by Rolling Stone journalist Evan Wright
, who accompanied a US Marine recon platoon
as they invaded Iraq
. Its full name is Generation Kill: Devil Dogs, Iceman, Captain America, and the New Face of American War
More than a day-to-day account, Evan analyses how the young marines he travelled with were transformed both by the military's own indoctrination, and the actual experience of combat, especially in their attitudes to fighting and killing with efficiency. After bulldozing their way to Baghdad with relative ease, the men are left in a mire of inept leadership, dumb rules and an enemy that hides itself amongst the local civilians. Cynicism and black humour becomes their release as they patrol the streets of Iraq to 50 cent blaring from their Humvees.
Q: What do you first feel when you accidentally shoot a civilian?
A: Your rifle's recoil
Yet Evan also speculates about the background of the soldiers. Some come from America's most violent ghettos, while others who were raised on a diet of video games and the Internet are desensitised to killing. Many come from broken homes and have had few moral principles to navigate their lives with.
To add, it is also interesting to note that combat troops born in the mid-1980s would have no conception of the Berlin Wall, Tienanmien Square, Ronald Reagan or the idea of living in a world where the United States was not the single superpower. These and other historical details help people understand the context of the world in which they live in.