by Jay Kopelman

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    I am old enough to remember the build up leading up to the war in Iraq and I also remember the nighty tallies of the amount of American soldiers  killed each day there. This book mentions some of the atrocities soldiers experienced early in the Iraq war and details life among a group of Marines called Lava dogs (so called because of their training on volcanoes in Hawaii).  On routine patrol one day a group of the men find a puppy in a house and against military orders adopt him and name him Lava. At first Kopelman, as a senior officer is reluctant to take part in it but he realizes that the dog gives the soldiers routine and helps keep them sane. He describes how gradually for him Lava becomes his way to make sense of the chaos around him and his way to soothe his conscience from what he realizes is a war that cannot be won.  Near the end of the book Kopelman plots to take Lava out of the country and back to America. Along the way we see how his cause becomes taken up by reporters, ordinary civilians and others.The dog eventually makes it out of the country and becomes a minor celebrity.  Kopelman describes how someone asked him if he could have helped someone out instead of a dog and says that he doesn't know or care...but at least he saved SOMETHING.

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