The first draft of history: Dispatches from the frontline of war

Since 2001, Patrick Cockburn has provided peerless reporting of the wars that have torn apart the Middle East and created the conditions in which Al-Qaeda and Islamic State have grown and flourished. In the first of a series of excerpts from his new book, he combines eyewitness accounts of the battles for Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya and beyond with an explanation of what these conflicts have in common – and how they were reported or misreported at the time

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Bowe Bergdahl: The full background briefing

Going walkabout in Afghanistan, Bowe Bergdahl was captured by the Taliban and suffered years of torture. Despite the risks his comrades took on rescue missions, he was spirited into Pakistan and only released in a prisoner exchange. And then the questions started. The Army called him a deserter and worse but refused to reveal the conclusions of its preliminary inquiry. Meanwhile, the Serial podcast tried to undermine thetop-brass case.