A Novel Plan to Abolish America and Iraq

1st: Agree with the New York Times that antiwar novels are categorically “belligerent”:

“‘The Welsh Girl’ is a distinguished, beautifully written example of a small but enduring genre. Call it the counterwar novel. Not antiwar, exactly; it lacks the belligerence.”

2nd: Understand that pro-war and status quo war novels are, apparently, compassionate.

3rd: Write zero detailed and overt anti Iraq War novels.

4th: Or if any are written, publish none.

5th: Or if any are published, bury them with utter and absolute silence.

6th: Repeat steps one through five, for years and decades.

7th: Ignore the views of playwright Tony Kushner, writing in Theater:

“I do not believe that a steadfast refusal to be partisan is, finally, a particularly brave or a moral or even interesting choice. Les Murray, an Australian poet, wrote a short poem called ‘Politics and Art.’ In its entirety: ‘Brutal policy / like inferior art, knows / whose fault it all is.’ This is as invaluable an admonishment as it is ultimately untrue.”

8th: Ignore the views of V. F. Calverton writing in The Liberation of American Literature:

“Most of the literature of the world has been propagandistic in one way or another…. In a word, the revolutionary critic does not believe that we can have art without craftsmanship; what he does believe is that, granted the craftsmanship, our aim should be to make art serve man as a thing of action and not man serve art as a thing of escape.

“That the attempt to be above the battle is evidence of a defense mechanism can scarcely be doubted. Only those who belong to the ruling class, in other words, only those who had already won the battle and acquired the spoils, could afford to be above the battle. Fiction which was propagandistic, that is, fiction which continued to participate in the battle, it naturally cultivated a distaste for, and eschewed. Fiction which was above the battle, that is fiction which concerned only the so-called absolutes and eternals, with the ultimate emotions and the perennial tragedies, but which offered no solutions, no panaceas — it was such fiction that won its adoration.”

9th: Ignore Barbara Harlow writing in Resistance Literature:

“Resistance narratives…contribute to a larger narrative, that of the passage from genealogical or hereditary ties of filiation to the collective bonds of affiliation…. The connection between knowledge and power, the awareness of the exploitation of knowledge by the interests of power to create a distorted historical record, is central to resistance narratives.”

10th: Do not read Homefront.

And so, the invasion and occupation of Iraq, and much other abomination, is now safe from literature, just as literature has been saved from it.

Thanks to this novel plan of abolition, The Great American Anti Iraq War Novel must officially be declared dead. What else should we expect? There’s a war on.

Rest in peace, antiwar novels, and novelists, R. I. P.

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