When we first heard about COIN (Counter-Insurgency) most of us probably thought it made a hell of a lot of sense. Why hadn't anybody thought of it before?
The problem with most of the people talking, be it politicians or other civilians, they had no idea what they were talking about. Developing new ideas and strategies from behind a desk with the TV blaring the news reports in the background may make some sense but it's never going to bring you close to reality. Getting rid of a dictator is one thing. Dealing with the mess afterward while trying to help the locals to build their nation - now that's something else.
The Senator's Son takes you there, minute by minute, day by day, step by step. How do you make the real choice, can you even, with IEDs exploding around you, bullets flying right and left - and that is when you're lucky? How can you ever stay focused, tell right from wrong - and by what standards - having to make split-second decisions with fear, anger and anxiety clouding your judgment. What is it like to try to reach out to whoever is hiding behind the next corner?
After two deployments to Iraq Luke Larson knows what he is talking about. His writing style, a novel with short sentences straight on target, and strong emotions seemingly thrown in at random, is shocking. And a must read. It helps us to better understand that COIN is the only way to go.
For further reading I suggest the Counterinsurgency Field Manual, H. John Poole's books on guerrilla warfare and Bing West's books on the Iraq war.
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About the reviewer
Andre Heeger (Andre_H)
I love stories in all form. Painting, film, comics, books, music - anything. Also sculpture, more the classic kind from ROman, Greek onward until I need to read so I might understand what I am supposed … more
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"The Senate would vote in a few days on a joint resolution that could launch the country into a major military action that would either secure peace or be the igniter of the next world war. The House was overwhelmingly in support of the President's joint resolution and the Senate favored it but would need the only undecided senator's vote to secure the majority needed." Author Luke Larson, a former Marine infantry officer, begins his novel fifty years into the future with an aging senator casting the deciding vote on whether to send the nation to war. The senator flashes back to his Iraq combat experience and labors in weighing the country's interests against his personal convictions. Three warriors plunged into the urban chaos of the Iraq war. They went in naïve, not knowing what awaited them. John was a legacy. Bama wanted to prove he could out do his doctor father. Cash wanted a way out of the blue-collar world. Nothing could have prepared them for the moral dilemmas they would face. Baptized by fire, the three men are born again with new identities. They soon realize to win a counterinsurgency they must not focus on the enemy, but focus on the people.