Lots to catch up on.
Book-wise, Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know was about British adventurer Sir Ranulph Fiennes. The guy walked across Antarctica among other things. The one the stuck in my mind was his completion of seven marathons on seven continents in seven days. Crazy.
Another good read, The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America’s War in Afghanistan adds to the US-in-Afghanistan story. I lost my list of great lines from this book.
With today’s story of a US soldier killing 16 Afghan civilians our presence in Afghanistan continues to spiral out of control. One line that stands out from the book: despite all of our technology and highly-trained warriors, we are still being beat by sticks and mud (referring to the very low-tech and hard to detect IED’s that were being used to kill and maim our soldiers).
Afghanistan is a fascinating war. There are so many angles to it. This latest killing of civilians, combined with the Koran burning of last month, might drive us out of there on a quicker timetable. Once we leave the only ones still killing Afghans will be the Afghans (and Pakistanis).
The Operators is also a great read for journalists. Michael Hastings, the author, is the Rolling Stone reporter whose candid reporting resulted in the firing of General Stanley McChrystal. Having been a witness reporters jockeying for access at the expense of objectivity, Hasting’s account of his interactions with McChrystal’s staff sound credible…the attempt to befriend a reporter in order to help shape the story. Putting on a show of positivity when things might be going in another direction. I’ve seen it happen.
They trusted him. He didn’t play the game like the others.
It’s a great read.