Tuesday, February 5, 2013

U.S. War in Afghanistan & Abram's Fobbit

From Sunday's NYT article "Pentagon Expects U.S. to Retain Presence in Afghanistan:"
The Pentagon’s top civilian and military officials on Sunday expressed an expectation, even a desire, that American troops would remain in Afghanistan after the NATO mission ends in December 2014, although they emphasized that no decision had been made.
A book that seemed insightful about working in a Forward Operating Base (FOB) in Iraq is David Abram's Fobbit. I say "seemed" because I haven't been there and wouldn't know. But the book is excellent: darkly humorous, like Catch-22 for the 2003-2011 Iraq War. While the novel is based in Iraq, I imagine that much of what was true about life in Iraq's FOBs remains true for the FOBs in Afghanistan. Here's the book description:
Fobbit takes us into the chaotic world of Baghdad’s Forward Operating Base Triumph. The Forward Operating base, or FOB, is like the back-office of the battlefield – where people eat and sleep, and where a lot of soldiers have what looks suspiciously like an office job. Male and female soldiers are trying to find an empty Porta Potty in which to get acquainted, grunts are playing Xbox and watching NASCAR between missions, and a lot of the senior staff are more concerned about getting to the chow hall in time for the Friday night all-you-can-eat seafood special than worrying about little things like military strategy. Darkly humorous and based on the author's own experiences in Iraq, Fobbit is a fantastic debut that shows us a behind-the-scenes portrait of the real Iraq war.

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