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Bait and Switch

The CIA already had won its war against Al-Qaeda before the Bush administration, preparing to invade Iraq, decided to occupy Afghanistan. The result was a second Vietnam War, proceeding from the same combination of good intentions and wicked ignorance as the first.

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Three new  books stand out against the backdrop of events of this month: First Casualty: The Untold Story of the CIA Mission to Avenge 9/11, by Toby Harnden; The Afghanistan Papers: A Secret History of the War, by Craig Whitlock, of The Washington Post, based on a secret 2015 government study obtained by the Post after a three-year legal battle; and  After the Apocalypse: America’s Role in a World Transformed, by Andrew Bacevich. Harnden is a veteran British journalist.  He is, I think, substantially correct  about the beginnings of the American misadventure in Afghanistan. The CIA knew what it was