Obama’s War

You might agree with the president that Afghanistan is the war we should have been fighting all along. You might agree with the prevailing military wisdom, that what we need to do there is what we (finally) did in Iraq: a massive infusion of troops and a clear commitment to “counterinsurgency.”

  1. On a Sunday afternoon the past fall, 22-year-old Private First Class Brian Thomas pulled guard duty, which sucks, as he’ll have you know. Two- or three- or four-hour shifts, staring at the same mountains and the same piles of rock. Maybe you sneak a cigarette, maybe take your helmet off, maybe lean forward and close your eyes for a few minutes, trying to remain conscious enough to wonder if that white Toyota Corolla snaking its way along the road in the distance is just another beat-up Corolla or if it’s on the BOLO (be on the lookout) list, and if that dirty-bearded goat-herding motherfreaker sitting like a gargoyle up there on the ridge is working with the driver and scoping you out and getting ready to run a car bomb up your ass. Probably not today, but who knows? You have to try and stay alert, have to pick up the binoculars every fifteen minutes or so, because one day they just might.

    It’s Private Thomas’s turn on ECP, or entry-control point, which is military-speak for the ent...

The complete text of “Obama’s War” is not in the Byliner library, but we love it so much we included an excerpt and a link to the full story on www.gq.com.

Originally published in GQ, April 2009

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