With few exceptions, Westporters are far removed from the war in Afghanistan. We don’t know anyone serving there, and because the news involves bombs and indecipherable local feuds — not the more familiar finance and entertainment — we easily ignore it.
With few exceptions, Tania Chacho’s working life revolves around Afghanistan. A lieutenant colonel who served in peacekeeping and stabilization efforts all over the world, she now directs the comparative politics program at West Point. Soon after graduating, many of her students end up in Afghanistan.
Westporters who have not thought much about Afghanistan can do so tonight (May 11) — from the comfort of the Westport Public Library. At 7:30 p.m. LTC Chacho will speak about coalition and American strategies, and the factors that may help or hinder success.
As familiar as Chacho is with military affairs and defense policy, she is equally at home in Westport. Her husband, LTC Jonathan Liba, is a Staples grad. His parents still live here.
He has been in Kabul since July — giving Chacho a particularly keen interest in the country.
As a professor, she examines every issue through many angles. As a military officer, though, she realizes “you see things through your perspective — your mission. It’s not easy getting a sense of the larger picture.”
The result, she says, is “lots of different information, varying senses of what we’re trying to accomplish. It’s not easy to assess.”
But there is one thing she’s certain of: her students.
“My cadets are amazing,” she says. “They have an awesome, incredible responsibility. It’s inspiring to see their dedication. Their eyes are wide open.
“I’m biased, but I invite anyone into my classes to see what we’re talking about, and how my cadets are responding. You’ll be impressed.”
And if you can’t get to West Point to see Chacho — lieutenant colonel and professor — in action, do the next best thing. Get to the library tonight.