right before him Published in Iraq in 2003, Ryan Court discovered a hard copy of Dune In a library near Fort Riley, Kansas. The 23-year-old second lieutenant was fascinated by the book’s black cover, with an attached photo of a desert landscape next to the title and silhouettes of two robe-clad figures walking across the sand. Despite having over 800 pages, the small print made it a relatively compact cubic object. So he bought it and carried it with him to the bay, the only novel he packed in his briefcase with his military manuals and field guides.
Kurt read the book during moments of hiatus over the following weeks, as he led his platoon of 15 soldiers and four tanks across the Kuwaiti desert, and later when they resided in a poorly abandoned building in Baghdad. The film tells the story of a young man who has left a lush green world and arrives at the most dangerous and driest planet Arrakis, whose sands are a critical resource for all the competing superpowers in the universe. (“At the time, when people said ‘This is a war for oil,’ I kind of drew my attention to them,” he said regarding the Iraq War. “I don’t draw my eyes about it anymore.”)
He remembers that the similarities felt strange. With the call to prayer rising around him one afternoon in that dark building in the Iraqi capital, he said he felt a connection to Dune. Reading the book felt like seeing in a larger story the story in which he was playing a small role. “There is something in the book that really clicks,” he says. “I’m past the moment I was in.”
Kort will become a Dune A fanatic, read and reread Frank Herbert’s complete six-book series of books. But only years later, after his second deployment to Iraq — a much tougher tour of duty as he was stationed at the epicenter of the Sunni insurgency, where his forces were repeatedly hit by roadside bombs — he began to see deeper similarities.
After all, in Dune It is the original Freeman that ultimately proves the insurgents’ superiority over guerrilla tactics. These are not the heroes of Atreides, or the villains of Harkonnen, or even the galactic emperor and his Spartan warriors, Sardaukar. Regardless of which analogy the United States chooses—or whether Freeman in that analogy is Iraqi or Afghan—the insurgents outperform or remain the superpower.
“You look at it now and think to yourself, well, of course the lessons are there, right? We’ve learned that too much technology doesn’t guarantee success. That the military component of national power alone cannot secure your objectives in the military,” says Kurt, who works today as the Army’s strategic planning and policy officer. Sometimes.” “These chaotic human characteristics are there, where people have honor and interest attached to them. And the discount is sometimes willing to pay higher costs.”
In the decades that followed the publication of Herbert Dune, published in 1965, the book’s environmental, psychological, and spiritual themes tend to take credit for its phenomenal success well beyond the die-hard science fiction audience. In his general commentary on the book, Herbert focused above all on his environmental messages and later became a kind of environmental guru, turning his home in Washington state, which he called Xanadu, into a DIY experiment with renewable energy.
but reading Dune Half a century later, when many of Herbert’s environmental and psychological ideas have either merged with the mainstream or become outdated—and in the wake of the catastrophic downfall of the US-backed government in Afghanistan after a 20-year war—it is hard, rather, not to be surprised by the book’s focus. On Human Conflict: A complex and deeply detailed world of factions relentlessly vying for power and advantages by exploiting every tool at their disposal. It is Herbert’s vision of that future that is now revered by a certain class of nerds in the military and intelligence community, war-obsessed ones who see the book as a remarkable insightful lens to understanding conflict on a global scale.