An investigative story of how three successive presidents and their military commanders deceived the public year after year about America's longest war, foreshadowing the Taliban's recapture of Afghanistan.
[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.