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Michael Hastings

The Operators

17 Jan, 2012

The OperatorsHastings’s book about the Afghanistan War and former General Stanley McChrystal is published. The book is based on his 2010 article The Runaaway General. In the book, Hastings discusses the impressions American soldiers have of the Afghans:

So, you know, it’s really hard to kind of get the full impact of it. I mean, I have page after page. I sort of did it just to sort of really, really hit it home, you know, people complaining about how—Americans complaining about how the Afghans smell, Afghans complaining that the Americans are, you know, doing disgusting things in front of their women. You know, but it’s one of the things—you know, Americans complain that the Afghans are cowards, and the Afghans complain that the Americans are cowards. So there’s this complete lack of understanding between two sides. And why that’s important is that our entire strategy that they’ve been pushing—by “they” I mean the Pentagon and the generals over there—is based on this idea that each American soldier is going to become this kind of sociologist, diplomat, anthropologist, killer.