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The Virginia Quarterly Review


The War Comes Home: Washington's Battle Against America's Veterans by Aaron Glantz

What We Owe Our Soldiers

A review by Joel Turnipseed

When Army Specialist Thomas Wilson asked Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, at a 2004 town hall meeting in Kuwait, why the Army was so ill-equipped to protect its soldiers, Secretary Rumsfeld pasted on his best avuncular scowl and said, "As you know, you go to war with the Army you have." Wilson's pointed question shocked some, Rumsfeld's heartless reply prompted competing choruses of outrage, and we all began to wonder what we had gotten ourselves into while we were busy adding new terms like "IED" and "Hillbilly Armor" to our collective vocabularies.

What we didn't do, and Aaron Glantz's The War Comes Home makes this mortifying point again and again, is step back to consider the full implication of Specialist Wilson's question, which might take the form of another question: "What else did we forget to do when planning this thing?" But Glantz's book actually presents two more damning possibilities: "We didn't forget anything" and "We're still not prepared to properly account...

Previously Reviewed by The Virginia Quarterly Review
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