Invisible History: Afghanistan's Untold Story

Paul Fitzgerald, Author, Elizabeth Gould, Author
Paul Fitzgerald, Author, Elizabeth Gould, Author . City Lights $18.95 (389p) ISBN 978-0-87286-494-8
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Journalists Fitzgerald and Gould do yeoman's labor in clearing the fog and laying bare American failures in Afghanistan in this deeply researched, cogently argued and enormously important book. The authors demonstrate how closely American actions are tied to past miscalculations—and how U.S. policy has placed Afghans and Americans in grave danger. Long at cultural crossroads, Afghanistan's location poised the country to serve as “a fragile buffer” between rival empires. Great Britain's 1947 creation of an arbitrary and indefensible border between Afghanistan and the newly minted Pakistan “from the Afghan point of view... has always been the problem,” but particularly after 9/11 American policymakers have paid scant attention to the concerns of Afghans, preferring to shoehorn an imagined Afghanistan into U.S. power paradigms. “The United States is in a fight for its life, not because of [9/11]... but because of the way America responded.... That response was at once wildly exaggerated, dangerously reckless, and... ineffective,” the authors argue, calling on the incoming president to make radical changes. “Osama is not beating the United States.... The United States is beating itself, and beating itself badly.” (Jan.)

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