Thursday, March 19, 2015

Elliot Ackerman

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.

From Ackerman's Q & A about his debut novel, Green on Blue, with Elizabeth Nicholas at Vice:

VICE: What motivated you to write Green on Blue?

Ackerman: When I was in Afghanistan, I spent all of my time as an advisor to Afghan soldiers. I fought alongside these soldiers, but after I left, I knew they weren't guys I could keep up with on Facebook or call and get a beer with. I frankly knew I was never going to see them again. I had this real desire to render their world and show the war as they saw it. The war in Afghanistan is presented heavily through the American experience, and Afghans are made nearly invisible or treated as props. So my goal was to write a novel completely from their perspective.

There's this thread of characterization when we talk about Afghanistan, that people are deceitful, embezzling money out of the country. Those things are true, but what I wanted to do was peel back the outer layers to trace why these things are happening. What is the morality from an Afghan perspective on why someone would embezzle money? Why would an Afghan soldier feel that he needed to commit a green on blue attack? I wanted to take this most deceitful action, a green on blue attack, and trace it back to its inception, so that by the time it occurs you may not agree with it, but...[read on]
The Page 69 Test: Green on Blue.

Writers Read: Elliot Ackerman.

My Book, The Movie: Green on Blue.

--Marshal Zeringue