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Pick of the day: Writing the war home

Iraqphoto.jpeg.JPG(Reuters)

So the President is sending 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan. But eight years after the war began, after all that’s been written about it, do we have a clear sense of what the conflict is like? Is there anyway outsiders—that is, journalists—can really convey how combat is felt and lived in the moment? For that matter, can soldiers themselves? This wonderful, powerful essay in Esquire magazine by Brian Mockenhaupt is perhaps as good an effort as I've seen at making abstract conflict real. It’s the best I’ve read in explaining, as he writes, how “war peels back the skin, and you live with a layer of nerves exposed.”

By Christian Davenport  | December 10, 2009; 7:17 AM ET
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