General Stanley McChrystal, the innovative, forward-thinking commanding general of international and U.S. forces in Afghanistan, was living large. He was better known to some as Big Stan, M4, Stan, and his loyal staff liked to call him a “rock star.” During a spring 2010 trip across Europe to garner additional allied help for the war effort, McChrystal was accompanied by journalist Michael Hastings of Rolling Stone. For days, Hastings looked on as McChrystal and his staff let off steam, partying and openly bashing the Obama administration for what they saw as a lack of leadership. When Hastings’s piece appeared a few months later, it set off a political firestorm: McChrystal was ordered to Washington, where he was fired unceremoniously.
In The Operators, Hastings picks up where his Rolling Stone coup ended. He gives us a shocking behind-the-scenes portrait of our military commanders, their high-stakes maneuvers and often bitter bureaucratic infighting. Hastings takes us on patrol missions in the Afghan hinterlands, to late-night bull sessions of senior military advisors, to hotel bars where spies and expensive hookers participate in nation-building gone awry. And as he weighs the merits and failings of old-school generals and the so-called COINdinistas-the counterinsurgency experts-Hastings draws back the curtain on a hellish complexity and, he fears, an unwinnable war.
About Michael Hastings
Michael Hastings is a contributing editor at Rolling Stone. He regularly covers politics and international affairs for the magazine, including the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya. In 2011, he received the George Polk Award in journalism for his Rolling Stone story “The Runaway General.” His work has appeared in Newsweek, GQ, Men’s Journal, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Slate, Salon, Foreign Policy, The Daily Beast, and The Huffington Post. In 2010, Hastings was named one of The Huffington Post‘s Game Changers of the year. His GQ story “Obama’s War” was selected for Best American Political Writing 2009. The author also of I Lost My Love in Baghdad: A Modern War Story, Hastings lives in Vermont.
“The life of a general is something to see, especially when it’s Stanley McChrystal, America’s four-star, rock star commander, at the height of his power and panache in Afghanistan. It’s a hard story to get, and hard to tell it well, but in the hands of Michael Hastings, it’s a world-class job of reporting and a joy to read.”
-Richard Ben Cramer, author of What it Takes and Joe DiMaggio
“The most impact-laden story of the year…written by a perfect specimen of the new breed of journalist-commentator.”
-Barrett Brown, Vanity Fair
“An impressive feat of journalism by a Washington outsider who seemed to know more about what was going on in Washington than most insiders did.”
-Frank Rich, New York Times
Book review: ‘The Operators’ goes inside war in Afghanistan
The Chicago Tribune Book Review – January 10, 2012 (Excerpt)
Author Janet Malcolm once acidly wrote that any reporter who didn’t agree that journalism was a “morally indefensible” act of betrayal was “too stupid or too full of himself” to notice what was going on.
Michael Hastings doesn’t agree. He sees journalism, particularly when writing about media-greedy public figures, as being “like the seduction of a prostitute.” In other words, publicity hounds who try to co-opt honest reporters get what they deserve.
That helps explain the mystery of why U.S. ArmyGen. Stanley A. McChrystal, then the much-lauded commander of America’s war inAfghanistan, gave Hastings nearly unfettered access for several weeks in early 2010. From the first night, McChrystal and his senior aides, the self-described “Team America,” apparently were too arrogant or too reckless to care that Hastings had his tape recorder out as they trash-talked President Obama, Vice President Biden and others in the chain of command.
After Hastings’ behind-the-façade account of drunken sprees and locker-room jibes appeared in Rolling Stone magazine that June, McChrystal was summoned to the White House and fired. Now Hastings has written “The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America’s War in Afghanistan,” a troubling first-person narrative about that bizarre episode inU.S. military history, as well as a trenchant analysis of the disaster in Afghanistan. [Read the full article...]
THE BLEEDING HILLS A Novel by Wilfried F. Voss
I have fought a good fight,
I have finished my course,
I have kept the faith. - 2 Timothy iv. 7
The Irish War is officially a part of history, but not for Finnean Whelan, an IRA veteran of almost 40 years. British Intelligence has produced evidence that he is the mastermind behind a conspiracy to assassinate the First Minister of Northern Ireland. For Whelan this is not only a mission of revenge, but marks the beginning of a journey into the past and the return to the one true love: Ireland. [More...]
We are the only country that makes guns, including military-style assault weapons, available to anyone who wants to buy them. This is not freedom. It is a tyranny of death and destruction — a tyranny of which the National Rifle Association is proud. The Washington Post
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