If you opened a paper or turned on a television at all this summer it’s impossible that you didn’t read or hear about this book. Junger, alongside photojournalist Tim Hetherington, embedded himself amongst a single platoon in Afghanistan for a year, even-handedly documenting the effects of the war on people… and in this case the people in question are the Americans soldiers. He eloquently sidesteps the politics-of-the-moment and manages to paint a rather vivid portrait of life for these young men stationed in the Korengal Valley, “sort of the Afghanistan of Afghanistan,” as he describes it. “Too remote to conquer, too poor to intimidate, too autonomous to buy off.”
It’s a hell of a read, and honestly I debated whether or not to even write about it. I’ve got my opinions, certainly, but having never served in uniform and at times shamed by the guilt of that – my reaction to a veteran is typically 99 parts appreciation, one part cowardice – I just felt woefully unqualified to convey my thoughts on the topic. But after reading this article in the Wall Street Journal, which reminded me of this post from The Trad, well, my irritation ranneth over.
|Menace in the Med - USS Forrestal, 1964-65|
|the Old Man at war... 18 y.o.|
And for those of you who want more (or who may just be literarily disinclined) check out the accompanying documentary, Restrepo.
Photo Credits: The Daily Beast.