A Powerfully Written Firsthand Account Of The Human Costs Of Conflict, The Mirror Test Asks That We As A Nation Look In The Mirror And Address Hard Questions About America S Wars In Iraq And Afghanistan J Kael Weston Spent Seven Years On The Ground In Iraq And Afghanistan Working For The State Department The U.S Government Sent Him To Some Of The Most Dangerous Frontline Locations Upon His Return Home, Traveling The Country To Pay Respect To The Killed And Wounded, He Asked Himself How And When Will These Wars End How Will They Be Remembered And Memorialized What Lessons Can We Learn From Them Questions With No Quick Answers, But Perhaps Ones That Might Lead To A Shared Reckoning Worthy Of The Sacrifices Of Those, Troops And Civilians Alike, Whose Lives Have Been Changed By Than A Decade And A Half Of War With A Novelist S Eye, Weston Takes Us From Twenty Nine Palms In California To Fallujah In Iraq, Khost To Helmand In Afghanistan, Maryland To Colorado, Wyoming To New York City, As Well As To Out Of The Way Places In Iowa And Texas We Meet Generals, Corporals And Captains, Senators And Ambassadors, NATO Allies, Iraqi Truck Drivers, City Councils, Imams And Mullahs, Afghan Schoolteachers, Madrassa And College Students, Former Taliban Fighters And Ex Guantanamo Prison Detainees, A Torture Victim, SEAL And Delta Force Teams, And Many Marines The Overall Frame For The Book, From Which The Title Is Taken, Centers On Soldiers Who Have Received A Grievous Wound To The Face There Is A Moment During Their Recovery When They Must Look Upon Their Reconstructed Appearance For The First Time This Is Known As The Mirror Test Here, Like Grains Of Sand, Weston Gathers These Voices And Stories Iraqi, Afghan, And American And Polishes Them Into A Sheet Of Glass, One He Offers To Us As A National Mirror What Neil Sheehan SA Bright Shining Lie Did For Vietnam, The Mirror Test Does For Iraq And Afghanistan An Unflinching And Deep Examination Of The Interplay Between Warfare And Diplomacy, It Is An Essential Book A Crucial Look At America Now, How It Is Viewed In The World, And How The Nation Views Itself.


10 thoughts on “The Mirror Test

  1. Steven Z. Steven Z. says:

    The mood that is presented in J Kael Weston s powerful new book, THE MIRROR TEST AMERICA AT WAR IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN is one of horror, empathy, skepticism, anger, and little hope that the American government has learned its lessons in dealing with cultures that are in many ways the antithesis of our own Weston immediately explains how he arrived at the title, THE MIRROR TEST by describing the reaction of an American Marine who is unwrapping his bandages following a horrific burn injury, an The mood that is presented in J Kael Weston s powerful new book, THE MIRROR TEST AMERICA AT WAR IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN is one of horror, empathy, skepticism, anger, and little hope that the American government has learned its lessons in dealing with cultures that are in many ways the antithesis of our own Weston immediately explains how he arrived at the title, THE MIRROR TEST by describing the reaction of an American Marine who is unwrapping his bandage...


  2. Maria Maria says:

    J Kael Weston spent seven years on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan working for the State Department He saw up close and personal what it cost the U.S lack of national policy has cost our country in terms of treasure, international standing and most of all in lives Iraqi lives, Afghan lives and our brave service members This is an accounting of his experiences and a plea to evaluate and remember the longest war Do we recognize the country that we have become And how does the world see J Kael Weston spent seven years on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan working for the State Department He saw up close and personal what it cost the U.S lack of national policy has cost our country in terms of treasure, international standing and most of all in lives Iraqi lives, Afghan lives and our brave service members This is an accounting of his experiences and a plea to evaluate and remember the longest war Do we recognize the country that we have become And how...


  3. Kim H Kim H says:

    Some books you read are mirrors, causing you to reflect Some are windows into other worlds, cultures, time periods This book is both In its capacity as a window, the book offers readers a view of Afghanistan and Iraq at war as seen through the eyes of a U.S State Department official battlefields, forward operating bases, a civilian help center, a potato factory turned morgue, meetings with tribal leaders, in convoys, across deserts, in schools, homes Weston spent seven consecutive years th Some books you read are mirrors, causing you to reflect Some are windows into other worlds, cultures, time periods This book is both In its capacity as a window, the book offers readers a view of Afghanistan and Iraq at war as seen through the eyes of a U.S State Department official battlefields, forward operating bases, a civilian help center, a potato factory turned morgue, meetings with tribal leaders, in convoys, across deserts, in schools, homes Weston spent seven consecutive years there He got to know the Marines his tribe and the people in the region intimately The book is filled with novel esque scenes and characters and settings Horror and hope The best parts of the book, in my opinion, are when Mr Weston is describing the day to day execution of the war, its toll on the troops, and the struggles to help the Afghans and Iraqis It is a filtered view, to...


