A Response to The Forever War
The book The Forever War, written by Dexter Filkins, is not the typical war story. Filkin aims to capture the human aspect of the war in Afghanistan and Iraq in the lives of those who are affected, in and between the battle fields. Encapsulating such stories in one book is not that easy, but Filkins had made it emotional as the reader connects with the stories. With this on hand, this paper aims to create a response on chapters five and six of the book in the process of understanding the war and the people involved.
In brief, chapter five which is I Love You, is about an American doctor who has decided to aid the wounded Iraqi soldiers in the war. As Dr. Wade Wilde went around inside the tent, an Iraqi soldier was brought outside. The soldier was told to be shot by other Iraqi soldiers in the head. Dr. Wilde took care of the soldier. However, “the Iraqi had reached a state of human existence that Wilde referred to as ‘expectant,’ meaning that although he was still alive there was nothing the doctors could do to save him” (Wilde cited in Filkins 88). In response, the existence of war, most of the time, puts a person into a place where he or she already expects to die. Personally, anyone who is involved in a war, may it be a soldier or a local, who has not been wounded, is already capable of expecting death. It is in war, in accordance with personal observation that a person, in any given moment, must be prepared for death. On the other hand, Ahmed Ghobashi, a Baghdad colonel, said “I believe Saddam is an American agent” (Ghobashi cited in Filkin 89). These are strong words from a man that had followed a leader who had led them to war against America. In going deeper, it can be assumed that this man, out of hunger, pain, and suffering had questioned his decisions. It can be assumed that principles and leadership are not the only key factors in order to lead people to combat. Basic commodities and needs must also be provided in order to strengthen their beliefs.
Furthermore, chapter six, which is Gone Forever, depicts both the fear and hatred of the Iraqi’s towards the Americans. This fear is strongly depicted by a young girl who was brought by her father at a hospital. Her father said “she is terrified of the dying. She is terrified of the soldiers and their guns. She is afraid of the bombs” (Ibrahim cited in Filkin 101). In reality, the young girl was only brought in the hospital because of a splint in her arm. However, her reaction to it was more than just a reaction brought by pain; it was a response to fear. It can be assumed from these occurrences that the soldiers fighting in the war are not the only people who are directly affected by the war. The citizens, especially the children, are also affected greatly by the war. The fear that the Iraqi civilians had felt was due to the fact that, in any given moment, there is a chance that they will lose their life, loved ones, and things and places close to their hearts. Every individual, even if the person is not amidst war, also experiences this kind of fear. Even in the daily activities and encounters of every person, the fear of losing something or someone is consistent in the person’s thoughts. In addition, Amal Al-Khediary had expressed anger as she looked at the burnt books in her library and shouting “this is our American liberation” (Al-Khediary cited in Filkin 102). Anger is part of fear, especially when what a person had feared materializes or takes its wrath. Anger, personally, can be considered as an instantaneous reaction. Without understanding and logic, a person reflects anger in the saddest and most depressing moment in his or her life. Fear and anger are the most common reactions of civilians in Iraq. War had brought these feelings to their hearts, and these will stay long because of the sufferings that they have undergone.
Filkins, Dexter. The Forever War. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2009. Print.