A joint US and Iraqi “Crisis Reaction Force” has been deployed to conduct a hostage rescue mission for which it was neither created nor trained. Over a 24 hour period, the members of this unit must navigate their personal trajectories between survival and mission, between protecting the innocent and the brutal necessities of war. More
In and around the Green Zone of Baghdad in the winter of 2005: the insurgency was just beginning to heat up and IEDs were just beginning to take a fearsome toll on coalition troops. The first post invasion elections were being prepared for, the pivotal battle of Fallujah was being planned, the photos depicting the abuses at Abu Ghraib were being leaked, and the struggling Provisional Iraqi Army was being established.
Against this backdrop, a joint US and Iraqi “Crisis Reaction Force” has been deployed to conduct a hostage rescue mission for which it was neither created nor trained. Over a 24 hour period, the members of this unit must navigate their personal trajectories between survival and mission, between protecting the innocent and the brutal necessities of war.
Grant, the Special Forces advisor, unconventional, an outsider, but uniquely talented at what he does. Ra’ad, the Iraqi warrant officer, volcanic, driven, an ill-fitting but key part of the unit. And Conners, the CRF’s senior NCO, world weary, revered, but nursing a personal tragedy with which he still must come to terms.
Arrayed against them is a mixed group of insurgents brought together by a chaotic series of accidents. They are led by an unlikely coalition: Angel, a Filipino and former Abu Sayyaf operative who finds himself part of a conflict he barely understands, and who must balance his own core decency with what he must do to look after his men; and Qasem, an Iraqi killer—“an Arab fanatic, quivering with zealous purpose like a plucked guitar string”.
In Window Above the Porch, Kevin Costanzi deftly renders the intensity of this style of warfare while examining what motivates these men—Americans, Iraqis and insurgents—to perform in combat far from home in the midst of morally complicated and life threatening conditions. Balancing the contradictions inherent in those motivations, Costanzi explores though his characters the ambiguous consequences of action, the sacrifice of duty and loyalty, and the nurturing of what is best in soldiers in the face of the demands of their profession.