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Watches Without Time: An American Soldier in Afghanistan with Matt Zeller

Posted: July 7, 2012 at 2:32 pm / by / comments (0)

Matt Zeller, United States Army veteran of the Afghan War and the author of the newly released book “Watches Without Time: An American Soldier in Afghanistan” joins Enterprise Radio.

Listen to host Eric Dye & guest Matt Zeller discuss the following:

  • Why don’t you tell us about your time in Afghanistan? What did you learn about yourself, about our fellow troops and the Afghanis that live there? What are we trying to do there? Have we been successful why or why not?
  • You decided to write a book about your experiences in Afghanistan. Why did you decide to write this book?
  • If we could do things differently in Afghanistan what would you advise or suggest that our military do there? How long do we need to stay there? Can Afghanistan handle its own security?
  • What are three things that you hope readers learn after they read your book, “Watches Without Time”?
  • You break your book up into several different sections, the final section called “The War at Home Begins.” Could you talk about what you mean by that because it sounds like something that many of our troops when they return home.

Duration: 29:05

Matt Zeller, a native of Rochester, New York, is a consultant on alternative energy issues, working in northern Virginia. In his upcoming first book, Watches Without Time (Just World Books, 2012), Zeller gives a vivid description of what he experienced while serving as an embedded combat adviser with the Afghan security forces in Ghazni, Afghanistan, in 2008.

Captain Zeller enlisted into the Army National Guard immediately following the 9/11 attacks and received his officer’s commission via Syracuse University’s Army ROTC program in 2004– at the same time as he graduated from Hamilton College with a B.A. in Government. (At Hamilton, he was also awarded the David Boren National Security Fellowship.) In 2005, Capt. Zeller graduated first in his class from the US Army Military Intelligence Officer’s Basic course. He also graduated from the U.S. Army’s Combat Adviser’s course; and in 2006 he completed dual Masters degrees in Public Administration and International Relations from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University.

Zeller’s book originated from a lengthy series of email messages he sent to his friends and family back home chronicling his time embedded with Afghan forces: texts that he could not even bring himself to revisit until two years after his return from Afghanistan. He has described it as “not a typical war memoir,” because it highlights several rarely exposed aspects of the life of an American soldier such as the inadequate training he was given before deployment, and the difficulties he had reintegrating and adjusting back to civilian life after his return to the United States. He hopes his work will resonate with other returning soldiers struggling to make sense of their experiences in battle, spark dialogue about the long term repercussions of the war, and make Americans think more deeply about the many kinds of costs involved before they send troops into combat in the future.

After returning from Afghanistan, Zeller decided to run for Congress. In 2010, he was the Democratic nominee for New York’s 29th Congressional District, running on a strong veterans’ rights platform. Though he was not elected then, Zeller hopes he will have a chance to serve in political office in the future.

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