Nathan Bethea served in Afghanistan as an infantry officer.
The story: Told from the viewpoint of a US Army lieutenant in Afghanistan, the story illustrates how the officer and his men learned to hate and abuse Afghans.
Characters: Alan Longo, an Army lieutenant (first-person narrator). Sharif, an Afghan interpreter, an Afghan elder.
Themes: Soldier motivation, enlisted-officer relations, war’s violence, attitudes toward enemy and foreign non-combatants
- The story appears to be a deposition related to a military investigation–why is this important?
- Does the narrator regret striking and abusing the Afghan elder? If he doesn’t, should he?
- How does the narrator balance the duties of military leaders to “accomplish missions AND take care of their troops”?
Find “A Funeral Conversation” here: