The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America's War in Afghanistan (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

The extensive 2010 military public relations campaign waged in order to expand the Afghanistan War (specifically modeled after the failed counter-insurgency tactics used originally in Algeria by the French in the 1950's, and then again disastrously a half-century later in Iraq by the U.S.) is the basis for this outstanding reporting on U.S. military leaders run amok.


Hastings, a Rolling Stone reporter, was recruited by General Stanley McChrystal's bloated entourage to write an article that they were sure, with the usual public relations massaging, would celebrate the great man facade and make McChrystal a "rock star" warrior for mass adulation. Instead, what Hastings uncovered was a military culture that has become increasing separate from and unchecked by an easily-manipulated civilian leadership, a complicit press, and an indifferent American citizenship.


Sadly, Hastings concludes that in the last decade "we were fighting the wrong war, in the wrong way, in the wrong country." And yet, many of the military elite (as well as a sycophantic U.S. press corps) used the war to advance their careers, their pocketbooks, and their public standing at the horrible cost of the many. And so it goes.

— Will


In June 2010, Michael Hastings's extraordinary, uncensored Rolling Stone article, "The Runaway General," shocked the world and set off a series of events that culminated in the resignation of General Stanley McChrystal. Now, THE OPERATORS will lead us even deeper into the war, its politics, and its major players at a time when such insight is demanded and desperately needed. Based on exclusive reporting in Afghanistan, Europe, the Middle East, and Washington, DC, this landmark work of journalism will elucidate as never before the United States' involvement in Afghanistan in vivid, unforgettable detail. Part wild travelogue, part exposé, and part sobering analysis, THE OPERATORS promises an unprecedented behind-the-scenes account of the war from the only journalist uniquely poised to tell it.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780316176255
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication Date: June 1st, 2011
Pages: 352