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Current Topic: Military

Topic: Military 8:10 am EST, Feb 25, 2010

Embrace the suck.

When Lieutenant Matt Gallagher began his blog with the aim of keeping his family and friends apprised of his experiences, he didn't anticipate that it would resonate far beyond his intended audience. His subjects ranged from mission details to immortality, grim stories about Bon Jovi cassettes mistaken for IEDs, and the daily experiences of the Gravediggers -- the code name for members of Gallagher's platoon. When the blog was shut down in June 2008 by the U.S. Army, there were more than twenty-five congressional inquiries regarding the matter as well as reports through the military grapevine that many high-ranking officials and officers at the Pentagon were disappointed that the blog had been ordered closed.

Based on Gallagher's extraordinarily popular blog, Kaboom is "at turns hilarious, maddening, and terrifying," providing "raw and insightful snapshots of a conflict many Americans have lost interest in" (Washington Post). Like Anthony Swofford's Jarhead, Gallagher's Kaboom resonates with stoic detachment and timeless insight into a war that we are still trying to understand.

From the archive, a selection:

Things will be frustrating. Don't get frustrated.

Some of your greatest successes are going to be the children of failure.

I beg you, as you begged me,
Tell me what I can do
To make you forget
That my people never remember.

They listened. Then in the distance he heard a dog bark. He turned and looked toward the darkening town. It's a dog, he said.
A dog?
Where did it come from?
I don't know.
We're not going to kill it, are we Papa?
No. We're not going to kill it.
He looked down at the boy. Shivering in his coats. He bent over and kissed him on his gritty brow. We won't hurt the dog, he said. I promise.


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