Book Review: Operation Pineapple Express by Scott Mann (four stars)

Book Review: Operation Pineapple Express: The Incredible Story of a Group of Americans Who Undertook One Last Mission and Honored a Promise in Afghanistan by Scott Mann (four stars)

“Leaving these guys in the wind is also a massive national security threat.”

How an ad hoc rescue of one threatened Afghan morphed into an underground railroad which saved hundreds of Afghan men, women, and children from Taliban retribution as the United States of America deserted them. Told in third person by a key player in the exfiltration miracle worked by dozens of Americans operating without official support—in fact, occasionally despite official impediment.

“It appeared as if the entire Afghan special operations community was being abandoned. There was zero will among senior leaders to intervene on behalf of partner forces.”

Plenty of blame to spread over four presidential administrations. Our politicians live in a bubble of fantasy that their words alter reality. The language and emotions are raw. Sometimes unnecessarily so, but the author was armpit deep in the trauma.

“‘This was the greatest airlift in American history.’ [said General Mark Milley] In an instant Scott realized this was nothing more than political theater. Legacy damage control. Every ounce of hope he had felt coming in drained away. The buck had been passed—and saluted. This whole thing was bullshit.”

From the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs down, we turned our backs on  people who had kept our people alive in the field for twenty years. Ignoring not only a moral obligation but also potential compromise of the inner workings of American special operations.

“Much of the trust in our political administrations, diplomacy, and security has been damaged by the ‘forever war’ in Afghanistan and in the botched withdrawal from it.”

If America hadn’t deserted Afghanistan in 2021, would Russia have invaded Ukraine in 2022?

“You’re wasting time with these lists that State keeps asking for. They’re going into a black hole. The only thing that’s working is the ad hoc groups.”


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