Eliot A. Cohen
My Afghanistan war lasted almost exactly two years, from the beginning of 2007 to the end of the Bush administration in January 2009. As counselor of the State Department, my job was to take on whatever portfolio Secretary Condoleezza Rice wanted an extra set of senior eyes on. From the first—in fact, before I was formally sworn in—Afghanistan was on her mind. And so, even before entering government service, I canceled my classes for one of the very few times in my career and hopped on a plane to Afghanistan.