Everywhere I turn these days, I see a new memoir of being a soldier. It's the fresh hot publishing product - the personal story of a young American who joined the Marines, joined the National Guard, joined the Army, and went to the Gulf.
Only to discover - shock, horror, disbelief - that War Sucks. That military life is - gasp - dehumanizing in the extreme. That military training goes against every principle and ethic of human society. That people subjected to military training, and the numbing, brutalizing drudgery of war tend to lose parts of their mind and grip on reality. Not to mention their ability to see and feel other human beings.
What bugs me about all these memoirs is that they present the obvious as if it was new information. As if anyone with half a brain cell didn't know
that in order to train people to kill you have to break their capacity to think and choose for themselves and connect to other human beings.
All the jacket covers carry the same trite blurb: Raw. Real. Unflinching.
And build up to the ultimate clincher: She saw death up close! He saw a fellow soldier shot!!
Raw and real is what Iraqis live with every day. What people around the world live with under US bombardment or military occupation.