[An] excellent new book ... Whitlock builds the case by drawing on an impressive variety of primary sources, most notably internal Defense Department oral interviews and memos. His is the first book-length treatment to assess the mass of formerly classified documents collectively known as 'The Afghanistan Papers' ... While the book is framed around the question of why the war in Afghanistan failed, it is the overarching narrative of deception that is most interesting.
Even for those familiar with the ebbs and flows of the conflict...Whitlock’s book reveals new depths of Western folly ... What Whitlock delivers...is a clear-eyed, clinical indictment of members of the country’s military and political establishments, who, year after year, continued to issue upbeat and patently false assessments of a war that many privately conceded was lost ... The inescapable, if depressing, conclusion one draws from The Afghanistan Papers is that it couldn’t have turned out any other way.
This bombshell report...reveals the mendacity of U.S. civilian and military leaders spanning the past three presidential administrations ... the book is a damning account ... readers will be astonished by the starkly contrasting nature of these revelations, set against the glib dishonesty of senior U.S. officials predicting 'victory on the horizon.'
[A] searing chronicle ... Whitlock paints a devastating portrait of how public messaging about the conflict consistently belied the reality on the ground ... Rigorously detailed and relentlessly pessimistic, this is a heartbreaking look at how America’s leaders 'chose to bury their mistakes and let the war drift.'