About Warrior Diplomat

Warrior_Diplomat_bookcover Grappling with centuries-old feuds, defeating a shrewd insurgency, and navigating the sometimes paralyzing bureaucracy of the U.S. military are issues that prompt sleepless nights for both policy makers in Washington and soldiers at war, albeit for different reasons. Few, however, have dealt with these issues in the White House situation room and on the front line. Michael G. Waltz has done just that, working as a policy advisor to Vice President Richard B. Cheney and also serving in the mountains of Afghanistan as a Green Beret, directly implementing strategy in the field that he helped devise in Washington.

In Warrior Diplomat: A Green Beret’s Battles from Washington to Afghanistan Waltz shares his unique firsthand experiences, revealing the sights, sounds, emotions, and complexities involved in the war in Afghanistan. Waltz also highlights the policy issues that have plagued the war effort throughout the past decade, from the drug trade, to civilian casualties, to a lack of resources in comparison to Iraq, to the overall coalition strategy. At the same time, he points out that stabilizing Afghanistan and the region remains crucial to national security and that a long-term commitment along the lines of South Korea or Germany is imperative if America is to remain secure.

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Praise for Warrior Diplomat

  • “Using his singular set of experiences as a U.S. Army Special Forces operator and Washington policy insider, Mike Waltz captures the policy ambivalences, implementation challenges, and individual heroics that have made the U.S. effort in Afghanistan such a conundrum for presidents, generals, and the American people.” — David Sedney, former deputy assistant secretary of defense for Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Central Asia

    David Sedney
  • “Warrior Diplomat is an important book that provides an unparalleled, firsthand account of America’s role in Afghanistan. Michael Waltz brings us into the inner sanctums of the White House and the Pentagon, where the war was being planned and debated, and then leads us onto the battlefields of Afghanistan.”— Seth G. Jones, author of In the Graveyard of Empires: America’s War in Afghanistan

    Seth G. Jones
  • “Mike Waltz’s important new book deftly charts ‘what might have been’ over the course of a long, largely indecisive war. NATO’s largely unseen failures in Afghanistan are perhaps better charted here than in any other recent account—and it is a story that needs to be told as we think about future coalition operations. Mike stitches together the long thirteen-year arc of this story as few others could, from front line to the conference tables of policy makers in Washington and Europe. This is a book that needs to be read to understand what really happened over the last decade-plus in Afghanistan—and why.”— Lieutenant General (Ret.) Dave Barno, former commander, Combined Forces Command in Afghanistan

    Lieutenant General Dave Barno
  • “Michael Waltz distills the hard-earned wisdom of more than a decade of deep involvement in America’s Afghan campaign. Unlike most other participants, however, Waltz served as a Special Forces officer on the ground and as a senior policy maker in Washington. One can only wish that more of our decision-makers possessed his breadth of vision and experience.”— Nathaniel C. Fick, author of One Bullet Away

    Nathaniel C. Fick
  • “Few people in Washington must execute the policies they help craft. Warrior Diplomat is a must-read, firsthand examination of the Afghan war through the experiences of a practitioner at both ends of the spear.”— Robert M. Gates, former U.S. secretary of defense

    Robert M. Gates
  • “Journalists, policymakers, and soldiers have all provided their perspectives on what went right and what went wrong. What distinguishes Waltz’ book from the rest is that he experienced Afghanistan both at a senior policy level and on front lines around the country.” — Peter Bergen, journalist and best-selling author

    Peter Bergen
  • Warrior Diplomat was “a terrific read.   It was gripping and educational – a rare combination.”—Dr. Jonathan Schanzer, Vice President for Research, Foundation for the Defense of Democracy

    Jonathan Schanzer

Other Books


See Chapter 3 about Mike in Valor

Valor features the thrilling stories that are the fruit of Mark Lee Greenblatt’s interviews with brave American servicemen from twenty-first-century wars. These soldiers, sailors, and Marines have risked their lives several times over for their country as well as for their fellow troops and civilians. Still, until now, their stories have largely gone unnoticed by the public, perhaps lost in the frenzied and often nasty debate surrounding those conflicts. As the author writes, “This generation does not have an Audie Murphy. I set out to change that with this book.”

Detailing incredible and evocative feats—including an Army pilot who rescued two fellow pilots from a deadly crash in hostile territory and strapped himself to the helicopter’s exterior for the flight to the hospital—Greenblatt provides glimpses into the minds of these men as they face gut-wrenching decisions and overcome enormous odds.

However, this book is much more than tales of riveting action. Each chapter goes beyond linear combat stories to explore each hero’s motivations, dreams, and the genuine emotions that were evoked in the face of extreme danger. Readers will be transported to a variety of settings—from close-quarters urban fighting in Iraq to mountainside ambushes in rural Afghanistan to a midnight rescue in the middle of the Atlantic—as they accompany the men who do not see themselves as heroes but as patriots in the line of duty.


See the chapter Mike contributed on the use of drones in combat

Drones are the iconic military technology of many of today’s most pressing conflicts, a lens through which U.S. foreign policy is understood, and a means for discussing key issues regarding the laws of war and the changing nature of global politics. Drones have captured the public imagination, partly because they project lethal force in a manner that challenges accepted rules, norms, and moral understandings. Drone Wars presents a series of essays by legal scholars, journalists, government officials, military analysts, social scientists, and foreign policy experts. It addresses drones’ impact on the ground, how their use adheres to and challenges the laws of war, their relationship to complex policy challenges, and the ways they help us understand the future of war. The book is a diverse and comprehensive interdisciplinary perspective on drones that covers important debates on targeted killing and civilian casualties, presents key data on drone deployment, and offers new ideas on their historical development, significance, and impact on law and policy. Drone Wars documents the current state of the field at an important moment in history when new military technologies are transforming how war is practiced by the United States and, increasingly, by other states and by non-state actors around the world.