Academic journal article Military Review

Little America: The War within the War for Afghanistan

Academic journal article Military Review

Little America: The War within the War for Afghanistan

Article excerpt

LITTLE AMERICA: The War Within the War for Afghanistan

Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Alfred Knopf

New York, 2012, 385 pages, $12.98

SHORTLY AFTER WORLD War II, Americans established their first presence in Helmand Province. Seeking to revitalize the economy of this remote and backward province, the King of Afghanistan commissioned the U.S. engineering firm Morris-Knudsen to build a system of roads and canals that would make Helmand a model for the rest of his country. American technicians and their families soon arrived, and by the late 1950s, the small American community near Lashkar Gah included a swimming pool, tennis courts, a coed school, and a community club. The local villagers called this enclave of foreigners "Little America." Over time, Morris-Knudsen was followed by soil experts from the U.S. Agency for International Development, Peace Corps volunteers, and more contractors--all seeking to make Helmand a green paradise. Yet, when a communist coup in 1978 drove the aid workers away, the Americans left behind under-conceived and unfinished projects that had failed to realize the king's vision.

For author and Washington Post reporter Rajiv Chandasekaran, the disappointments associated with the Little America projects symbolize the more tragic outcomes he anticipates from our current war in Afghanistan. Chandrasekaran is not a newcomer to conflict in unpleasant places. His best-selling book, Imperial Life in the Emerald City, Inside Iraq's Green Zone, was a scathing critique of the Paul Bremer's Coalition Provisional Authority and its early efforts to "rebuild" Iraq. Given Chandrasekaran's position and liberal outlook, one might expect that he would be gentler in his evaluation of "Obama's war. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.