Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Outlaw Platoon by Sean Parnell

Sean Parnell

So many people have heard of the 10th Mountain Division of the United States Army. Sean Parnell was the officer in command of a mechanized infantry platoon working in Afghanistan. They suffered an 80% casualty rate and fought in many pitched battle - the likes of which have not been seen since Korea or World War II. A persistent enemy that did not always vanish on contact and planned elaborate ambushes and attempted to counter US firepower superiority.

Parnell's telling of firefights leaves no detail untold - from the smells of cordite and blood to the concussion of American airpower churning the very Earth and the men who stand upon it. His storytelling of not only the firefights but of the Afghans in both a brutal and savage light as well as fiercely loyal villages and spirited Afghan Nation Army allies. Camp politics, military leadership, and Islamic values all make their way onto the scene to paint a fully encapsulating picture of what life for 16 months in the Hindu Kush near Pakistan is like for the Army.

Pakistan is also a safe haven for infiltrating and ex-filtrating fighters. Pakistani hospitals give aid, medicine, ammo and weapons to the enemy. Parnell does not hide his frustration at the so called ally called Pakistan - serving as a recruitment and resupply point for the enemy that cannot be attacked.

From tactical round by round exchanges with a myriad of personalities displayed in "Outlaw Platoon: Heroes, Renegades, Infidels, and the Brotherhood of War in Afghanistan" to strategic quirks that make the war in Afghanistan upsetting to those in the field as well. Outlaw Platoon is a great read and brings both war and humanity to your fingertips.

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