THURSDAY, 04/22/2021 | 6:30PM EDT

Careers in Foreign Service:

A Conversation with Jessica Donati on

her new book Eagle Down: The Last Special Forces Fighting the Forever War


Thursday, April 22nd, 2021 at 6:30pm EDT

Hosted on Zoom - the link will be emailed to you after registration


In 2015, the White House claimed triumphantly that “the longest war in American history” was over. But for some, it was just the beginning of a new war, fought by Special Operations Forces, with limited resources, little governmental oversight, and contradictory orders. With big picture insight and on-the-ground grit, Jessica Donati shares the stories of the impossible choices these soldiers must make in her new book Eagle Down: The Last Special Forces Fighting the Forever War. After the fall of a major city to the Taliban that year, Hutch, a battle-worn Green Beret on his fifth combat tour, was ordered on a secret mission to recapture it and inadvertently called in an airstrike on a Doctors Without Borders hospital, killing dozens. Caleb stepped on a bomb during a mission in notorious Sangin. Andy was trapped with his team during a raid with a crashed Black Hawk and no air support. Through successive policy directives under the Obama and Trump administrations, America has come to rely almost entirely on US Special Forces, and without a long-term plan, is failing to stabilize Afghanistan, undermining US interests both at home and abroad. In this discussion, we will speak with Jessica Donati about her career in journalism and gain insights into her experience writing Eagle Down.

This event is co-sponsored by the Onero Institute, the Delta Phi Epsilon Professional Foreign Service Fraternity and Sorority at GWU, and the Women in International Security GW Student Branch.



Jessica Donati covers foreign affairs and national security for The Wall Street Journal in Washington. She joined WSJ as the bureau chief in Afghanistan. She previously worked for Reuters in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. She was part of the team that reported on the war in Libya, working on a series chosen as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting in 2012. She is the author of the book "Eagle Down: The Last Special Forces Fighting the Forever War," which tells the heroic and tragic stories of the soldiers fighting to keep Afghanistan from collapse after most American troops left in 2015.


Laurent Kleinheinz is a third-year student at the George Washington University, studying International Affairs with a minor in Arabic. He is from San Francisco and has an interest in counter-insurgency theory and Afghan tribal politics. He has previously moderated two events with the Onero Institute, one focusing on Afghanistan's prospects for peace and another on Oman's unique foreign policy.

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