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The Dogs Are Eating Them Now: Our War in Afghanistan Kindle Edition

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Length: 322 pages Word Wise: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Graeme Smith eschews the ‘official version’ of the war in Afghanistan and instead shows us life on the ground for the soldiers, insurgents, politicians, warlords, and—most importantly—the civilians caught between all sides.”
—Louise Arbour, president of the International Crisis Group, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and former justice of the Supreme Court of Canada

About the Author

GRAEME SMITH is a Senior Analyst for the International Crisis Group, the world's leading independent, non-partisan source of analysis and advice to governments and intergovernmental bodies like the United Nations, European Union and World Bank on the prevention and resolution of deadly conflict. He covered the Afghan war for The Globe and Mail from 2005 to 2009, spending more time in southern Afghanistan during that period than any other Western journalist. The winner of many awards for investigative reporting--including an Emmy Award, the Amnesty International Award, three National Newspaper Awards, and the Michener Award for public service granted once annually by Canada's head of state--he lectures widely and served as an Adjunct Scholar at the US Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. Based in Kabul, he travels frequently to Washington and Brussels.

Product Details

  • File Size: 3792 KB
  • Print Length: 322 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B009I779NC
  • Publisher: Knopf Canada (September 24, 2013)
  • Publication Date: September 24, 2013
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004W3FIRQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #635,544 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By sues on October 12, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Graeme Smith has been able to accomplish a difficult task; he has written a critical analysis of Western engagement in Afghanistan that is persuasive, interesting, well-researched, and ultimately, bleak. There are many strengths in "The Dogs are Eating them Now," one example is; Smith has a way of recounting his experiences in a way that consistently strengthen his points, and leaves the reader with ample evidence. He has a clarity that is makes this book a pleasure to read.
During his time reporting on Afghanistan for the Globe and Mail, Smith was able to get a very complete sense of place and conditions. In some ways, he's a minimalist, by this I mean his style is almost self-deprecating. It's easy for journalists in dangerous situations to produce a heroic narrative, where their risk-taking is somehow exceptional, and it places them apart from the reader. Smith completely avoids this, his story remains about Afghanistan, from the small details, to the character of the people he interviews, to the mundane routines of deployment. He's able to recreate Afghanistan for his readers. This is important, because it's actually a secondary part of his intention, which is primarily to analyze, *what went wrong?*
Smith asks all the right questions: was establishing a strong central government the best plan for the country? Has poppy eradication fuelled existing local grievances, and further alienated rural populations in favor of the insurgency? Who are the Taliban, outside of the established narrative of terrorist-harboring, brutal fanatics? Was the establishment of ANSF monitored carefully enough by Western forces, and if not, what happened to the promotion of the "rule of law" and human rights?
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Leo on September 20, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I picked this up in a book store, as I knew exactly to what the title referred. Unfortunately Graeme Smith is an awful reporter! I read the chapter related to Op Medusa, where Smith was embedded with my unit. His relating of what actually happened is terribly inaccurate. The taliban were not "baited" with bodies. In this case, two insurgents engaged our men, and my unit returned fire. The insurgents were killed. Personnel moved forward to the bodies, it was confirmed that they were dead, and everyone pulled back. Before leaving, chemlights were attached to the bodies, so that anyone coming to move the bodies could be seen. At night dogs came and ate them. Nobody is moving into enemy held areas to wave off dogs. That is ALL that happened. Recce Platoon was not involved (it was also not "a" Recce Platoon, there is only one Infantry Recce Pl per Battle Group, Recce Squadron operates in "troops", and are armoured). Reconnaissance platoons are not the ones who lay in ambush even if that were the intent. It is going to be a hell of a mess when the media gets a hold of this book, and somebody inevitably starts talking about "war crimes"- rather than the fact that we didn't move enemy bodies after they attacked us (where we were supposed to put them I don't know- the Afghan Army was there as well and I have never seen them move bodies of insurgents they don't know).

Through this whole time we were short on manpower for the operation we had to undertake (which is why Op Medusa was so difficult). If we had trippled the numbers it would not have been so difficult, but sometimes that's how the Army works.

I also take issue with Smith's regular use of "a" person.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Alex Strick van Linschoten on October 8, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Graeme Smith is one of the best reporters/analysts to have written on Afghanistan in the post-2001 period. His book tells of the time he spent -- mostly down in Kandahar in the south -- reporting for the Globe and Mail newspaper.

It is not an uplifting tale, but then again nor is the reality of the foreign engagement in southern Afghanistan.

So why should you read this book?

- Graeme is one of the most knowledgeable writers working to explain Afghanistan these days
- None of the issues he covers in his book -- intervention in other countries, conflict mitigation and civil war -- are going away
- It's beautifully written, and you don't REALLY have to watch that new episode of Homeland, surely...

Just give it a read. You won't regret it.
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Format: Hardcover
It was a great read but it doesn't make you feel warm and fuzzy inside by the end. Brewster goes into detail about "the West's" military and diplomatic operations in his book, and Rashid's books explain the origins of the Taliban in great deal. Smith's book really emphasizes the misguided optimism by Western politicians in thinking that NATO firepower could intimidate the Afghans and foreign money win over their hearts and minds. And perhaps money can buy loyalty for a short period of time.

But like Messala says to Ben-hur you defeat an idea with another idea. Other than cash bribes and a very pale replica of the US Republic's political system mixed in with some Afghan laws, it is unclear to me exactly what idea challenging a peaceful Islamic brotherhood was ever made. It would have to be another idea that is rooted in Afghan culture and would be understood by Pashtun farmers and Kabul technocrats alike, that NATO countries actually proposed to Afghanis.

And then of course there are the broader implications - probably more dangerous than the desire than any revenge killings against Westerners - of a US leadership in the world whose promises can no longer be trusted by allies. I know of at least one of the Canadian Embassy translators applied for asylum for his family but his application was denied. If he only knew a journalist or two in Ottawa so that it would embarrass the government he might realize that PR wins out over the facts on the ground.

Afghanistan itself shows that the same mistakes tend to be repeated throughout history as each new generation conflate their trappings of modernity for progress.
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