Magazine December 20, 2021, Issue

Last Days in Helmand

(gorodenkoff/Getty Images)
The Last Platoon: A Novel of the Afghanistan War, by Bing West (Bombardier Books, 400 pp., $28)

There’s a conversation a third of the way through The Last Platoon that gets right to the heart of the matter. Marine captain Diego Cruz has been deployed on short notice to command a rifle platoon in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province. Busby Stovell, a CIA operative on the hunt for a high-value target, has persuaded a wary Cruz to let Stovell’s team join a patrol outside the wire. “Skipper, you know you’re going to get hit,” Stovell tells Cruz. “Our team makes no difference.”

Cruz kept his eyes fixed on the laborers.

“I hate the Green Zone,” Cruz said. “Lost too many good

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