Saturday, February 21, 2015

"Green on Blue"

Elliot Ackerman is a writer based out of Istanbul. His fiction and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New Republic, and Ecotone among others. He is also a contributor to The Daily Beast, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He served as a White House Fellow in the Obama Administration. Prior to this, he spent eight years in the military as both an infantry and special operations officer.

Ackerman is a decorated veteran, having earned a Silver Star and Purple Heart for his role leading a Rifle Platoon in the November 2004 Battle of Fallujah and a Bronze Star for Valor while leading a Marine Corps Special Operations Team in Afghanistan in 2008.

He applied the Page 69 Test to his debut novel, Green on Blue, and reported the following:
About half way down page 69, Mumtaz, one of the elders from Gomal, an embattled village along the Afghan-Pakistan border, objects when Commander Sabir, the leader of a local militia, wishes to build an outpost near his home: “You say you wish to build this outpost to protect us, but Gazan only attacks this village when you are here. You bring the war with you, and if you build an outpost it will never leave.” These objections come at a shura, a sort of town council, held by Commander Sabir to gain the elders’ consent to his plans. The paradox of protection is a central theme in the novel, one represented by the construction of this outpost. Do wars eventually perpetuate themselves, causing us to fight enemies of our own creation? Or is a strong defense necessary? On page 69, Mumtaz’s objection to the outpost: “You bring the war with you, and if you build an outpost it will never leave” is one half of that argument. The other half plays out in the bloody pages which follow.
Visit Elliot Ackerman's website.

--Marshal Zeringue