Michael Hastings, author of the infamous article “The Runaway General” in Rolling Stone magazine, discusses the Obama administration’s attempt to create a “new normal” 2014 Afghanistan withdrawal date while hoping the 2011 deadline is quickly forgotten; how US operations are – intentionally or not – creating fertile ground for an Afghan civil war; how the “clear, hold, build” strategy fails due to the inability of Afghan government (in a box or otherwise) to take control of conquered territory; reversion to the “Biden option” of targeted assassinations, drone strikes, and fewer troops on the ground; Obama’s assertion that the US is in Afghanistan to fight al-Qaeda and isn’t nation building – despite all evidence to the contrary; and why Gen. Petraeus’s talk about COIN doctrine is intended for a sympathetic audience of think tanks, media and domestic armchair generals – because the soldiers on the ground don’t buy it.
MP3 here. (41:26)
Michael Hastings is the author of I Lost My Love in Baghdad: A Modern War Story. In 2008, he covered the U.S. presidential elections for Newsweek, and before that he was the magazine’s Baghdad correspondent. His articles have appeared in GQ, Slate, Salon, Foreign Policy, the LA Times, and other publications. His blog The Hastings Report focuses on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and other foreign policy topics.