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

Graeme Smith
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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Book Description

For readers of War by Sebastian Junger, We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families by Philip Gourevitch, and The Forever War by Dexter Filkins: The Dogs Are Eating Them Now is a raw, uncensored account of the war in Afghanistan from a brilliant young reporter who for several years was the only Western journalist brave enough to live full-time in the dangerous southern region.

The Dogs are Eating Them Now
is a highly personal narrative of our war in Afghanistan and how it went dangerously wrong. Written by a respected and fearless former foreign correspondent who has won multiple awards for his journalism (including an Emmy for the video series "Talking with the Taliban") this is a gripping account of modern warfare that takes you into back alleys, cockpits and prisons--telling stories that would have endangered his life had he published this book while still working as a journalist.

From the corruption of law enforcement agents and the tribal nature of the local power structure to the economics of the drug trade and the frequent blunders of foreign troops, this is the no-holds-barred story from a leading expert on the insurgency. Smith draws on his unmatched compassion and a rare ability to cut through the noise and see the broader truths to give us a bold and candid look at the Taliban's continued influence--and at the mistakes, catastrophes and ultimate failure of the West's best intentions.

Editorial Reviews


“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)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004W3FIRQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #638,315 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Readable and Important October 12, 2013
By sues
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
1.0 out of 5 stars Incorrect Details- Don't Trust This Book September 20, 2014
By Leo
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading on Afghanistan 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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Honest and informative picture of southern Afghanistan
Afghanistan has been an interest of mine for the past few years. It's really a fascinating place, in a sad sort of way.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Joshua
4.0 out of 5 stars better finish. Interesting perspective
Slow start, better finish. Interesting perspective.
Published 6 months ago by soldier2006
5.0 out of 5 stars good book
I have read many books on the history of Afghanistan, but this one spends time on the locals and their survival from day to day. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Capt Carl
5.0 out of 5 stars Uncomfortable Truths
This author provides great insights and background info. It was hard to put down though the truth exposed is uncomfortable to hear.
Published 13 months ago by Darrel G Schultz
5.0 out of 5 stars enlightening view from the ground
I found this account gripping and realistic. It takes the reader right into the conflict and provides a local perspective that explains the gap between the hopes of the... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Susan Taylor Meehan
5.0 out of 5 stars A Painful Truth
An unvarnished report . Sad for those families of soldiers that lost life limb or health.
What Smith describes was largely predictable.
Published 13 months ago by Pat Connolley
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Book on the Political aspects of Afghanistan
I read this book to have a more in depth understanding of our role in the Afghan situation.
It was very informative. Smith knows the landscape so well. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Phil P.
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Read !
At great risk to his own life, Graeme Smith, like a hound dog, followed his nose for his first hand account of the facts. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Wayne Benjamin
2.0 out of 5 stars Great title, so-so book.
A solid book but it failed to keep my interest over the long haul. I preferred Bing West’s The Wrong War: Grit, Strategy, and the Way Out of Afghanistan over this. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Jim in Europe
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent first person account
Thank you Graeme.

For anyone who is interested in the on the ground details of the nitty gritty life in southern Afghanistan for basically everyone, the people, troops... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Dr. Gabriella Kadar
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