Tragedy, horror, and war demand a different sort of art. Writers who take up such subjects cannot be concerned only with beauty. They must balance aesthetics against ethics, and ask questions like, How do I write about someone who is dead? What gives me the right to tell his story?
Fire and Forget, written by veterans (and one Army wife), stands as the best fictional account of the wars of the last decade and the contemporary military experience, and as such, is utterly damning of the devil’s bargain the nation and its military have entered into.
"Belief in surviving POWs ‘could be regarded as the closest thing we have to a national religion.’ It is still difficult for me to read the questions that Gordo’s parents typed on the flyer: ‘Did you know our son?’ ‘Which camp was he in?’ ‘How was he treated?’ ‘Do you know if our son received any of our mail?’"
- Nick Ripatrazone, Men at War
Is it any wonder that W. H. Auden grumbled that the Lidice massacre had inspired nothing more than “versified trash”?