Monday, May 21, 2012

52 Books in 52 Weeks: Book 20 - The Only Thing Worth Dying For

The Only Thing Worth Dying For by Eric Blehm

One of the few stories my father would tell about his service in World War II was the time his outfit was strafed by “friendly fire” because they had advanced much farther and faster than had been anticipated. I remember thinking that communication must have been pretty poor in “the old days” and that that kind of horrific mistake must of course have been eradicated by the wonders of modern warfare.

Sadly, as this book relates, that is not the case. 

After reading the story of this team of Green Berets who infiltrated Afghanistan early in the War on Terror, I have a newfound respect for their bravery but also an enhanced fear of the powers-that-be who are purportedly running the show. It was shocking to read how poorly informed they were of the landscape, the people, the politics and even the man (Hamid Karzai, Afghanistan’s future leader) they were tasked with protecting. But even worse was the ultimate human error that led to tragedy amongst these valiant soldiers.

This is not a feel-good book. The title refers to advice given the platoon leader by his mother: “Following your ideals is the only thing worth dying for.” Perhaps the reader can take some comfort in that.

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