The U.S. exit from Afghanistan brought an end to America’s longest war — and, if President Biden statements on the matter are to be taken seriously, a major potential change to the underlying foreign policy vision. War, however, has a deep existence apart from political and strategic questions — a human existence. The chaos of our exit had deeply human faces; the long struggle in Afghanistan did as well: the servicemen and -women both American and Afghan who fought there. Elliot Ackerman was one of those servicemen, a Marine decorated for bravery. He is — as the author of 2034, Red Dress in Black and White, Places and Names, Waiting for Eden, Dark at the Crossing, and Green on Blue — also a best-selling, critically acclaimed novelist and essayist and National Book Award nominee, as well as a member of our board. We spoke with him about our exit from Afghanistan, his service, and the human side of war.