CJ Chivers, Senior writer at the NY Times & author of the brand new book The Fighters: Americans in Combat in Afghanistan & Iraq, joins Fox News Radio's Guy Benson and Marie Harf to discuss his new book and remember those who have fought for our country after 9/11.
On how he selected stories for his book: I was present at the attacks on 9/11. I happened to be downtown that morning when the first plane hit. I was running towards the second tower thinking we were covering a colossal accident when the second came in overhead and struck the south tower. So from that moment I was compelled as a former infantry officer myself to follow the aftermath overseas and into the invasion of Afghanistan and then to Iraq. Across the years I came to know hundreds and hundreds of people who served. A few years ago when I decided I wanted to look back and capture characters of whose stories I could tell I wanted to get stories from people who together who would serve as an ensemble who were in different places at different times in different jobs across different phases of the wars so that together their stories might create something like a comprehensive account. (2:17)
On if the U.S. should be fighting these kinds of wars today: It's inarguable that the wars did not achieve what they set out to achieve on our own terms. The national objectives weren't exactly met. On the other hand, we need to separate the nation projects from the individual experiences because the Americans who showed up and went to work went in very good faith. They were people who were compelled to serve. (5:11)
On any major common threads that emerge to tie stories together: The people showed up in my view in good faith. That was the one very common thread that crossed both wars and the expansive years of both wars. The other would be, and this is irrefutable and it was palpably clear, that very quickly strategy fades away for many people on a combat tour and they become very mission orientated, which means that their orientated very much on the day to day. (7:27)
On when these service members come home: The way we push back against the isolation of the returning veterans and some of what they suffer is by sharing stories and creating public awareness. So talks like this reach more than a few people and they're helpful in that. (12:10)