The New York Times

The Confusion of War

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

A GRUNT’S EYE VIEW OF BATTLES THAT MADE NO SENSE.

“The Fighters: Americans in Combat in Afghanistan and Iraq”

By C.J. Chivers

374 pages. Simon & Schuster. $28.

C.J. Chivers, a senior writer for The New York Times and a former Marine infantry officer, begins his new book with a description of an American weapon, equipped with GPS sensors and a guidance system, hitting “precisely the wrong place” and killing and mutilating a family of women and children on the Afghan steppe as a consequence. But Chivers’s narrative has only begun to slam you in the gut; later on, the author captures the psychological effect the errant bomb has on the Marines at the scene. Indeed, because of the

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