Award-winning journalist, author and independent scholar Douglas Wissing will visit EKU this Thursday to discuss his experiences as a journalist in the war in Afghanistan.
Missing s author of Hopeless but Optimistic: Journeying through America’s Endless War in Afghanistan and other books centered around East Asian countries, including Funding the Enemy and Pioneer in Tibet.
Wissing, an Indiana native with degrees in political science and history from Indiana State University, was inspired to write his first books while in Mexico in 2009. There he read an article on how the National Guard was going to Afghanistan to promote wheat farms. Knowing a thing or two about East Asian agriculture, Wissing knew there was no way wheat would work in Afghanistan, especially at the proposed land elevation of the agricultural project.
“I started asking the officers of the National Guard my questions and found out they had gone to Indiana University and studied Afghanistan culture,” Wissing said. “I thought that was odd; it wasn’t like I thought it would be.”
Wissing volunteered to go with the National Guard to Afghanistan to witness the National Guard’s work in Afghanistan.
“That’s when I first started learning about this incredibly dysfunctional war,” he said. “The soldiers said that we were funding both sides of the war, that the system is so messed up. At first I thought they were just griping, but then I started asking officers, doing research, and I learned that this was the case.”
Wissing learned that the Taliban was skimming off about 20 percent of the war money that was funneled from the U.S. to Afghanistan. This became inspiration for his book, Funding the Enemy.
With Hopeless but Optimistic, Wissing aimed to write a book that anyone could read.
“This is a book to let somebody here see what’s going on out there,” he said. “I think it’s really important to remember that this war is continuing and that it’s our largest military engagement. This is something very real, and it’s almost a forgotten war but it’s our largest.”
Wissing’s talk will be held at 6 p.m. in Stratton 300. Refreshments will be provided.
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