Tuesday, September 06, 2005


US soldiers' Iraq books show humor, horror and anger
Sep 22, 2005 — By Claudia Parsons

Exerts from article:

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Journalists, generals, historians, Iraqis and a former hostage have told their stories about Iraq, but now more than two years after American troops invaded, the flood of books by U.S. soldiers has arrived.

From Roman emperor Julius Caesar to World War I poets, soldiers have written books, poems, diaries and letters home

Colby Buzzell recalls in "My War: Killing Time in Iraq" (published on October 20 by Putnam) how a recruiter gave him tips on passing a drugs test to enter the military.

...he is candid about soldiers' reactions to war: "I've developed that really disturbing, warped, sick war humor about everything," he writes in an August 2004 blog entry which appears in his book, describing how a gruesome photograph of a dead Iraqi prompted laughter.


His book also juxtaposes his own confused account of a dramatic clash with insurgents in Mosul with a CNN report and a military statement about the same event —the latter both dry and with no hint of the severity and extent of the fighting.

"It kinda made me wonder what else goes on here in Iraq that never gets reported to the people back home," he writes.

Buzzell said he was never punished for what he wrote, though he was "counseled" several times, and he made a point of changing names and details to avoid endangering other U.S. forces by giving away their tactics or location.

"A lot of my chain of command had never even heard of a blog," Buzzell told Reuters. "They were a little nervous about it … they didn't know quite how to handle it."

Buzzell said going to Iraq was the best thing he had ever done. "I do believe we were doing a lot of good but ... I have a lot of questions about what we're doing," he said.