Dexter Filkins

New York Times war correspondent Dexter Filkins worries that he killed a guy, a U.S. soldier in Iraq, whom he encouraged—with the rest of the squad in which he was embedded—to push inside a Falluja minaret and help get a photograph of the dead insurgents inside. Instead there was more gunfire, and, as Filkins wrote in a recent Times Magazine excerpt from his The Forever War (Knopf, $25), the face of a fallen Marine “was opened in a large V, split like meat, fish maybe, with the two sides jiggling.” That was 22-year-old Lance Cpl. William L. Miller of Pearland, Texas. That was November 2004, when the number of U.S. troop deaths was around 1,000. Now it’s more than 4,000. Iraqi civilian deaths are at least 10 times that number. How long does John McCain want our military to remain in Iraq and Afghanistan? If President McCain croaks the day after his inauguration, what will emergency President Sarah Palin then do? Or if Barack Obama prevails, how quickly can he hope to disengage abroad when the violence we leave behind will surely bring (further) shame on this country? And perhaps more al-Qaida attacks in our homeland? These are questions that Filkins, now posted stateside, addresses in his book. And which likely will haunt us for years to come. Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave., 652-4255, $5. 7:30 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

Mon., Sept. 22, 7:30 p.m., 2008

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