They describe a battlefield in which troops, untrained to distinguish between combatant and civilian, are authorized to shoot whenever they feel threatened. "Better to be tried by twelve men than carried by six," many said. Better, in short, to kill than be killed.
"In this book, as always, Hedges brings out the disturbing nature of war as pornography of violence, war as violence understood - even by those engaged in it - through a lens of fantasy and wishful thinking. When veterans come home from what they've finally understood to be hellish murder and rape without redemption, the bullshit they hear on television and from their fellow citizens about heroism can make them hide inside themselves, lose their sanity, or find the unbelievable courage to speak out. When they speak to real journalists, we get a book as good as this one."