Martin Smith, producer of the PBS Frontline documentary Obama’s War, discusses the incredible scope of a full-blown global counterinsurgency, new COIN strategies that supposedly reduce the troop levels needed to pacify Afghanistan, the missed window of opportunity for successful nation-building and the difficulty of persuading Afghan civilians to entrust their safety to foreign troops rather than the Taliban.
MP3 here. (29:47)
In his 25 years producing for FRONTLINE, Martin Smith has covered the world: from revolution in Central America and the fall of communism in Russia, to the rise of Al Qaeda and the war in Iraq. Smith was among the first journalists to investigate Col. Oliver North’s clandestine network and one of the first western reporters to investigate the emergence of Osama bin Laden and the Al Qaeda network.
Since 1998 Smith has been with RAINmedia, an independent production company which has produced over 20 hours of programming for FRONTLINE including: Hunting bin Laden (1999); the four-hour series Drug Wars (2000); and three documentaries looking at the roots of 9/11 — Looking for Answers (2001), Saudi Time Bomb? (2001) and In Search of Al Qaeda (2002).
Since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Smith has produced four films on Iraq for FRONTLINE: Gangs of Iraq (2007), Private Warriors (2005), Beyond Baghdad (2004) and Truth, War and Consequences (2003). In 2006, Smith produced The Storm, an Emmy Award-winning look at Hurricane Katrina and the state of America’s emergency response system and Return of the Taliban, in which he reported from the forbidden tribal areas of western Pakistan.
He recently completed two films for FRONTLINE which aired in the fall of 2008 — “Heat” about business and climate change and “The War Briefing” about the real policy options the next president will face. Smith’s work for FRONTLINE has taken him to Afghanistan, China, Comoros, Colombia, Germany, India, Iraq, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Sudan, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and Yemen.
Smith has won every major award in television including two duPont Columbia Gold Batons and four Emmys. He’s also been a three-time recipient of the George Polk Award for Investigative Journalism and a four-time winner of the Writer’s Guild Award. Smith is a member of the Overseas Press Club and the Council on Foreign Relations.