The literature of Iraq and Afghanistan is increasingly rich with journalistic accounts, battlefield memoirs and reports, and war-based fiction. In the latter category, two of my favorites remain Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, which I discussed at some length in my Chickenhawk Nation piece; and Redeployment, by Phil Klay.
Bill Russell Edmonds’s God Is Not Here, just published this week, differs from the others in being an Iraq memoir from someone who supervised prisoner-questioning inside the “enhanced interrogation” room. The book is told in an unconventional but, to me, a cumulatively very effective fashion, cutting back and forth between traumatic scenes in Iraq and later ones in a “Behavioral Health Clinic” in Germany, where Edmonds was coping with the moral and mental effects of what he had seen and done.
One of my Chickenhawk themes was that the United States has undertaken military obligations that should raise deep moral and civic questions. These questions that range from the short-term ethics and long-term effects of drone warfare, to what happens to a democratic nation engaged in open-ended war. (My friend James Stevenson, a long-time military-affairs writer, offers a new look at the legality of drone strikes in “Protecting American Citizens From Drones” at Antiwar.com.)