Conversations with History: Institute
of International Studies, UC Berkeley
This interview is part of the Institute's "Conversations
with History" series, and uses Internet technology to share with the public
Berkeley's distinction as a global forum for ideas.
Welcome to a Conversation With History. I'm Harry
Kreisler of the Institute
of International Studies. Our guest today is Steve Coll, who is an associate
editor of the Washington Post, a winner of the Pulitzer Prize for his investigative
reporting on the SEC, and the author of Ghost Wars: The Secret History
of the CIA, Afghanistan and Bin Laden from the Soviet Invasion to September
10, 2001. His book has just won the Lionel Gelber Award as the best book
on U.S. foreign policy in the year 2004.
Note: Ghost Wars has subsequently won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for General
- Background ... "both sides
of the brain" at
home ... undergraduate double major ... journalism ... Washington Post
- Investigative Journalism ... walk
away from the crowd ... the disenfranchised and the hard targets ... using
public records ... principles for culling information ... interviewing ...
managing the Post
- The Press and Iraq ... forcing government
accountability ... withstanding public hostility ... why we were wrong about
WMD ... misunderstanding Iraqi nationalism
- Afghanistan and Ghost Wars ...
journalists' first draft of history ... the second round of questions ...
reporting on Afghan anti-Soviet resistance and CIA connections ... September
11 ... 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan ... Brzezinski's plan ... continuity
of policy across administrations ... U.S. reluctance to engage long-term
- Failure of U.S.'s Pakistan Policy ...
allowing Pakistan to take the lead ... Pakistani preoccupation with India
over Kashmir ... Pakistan's use of al Qaeda ... new paradigm of nongovernmental-sponsored
- Misguided "Alliance of Believers"
Policy ... opposing communism ... Casey's personal and tactical
belief ... Israel and Hamas vs. PLO ... Saudi fundamentalism and money
- Further Failures of U.S. Policy in Afghanistan ...
failure to support Afghanistan's potentially democratic Massoud ... Hekmatiar
and the Pakistani Intelligence Service ... critical turning
points ... U.S. fear of risk ... failure to challenge the Taliban diplomatically
- Conclusion ... advice to students
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