“We lost the war in southern Afghanistan and it broke my heart.”
So begins Graeme Smith’s The Dogs Are Eating Them Now, and like all heartbreaks, this one happened despite the best intentions. Smith devoted more time to southern Afghanistan than any other Western journalist between 2005 and 2011, and his book offers a candid and critical look at the Taliban’s rising influence and the West’s continued miscalculations.
Smith was not simply embedded with the military: he operated independently and at great personal risk to report from inside the war, and the heroes of his story are the translators, guides, and ordinary citizens who helped him find the truth. They revealed sad, absurd, touching stories that provide the key to understanding why the mission failed to deliver peace and democracy.
For readers of Sebastian Junger, Philip Gourevitch, and Dexter Filkins, The Dogs Are Eating Them Now is a raw, uncensored account of the war in Afghanistan from a brilliant young reporter with unmatched compassion and a rare ability to cut through the noise and see the broader reality.
Graeme Smith works as a senior analyst for the International Crisis Group, supervising a small team in Afghanistan. He previously served as a foreign correspondent for Canada’s national newspaper, The Globe and Mail, with postings in Moscow (2005), Kandahar (2006–2009), Delhi (2010) and Istanbul (2011). He also worked as an adjunct scholar for the US Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. His awards include three National Newspaper Awards, Canada’s highest prize for print journalism, and the annual Michener Award for public service given by the Governor General of Canada. He also won an Emmy in 2009, for a video series that recorded the opinions of Taliban fighters. He lives in Kabul.
Advance Praise For The Dogs Are Eating Them Now
“Graeme Smith eschews the ‘official version’ of the war in Afghanistan and instead shows us life on the ground for the soldiers, insurgents, politicians, warlords, and—most importantly—the civilians caught between all sides.”
Louise Arbour, President and CEO of the International Crisis Group, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and former Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada
“Very few foreign journalists have lived and told the story of southern Afghanistan like Graeme Smith. This is reportage that is both brilliant and brave, written in the dust and danger of a country that fades from global view. From the very first line of this book, you understand how much he cares about Afghanistan, and wants all of us to do the same. Written with great authority and affection, this book confronts the noble aims and aching failures of international engagement. It offers us a searing critique and a sober assessment of the world’s ability to do good in difficult places. Graeme admits his heart was broken by a war that drew in all of us. His book may break your heart too.”
Lyse Doucet, BBC Chief International Correspondent
“Graeme Smith has long since demonstrated that he is one of the most resourceful and well-informed reporters covering Afghanistan. In his very well-written and entertaining new book he dissects the Western project in Afghanistan with deep reporting and analysis. It is a pleasure to read even if his conclusions are sobering.”
Peter Bergen, author of Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden, from 9/11 to Abbottabad