The Longest War: The Enduring Conflict between America and Al-Qaeda (Google eBook)

Front Cover
Simon and Schuster, Jan 11, 2011 - History - 496 pages
23 Reviews
TEN YEARS HAVE PASSED since the shocking attacks on the World Trade Center, and after seven years of conflict, the last U.S. combat troops left Iraq—only to move into Afghanistan, where the ten-year-old fight continues: the war on terror rages with no clear end in sight. In The Longest War Peter Bergen offers a comprehensive history of this war and its evolution, from the strategies devised in the wake of the 9/11 attacks to the fighting in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and beyond. Unlike any other book on this subject, here Bergen tells the story of this shifting war’s failures and successes from the perspectives of both the United States and al-Qaeda and its allies. He goes into the homes of al-Qaeda members, rooting into the source of their devotion to terrorist causes, and spends time in the offices of the major players shaping the U.S. strategic efforts in the region. At a time when many are frustrated or fatigued with what has become an enduring multigenerational conflict, this book will provide an illuminating narrative that not only traces the arc of the fight but projects its likely future.

Weaving together internal documents from al-Qaeda and the U.S. offices of counterterrorism, first-person interviews with top-level jihadists and senior Washington officials, along with his own experiences on the ground in the Middle East, Bergen balances the accounts of each side, revealing how al-Qaeda has evolved since 9/11 and the specific ways the U.S. government has responded in the ongoing fight.

Bergen also uncovers the strategic errors committed on both sides—the way that al-Qaeda’s bold attack on the United States on 9/11 actually undermined its objective and caused the collapse of the Taliban and the destruction of the organization’s safe haven in Afghanistan, and how al-Qaeda is actually losing the war of ideas in the Muslim world. The book also shows how the United States undermined its moral position in this war with its actions at Guantánamo and coercive interrogations—including the extraordinary rendition of Abu Omar, who was kidnapped by the CIA in Milan in 2003 and was tortured for four years in Egyptian prisons; his case represents the first and only time that CIA officials have been charged and convicted of the crime of kidnapping.

In examining other strategic blunders the United States has committed, Bergen offers a scathing critique of the Clinton and Bush administrations’ inability to accurately assess and counter the al-Qaeda threat, Bush’s deeply misguided reasons for invading Iraq—including the story of how the invasion was launched based, in part, on the views of an obscure academic who put forth theories about Iraq’s involvement with al-Qaeda—and the Obama administration’s efforts in Afghanistan.

At a critical moment in world history The Longest War provides the definitive account of the ongoing battle against terror.
  

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Review: The Longest War: A History of the War on Terror and the Battles with Al Qaeda Since 9/11

User Review  - Erik - Goodreads

The Longest War is a very good overview of the "War on Terror" until 2010. It's well sourced and researched, and the author's prose makes the book an easy read. However, my expectations for the book ... Read full review

Review: The Longest War: A History of the War on Terror and the Battles with Al Qaeda Since 9/11

User Review  - Jimmy Bohnslav - Goodreads

There's not much new gound being broken in this book, to my knowledge--it's an extremely well-researched recap of the War on Terror. Peter Bergen is very knowledgeable on this subject, and at one ... Read full review

Contents

Hubris
1
Holy Tuesday
3
Explaining 911
11
Blinking Red
36
Kicking Ass
51
The Great Escape
68
The Destruction of the Base
86
The Gloves Came Off
95
The United States of Jihad
233
Pakistan The New Base
247
The Fall of AlQaeda in Iraq and the Rise of an Iraqi State
266
The Jihad Within
297
The End of the War on Terror?
303
Obamas War
309
The Long Hunt
335
Note on Sources
351

Home Front The First Bush Term
121
Building the Case for War with Iraq
131
The War of Error
153
Almost Losing the War the United States Thought It Had Won
174
AlQaeda 2 0
197
AlQaedas Quixotic Quest for Weapons of Mass Destruction
214
Interviewees
353
Notes
357
Bibliography
437
Acknowledgments
453
Index
457
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

Peter Bergen is the author of Holy War, Inc. and The Osama Bin Laden I Know, both named among the best nonfiction books of the year by The Washington Post. He is a contributing editor at The New Republic and has worked as a correspondent for National Geographic television, Discovery, and CNN. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Foreign Affairs, Atlantic, Rolling Stone, Time, Vanity Fair, among other publications.

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