Why the West Wins

Memo to Bin Laden: blame the Greeks! When the time comes to write the latest Afghan war's chronicles, one question will surely entertain historians. About 120,000 Soviet troops couldn't win victory there in 10 years, but a relative handful of Western soldiers took only a few weeks and a few Western casualties to wrest control of the country from the Taliban and Osama bin Laden. How come?

Some answers spring to mind: massive air power and an alliance with local forces exploiting the Afghans' disenchantment with the Taliban's cruel excesses. But a new book — Carnage and Culture by...

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