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A Voice in the Wilderness

As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there's a twilight where everything remains seemingly unchanged, and it is in such twilight that we must be aware of change in the air, however slight, lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness. -- William O. Douglas

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Unforgiving Minute - By Craig M. Mullaney - my review

When I saw the title of this book, I knew I wanted to read it. It is a line from my favorite poem entitled, "If" - written by the English poet, Rudyard Kipling.

Craig Mullaney offers an insightful, informative account of his years as a Westpoint Cadet, Rhodes Scholar, Infantry/Airborne Ranger and Soldier who served in Afghanistan.

His writing is engaging and has a talent as a story teller. His recounting of the events seems convincing and not at all contrived. I appreciate his humanity and thoughtful approach in his descriptions of what life was like in Afghanistan. Most of all, I appreciate that this book is not presented as some sort of recruitment tool for the US Army as it is not an indictment of the ongoing wars in the Middle East.

This book is not filled with blood and guts and the violence is not gratuitous by any means. It is my sincere desire that the policy makers, military strategists and politicians realize what a wealth of knowledge and wisdom there is to be gained from seeking counsel from citizen soldiers such as Craig Mullaney.

I loved his response when queried by an US Naval Academy cadet who pointedly asked him, "What do you think, sir that you would have done differently?" after hearing Mullaney's recounting the events that led to his first loss of a fellow Army Ranger who was under his command.

He said,

"The best thing we could have done for Afghanistan was to get out of our Humvees and drink more green chai. We should have focused less on finding the enemy. and more on finding our friends."

I take great comfort in knowing that the Army has dedicated, intelligent and conscientious Americans serving in its ranks.

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