Sunday, March 3, 2013

10th Anniversary of the Iraq War & Powers' The Yellow Birds

This month marks the ten-year anniversary of the War in Iraq. Here is UPI on the anniversary:
March 20 marks the 10th anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. U.S. forces in December 2011 left under the terms of a bilateral status of forces agreement. Iraq since the invasion has had a series of successful democratic elections, though internal divisions and sectarian violence have undermined the country's progress.
And here is a excerpt from the Atlantic article "As We Near the 10th Anniversary of the Iraq War:"
This month marks ten years since the U.S. launched its invasion of Iraq. In my view this was the biggest strategic error by the United States since at least the end of World War II and perhaps over a much longer period. Vietnam was costlier and more damaging, but also more understandable. As many people have chronicled, the decision to fight in Vietnam was a years-long accretion of step-by-step choices, each of which could be rationalized at the time. Invading Iraq was an unforced, unnecessary decision to risk everything on a "war of choice" whose costs we are still paying.

For a novel about US experiences in the war, you might want to try Kevin Powers' The Yellow Birds, which has been described as "Iraq's All Quiet on the Western Front" and was acclaimed as one of the best novels of 2012:
"The war tried to kill us in the spring," begins this breathtaking account of friendship and loss. In Al Tafar, Iraq, twenty-one-year old Private Bartle and eighteen-year-old Private Murphy cling to life as their platoon launches a bloody battle for the city. In the endless days that follow, the two young soldiers do everything to protect each other from the forces that press in on every side: the insurgents, physical fatigue, and the mental stress that comes from constant danger. Bound together since basic training when their tough-as-nails Sergeant ordered Bartle to watch over Murphy, the two have been dropped into a war neither is prepared for. As reality begins to blur into a hazy nightmare, Murphy becomes increasingly unmoored from the world around him and Bartle takes impossible actions.

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