History Department
History Department

"Little America: The War within the War for Afghanistan"

Tue, October 30, 2012 | Bass Lecture Hall, LBJ 2.104

12:15 PM - 1:30 PM

The Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law invites you to Little America: The War within the War for Afghanistan, a talk and book signing with Rajiv Chandrasekaran, National Editor of The Washington Post, on Tuesday, October 30 at 12:15 pm in Bass Lecture Hall, LBJ 2.104. Refreshments will be provided.

In this extraordinarily insightful, illuminating book, Rajiv Chandrasekaran focuses on southern Afghanistan in the year of Obama's surge. Little America is a story of the long arc of American involvement, and of the campaign to salvage a victory in southern Afghanistan on Obama's watch., and reveals the epic tug of war that occurred between the president and a military that, once on the ground, increasingly went its own way. This political battle's profound ramifications for the region and the world are laid bare through a cast of fascinating characters - disillusioned and inept diplomats, frustrated soldiers, headstrong officers - who played a part in the process of pumping millions of dollars of American money and soldiers into Afghan nation-building. He addresses the British involvement around Kandahar prior to the arrival of the US Marines, and reveals the uneasy - and, at times, openly hostile - relationship between the United States and Britain as they began in 2009 to share responsibility for Helmand.

What emerges is a detailed picture of unsavoury compromise - warlords who were to be marginalised were suddenly embraced, the Karzai family transformed from foe to friend, fighting corruption no longer a top priority - and a venture that has become unsustainable in every way: politically, financially, and strategically. As in his award-winning Imperial Life in the Emerald City, by bringing to life a corner of a conflict and Chandrasekaran reveals the bigger story of the war. Has the war in Afghanistan been worth the money spent and bloodshed? Through vivid, on-the-ground storytelling, Little America takes readers toward an answer in a way no other book on Afghanistan has.

Rajiv Chandrasekaran is a senior correspondent and associate editor at The Washington Post, where he has worked since 1994. He has reported from more than three dozen countries and has served as the newspaper’s bureau chief in Baghdad, Cairo, and Southeast Asia. He is the author of Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq’s Green Zone, a finalist for the National Book Award and one of The New York Times’s 10 Best Books of 2007. He lives in Washington, D.C.

Sponsored by: The Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law

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