Have you read: A woman’s perspective on Iraq war
November 9, 2005
“Love My Rifle More Than You: Young and Female in the U.S. Army” by Kayla Williams
In years past many books have come out on the recent conflicts in Iraq. We have had accounts of the armored assault on Baghdad in “Thunder Run” and the account of a young Marine scout/sniper has been both a book and a movie: “Jarhead.” What we have not seen is a book from a woman’s perspective, and I am happy to say that Kayla Williams’ “Love My Rifle More Than You” is a must-read.
The U.S. Army currently is approximately 15 percent female. The stories that we have encountered have been both tragic/triumphant (Jessica Lynch) and controversial (Lynndie England). Author Williams says “I’m not either of them, and neither are any of the real women I know in the service.” Williams was a sergeant in military intelligence, spoke fluent Arabic, had a Muslim boyfriend, and was a punk rocker in the 1980s. As a soldier her job was that of interpreter, and because of that role she has lots of personal contact with the Iraqis, both as peacemaker as well as being an interpreter at interrogations.
“Love My Rifle More Than You” gives us a short account of Williams’ background/childhood, the time she spent as a professional in the private sector, her military training during peacetime, as well as her relationship with a Muslim. After providing this brief background, the majority of the book delves into her deployment into Iraq, as well as her return from Iraq. We get to see all sides of Williams during her journey – everything from her worst moments to her best. Williams’ writing is brutally honest, profane, and unflinching. She brings light to subjects previously left in the dark, and does so with a unique voice.
It is refreshing to have a female military perspective on the Iraqi conflict. Williams’ position as a military intelligence/interpreter gives us access to areas previously inaccessible by the male soldiers/authors. “Love My Rifle More Than You” is a very human and very female look into what it is like to be a modern female soldier.
– Mark Dulyanai is a library assistant at the South Lake Tahoe Branch Library.