#19. Red Zone Baghdad: My War in Iraq (Marcus Fielding)

Book: Red Zone Baghdad: My War in Iraq, by Marcus Fielding

Genre: War Memoir

Where I got it: Free Kindle download

Length: 303 pages

Briefly, it’s an account by an Australian embedded military officer of his experience on a ten-month tour of duty in Iraq, Aug 2008 to July 2009.

Comments: Colonel Marcus Fielding feels strongly that the reality, and the quality, of the service of Australian military personnel in Iraq is neither well-known enough nor appreciated enough, especially in Australia itself.  So he wrote an account of his term there, as an officer embedded with the US military, “in the senior coalition headquarters in Baghdad, which managed coalition forces on a grand scale and laboured to try to rebuild a country of 26 million people.”

He paints a vivid and interesting picture – much of the actual information had to remain undisclosed, of course, but we learn something of the pressure, the challenges, the unceasing activity of the war machine… the description of the constant stream of computer information which was fed to his office 24/7 is amazing.  Fielding was very mindful of the lives of the “ordinary” Iraqi people and did what he could to help them in personal ways over and beyond what was strictly required by his post.

I am one of those people less than enthusiastic about western military intervention in other countries, with all its neo-colonial implications.  This account, coming from an Australian, was probably easier for me to accept than would be a similar account from a soldier of one of the bigger military interventionist countries.

I am spurred to read more about Iraq now, and particularly some contemporary Iraqi literature.

Challenges: Full House Challenge, for the category “Theme / issue you think is important”; Ebook Reading Challenge 2014; Non-fiction Reading Challenge 2014.