Tonight I’ll be joined by war correspondent and author, Ann Scott Tyson, and her husband, Special Forces Major Jim Gant.
Ann’s book, American Spartan: the Promise, the Mission, and the Betrayal of Special Forces Major Jim Gant, will be the topic of discussion. American Spartan details Gant’s service in Iraq and with the Pashtun tribes of eastern Afghanistan.
The Major, also known as “Lawrence of Afghanistan” and “Commander Jim,” wrote a critical white paper, “One Tribe at a Time” in 2009.
The paper’s core tenet asserted that Special Forces could be embedded with tribes across Afghanistan and win their hearts and minds by training and fighting and, if need be, dying alongside the tribesmen. The goal being to restore the tribal structure and pride, and use that structure to thwart the ruthless Taliban.
Major Gant’s theory was a departure from the standard kill or capture orders, and received mixed reviews, but many true warriors saw the benefit of using both depending upon the condition and location in country.
Ann Scott Tyson is a war correspondent with a decade of combat experience, beginning with the invasion of Iraq. She has written for the Christian Science Monitor and the Washington Post and contributed to the Wall Street Journal. A Pulitzer Prize nominee, Tyson is a graduate of Harvard University with an honors degree in government and has studied economics and business at Columbia University.
Ann also worked at United Press International in Hong Kong, assigned to the UPI Bejing bureau. Fluent in Mandarin, Ann notes:
“In China I learned how to be a journalist the hard way, cutting my teeth against one of the most secretive and oppressive governments on earth.”
Tyson was embedded with dozens of U.S. military units in Afghanistan and Iraq, including the “shock and awe” invasion of 2003. Tyson and Gant’s paths finally crossed in 2010, and the 2 different, yet kindred, spirits found a rare understanding and solace in each other, and eventually married.
Don’t miss tonight’s conversation about warriors and the toll that life can take on our military, about the successes and failures of our campaigns in Afghanistan, tension between high-ranking, Beltway appointees and those men down range, and more.