Tags: Barack Obama | Iraq | ISIS/Islamic State | phil klay | redeployment | iraq | isis

Obama Touts Iraq Vet's Anti-War Book as Answer to ISIS Critics

Image: Obama Touts Iraq Vet's Anti-War Book as Answer to ISIS Critics
(Justin Lane/EPA/Landov)

By    |   Tuesday, 03 Feb 2015 01:56 PM

President Barack Obama used his latest book recommendation — "Redeployment" by Phil Klay — to jab at political critics who say he has failed to respond vigorously enough to the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS) terror group.

Interviewed Sunday on CNN’s "Fareed Zakaria GPS," the president said Klay's book illustrated why it is important to "aim before you shoot." Obama also warned against "antiseptic plans" that are, in reality, "very different from war and conflict" on the ground.

Klay, a Marine, spent 13 months in Iraq's Anbar province during 2007 and 2008 as a public affairs officer.

According to Obama, Klay’s book demonstrates why "we can’t play political games and we can’t engage in bluster" about war.

Obama's comments come at a time when prominent Republicans like South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker have raised the possibility of sending troops to Iraq and Syria to fight ISIS, Politico reported.

"Redeployment" — an award-winning collection of short stories — has drawn praise from prominent liberal-leaning war reporters such as George Packer of the New Yorker, who called it the war's "best literary work."

Another critic, Dexter Filkins, writing in The New York Times, lauded it as the "best thing written so far on what the war did to people's souls."

Filkins added that the book dovetailed with a vision of the war he developed while reporting in Iraq as "a misbegotten venture, begun on bad intelligence and without a vision."

According to Packer, the book "'peels back every pretty falsehood and self-delusion' played out between veterans and the public back home."

Packer said "Redeployment" spotlights "the inversion of normal reality called combat" and "its permanent effect on bodies and souls," which pushed a battalion to commit war crimes.

In that story, a soldier in the battalion prepares to report the violations, while Klay’s narrator states: "I see mostly normal men, trying to do good, beaten down by horror" that become "crueler, than their circumstance."

The narrator also praises the whistleblower because he "has the decency to worry about hell."

Another story in the book describes a soldier, who had to shoot dogs because they were eating human corpses, experiencing what it is like to return to domestic life in suburbia, surrounded by people "who have no idea where Fallujah is, where three members of your platoon died, " said the National Book Foundation, which honored Klay with the National Book Award.

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President Barack Obama used his latest book recommendation - "Redeployment" by Phil Klay - to jab at political critics who say he has failed to respond vigorously enough to the rise of the Islamic State terror group.
phil klay, redeployment, iraq, isis, obama
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2015-56-03
Tuesday, 03 Feb 2015 01:56 PM
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