Phil Klay


Success was a matter of perspective. In Iraq it had to be. There was no Omaha beach, no Vicksburg Campaign, not even Alamo to signal a clear defeat. The closest we’d come were those toppled Saddam statues, but that was years ago. 


Bob, I quickly learned, had an existential view of the Iraq war. We were fighting in Iraq because we were fighting in Iraq. 


It took six weeks just to get the plant. Three weeks alone trying to get Kazemi, the chief engineer, on the phone. Another three trying to nail down the specifics. Kazemi had an annoying habit of answering questions about dates and times the way a zen master answers questions about enlightenment. Only the mountains do not meet -he’d say, or – The provisions for tomorrow belong to tomorrow.


This country had a history that didn’t reset when a new unit rotated in. This time, these problems, they were an improvement.


That’s what I was seeing on Rodriguez’s face. The space between when rage ends and violence begins.


Bravo Company’s got good leaders and a calmer AO. They trained their Marines right. Captain is good. First Sergeant’s a rock star. Their company gunny is a retarded, but all of their lieutenants are good to go except maybe one, and he’s a stellar platoon sergeant. But not everybody can be competent. It’s too late for Charlie to be anything other than what it is. Our Kill Company. And this is a war. A Kill Company’s not the worst thing to have.

Phil Klay – Redeployment



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