Academic journal article Military Review

The Forever War

Academic journal article Military Review

The Forever War

Article excerpt

THE FOREVER WAR, Dexter Filkins, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2008, 373 pages, $25.00.

While the topic of this remarkable book is war, specifically the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the leitmotif--the thematic link that runs through it--is running. Over a period of years, New York Times correspondent Dexter Filkins made a regular practice of running at dusk through the streets of Baghdad. Even as the violence increased, Filkins found ways to run several miles through the streets, past razor-wire and past amused Iraqis, all while observing the changes endured by that tortured city and its inhabitants. The author ignored the hazards that went with his routine, proving himself something of an adrenaline junkie, the kind of man who seeks danger rather than avoiding it.

Filkins is a journalist with both an urge and a knack for being in places where mayhem and tragedy abound. An angry crowd of Tikritis chase him at the burial of Saddam's sons, Uday and Qusay. He accompanies a Marine company as it is decimated in the fighting for Fallujah. He interviews an American-hating insurgent leader in a shadowy room in Baghdad. At times, the book seems like a succession of narrow escapes and near misses.

It is not a book of tightly argued analysis. As an award-winning reporter, Filkins uses vignettes that serve as snapshot views of the war. …

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