Honoring Independence Day – “The Good Soldiers”
To state the obvious, opinions about America’s second war in Iraq have varied widely amongst people. These views often develop from newspaper articles, cable news shows, and polarized radio hosts which look at the war from a macro level. A key piece that is often missing is what the war means to the soldiers living it each day… on the ground… in the dust clouds of roadside bombs. David Finkel’s account of an infantry battalion he was embedded with during the surge, helps to bridge this gap.
“The Good Soldiers” documents the Iraq deployment of Fort Riley, Kansas’s 2-16 Infantry Battalion in 2007-2008. Led by Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Kauzlarich, the battalion enters the fight with the best intentions of stemming the violence in Iraq. The maddening reality of numerous challenges and eminent danger develop in each soldier over time, providing incredible insight into what serving on the ground in Iraq is like.
Finkel does an outstanding job capturing the futility of dealing with random bomb attacks, the difficulty often found in working the local Iraqis, and the toll a long, stressful deployment takes on soldiers. He served eight months in Iraq with the 2-16, and conducted extensive research on events he didn’t see. The detailed, choreographed writing of this Pulitzer Prize winning author molds “The Good Soldiers” in to a captivating story that is definitely worth a read.
In the spirit of Kauzlarich’s optimism and dedication, “It’s all good.”
Rating… 5 out of 5 Crumbs