Manual Operation Dark Heart: Spycraft and Special Operations on the Front Lines of Afghanistan

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Shaffer and his team were forced to sit and watch as the insurgency grewjust across the border in Pakistan. This wasn't the first time he had seen bureaucracy stand in the way of national security. Operation Dark Heart tells the story of what really went on--and what went wrong--in Afghanistan.

Shaffer witnessed firsthand the tipping point, when what seemed like certain victory turned into failure. Now, in this book, he maps out a way that could put us on the path to winning the war. James and the Duck. SAS Operations in Afghanistan.

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AmazonGlobal Ship Orders Internationally. Amazon Inspire Digital Educational Resources. Amazon Rapids Fun stories for kids on the go. Amazon Restaurants Food delivery from local restaurants. ComiXology Thousands of Digital Comics. Shaffer was in intelligence himself, he would know what is DE-classified, and what isn't. As well as what he can and cannot say. I fully plan on getting the second edition to compare and see what has been done in regards to the blacked out sections. That aside, I overall reall The blacked out words, phrases, and paragraphs are frustrating to be certain.

That aside, I overall really enjoyed the book. It's nice to see events like this through the eyes of someone fighting over there. Some criticized the fact he has details of his personal life in the book mixed-in with his work in Afghanistan, to which I say, why in the world is that a problem? If you don't want a human element to your war stories, don't read this book. I seriously enjoyed it. Shaffer describes in no uncertain terms the difficulties and challenges the US Government and US Military faces in working to stabalize Afghanistan and fight against al-Qaeda and the Taliban.


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  • These challenges are not only external but include the internal bureaucracy that often works to prevent the most effective individuals and most effective programs from succeeding due to turf wars, constant changes made to senior leadership, and unclear goals and objectives. This is a fascinating read into t Shaffer describes in no uncertain terms the difficulties and challenges the US Government and US Military faces in working to stabalize Afghanistan and fight against al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

    I especially like that Shaffer not only describes the problems but provides some solutions about how these problems can be addressed if we are serious about stability and success. Feb 01, Dave Crisp rated it it was amazing. You can get past the redacted parts, though I agree at times it's tempting to imagine what was redacted and wonder why something that was probably innocuous was cut - did the publisher do it to improve sales or, more likely, did the government do it to try to discourage readers?

    You can be put off by the ego that shows all the way through, though there is lots of honesty showing, too, and you probably have to have a pretty strong self to do what he did and get where he got. What rates highest in You can get past the redacted parts, though I agree at times it's tempting to imagine what was redacted and wonder why something that was probably innocuous was cut - did the publisher do it to improve sales or, more likely, did the government do it to try to discourage readers? It is a stinging indictment of bureaucracy that does not work well, the way it works and why.

    Jun 30, Anthony rated it liked it. Lt Col Anthony Shaffer paints a maddening vision of fighting the both the Cold War and war on terror in his over 30 years of experience. By his own admission, he is no saint and the reader should take into account the controversy surrounding the publication of this book which was heavily censored by the Pentagon. The finished product reads like a redacted document and although ultimately frustrating and incomplete, it is still worth your time, in gaining insight of how the art and science of i Lt Col Anthony Shaffer paints a maddening vision of fighting the both the Cold War and war on terror in his over 30 years of experience.

    The finished product reads like a redacted document and although ultimately frustrating and incomplete, it is still worth your time, in gaining insight of how the art and science of intelligence collection, analysis, and dissemination is a tricky business. Sep 26, Branden rated it liked it. Unfortunate that DIA has such an axe to grind with the author. That fact in and of itself should make you want to read this. Struggle through the redaction; it's worth it. Sep 27, Doyle rated it liked it Shelves: A decent read and is enlighting toward what was working and wasn't.

    However, the redactions were very distracting. If you are up and well read in Special Ops and Intelligence oeprations you can decipher some of them but for the most part entire half pages are blocked out. I do see value and agree with his recommendations for handling the war in Afghanistan in the wrap up chapter.

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    Jun 12, Alyson rated it liked it Shelves: Interesting book about his experiences in Army intelligence and serving in the war in Afghanistan. Aug 09, Jay D rated it really liked it. Anthony Shaffer's frontline analysis of his experiences in Afghanistan. Spycraft and black ops.

    An interesting read into how the US went about ops in Afghanistan. I'd recommend this if the topic is of interest to you. This was an interesting book but I would like to have read the original version though. It is a good look into what goes on behind the scenes and details the parts you never really hear about. Jun 26, Peter Lance added it. Tony Shaffer's riveting Afghan war memoir which the Pentagon bought and shredded in its first edition.

    Oct 18, Boozy rated it it was amazing Shelves: Unable to find first edition so i am reading the redacted version. Jun 05, Kyle J. Merriam rated it it was amazing. Its an awesome book. Jun 16, Brandon rated it really liked it Shelves: Colonel Shaffer does a great job of relating his experience, primarily focused on his time in Afghanistan with the DIA. Most telling, is the example of arrogance, shortsightedness, and hubris inherent in high-level intelligence. This is just one more story by someone on the ground in theater who could clearly see the reality in the region; but, was hampered bureaucratic infighting and politics disconnected with reality.

    The story Shaffer tells makes for a very interesting read even if many deta Colonel Shaffer does a great job of relating his experience, primarily focused on his time in Afghanistan with the DIA. The story Shaffer tells makes for a very interesting read even if many details were redacted from the book, sometimes entire paragraphs.

    Aside from the war stories, the struggle between the two styles of management makes for an interesting read. Whereas Shaffer, and many like him, knew what it would take to get things done, they were often stifled by those above them who were overly-risk averse. There is also the unsaid suspicion of the underlying agendas controlling the agencies as a whole. The suppressing of efforts to truly defeat the Taliban and Al-Queada, as well as ruining any of their own who even pose a threat to their narrative.

    Jan 30, Nate rated it really liked it. I enjoyed the book. Finished it in about hours on some plane flights. It gives his first hand account of running sensitive HUMINT operations in Afghanistan and a lot of the front line and behind the scenes beauracray that goes with it. The book was last-minute redacted by the DOD and the blacked out redactions were left in the final published version.

    It makes the read a little choppy in parts but overall doesn't detract from the story the author is trying to tell. Recommended for anyone int I enjoyed the book.

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    Recommended for anyone interested in intelligence operations or current military history buffs. Nov 29, Chris Bartling rated it it was ok. Fast moving, but jumps around a lot with no wrap up to any of the many story lines it is running through the book. Nov 26, Simon Mccrum rated it it was ok Shelves: With all the redactions of the text, huge chunks are removed, this book is almost impossible to read. The redaction throughout the book is a real nuance.

    Operation Dark Heart - Wikipedia

    I can read into many of the omissions the redacting agencies required. It is silly how much of this stuff open-source references can back up in some respect some mentions were even outed by this current administration. Because of current policy or events, the author can neither confirm nor deny these data points for whatever reason since he would add credence that can cause damage in some respect to national security.

    The redaction also seems to be an attempt to make the overall story more difficult for readers. This is more of an attempt to get some payback on the author who is telling his perspective as he sees it in regards to the failures of governmental bureaucracy.


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    • As for his struggles with the DIA leadership and the complexity in such a confusing, complex joint environment, I really feel for him. It is a shame to see that despite his accomplishments and well-earned accolades, there are folks who simply feel irked simply because of his existence. I believe what he writes because I have seen it in places where I have served. This is more a story of disbelief than of ill-supported grudges.