Intelligence Thoughts: Afghanistan and Iran
Paperback, 155 Pages
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Howard P. Hart, retired CIA Clandestine Services Officer, addresses the issues of Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan from May 2009 to May 2010 from an intelligence perspective. This selection of his thoughts and comments appeared on his blog, Intelligence Thoughts.
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Feb 8, 2011It seems to me that CIA denied the Author the chance to explain why he is qualified to write on the subjects he addresses in this short book. Curious about who he is - and whether he has the qualifications to write the book - I looked him up on GOOGLE. It is clear from there that he was CIA's "main man" in setting up the US war against the Soviets when they occupied Afghanistan; and that he served extensively in the Middle East. Further, that he was a highly decorated senior CIA Clandestine Service officer ... not some hack. Whether or not one agrees with his thinking, he clearly is a "expert" on the area, and I found his efforts to explain why he comes to his conclusions very useful. This is worth a read if you have an interest in our involvement in Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran.
Jan 28, 2011Just every now and then, a book comes out which deals with policy, where the author by experience and writing ability clearly expounds a coherent and reasonable basis for a policy that is, arguably, in the best interests of the country---political ramifications “be damned”. This, to me, is such a book. I have read of Mr. Hart’s experience, his competency, and his heroism as a Clandestine Service office of the CIA, and as station chief in Pakistan, and elsewhere, in such books as: Ghost Wars, Legacy of Ashes and Charlie Wilson’s War. By experience, intellect and superb writing Mr. Hart has given us a book that is authoritative and should be read by all “thinking” Americans, who are concerned with the United States’ relationship to the mid-east, and especially as it relates to our current involvement in Afghanistan---do not wait for the comic book edition.
Jan 19, 2011As George Crile points out in "Charlie Wilson's War," Hart was the station chief of the CIA's Islamabad station during the US's covert war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. In this book, Hart presents a hard-nosed, focused and passionate view of US policy developments in the mid-east during the beginning of the Obama presidency. His perspective is built on years of direct, personal experience, a view tempered by years of direct interactions with tribal leaders in Pakistan and Afghanistan. In addition to his detailed, personal knowledge of the culture and tactics of the region, he also brings a wealth of experience and judgment cultivated from a career spent gathering, analyzing and preparing opinions for the principle decision-makers of the United States. This work represents are rare, unvarnished look into the mind of someone who fought almost this same war decades ago. With respect to Afghanistan, Hart summarizes his position: "Having spent some years running a... More > war in that country against 130,000 Soviet troops, plus another 40,000 communist Afghan Army forces, I have some claim to an informed opinion on our prospects there. In brief: this effort will fail, at a terrible cost in American blood and treasure. It should NOT go forward." (5/2/2009) Prescient. Very few people were even talking about strategy in Afghanistan at this point. Even fewer questioned Obama's decision to double down on the US military investment there. This is not a historical work, however. His "Modest Proposal" on how to leave Afghanistan (10/13/09) lays out a very reasonable plan for how to bring all this to an end. Great book. Good ideas. Highly recommended.< Less
Dec 29, 2010Having read many of the blogs as they rolled off Howard's keyboard, I commend this book to anyone with an interest in better understanding what the U.S. is up against in Afghanistan, and the serious game Iran's mullahs are playing. Hart knows the enemy in Afghanistan because he armed, trained and fought with them against the Russians while CIA Chief of Station in Islamabad. He was later COS Tehran (1979), where he predicted, and later witnessed, the fall of the Shah. Hart's writing is blunt, and insightful in the way only an "I was there" operator and observer can provide. If you haven't read Kipling, you should read Hart. I sure as hell hope the folks at the White House, Congress, State and the Pentagon are.
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- Howard P. Hart (Standard Copyright License)
- January 20, 2011
- Perfect-bound Paperback
- Interior Ink
- Black & white
- 0.63 lbs.
- Dimensions (inches)
- 6 wide x 9 tall
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