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The Afghanistan Papers Summary

Craig Whitlock

The Afghanistan Papers

by Craig Whitlock

The Afghanistan Papers

Craig Whitlock

5 min
3 key insights
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Washington Post reporter Craig Whitlock shows how officials in the highest ranks of the U.S. government deliberately misled the public about the war in Afghanistan.

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The Afghanistan Papers

by Craig Whitlock

The Afghanistan Papers

Craig Whitlock

Overview

A common refrain among critics of the war in Afghanistan is that the U.S. 'didn't know what it was doing.' It was little known that officials at the highest levels of the Pentagon were saying the same thing, yet continued to push for an aimless occupation that only seemed to get worse.

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (or SIGAR) project, an effort started by an obscure federal agency in 2014, sought to identify mistakes in the Afghanistan war by secretly interviewing hundreds of U.S. officials. The Afghanistan Papers, which is an extension of The Washington Post's popular multi-part series, is constructed from those SIGAR interviews, which were uncovered after years of litigation.

In this book, Washington Post reporter Craig Whitlock shows how the war in Afghanistan was advocated for by U.S. officials who didn't even believe in the intervention – yet touted optimism when facing the American public.

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Favorite Quote

"We just don't have a post-conflict stabilization model that works. Every time we have one of these things, it is a pickup game. I don't have any confidence that if we did it again, we would do any better."

Stephen Hadley, former U.S. National Security Adviser

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The Afghanistan Papers

Craig Whitlock

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