Nation-Building in Afghanistan, from Sean Connery to Brad Pitt
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From my new column in Taki’s Magazine:

With America’s 16-year-old war in Afghanistan back in the news as Defense Secretary James Mattis hints that he’ll be sending in perhaps 4,000 more U.S. troops, Brad Pitt’s new movie on Netflix, War Machine, could be of interest.

Pitt plays a lightly fictionalized version of “Obama’s general,” Stanley McChrystal, who in 2009 cajoled the greenhorn president, by (apparently) leaking his secret report to Bob Woodward, into giving him 30,000 extra troops to nation-build in Afghanistan, with its strategic gravel deposits.

The disastrous temptation to try to provide the Afghans with what they’ve seldom been able to furnish for themselves—strong, wise rule—has been the stuff of fable since 1888, when the 23-year-old Rudyard Kipling wrote his most famous short story: “The Man Who Would Be King.”

Read the whole thing there.

Pitt’s movie War Machine is based on the reporting by Michael Hastings, who died in a spectacular one-car crash in Hollywood in 2013 that spawned so many conspiracy theories that I even left the house to investigate it.

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