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Ending the US War in Afghanistan
A Primer
David Wildman and Phyllis Bennis

published 2009 • 4¼” x 7” • 216 pages
ISBN 9781566567855 • paperback • $10.00

This is a sobering, straightforward critical analysis of the US war in Afghanistan. The authors eschew obfuscation and analyze the war in Afghanistan in clearly articulated, jargon-free terms that are understandable to both specialists and general readers alike...The authors seek to provide common sense answers to issues surrounding the devastating war in Afghanistan. The human and economic costs of the war, Washington's changing rationale for the continuation of the war, and the role of other players...are among the central questions examined in this book. Summing Up: Highly recommended.” —Choice


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“We’re poor people! Don’t destroy our country just to get one man…”
—Afghan refugee in an interview on National Public Radio, September 30, 2001

“If we rush to launch a counterattack, we run too great a risk that women, children, and other noncombatants will be caught in the crossfire. Nor can we let our justified anger over these outrageous acts inflame prejudice against all Arab Americans, Muslims, Southeast Asians, or any other people because of their race, religion, or ethnicity. Finally we must be careful not to embark on an open-ended war with neither an exit strategy nor a focused target. We cannot repeat past mistakes.”
—U.S. Representative Barbara Lee, September 15, 2001 upon casting the lone dissenting vote for the authorization to use force

The Bush administration answered the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 with what it called the “global war on terror,” beginning with the assault and invasion of Afghanistan and then with the invasion and occupation of Iraq. As more and more Americans joined the opposition to the Iraq war, for many, Afghanistan remained “the good war.” But was Afghanistan ever a “good war”? And will President Obama’s plan and escalation of US troop presence in Afghanistan work?
In this easy-to-read volume of “frequently asked questions” (FAQs), analysts David Wildman and Phyllis Bennis examine a wide range of key issues regarding the U.S. war in Afghanistan. Is Afghanistan really going to become “Obama’s war”?  What was the history of the U.S. in Afghanistan before September 11?  What role does NATO play in the Afghanistan war?  Do Afghans want the U.S. troops to stay in their country?  Who are the Taliban?  What is al-Qaeda? And, finally, what are the steps needed to end the war?

In this compact, concise, jargon-free primer, the deeply knowledgeable authors answer all the basic questions and explain the various aspects of the war in Afghanistan.

David Wildman is Executive Secretary for Human Rights and Racial Justice with the General Board of Global Ministries, United Methodist Church.  He has regional responsibilities relating to the Middle East and Afghanistan and has in recent years traveled to Afghanistan four times.

Phyllis Bennis
is a fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C. and director of its New Internationalism Program. She is the author of Understanding the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict, Ending the Iraq War, and Understanding the US-Iran Crisis in this series.

Media Reviews

"Into this dismal void steps a crucial and accessible text... 'Ending the US War in Afghanistan: A Primer'.  As up-to-date as a printed text could possibly be, this pocket-sized book is an unambiguous call to end the US-led war in Afghanistan. Written in a question and answer format, the authors cover the recent history of US involvement from the late 1970s to the recent faux elections in Fall 2009...."—Ron Jacobs, Counterpunch 

"In an attempt to eliminate apathy toward 'the good war,' Wildman and Bennis divert readers' attention from the more-prevalent Iraq War and focus on hostilities in Afghanistan, which they deem unnecessary. From foreign policy to military strategy, causes and effects of America's involvement in Middle Eastern combat are analyzed, and the two authors speculate on the detrimental effects which may result from undue presence in Afghanistan...The primary argument, as well as second half of the book, however, focuses on ending the war and is supported by historical, political, and financial facts and data."—Foreword Magazine

"Wildman and Bennis have written an invaluable guide to thought, policy, and action on Afghanistan. Their up-to-date assessments are reliable, persuasive, and should shock even the most apathetic of readers into a realization that if America walks further down the path of counterinsurgency war it will deepen the Afghan tragedy and put an end to whatever foreign policy promise remains for the Obama presidency."—Richard Falk

"You can feel the authors' passion in their writing, as they go over carefully researched and multifaceted plans for people to follow to help end the war. After reading books like this one, I often have felt the urge to do something about the issue. Wildman and Bennis understand this need from their readers, and give realistic and easy ways to help promote peace in Afghanistan...As an easy read that is full of facts, it will get you up to date on the war in Afghanistan quickly, while citing their sources fully so you can find more information on your own."—Liz Sundin,

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