One Hundred Victories: Special Ops and the Future of American Warfare

Linda Robinson. PublicAffairs, $28.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-61039-149-8
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Our elite forces fought brilliantly to topple the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001, writes senior RAND international policy analyst Robinson (Tell Me How This Ends: General David Petraeus and the Search for a Way Out of Iraq). Sadly, within a few years, the militant Islamist group was flourishing again. Its willingness to bully and murder its fellow countrymen and women created plenty of enemies, but the average Afghan kept quiet, expecting little outside help. American Special Ops leaders began brainstorming how they could change this pattern of silence, and after 2009, they were finally given the chance to put their ideas to the test. Here, Robinson delivers vivid, blow-by-blow accounts of a dozen Special Ops campaigns to train local Afghans to defend their communities. She recounts many victories—despite spotty cooperation from the Afghan government and conventional American forces—as well as a few failures. The success of counterinsurgency tactics can only be accurately assessed in the long term, yet America is committed to withdraw nearly all its forces from Afghanistan in 2014, and Robinson fears we may have started too late to see any lasting change. The author—who is no Pollyanna and is a much better writer than the average academic—delivers a painfully realistic account of how Special Ops have valiantly tried to turn matters around in Afghanistan. 8-page b&w photo insert. Agent: Philippa Brophy, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Oct. 8)
Reviewed on: 07/22/2013
Release date: 10/01/2013
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