Afghanistan Signature Shot

When the Washington Post began running The Afghanistan Papers, its recent series on the ineptitude of the US military mission in Afghanistan, I was sure that one of the articles would feature a photograph of a US soldier perched on the opened back ramp of a Boeing CH47 Chinook looking out over an Afghanistan landscape. … Continue reading “Afghanistan Signature Shot”

Afghanistan Beginnings and Endings

As it happened, I finished Pat Barker’s 2004 novel Double Vision on the day that US forces completed their evacuation from Kabul airport last week, thus unceremoniously bringing to a close America’s twenty-year war in Afghanistan. The correspondence is interesting because Barker’s novel is the first I know of to reference post-9/11 war in Afghanistan. … Continue reading “Afghanistan Beginnings and Endings”

A Time Now Photography Posts Compendium

War photography doesn’t fall precisely within the Time Now rubric of “art, film, and literature,” but it’s not unrelated either. Even when photographs are obviously journalistic, it’s not hard to see and admire any artistry inherent in their staging and note the highly aesthetic allure the most compelling ones project. I darn sure wasn’t going … Continue reading “A Time Now Photography Posts Compendium”

Does Anyone Remember American Sniper?

Chris Kyle’s memoir American Sniper was a best-seller in 2012, and in 2014, when the movie version was released, the film was even bigger. I’m not exactly sure, but I’d bet American Sniper the book has outsold all other Iraq and Afghanistan war books combined. Likewise, the movie. Both seemed to matter; for a while … Continue reading “Does Anyone Remember American Sniper?”

Special Ops Bro-Hymn: Ross Ritchell’s The Knife

US special operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have been given fictional portraiture in Lea Carpenter’s Eleven Days and Aaron Gwyn’s Wynne’s War, but Ross Ritchell’s novel The Knife is the first to depict in detail the nighttime raids that have emerged as the signature American military tactic of the wars. Ritchell, a US Army 75th Ranger … Continue reading “Special Ops Bro-Hymn: Ross Ritchell’s The Knife”

A Contemporary War Short Fiction Listicle

Ten excellent short stories about war in Iraq and Afghanistan, listed in alphabetical order below by author, with no writer represented more than once. Very subjective, and not definitive, but I wouldn’t walk into a room of war writers without knowing them all. It’s interesting that of the stories featuring American service men-and-women, only one, … Continue reading “A Contemporary War Short Fiction Listicle”

Been There, Done That: Contemporary War Writing Stock Scenes

For all those contemplating or currently writing memoir, fiction, or poetry about war in Iraq or Afghanistan and its aftermath, I’ve listed twenty events or ways of describing events that I’ve encountered at least twice in published contemporary war writing. Not to say new writers should avoid writing about these subjects, too, but some very … Continue reading “Been There, Done That: Contemporary War Writing Stock Scenes”