The Forever War
Dexter Filkins. New York: Knopf, 2008. 384 pp. Illus. $25.
Reviewed by Paul West
The Marine assault on Fallujah in November 2004 is the opening scene of The Forever War. In cinematic fashion, the Americans advance through darkened streets at two in the morning. AC/DC's heavy-metal anthem, "Hells Bells," pumped through loudspeakers at the edge of town, provides the soundtrack. From a minaret, outlined by bursts of light from air strikes, another loudspeaker rouses jihadis with the news that the Americans have arrived and the Holy War has begun.
Movies about the conflict in Iraq have come and gone, usually quickly, box-office bombs for the most part. An ever-expanding library of eyewitness accounts draws far too few eyeballs. With casualties down and economic contagion consuming the public's attention, Iraq has faded from the minds of most Americans. U.S. forces remain there, at close to peak strength, while the corps of media correspondents has dwindled.