The Operators

I just finished Michael Hastings (@mmhastings) fantastic book The Operators. Below I've reprinted the brief review I wrote about it on goodreads.

There's a somewhat meta moment early in The Operators when author Michael Hastings references Cameron Crowe's 'Almost Famous' and its fabled story of a Rolling Stone reporter swept along on a whirlwind tour with a band that quickly forgets that as a reporter he is "the enemy."

The Operators is very much that story, but instead of the Allman Brothers/Led Zeppelin stand-in of Stillwater, we get the very real 4-star General Stanley McChrystal and his team of strategists and PR people. The book is all but unbelievable save for the fact that you're well aware that it's all true. It's an unblinking look at a war that is not so much spinning out of control as it is just as out of control as it has always been. It's a profile of a man, General McChrystal who is not only selling America spiked Kool-Aid in the form of the highly touted Counterinsergency Doctrine, but is also drinking far too much of that Kool-Aid himself.

The book is an extremely brisk read (it took me less than a week), and its structure of alternating between Hastings' time with McCrystal and a wider look at the American war in Afghanistan keeps you paying attention and helps you pick out all the myriad ways in which this conflict has gone wrong.

I often rate books on goodreads too highly, probably because if a book is bad I usually do not bother to finish it or rate it, but I assure you that The Operators is worth every last one of the five stars I gave it.

Check it out.

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