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Al-Qaedas Great Escape: The Military and the Media on Terror's Trail

Price : $32.50
ISBN # : 9788170492610
Author : Philip Smucker
pages: 228
Edition : Hardcover
Volumes : 1
Publisher : Manas Publications
Published : 2005

Why hasn’t Osama bin Laden been brought to justice?

What happened in Afghanistan after September 11th?

In AL QAEDA’S GREAT ESCAPE: The Military and the Media on Terror’s Trail (April 19, 2004; Brassey’s, Inc.) Philip Smucker, a respected foreign correspondent who broke the story of Osama bin Laden’s escape from Afghanistan in 2001, reveals how bin Laden and scores of other highly trained Al Qaeda fighters managed to slip unnoticed out of eastern Afghanistan, despite the presence of the overwhelming U.S. military power that helped oust the Taliban.

Smucker explains how the Bush administration’s push to achieve early and visible successes to satisfy the public’s need for vengeance led to a shortchanging of long-term strategy. Impatience at the top from mostly civilian policymakers forced a rush into a war aimed primarily at "regime change," but it left the U.S. military largely empty-handed when it came to capturing its Al Qaeda prey.

In Al Qaeda’s Great Escape, Smucker follows the escape route on foot, by jeep and by mule through dusty villages and frigid mountain passes, to tell an intriguing story of what really happened at the battle of Tora Bora and Operation Anaconda. He describes the heavy bombing of the Tora Bora redoubt beginning in October 2001, which served only to alienate the very tribesmen that the Pentagon had been hoping to win over. He details the behind-the-scenes deal making between Afghans and Arabs that had assisted bin Laden and his top lieutenants in their escapes.

The book also includes interviews with U.S. forces and their commanders, as well as a first-ever published account and frank assessment of the successes and failures of the campaign from the top ground commander for U.S. Special Forces in Afghanistan.

The author documents the turn of events at Operation Anaconda in January and February of 2002 as the enemy learns to respect the power of the U.S. war machine. Nevertheless, a flawed battle plan, driven by strategists eager for quick results, contributes to the fresh escape of hundreds of Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters.

Smucker charges that during our conflict in Afghanistan, western media outlets, eager to satisfy their audience’s thirst for revenge and blinded by their own patriotic feelings, began losing their grasp on journalistic objectivity. Subject to an unhealthy reliance on the Pentagon’s official press releases, the media portrayed events that did not reflect the reality on the ground in Afghanistan. Smucker witnessed his fellow colleagues as they often disregarded, manipulated and misinterpreted the information available to them.

Al Qaeda’s Great Escape: The Military and the Media on Terror’s Trail provides both a powerful and needed account of the truth behind enemy lines and a stunning look at how the U.S. fell short of the victory claimed by both the media and the military.

Author Bio: PHILIP SMUCKER has spent the last sixteen years as an overseas reporter, covering conflicts in Burma, Cambodia, Haiti, Bosnia, Serbia, Afghanistan, and Iraq. He currently writes for U.S. News and World Report and the British newspaper the Daily Telegraph. Smucker broke the story of bin Laden’s escape from Afghanistan in the Christian Science Monitor in December 2001. In connection with his reporting in Afghanistan, Smucker appeared on Good Morning America, The Today Show, Chris Matthews’s Hardball, ABC’s Nightline, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Reports, and other television programs. Smucker resides in Cairo, Egypt.

Review 1: ...a lively recounting of the Dec. 2001 battle of Tora Bora in eastern Afghanistan. -- Peter Bergen,

It is difficult to grasp how reading about something so depressing can be so much fun -- The Washington Post

Philip Smucker ... details how, Svengali-like, bin Laden and scores of his men managed to slip out of Afghanistan . -- Katharine Sale, Financial Times, Books of 2004: Terror Firmament - Conflict, December 10, 2004

Smucker reminds one of ...Georges Clemenceau ... who having barely escaped a bullet ... replied, "It is my great pleasure!" Source: Richard Sale, The Washington Times, UPI Intelligence Correspondent, November 30, 2004

This book was added to South Asia bookstore on Monday 11 July, 2011.

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