Academic journal article Military Review

THE WRONG WAR: Grit, Strategy, and the Way out of Afghanistan

Academic journal article Military Review

THE WRONG WAR: Grit, Strategy, and the Way out of Afghanistan

Article excerpt

THE WRONG WAR: Grit, Strategy, and the Way Out of Afghanistan, Francis J. "Bing" West, Random House, New York, 2011, 336 pages, $28.00.

Bing West's The Wrong War is a compelling study of close combat, a thoughtful examination of the application of counterinsurgency theory, and a recommended exit strategy from the longest confl ict in American history. As with much of his writing, West brings events to life by stepping outside the safe confi nes of his study to document history as it unfolds. The result is a book that spans the levels of war and guides the reader on a thoughtprovoking journey through the war in Afghanistan.

More than half of The Wrong War takes place on the ground with soldiers, marines, and special operations forces engaged in direct combat with the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. This is West's forte, bringing the grit of the fi ght to the reader. The crisp tales have the stark realism of a fi rst-person lens. The author is at his absolute best when he introduces us to Marine Lance Corporal Dakota Meyer. In near stop-motion detail, West recounts the events of the Battle of Ganjgal, where the young Marine's heroism earned a Medal of Honor nomination, the fi rst living veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to receive the honor.

West expresses his frustration with the conduct of the war through his critique of what he perceives to be a fl awed counterinsurgency campaign. …

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