Fast Take: ‘Front Toward Enemy’ and the return of the Global War on Terror veterans
Stars and Stripes June 6, 2023
In last week’s episode, Navy veteran and defense fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Daniel R. Green, discussed his latest book, "Front Toward Enemy: War, Veterans, and the Homefront,” and how veterans are coming to terms with the War on Terror now that fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan has wound down.
Co-hosts Jack Murphy and Rod Rodriguez discuss Murphy’s conversation with Green in this Fast Take episode, including how the wars in the Middle East are perceived not just by veterans but by society at large.
“It's basically, the first three months of the war in Afghanistan are like the good war that we want to talk about, and everything else, the subsequent 19 years in Afghanistan, no one wants to talk about,” Murphy said. “So I think that a lot of this war really is going to get flushed down the memory hole, because such a small percentage of Americans served, and the public — I mean, my impression, my personal impression is that the public is pretty oblivious and always was.”
While much has been written about the service members who did the actual fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq, many others served in support roles, as Green pointed out in the previous episode. Rodriguez recalled his own experience returning from a deployment to Afghanistan with an intelligence battalion.
“I remember being in this auditorium, and this psychologist comes out and he is like, ‘Hey guys, welcome home,’ blah, blah, blah,” Rodriguez said. “ ‘If you need any help — what kind of unit is this? What do you guys do?’ And somebody said, ‘We're intelligence.’ ‘Ah, you don't need me. You won't need me.’ And I just remember thinking, really? Like, you just did us like that. … I remember somebody stood up and they kind of challenged him on that. And he had to backpedal really quick.”
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A transcript of the episode can be found here.
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