America’s military adventures — and, just as often, its misadventures — have inspired thousands upon thousands of books. But the military isn’t just in the business of inspiring books: Sometimes it bans them, too.
The Pentagon recently announced that it was refusing to carry a new book by journalist (and veteran) Joseph Hickman in the stores on U.S. military bases. It’s called The Burn Pits: The Poisoning of America’s Soldiers.
Burn pits, NPR reports, are “acres-wide mounds of waste near bases” containing “everything from batteries to vehicle scraps to amputated body parts.” These refuse piles, once set aflame with jet fuel, can burn for 24 hours a day. They expose our troops and other personnel to deadly toxic fumes.
Banning books is bad enough. But there’s a bigger issue here: Why does the Pentagon expose our soldiers to deadly poisons and then pretend it hasn’t happened?