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The Forever War

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Ever since I read Thomas Ricks’s Fiasco, I have followed the course of the war in Iraq, but whereas Ricks gives an account of the generals and politicos involved and how the entire campaign was mismanaged from the start, Filkins is operating from a different point of view. He is on the ground with the troops. As I read, the term embedded began to acquire new dimensions and shades of meaning.

Of all the aspects of this war that he covers, from the sound of bullets whizzing past, to soldier’s funerals, to the strange physics of suicide bombers and their severed-but-intact heads, that which I have found the most interesting is the nebulous and protean nature of the conflict. Iraqi civilians are at one moment celebrating the soldiers, but they can just as easily drift into the ranks of the insurgents, and insurgents can themselves drift from one side to another in the space of a day.

It begs the question, how is it possible to fight such an enemy? David Petraeus, the hero of Fiasco, was masterful in framing and executing a counter-insurgency policy, but even that doesn’t take into account, and perhaps can’t take into account, the sometimes subtle and at other times blatant pressures surrounding and buffeting the Iraqis from all sides. Do you support the Americans? Do you despise them as occupiers? Do you take their money? Do you hide weapons?

When these wars began, my first-born wasn’t yet two, and I was still in the new-parent fog, the one that resists writing events into long-term memories, but I can remember that day in March 2003 when the tanks rolled and America decided to start a war. I didn’t think I’d be writing about it a decade into the 21st century, but then again most people probably didn’t think so either.

It was AC/DC, the Australian heavy metal band, pouring out its unbridled sounds. I recognized the song immediately; “Hells Bells” the band’s celebration of satanic power, had come to us on the battlefield. Behind the strains of its guitars, a church bell chimed thirteen times.

Read from The Forever War

Written by bront

June 2nd, 2010 at 4:46 pm

Posted in political,reading

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Need to check this out…

Written by bront

May 22nd, 2010 at 4:10 pm

Posted in political