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Reviewed by Keyla Damaer for Readers' Favorite
By Any Means Necessary: Veterans Talk Torture in the War on Terror by John Tsukayama is about the darkest part of human nature at its worst: war. The men interviewed in this book have all been involved in a direct act of violence and torture towards combatants and civilians of other counties, specifically Iraq and Afghanistan. Each one of them tells us the story in the first person with meticulous details. They all went to war believing in the propaganda at the time: the exportation of democracy. But in the end, they realized all that mattered was to live another day and possibly return home with as many comrades as possible. In the end, they had to confront their darkest side and accept their past to resume living in the present
The pace is quick from one tale to another. I find that the summing up point of this book by John Tsukayama is one soldier saying: ‘Soldiers are more than willing to, you know, kill for their country, but do not want to die for it.’ And this is one truth about war no one talks about. I chose to read By Any Means Necessary because it’s interesting, from a rational point of view, to dig into the human mind and try to understand human behavior. It’s not a way to justify it, but to simply understand it. So, if that’s what you’re looking for, this book is for you. However, it confirms something I always suspected: abuse is an accepted aspect of war.