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The Mirror Test

Author: J. Kael Weston
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 0345806948
Size: 13.75 MB
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A former State Department official draws on a wide range of voices and stories to explore the human costs of conflict, asking hard questions about the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Mirror Test

Author: J. Kael Weston
Publisher: Knopf
ISBN: 0385351127
Size: 22.76 MB
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"In a powerfully written firsthand account of the human costs of conflict, the author challenges Americans to address hard questions about America's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, "--NoveList.

The Mirror Test

Author: J. Kael Weston
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 0385351135
Size: 54.26 MB
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A New York Times Editors' Choice A Military Times Best Book of the Year A powerfully written firsthand account of the human costs of conflict. J. Kael Weston spent seven years on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan working for the U.S. State Department in some of the most dangerous frontline locations. Upon his return home, while traveling the country to pay respect to the dead and wounded, he asked himself: When will these wars end? How will they be remembered and memorialized? What lessons can we learn from them? These are questions with no quick answers, but perhaps ones that might lead to a shared reckoning worthy of the sacrifices of those—troops and civilians alike—whose lives have been changed by more than a decade and a half of war. Weston takes us from Twentynine Palms in California to Fallujah in Iraq, Khost and Helmand in Afghanistan, Maryland, Colorado, Wyoming, and New York City, as well as to out-of-the-way places in Iowa and Texas. We meet generals, corporals and captains, senators and ambassadors, NATO allies, Iraqi truck drivers, city councils, imams and mullahs, Afghan schoolteachers, madrassa and college students, former Taliban fighters and ex-Guantánamo prison detainees, a torture victim, SEAL and Delta Force teams, and many Marines. The overall frame for the book, from which the title is taken, centers on soldiers who have received a grievous wound to the face. There is a moment during their recovery when they must look upon their reconstructed appearance for the first time. This is known as “the mirror test.” From an intricate tapestry of voices and stories—Iraqi, Afghan, and American—Weston delivers a larger mirror test for our nation in its global role. An unflinching and deep examination of the interplay between warfare and diplomacy, this is an essential book—a crucial look at America now, how it is viewed in the world and how the nation views itself.

Consequence

Author: Eric Fair
Publisher: Macmillan
ISBN: 1627795138
Size: 17.57 MB
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A man questions everything--his faith, his morality, his country--as he recounts his experience as an interrogator in Iraq; an unprecedented memoir and "an act of incredible bravery" (Phil Klay) "Remarkable... Both an agonized confession and a chilling expose of one of the darkest interludes of the War on Terror. Only this kind of courage and honesty can bring America back to the democratic values that we are so rightfully proud of." --Sebastian Junger Consequence is the story of Eric Fair, a kid who grew up in the shadows of crumbling Bethlehem Steel plants nurturing a strong faith and a belief that he was called to serve his country. It is a story of a man who chases his own demons from Egypt, where he served as an Army translator, to a detention center in Iraq, to seminary at Princeton, and eventually, to a heart transplant ward at the University of Pennsylvania. In 2004, after several months as an interrogator with a private contractor in Iraq, Eric Fair's nightmares take new forms: first, there had been the shrinking dreams; now the liquid dreams begin. By the time he leaves Iraq after that first deployment (he will return), Fair will have participated in or witnessed a variety of aggressive interrogation techniques including sleep deprivation, stress positions, diet manipulation, exposure, and isolation. Years later, his health and marriage crumbling, haunted by the role he played in what we now know as "enhanced interrogation," it is Fair's desire to speak out that becomes a key to his survival. Spare and haunting, Eric Fair's memoir is both a brave, unrelenting confession and a book that questions the very depths of who he, and we as a country, have become.

