In Afghanistan, A U.S. Special Forces Major's Meteoric Rise And Humiliating Fall by David Wood, Huffington Post
A once-promising strategy for stability in Afghanistan ended badly two years ago, along with the career of its author and chief proponent, Army Special Forces Maj. Jim Gant. His gripping story is detailed in a new book, American Spartan, by Ann Scott Tyson, the former Washington Post war correspondent who interviewed him for an admiring story in late 2009. They fell in love. Tyson eventually joined Gant in an Afghan village, where he built a reputation mobilizing local tribes against the Taliban.
A tough, wiry Special Forces soldier, Gant was decorated and recommended for promotion over 22 continuous months of combat in Afghanistan in 2010 and 2011. But in the end, the iconoclasm and disdain for military protocol that enabled Gant’s success were instrumental in his eventual downfall.
At his peak, Gant, now 46, posed such a threat to al Qaeda’s objectives that Osama bin Laden personally demanded his head, Tyson writes. Gant's lows came later, when he was accused by the military command of drinking and other violations, including keeping a "paramour,” and using tactics that recklessly endangered the lives of his troops. At the heart of the military's discomfort, Gant believes, was his insistence that he could trust his life, and those of his men, to the tribal Afghan fighters he'd trained and armed to reverse the Taliban’s spread across eastern Afghanistan…