Thirteen years. Six thousand military lives. Two trillion dollars. What have we gained for this cost? “Both wars were won [in six months], and we didn’t know enough to go home”, retired Lieutenant General Daniel Bolger argues. It is sad that no after action report has been written in a timely manner that would help current general officers guide a graceful exit from Iraq and Afghanistan, but this book, “Why We Lost: A General’s Inside Account of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars” may give readers insight into how to make the cost–lives, money, and time–worth it.
Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ book sparked a firestorm upon its release in January, although you would never have predicted it by its humdrum title: Duty. But recently retired Army lieutenant general Daniel Bolger, who played key roles in Afghanistan and Iraq in his 35-year career, wasn’t coy when it came time to titling his upcoming book Why We Lost.
It’s a jaw-dropping phrase in a political-military world given to mealy-mouthed assessments of military progress in the two wars the U.S. has fought since 9/11. Its assertion calls into question the wars’ costs — 6,800 U.S. troops, untold enemy and civilian dead, and a $2 trillion, and rising, bill for U.S. taxpayers. Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is publishing the book Nov. 11. Its publication date is exactly two years after Bolger declared, during a Veterans Day ceremony in Afghanistan, that “our nations count on us, and we’ll deliver.”
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