The Terror Years

Author: Lawrence Wright
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 0804170037
Size: 55.19 MB
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Several "pieces first published in The New Yorker recall the path terror in the Middle East has taken from the rise of al-Qaeda in the 1990s to the recent beheadings of reporters and aid workers by ISIS ... They include an ... impression of Saudi Arabia, a kingdom of silence under the control of the religious police; the Syrian film industry, then compliant at the edges but already exuding a feeling of the barely masked fury that erupted into civil war; [and] the 2006-11 Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Gaza, a study in disparate values of human lives. Others continue to look into al-Qaeda as it forms a master plan for its future, experiences a rebellion from within the organization, and spins off a growing web of terror in the world"--

Understanding The U S Wars In Iraq And Afghanistan

Author: Beth Bailey
Publisher: NYU Press
ISBN: 1479836265
Size: 40.81 MB
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Understanding the United States’ wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is essential to understanding the United States in the first decade of the new millennium and beyond. These wars were pivotal to American foreign policy and international relations. They were expensive: in lives, in treasure, and in reputation. They raised critical ethical and legal questions; they provoked debates over policy, strategy, and war-planning; they helped to shape American domestic politics. And they highlighted a profound division among the American people: While more than two million Americans served in Iraq and Afghanistan, many in multiple deployments, the vast majority of Americans and their families remained untouched by and frequently barely aware of the wars conducted in their name, far from American shores, in regions about which they know little. Understanding the U.S. Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan gives us the first book-length expert historical analysis of these wars. It shows us how they began, what they teach us about the limits of the American military and diplomacy, and who fought them. It examines the lessons and legacies of wars whose outcomes may not be clear for decades. In 1945 few Americans could imagine that the country would be locked in a Cold War with the Soviet Union for decades; fewer could imagine how history would paint the era. Understanding the U.S. Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan begins to come to grips with the period when America became enmeshed in a succession of “low intensity” conflicts in the Middle East. Instructor's Guide

The Causes Of War And The Spread Of Peace

Author: Azar Gat
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0198795025
Size: 34.50 MB
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Why do humans go to war? Have we been waging war ever since we first existed as a species? Is a propensity to wage war part of what it is to be human, or more a result of the evolution of human society? And has there been a decline in war-making over time - or is this just a pious hope? Azar Gat here draws together insights from evolutionary theory, anthropology, history, historical sociology, and political science to address these fundamental questions about the history of our species- the answers to which also have big implications for our species' future survival. The book reveals that theories regarding the recent decline of war, such as the 'democratic peace' and 'capitalist peace', capture merely elements of a broader Modernization Peace that has been growing since the onset of the industrial age in the early 19th century.

Illusions Of Victory

Author: Carter Malkasian
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0190659440
Size: 48.71 MB
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In the immediate aftermath of the 2007 "Surge" of American troops in Iraq, the defeat of al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) in Anbar Province was widely hailed as one of America's signature victories. US Marines and soldiers fought for years there, in grinding battles such as Fallujah and Ramadi that define the experience of Iraq. Eventually, the fractious tribal sheiks in that province, with the help of American troops, united in an "Awakening" that dealt AQI a stunning defeat. The Awakening's success argued that the United States could intervene in a war-torn country and, with the right strategy, bring stability and peace. It seemed to exemplify snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. A decade later, the situation in Anbar Province is dramatically different. In 2014, much of Anbar fell to the AQI's successor organization, the Islamic State, which swept through the region with shocking ease. In Illusions of Victory, Carter Malkasian looks at the wreckage to explain why the Awakening's initial promise proved misleading and why victory was unsustainable. Malkasian begins by tracing the origins of the Awakening, then turns his attention to what happened in its wake. After the United States left, Iraq's Shi'a government sidelined Sunni leaders throughout the country. AQI, brought back to life as the Islamic State, expanded in northern and western Iraq and quickly found a receptive audience among marginalized Sunnis. In short order, the progress that had resulted from the Awakening fell apart. Malkasian draws many lessons from Anbar. Chief among them, the most stunning of victories may not last. The fact that the leading model of success fell apart severely damages the idea that the United States can send the military to a country for a few years and create lasting peace. Even the most successful example was bound to deeper social, sectarian, and religious forces insensitive to temporary boots on the ground. From today's perspective, rather than decisive success, Anbar exemplifies how intervention itself is a costly, long-term project. The most brilliant victory could not escape this wisdom.

