The Mirror Test: America at War in Iraq and Afghanistan
J. Kael Weston served in the State Department through the early 2000s in Iraq and Afghanistan. The two areas were volatile and populated with the Marines in Iraq and Army in Afghanistan. The book examines the continual wars there, the early victories by Allied Forces in both countries, the emergence of Iraq as greater evil and early declarations of victory in both countries despite sectarian conflicts within Iraq and the return of the Taliban to Afghanistan. Weston would be present for the omnipresent horrors of war, IED casualties to near-RPG hits, difficult meetings with Iraqi leaders, Afghan Warlords and Military higher-ups. The positives, such as the free elections in Iraq would be muted by mounting US casualties and backwards progress in rebuilding Iraq. The goals of both conflicts would never seem completely clear which would lead to the two stalemates that would ultimately ensue.
Weston has written a battlefield memoir that consumes the reader. The personalities encountered on and off the battlefield never lack color, whether one of Weston’s interpreters or US Colonel who wouldn’t take tough wounds lying down…. Weston writes apolitically, praise and condemnation for the bureaucrats, congressmen, politicos…. The examination of “Operation Mend”, the tributes to the casualties are poignant and also a must read…. Weston’s book is an insider’s view of why what may seem just or right may not always be.
J. Kael Weston