  4. Murtaza Murtaza says:

    Almost 16 years after they started, America has yet to have any kind of reckoning with its wars in the Greater Middle East, particularly the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan In part this is because the wars are still raging, despite the fact that most people have tuned them out But it is also because it is hard to think of a way to fit these conflicts within a comforting national mythos What were any of these wars for What in particular what was t...


  5. Joseph Stieb Joseph Stieb says:

    DIdn t like this book quite as much as I expected It s an account by a State Department official who served in Iraq and Afghanistan for a total of 7 years There are a lot of remarkable moments and anecdotes in this book, but there s also an excessive amount of reckoning about America s actions in the past 15 years and griping about politicians and generals The book could have been a lot tighter He also develops a number of points about these conflicts to about 40% of an argument I would hav DIdn t like this book quite as much as I expected It s an account by a State Department official who served in Iraq and Afghanistan for a total of 7 years The...


  6. Jojoruns Jojoruns says:

    A Deeply felt, sincere account of war time in Iraq Afghanistan Detailed and intense with subtleties that had me rereading passages several times A scathing review of our nation s foreign policy with both parties subject to fair criticism A difficult but enlightening read.


  7. Chris Chris says:

    An eloquent and heartfelt memoir of a diplomat turned warrior And a humble warrior who is dismissive of his work and deeds Weston served as the Department of State DOS rep in some of the most violent places in Iraq and Afghanistan Not the typical posting for a young DOS employee He interfaced with the big decision makers as well as the lance corporal on patrol and the average Afghan or Iraqi He wanted to make a difference He wanted to make it better His decisions led to the deaths of th An eloquent and heartfelt memoir of a diplomat turned warrior And a humble warrior who is dismissive of his work and deeds Weston served as the Department of State DOS rep in some of the most violent places in Iraq and Afghanistan Not the typical posting for a young DOS employee He interfaced with the big decision makers as well as the lance corporal on patrol and the average Afghan or Iraqi He wanted to make a difference He wanted to make it better His decisions led to the deaths of those around him, friends Marines, Iraqis, and Afghans He feels guilt He feels powerless He was in war zones for seven consecutive years And it took him another six years to expiate himself with this book I don t think you can ever fully forgive yourself He shouldn t feel guilty but he was there He pressed fo...


  8. Nels Nels says:

    The Mirror Test is different from other current war books Based upon Kael Weston s seven consecutive years served mostly in front line environments while attached as a State Department Representative to Marine Infantry units, he brings a wealth of first hand experience Mr Weston s strategic placement and duration of service offers a depth of experiences available to no other author He deals almost daily with decision makers representing both sides of the wars Marine generals, Iraqi am The Mirror Test is different from other current war books Based upon Kael Weston s seven consecutive years served mostly in front line environments while attached as a State Department Representative to Marine Infantry units, he brings a wealth of first hand experience Mr Weston s strategic placement and duration of service offers a depth of experiences available to no other author He deals almost daily with decision makers representing both sides of the wars Marine generals, Iraqi Afghan mullahs, mayors, etc., as well as tip of the spear Marine corporals and locals who were most affected by those decisions Kael Weston leads the reader on a rich, heart felt journey through the two war torn countries, introducing and humanizing local residents as they deal with the stresses of war The book is layered Complex issues are addressed Personalities are explored He vividly documents tragedy and success He crystallizes the effects of ...


  9. Neal Lemery Neal Lemery says:

    A solid first hand account of a diplomat working on the battlefronts of Iraq and Afghanistan He gives us great detail and a sense of place of the quagmires of both countries struggle between American soldiers and their enemies His criticism of American policy and strategy is based on his experience, but lacks a sense of history He worked closely with Iraqi and Afghan troops and leaders, yet I gained little insight into their perspectives and desires for their country The writer never learne A solid first hand account of a dipl...


  10. Steve Steve says:

    A new view of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, The Mirror Test offers a view of the wars from a diplomat s view rather than a military view The author, Weston, identifies the Iraq War as the wrong war, a construct of the Bush administration , and the Afghanistan War, the right war, where the Taliban really existed and were are trained He suggests that Al Qaida and Taliban forces were not largely in Iraq prior to the War there A good read, especially for those of us who have read the s A new view of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, The Mirror Test offers a view of the wars from a diplomat s view rather than a military view The author, Weston, identifies the Iraq War as the wrong war, a construct of the Bush administration , and the Afghanistan War, the right war, where the Taliban really existed and were are trained He suggests that Al Qaida and Taliban forces were not largely in Iraq prior to the War there A good read, especially for those of us who have ...