The Unraveling

Author: Emma Sky
Publisher: PublicAffairs
ISBN: 1610395948
Size: 46.59 MB
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One of the New York Times' 100 Notable Books of 2015 One of Financial Times' Books of the Year, 2015 A New York Times Editors' Choice A New Statesman [UK] Essential Book of the Year 2015 A Times [UK] Book of the Year 2015 Shortlisted for the 2015 Samuel Johnson Prize for Nonfiction Shortlisted for the 2016 Orwell Prize When Emma Sky volunteered to help rebuild Iraq after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003, she had little idea what she was getting in to. Her assignment was only supposed to last three months. She went on to serve there longer than any other senior military or diplomatic figure, giving her an unrivaled perspective of the entire conflict. As the representative of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Kirkuk in 2003 and then the political advisor to US General Odierno from 2007-2010, Sky was valued for her knowledge of the region and her outspoken voice. She became a tireless witness to American efforts to transform a country traumatized by decades of war, sanctions, and brutal dictatorship; to insurgencies and civil war; to the planning and implementation of the surge and the subsequent drawdown of US troops; to the corrupt political elites who used sectarianism to mobilize support; and to the takeover of a third of the country by the Islamic State. With sharp detail and tremendous empathy, Sky provides unique insights into the US military as well as the complexities, diversity, and evolution of Iraqi society. The Unraveling is an intimate insider's portrait of how and why the Iraq adventure failed and contains a unique analysis of the course of the war. Highlighting how nothing that happened in Iraq after 2003 was inevitable, Sky exposes the failures of the policies of both Republicans and Democrats, and the lessons that must be learned about the limitations of power.

Shooting Ghosts

Author: Thomas J. Brennan USMC (Ret.)
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 0399562567
Size: 37.97 MB
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"A majestic book." --Bessel van der Kolk, MD, author of The Body Keeps the Score A unique joint memoir by a U.S. Marine and a conflict photographer whose unlikely friendship helped both heal their war-wounded bodies and souls "The dueling-piano spirit of SHOOTING GHOSTS works because its authors are so committed to transparency, admitting readers into the dark crevices of their isolation." Wall St Journal War tears people apart, but it can also bring them together. Through the unpredictability of war and its aftermath, a decorated Marine sergeant and a world-trotting war photographer became friends, their bond forged as they patrolled together through the dusty alleyways of Helmand province and camped side by side in the desert. It deepened after Sergeant T. J. Brennan was injured during a Taliban ambush, and both returned home. Brennan began to suffer from the effects of his injury and from the fallout of his tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. But war correspondents experience similar rates of posttraumatic stress as combat veterans. The causes can be different, but guilt plays a prominent role in both. For Brennan, it’s the things he’s done, or didn’t do, that haunt him. Finbarr O’Reilly’s conscience is nagged by the task of photographing people at their most vulnerable while being able to do little to help, and his survival guilt as colleagues die on the job. Their friendship offered them both a shot at redemption. As we enter the fifteenth year of continuous war, it is increasingly urgent not just to document the experiences of the battlefield but also to probe the reverberations that last long after combatants and civilians have returned home, and to understand the many faces trauma takes. Shooting Ghosts looks at the horrors of war directly, but then turns to a journey that draws on our growing understanding of what recovery takes. Their story, told in alternating first-person narratives, is about the things they saw and did, the ways they have been affected, and how they have navigated the psychological aftershocks of war and wrestled with reforming their own identities and moral centers. While war never really ends for those who’ve lived through it, this book charts the ways two survivors have found to calm the ghosts and reclaim a measure of peace.