Obama's War: Avoiding a Quagmire in Afghanistan

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Potomac Books, Inc., 2011 - History - 191 pages
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Since the United Nations adopted the principle of self-determination in 1945, great powers have found that military strength is no guarantee of success in small wars fought against insurgents who use guerrilla and terrorist tactics. In this book, James Gannon argues that it is well past time for Americans to understand that military victory is usually beyond their reach in this kind of warfare. Although he believes that the war in Afghanistan is justified by the attacks of 9/11, he contends that the American and NATO forces should withdraw as soon as can be done responsibly. As Gannon sees it, President Barack Obama realizes that such long, drawn-out wars waste lives and drain resources far out of proportion to any possible gain.

The dual-track strategy in Afghanistan now, he explains, is to apply the lessons of Iraq's Anbar Awakening by negating the Islamists' influence, driving them out of population centers---with military force, if necessary--- and building trust between the tribes in the hinterlands and the central government. At the same time, the American and NATO commanders must encourage negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban. The goal is a stable, peaceful Afghanistan. The fight against such Islamist fanatics as al Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban requires a different strategy---a relentless campaign using special operations forces and high-tech weapons such as drones to disrupt insurgents' operations. Only when Afghanistan has become stabilized and anti-government operations have been disrupted can America and NATO safely withdraw, according to Gannon. Nobody should think it will be quick or easy.
 

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Contents

1 A PARADOX OF POWER
1
2 THE ROOTS OF ISLAMISM
15
3 THE ENEMIES
35
4 INSIDE THE SURGE
49
5 SHADES OF RAMBO
73
6 GLOBAL TERRORISM
93
7 NUCLEAR JIHADISM
123
8 THINKING THE UNTHINKABLE
139
Notes
151
Bibliography
171
Index
185
About the Author
191
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

James Gannon is a journalist and former producer-writer of documentaries for NBC News. He is the author of Stealing Secrets, Telling Lies: How Spies and Codebreakers Helped Shape the Twentieth Century (Potomac Books, Inc., 2001), and Military Occupation in the Age of Self-Determination: The History Neocons Neglected (Praeger Security International, 2008). Gannon lives in Stony Point, New York.

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