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Des, your coverage of Unknown Soldier #13 was powerful. Not only could I hear your voice as I read it, but the part about the veterans being only slightly older than your sons -- wow! I had to walk away from the piece for a few minutes because the reality of our world hit me so very hard in that moment.

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My words in italics. Email from Joshua Dysart:

Hey Desmond, thanks for this great, great review, we always appreciate

the attention!

If you'll allow me the indulgence of addressing two of your criticisms.

You write...

"The very idea that a rehabilitation center would engage children of

war in war games as a way of working out their issues seems a hell of

a lot like getting a survivor of attempted murder to act out that


That is, in fact, exactly how Gusco and virtually all global orgs deal

with PTSD in children. I witnessed it myself (I spent a night in the

real life School for War Affected Youth outside of Gulu Town,

Acholiland). In fact, the dominant theory in psychology these days is

personal "confrontation".

"And Moses seems a little too helpful when he agrees to escort Paul

through the world's most war-torn area."

Yeah, his decision is in response to both his history with Paul (Moses

is the one who took Paul away from the LRA) and recent events in the

series. But yeah, I wish we had had more space to show Moses' conflict

about this. Sadly it's a pretty packed two issue arc and a lot of

subtlety gets lost.

One last thing...

Comparing the Sudanese refugee issue (I assume your friend is from

North Sudan?) to the Acholiland conflict and the Rwandan massacre can

lead to reductionism. Something our book fights as hard as it can

against. Every conflict has its own particulars and regional flavors

that are heavily dependent on the cultures in which they occur. The

LRA is monstrous, but they behave entirely differently than, say, the

Janjaweed in Northern Sudan (this may change if Kony can link up with

the Janjaweed, which seems to be what he's trying to do right now,

though the UPDF is in hot pursuit). For instance rape is

institutionalized as marriage amongst the LRA. There are very few

cases of rape as we would define it in the west in that conflict.

That's just one of many examples.

Otherwise, a job well-done!! Thank you again! I look forward to

hearing your thoughts on past and future issues.


This clears up a few questions I had.

Stand-up guy, smart and a great writer.

Pick up Unknown Soldier.

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