Academic journal article Military Review

THE WAR I ALWAYS WANTED: The Illusion of Glory and the Reality of War: A Screaming Eagle in Afghanistan and Iraq

Academic journal article Military Review

THE WAR I ALWAYS WANTED: The Illusion of Glory and the Reality of War: A Screaming Eagle in Afghanistan and Iraq

Article excerpt

THE WAR I ALWAYS WANTED: The Illusion of Glory and the Reality of War: A Screaming Eagle in Afghanistan and Iraq, Brandon Friedman, Zeniui Press , MBI Publishing Company, St. Paul, MN, 2007,255 pages, $24.95.

Only weeks after 9/11, Brandon Friedman, a rifle platoon leader and a heavy weapons company executive officer with the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division, deployed first to Pakistan, then Afghanistan, where he engaged Al-Qaeda fighters. Later, he found himself in Iraq fighting Al-Qaeda foot soldiers.

A Louisiana State University graduate with a degree in history, Friedman was a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. His tragically compelling memoirs of Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan in 2002 and the invasion of Iraq and subsequent insurgency in 2003 begin as a quest for glory. However, he proceeds to give an honest account of his combat experiences, specifically the terrors and disillusionment of war as the insurgency in Iraq continues to mount. Combat, Friedman finds, falls far short of the fantasies he had deployed with. This is a "coming-of-age" book, a lieutenant's transition from having illusions about war to genuine knowledge. He writes: "Man, I spent over two years dealing with those fucking wars, and I never saw any real combat-not the way I always envisioned it as a kid at least." His work is fresh, angry, cynical, and riveting.

Before his departure from Iraq, Friedman's valor emerges under fire. …

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