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Welcome to the SuckNarrating the American Soldier's Experience in Iraq$
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Stacey Peebles

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801449468

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801449468.001.0001

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(p.163) Conclusion
Welcome to the Suck

Stacey Peebles

Cornell University Press

This chapter considers recent stories about the Iraq War. These stories describe the accidental killing of a child, eliciting feelings of guilt, helplessness, and frustration in soldiers fighting a war in which choices are impossible—not because they are morally ambiguous, but because often there is very little time or leeway to make a choice in the first place. Compared to their Vietnam counterparts, the soldiers who wrote these stories had even less agency. The death of a child is undeniably a bad thing, but in these circumstances almost impossible to avoid. Afterward, soldiers felt burdened by guilt and shame, even though those events were hardly the result of their careful, deliberate actions. The chapter also discusses the film The Hurt Locker (2009), which addresses the problems posed by suicide bombers, sectarian violence, urban warfare, and explosives that can be triggered by seemingly innocuous people and technology.

Keywords:   Iraq War, war stories, agency, trauma, The Hurt Locker

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