Friday, October 23, 2009

Recent Reading: An Accidental Soldier's Story from the Streets of Iraq

We've been hitting the books again lately, the better to inform ourselves (and our readers) of contemporary ideas and events.

Our latest read is John Crawford's The Last True Story I'll Ever Tell, a gritty tale of army life in Iraq. It's a sobering account of what it was like for some U.S. soldiers who served (and are serving still) in Iraq.

Crawford describes himself as an "accidental soldier" because his National Guard unit was called up in 2002 when he was one semester short of graduation from Florida State.

Crawford's chief contribution to Iraq War literature is his demystification of military glory. From Crawford's unit, the war is a long, hot, boring slog, devoid of purpose or even meaningful human interaction.

Sure, Crawford and his buddies bond over their thankless tasks, but this is not the book for military romantics. In Crawford's experience, Iraq is a filthy hellhole and its people are mostly liars and thieves.

Despite this grim assessment, the book is worth reading for insights in the the soldier's world and its brutally honest depiction of young men cast into places they don't know for reasons they don't understand.


Tulsan said...

I'm loving this NY-23 special election with big-wheel Republicans (including Palin, Bachmann, Armey, Santorum, Forbes) calling for the defeat of the moderate Republican Dede Scozzafava, in favor of the Conservative Party's Doug Hoffman.

By all means, Republicans, go for the purity test. Maybe your problem is that you just haven't offered conservative enough candidates. All the local GOPers thinks so.

Knock yourselves out!

(Technically, this is called the "denial" stage.)

Anonymous said...

I recommend "My War" by Colby Buzzell.

To Tulsan, should we be actively agitating the split of the (R)'s? Make no mistake, they may indeed seal their own fate. But should we be, well, purposefully trying to create a political circumstance that lays the temptation out there?

Tulsan said...

Even if the GOP took my comments seriously, they couldn't help but go the purity test route. That's just where they are at. They can't stop using their old tools and tricks, they have to intensify them. They encouraged the lunatic wing for political gain and now they are reaping the whirlwind they can't stop.

A hard-nose political operator like Steve Schmidt could advise until he is blue in the face not to go purity, but it still wouldn't make any difference. Just having a bit of fun after all these years of suffering under Republican stupidity.

Tulsan said...

You know where all this is going.

The red-meat right-wing will start backing Conservative Party candidates (jettisoning the soiled GOP brand) and split the Republican vote. They will have the "moral" high ground, but win very few elections.

The remaining pragmatists like Newt can't win, either. If they throw in with the red-hots, they have what they have today. If they tear the sheets, all they can do is hope to woo Democrats to their side.

Couldn't happen to a more deserving party. What's that about lying down with dogs and getting up with fleas?