The USA invades countries every so often. This book tells the stories of some American soldiers in combat. Some things go well. Some things go wrong. If I knew a kid considering joining the military, I'd encourage that kid to read this book.
Things go wrong.
Two things can simultaneously be true:
- Most soldiers want to serve their country and help others. Murderous Eddie Gallagher types are few and far between.
- When pacifists call soldiers "babykillers," there's all too much truth behind it.
We joke that "military intelligence" is an oxymoron, but we base deadly decisions on military intelligence. Thus, while we harm many bad guys, we harm innocents as well. E.g., this book describes a sad incident: USA infantry soldiers are defending their position in a foreign town. A piece of American artillery comes along, seemingly out of nowhere, and blows up a house sheltering local women and children. Townsfolk confront the infantry: You did this. These particular soldiers didn't fling a shell into the wrong house. But they still get the blame, because they're standing there.
USA soldiers, told they would be greeted as liberators, are surprised when their "allies" don't want to help them. But that's the pattern. Even though folks in some country are suffering, there's little reason to think that sending in troops will help them.
I'm making this book sound like an unrelenting bummer. It relents. But the bummers stay with you.