the victory of drugs and corruption in the longest war in American history.
Craig has been a staff writer for The Washington Post since 1998. He is assigned to the Investigative Desk, where he specializes in national security. At The Post, he covered the Pentagon beat for the National Desk from 2010 until 2016. Before that, he was a foreign correspondent and served as the Berlin bureau chief for six years. While overseas, his primary assignment was investigative reporting into terrorism networks and counterterrorism policy in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. He has reported from more than 60 countries.
Before joining The Post, Whitlock worked for seven years as a reporter for the (Raleigh) News & Observer. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Duke University. He is winner of the George Polk Award for Military Reporting, the Scripps Howard Award for Investigative Reporting, the Investigative Reporters and Editors Freedom of Information Award and the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for international reporting.
For this book, he conducted or reviewed thousands of interviews, sued the government for emails and other documents under the Freedom of Information Act, to try to learn what went wrong. Documents he reveal that President Bush didn’t know the name of his Afghanistan war commander—and didn’t want to make time to meet with him. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld admitted he had ‘no visibility into who the bad guys are’….”
The reviewers wrote that this book is: “The groundbreaking investigative story of how three successive presidents and their military commanders deceived the public year after year about America’s longest war, foreshadowing the Taliban’s recapture of Afghanistan….
“Just as the Pentagon Papers changed the public’s understanding of Vietnam, The Afghanistan Papers contains startling revelation after revelation from people who played a direct role in the war, from leaders in the White House and the Pentagon to soldiers and aid workers on the front lines. They admit that the US government’s strategies were a mess, that the nation-building project was a colossal failure, and that drugs and corruption gained a stranglehold over their allies in the Afghan government. All told, the interviewees knew that the US government was presenting a distorted, and sometimes entirely fabricated, version of the facts on the ground.”
This event is a collaboration with COFFE (Council of Former Federal Executives & Associates).
A Partnership Between Little Falls Village & The Little Falls Library of Montgomery County Public Libraries