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'Imperial Hubris' ()

CIA Aide Cites Failures in Afghanistan, Iraq

Jul 12, 2004 (Morning Edition)

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An active CIA officer raised eyebrows by contending in a book that the United States is losing the war on terror. In his second NPR interview, the author of Imperial Hubris says U.S. policymakers made important mistakes in Afghanistan and Iraq.

"We went into the war in Afghanistan kind of on a wing and a prayer and a hope that everything would turn out," the author, who asked to be identified only as Mike, tells NPR's Steve Inskeep.

By driving the Taliban and al Qaeda out of the cities, American forces actually helped the groups, which were rurally based anyway, says the author, former head of CIA's Osama bin Laden unit. "So we let the overwhelming mass of fighters with guns go home to their villages and become invisible," he says. "And now we're faced with a resurgence of [the two organizations], which were defeated in a battle but have hardly lost the war."

The officer says the U.S. military strategy in Iraq was flawed as well. "We put on a brilliant military show of speed and the use of air power but 400,000 Iraqis went home with their guns," he says. "We didn't close the borders and now [there are] foreign fighters flowing in from everywhere."

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