What “The New Yorker” Doesn’t Say About Richard Holbrooke

George Packer’s recent profile of Richard Holbrooke in The New Yorker is, as I’ve come to expect of Packer, very well written with thorough analysis of the conventional wisdom in foreign policy. But, as I’ve also come to expect of journalists in Packer’s position, it ignores anything outside conventional wisdom—e.g., broader questions of strategy, morality, or international law—and ignores all the questionable (to put it lightly)—and perhaps the most telling—aspects of Holbrooke’s career. So I went to my bookshelf and paged through Robert Scheer’s indispensable The Pornography of Power. Scheer has been covering American foreign policy for over 40 years. Legendary writer Joan Didion calls him “one of the best reporters of our time.” He kindly allowed me to reproduce this passage about Richard Holbrooke:   Continue reading “What “The New Yorker” Doesn’t Say About Richard Holbrooke”

Yea, We Get It Already. Afghanistan = Vietnam. Now Can We Do Something About It?

In the umpteenth attempt to drain some forgotten lesson out of Vietnam and apply it to Afghanistan, the New York Times publishes an op-ed from retired Army Lieutenant Colonel Lewis Sorley. To Sorley’s credit, his analysis is carefully reasoned and more specific than most such comparisons. But Sorley suffers from the crucial leap of logic that Boston University military historian and former Army Colonel Andrew J. Bacevich keeps harping on: mistaking tactics for strategy.   Continue reading “Yea, We Get It Already. Afghanistan = Vietnam. Now Can We Do Something About It?”