Paths of Dissent
Soldiers Speak Out Against America's Misguided Wars
Compiled by New York Times bestselling author Andrew Bacevich and retired army officer Danny A. Sjursen, Paths of Dissent: Soldiers Speak Out Against America’s Long War collects provocative essays from American military veterans who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, offering firsthand testimony that illuminates why the Forever Wars lasted so long while producing so little of value.
In the wake of 9/11, the United States embarked upon a Global War on Terrorism aimed at using American military power to transform the Greater Middle East. Twenty years later, the ensuing forever wars have produced little tangible success while exacting enormous harm. In Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States has sustained tens of thousands of casualties while expending trillions of dollars and inflicting massive suffering on populations that we sought to “liberate.”
In Washington and across the nation at large, the inclination to forget these wars and move on is palpable. In fact, there is much to be learned and those who served and fought in these wars are best positioned to teach. The first book of its kind since the Vietnam era, Paths of Dissent gathers original essays from American veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, drawn from all services, ranks, and walks of life, who have come out in opposition to these conflicts. Selected for their honesty and eloquence by fellow veterans Andrew Bacevich and Danny A. Sjursen, these outspoken critics describe not only their motivations for serving, but also for taking the path of dissent—disappointment and disillusionment; the dehumanizing impact of combat; the loss of comrades to friendly fire; the persistence of xenophobia and racism—all of these together exposing the mendacity that has pervaded the Global War on Terrorism from its very outset.
Combining diverse, critical perspectives with powerful personal testimony, Paths of Dissent sheds light on the myriad factors that have made America’s post-9/11 wars costly and misguided exercises in futility.
In The News
“Paths of Dissent is superb, full of enraging and courageous writing at its best. This collection of sharp, thoughtful, painfully honest and intellectually probing essays from a wide range of American veterans offers absolutely critical perspectives on what we have done as a nation over the past two decades, and what we as individuals and as citizens need to do in response.”
—Phil Klay, author of Redeployment
“Through eloquent and candid essays by Americans veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq, Paths of Dissent reminds everyone of the power and the patriotism of genuine military dissent. Andrew Bacevich and Daniel Sjursen have done us all a service by lifting up the voices of those who served—and revealing the principled commitment that drives these veterans to challenge a system urgently in need of reconstruction.”
—Katrina vanden Heuvel, publisher of The Nation