Thursday, October 23, 2008

House to House I

David Bellavia's House to House: A Soldier's Memoir has been on my wish list since it was published, and I've located a David Bellavia trade paperback at an airport book store. For those of you who've read it, please wait until I post to comment, and don't tell me what happens in the end! For those who haven't, I'll give you my opinion, for what it's worth. I've was a voracious reader of military history since childhood, and the desire to read it has never been sated. I've worked my way from the Old Testament through Greek, Japanese, Korean, and Roman warfare, from Celtic conflicts to the Vietnam war, and now Iraq. My interest in firsthand accounts of this war is that it's still ongoing, and seems to represent a different kind of war.

House to House is author Bellavia's personal account of his before, during, and after the battle of Fallujah in November, 2004. For us armchair warriors, it gives a first-hand look at what occurred at the front of the assault, and the aftermath. Bellavia kicked in doors, killed insurgents, and won his personal battles while leading his men into, then out of hell on earth.

Fallujah, Iraq

From the beginning of the conflict, for us during the [first Iraq war] to today's "mopping up" and winning of the peace, the Iraq War has ranged from diplomatic jousting, to military conflict, then civil war, then insurgency. We have learned a lot of hard lessons in the conflict, lost many good men and women, and are only now seeing that light of peace and stability at the end of the tunnel.

To me, it places us in the gap, no, straddling the divide between hi-tech warfare and the same type of hand-to-hand warfare that we've waged since the turn of the century. I know that we have the finest technology and training in the world, but, when it came down to it, this war was won on the ground, by infantry. Same way almost all other wars have been won and lost. One step at a time, street by street, and house to house.

Stay tuned for more posts as I read and reflect. Feel very free to comment on these posts, especially those who've served in our nation's defense and interests there. I realize that it's a political hot-button for some, and I welcome all comments that comply with our comments policy. If you are simply insulting and/or can't make a point, I reserve the right to reject your comment. We all have a viewpoint on this war, but let's not lose sight of the human component - that of our armed forces, our Iraqi friends, and the families of those who are serving there today, or have served. Please respect them all when sharing.

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