The battlefield honor, which he knew his son would have cherished, did nothing to ease Dave Brostrom’s anguish. Beyond the grief, he felt a heart-crushing mix of anger, guilt, and betrayal. The anger was unfocused but rooted in his earlier suspicions that his son’s platoon had been inadequately supported and directed. The guilt was more insidious and ran deep. He felt terrible for how the lifetime of competition between himself and Jonathan had fed his son’s ambition. He felt guilty about having pulled strings to get Jonathan into the 173rd. That was where the sense of betrayal was rooted. He had done his homework before approaching Preysler. In 2007 all of the official reports from Afghanistan had been rosy. The fighting was all but over, the assessments read; the work was all humanitarian projects and nation building. Brostrom now saw that as propaganda, and he had fallen for it.

“Echoes from a Distant Battlefield.” — Mark Bowden, Vanity Fair

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