"Generation Kill" by Evan Wright
for The Corner News
by Michael Bernard
In arguably the best first-hand account written of the Conflict in Iraq to date, Evan Wright's "Generation Kill" is set to be released as a miniseries by HBO on July 13, and the book has already become a classic in the genre of war reporting. The book was originally published as a three-part installment in Fall of 2003 by Rolling Stone Magazine, and these original articles won the a National Magazine Award for Excellence in Reporting in 2004.
Wright joins the First Reconnaissance Marines during the initial invasion Iraq in March, 2003, and witnesses their retooled role as the "spearhead of awe" in the taking of Iraq's Fertile Crescent. The Marines, despite being highly trained special forces warriors, are in effect reduced to humvee-jockeying rabbits running ahead of the main invasion force provoking ambushes by the embedded Iraqi and foreign insurgent forces. Wright follows two months of the daily lives of a small squad composed of members of Bravo Company, who, despite their varying backgrounds and interests, perfectly embody the spirit of what Wright, on page 17, describes as our generation's perfect storm of influences that have caused us to become just detached and disillusioned with the realities of our modern world enough to become Generation Kill.
During the vagaries of the "fog of combat", instances of violence and tragedy take place involving innocent civilians, and one highly-ranked commander repeatedly, in pure blood lust, tries to murder his own men and civilians during the rush of combat. Through the clear eyes of Wright we can see that the realities of war have not changed, that despite our technology, best intentions, and excesses of heroism and sacrifice, conflict of nations mainly entails the pain and suffering of people far removed from the decisions that ultimately determine their fate.