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A Jarhead's memoir of the Gulf War

This is war, I think. I'm walking through what my father and his father walked through _ the epic results of American bombing, American might. The filth is on my boots. I am one of a few thousand people who will walk this valley today. I am history making. Whether I live or die, the United States will win this war. I know that the United States will win any war it fights, against any country. If colonialism weren't out of style, I'm sure we'd take over the entire Middle East, not only safeguard the oil reserves, but take the oil reserves: We are here to announce that you no longer own your country, thank you for your cooperation, more details will follow.

Our rucks are heavy with equipment and ammunition but even heavier with the burdens of history, and each step we take, the burdens increase.

The sky is a dead gray from the oil fires billowing to the north. We hump and hump and look at one another with blank, amazed faces. Is this what we've done? What will I tell my mother?

In Perspetive, 1D

In 1991, at the age of 20, Anthony Swofford served as a U.S. Marine Corps scout/sniper in the Gulf War. Today in today's Perspective section, excerpts from his recently published memoir Jarhead: A Marine's Chronicle of the Gulf War and Other Battles. The action begins on the front lines of Saudi Arabia and moves into the wreckage of Kuwait.

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