I've been reading the book The Good Soldiers these past few days. It is the story of one group of soldiers based in a rather bad part of Iraq and their day-to-day experiences. Each chapter starts with a quote from President Bush about how well things are going in Iraq and then the chapter tells of how things are really going in their unit in the same day or week.
I'm about 2/3s of the way done and wanted to make a couple of points. First, I certainly recommend the book to anyone who might want to better understand what is really going on the ground in Iraq during this time period (the Surge). This tells the story that you simply could not pick up from the nightly news or from any print sources that I saw. Second, the book really gets into how the soldiers felt and thought and how they dealt with the irrationality and strain of the situation they experienced while on tour. It reinforces to anyone who reads, how much any nation should appreciate their men and women who go in harm's way. Third, the book also helps me better understand how bold policy statements and lofty goals of politicians and statesmen are frequently carried out by young men and women on the ground who pay the price for those goals and dreams. And the price is high.
No nation should commit soldiers or anyone to an effort without carefully weighing the cost.
And thank you to those who serve.