Hearts and Mines: With the Marines in al AnbarÑA Story of Psychological Warfare in Iraq

Casemate
1

This is a true story of war, the story of one manÕs transformation as he retraces the mine-strewn roads of a land itself transformed by mankindÕs most shockingly inhuman practice. It is the firsthand account of a member of one of the United States ArmyÕs three-man Tactical Psychological Operations Teams, groups of men tasked with winning the hearts and minds of IraqÕs civilian population through leaflets, loudspeakers, conversation, and bribery. Transcribed from and inspired by the authorÕs personal wartime journal, it is a story of introspection. It relates how the feelings of eagerness and uncertainty in a young man unfamiliar with war were replaced with the dread knowledge that, buried within his soul, beneath a facade of goodwill and morality, lurked the capacity to kill his fellow men. There are scenes of battle retold within the pages of Hearts and Mines. There are descriptions of the feelings of seeing once-familiar human bodies destroyed beyond recognition. Some days are described as being full of hope and appreciation for the beauty of the world, others with despair for the omnipresent cruelty and destruction which has a habit of consuming men when they feel unaccountable for their actions. It captures the sensory experience of living in a singular environment full of strange plants and animals, friends true and false, and determined enemies, encapsulating the existential fear of mortar and rocket attacks, and the ever-present threat of IEDs, as well as the ridiculousness of military bureaucracy, such as was demonstrated by a sergeant majorÕs decision to punish graffiti artists by removing the doors of all the campÕs toilets. In late 2001 Russell Snyder joined the United States Army as a psychological operations specialist. As a member of the 9th PSYOP Battalion, the armyÕs only active-duty, tactical psychological operations unit he deployed to Iraq, the experience that inspired him to write Hearts and Mines. Subsequently he was deployed twice more to Iraq. He is a recipient of various military awards including the Bronze Star medal. Now a civilian, he lives in Raleigh, North Carolina.
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About the author

In late 2001 Russell Snyder joined the United States Army as a psychological operations specialist. As a member of the 9th PSYOP Battalion, the army's only active-duty, tactical psychological operations unit he deployed to Iraq, the experience that inspired him to write Hearts and Mines. Subsequently he was deployed twice more to Iraq. He is a recipient of various military awards including the Bronze Star medal. Now a civilian, he lives in Raleigh, North Carolina.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Casemate
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Published on
Oct 19, 2011
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Pages
232
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ISBN
9781612001326
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Military / Iraq War (2003-2011)
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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This is a true story of war, the story of one man’s transformation as he retraces the mine-strewn roads of a land itself transformed by mankind’s most shockingly inhuman practice. It is the firsthand account of a member of one of the United States Army’s three-man Tactical Psychological Operations Teams, groups of men tasked with winning the hearts and minds of Iraq’s civilian population through leaflets, loudspeakers, conversation, and bribery. Transcribed from and inspired by the author’s personal wartime journal, it is a story of introspection. It relates how the feelings of eagerness and uncertainty in a young man unfamiliar with war were replaced with the dread knowledge that, buried within his soul, beneath a facade of goodwill and morality, lurked the capacity to kill his fellow men.

There are scenes of battle retold within the pages of Hearts and Mines. There are descriptions of the feelings of seeing once-familiar human bodies destroyed beyond recognition. Some days are described as being full of hope and appreciation for the beauty of the world, others with despair for the omnipresent cruelty and destruction which has a habit of consuming men when they feel unaccountable for their actions. It captures the sensory experience of living in a singular environment full of strange plants and animals, friends true and false, and determined enemies, encapsulating the existential fear of mortar and rocket attacks, and the ever-present threat of IEDs, as well as the ridiculousness of military bureaucracy, such as was demonstrated by a sergeant major’s decision to punish graffiti artists by removing the doors of all the camp’s toilets.

In late 2001 Russell Snyder joined the United States Army as a psychological operations specialist. As a member of the 9th PSYOP Battalion, the army’s only active-duty, tactical psychological operations unit he deployed to Iraq, the experience that inspired him to write Hearts and Mines. Subsequently he was deployed twice more to Iraq. He is a recipient of various military awards including the Bronze Star medal. Now a civilian, he lives in Raleigh, North Carolina.
 Few regions of the world have been praised as frequently as North Europe in recent years. One day the news is all about the best work-life balance in the world (Denmark), the other day we hear about the best school system in the world (Finland), the happiest nation of the world (Norway), or the best country for women to live in (Sweden).

This book focuses on the northernmost countries in Scandinavia: Finland, Norway and Sweden. If you want to discover what the secret sauce of those nations is, this is a good place to start. We have selected chapters from travel guidebooks, cultural guides and even from a cookbook to show you some of the many tourist sights and cultural curiosities of the North. Authors Kim Anton, Erin Dahl, Ari Hakkarainen, Kari Ojala, Russell Snyder and Soile Varis have contributed sections from their books to this collection.

The countries are large and varying in geography: everything from the sea, archipelago, vast forests, mountains, fells, lakes, and fjords to marshlands establish the natural environment. Most people live in capital cities and regional centers, leaving the great outdoors wilderness for all of us to experience.

Each country has its own language and culture. Swedish, however, is the common language for these countries. Today, English is widely understood everywhere in the Nordic countries as the school system has been teaching foreign languages (often multiple) for decades. Cultural differences between Nordic nations are obvious, but from traveler’s point of view not dramatic. Cultural differences between Nordic and other European nations, however, can be surprisingly wide, but that’s where a guidebook can help.

Here is a taste of Scandinavia for you to explore at the comfort of your reading nook – perhaps before heading out to the North yourself. As the selection of writings show, there are plenty of destinations to see and things to do: city life, mountain biking, fishing in pristine rivers, camping, island hopping, road touring, Arctic adventures, or hiking in the wilderness. If something is missing, Finns will invent it (e.g. wife carrying competition), Swedes will sell it to the world (e.g. entire country available on Airbnb), and Norwegians will win the cross-country skiing world championship (again).


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