The riveting, action-packed true story of the first soldier to challenge the war in Iraq.
As a 1st Lieutenant and Infantry Platoon Leader for the U.S. Army, charged with leading 38 young men in Iraq, Paul Rieckhoff was proud to follow in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, who served during Vietnam and WWII respectively. He and his soldiers spent almost a year in one of the most dangerous and volatile areas of Baghdad. And what they encountered there was chaos: not nearly enough troops, no humanitarian aid, no body armor, no radios, and no real plan for what to do after Baghdad fell.
Rieckhoff was shocked to see that sometimes the greatest challenges his platoon faced did not come from enemy combatants. He saw firsthand the disastrous results of disbanding the Iraqi army, sending thousands of armed, angry, and unemployed men out into the streets. And he saw what happened when we tried to conduct a war on the cheap, by bestowing government contracts to the lowest bidder and sending our military into battle inadequately protected and armed. What followed, over the next ten months, set him on a course that would forever change his life.
When he finally came home from his tour of duty, Rieckhoff vowed to tell Americans the truth about what was going on in Iraq. He demanded accountability from elected officials and was the first Iraq veteran to do so publicly. He created Operation Truth, which grew into IAVA, the first and largest veterans' group specifically for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Through this organization, he has become a leading spokesman for troops, veterans, and their families, and a critical voice in the ongoing debate surrounding this conflict.
What is really happening in Iraq? Should we be there? Should we stay? Rieckhoff is in a unique position to answer these crucial questions. Not only was he on the ground in the heat of battle but he is also on the front lines politically at home. He provides a grunt's-eye view of the harrowing, bloody battles on the streets of Baghdad and a patriot's vision of where America has gone wrong and how it can reset its path.
...his straightforward style comes across as honest and underscores the earnestness of his attempt to wrest back from the Bush administration his cherished conception of America.