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The Wrong War: Book Discussion with Bing West

Feb 24, 2011
12:30pm to 1:30pm

Center for a New American Security
Washington, DC

On February 24, 2011, the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) hosted a discussion with bestselling-author Bing West on his new book The Wrong War: Grit, Strategy, and the Way Out of Afghanistan. 

Read reviews of The Wrong War by CNAS Senior Fellow and Senior Advisor Lieutenant General Dave Barno, USA (Ret.), for Proceedings here and CNAS Fellow Andrew Exum for The Wall Street Journal here.

In this definitive account of the war in Afghanistan, acclaimed war correspondent and bestselling author Bing West provides his plan for a practical way out. Drawing on his expertise as both a combat-hardened Marine and a former assistant secretary of defense, West has written a tour de force narrative that shows the consequences when strategic theory meets tactical reality.  

Having embedded with dozens of frontline units over the past two years, he takes the reader on a battlefield journey from the mountains in the north to the opium fields in the south. West—dubbed “the grunt’s Homer”—shows why the Taliban fear the ferocity of our soldiers. Each chapter, rich with vivid characters and gritty combat, illustrates a key component of dogged campaigns that go on for years. 

A fighter who understands strategy, West argues that as long as we do most of the fighting, the Afghans will hold back. Yet the Afghan military will crumble without our combat troops. His conclusion is sure to provoke debate: remove most of the troops from Afghanistan, stop spending billions on the dream of a modern democracy, transition to a tough adviser corps, and insist the Afghans fight their own battles. Amid debate about this maddening war, Bing West’s book is a page-turner about brave men and cunning enemies that examines our realistic choices as a nation.