Review: The Lonely Soldier: The Private War of Women Serving Iraq by Helen Benedict

The Lonely Soldier: The Private War of Women Serving in Iraq - Helen Benedict

Helen Benedict is a journalist and fiction writer. She has a clear, to the point of extremism, bias against all things military - the institution, the people who make up the military, the traditions and cultures within each branch - everything military is bad. Bad I tell you. Male military service members are evil and every one of them is lying in wait for the opportunity to RAPE AND MURDER EVERY FEMALE they can find.

 

*sigh*

 

The women profiled here in this book are stereotypes of the sad tragic figure. Once again, I am grateful for being on the active duty side of the military, because the National Guard is filled with these sad tragic figures - no wonder they weren't ready to deploy and help us in the fight. Benedict said she interviewed 40+ women vets who served in Iraq, yet these five were profiled due to fitting a narrative that the author wanted to tell from the get-go. I can't help but roll my eyes when these women make one stupid, immature decision after another and won't do anything to change. And why should they when journalists such as Benedict can use them to further her agenda (that is lacking in understanding military life and culture, but damn demanding of reforms) and make them media darlings?

 

As for the book quality, a little advice - know when to capitalize! It is not air force, it is Air Force; likewise, Army rather than army. That bit of writing, done over and over again, shows Benedict's lack of respect for the people she is profiling and the military. Also, not everyone in the military is a soldier; here is a handy guide

 

US Army personnel = Soldier

Marine Corps personnel = Marine

US Navy personnel = Sailor

US Air Force = Airman (no, not Airperson or Airwomen; we are all Airmen)

 

I do think Benedict did a lot of good work exposing KBR/Haliburton for the corrupt, greedy assholes they are, along with other private contractors. She also did a good job exposing the Bush administration for the lies and blunders in the fiasco that was Operation Iraqi Freedom (which I served in). But way too much of her own bias and agenda, coupled with the sad tragic figures disguised as soldiers did no one any justice. 1 star.