Thursday, March 24, 2011

Restrepo

I rented Restrepo. It's a documentary following one group of soldiers for a year in Afghanistan, in a remote valley outpost known for rugged terrain and Taliban attacks.

It does show what the war is like. They shoot at people far away mostly but not always. One soldier, from Oregon, lamented if he killed one of them he'd rather they be overrun, so he could see he was killing them, not be shooting from a distance.

Once they were overrun when out on foot patrol. One soldier was killed and two wounded. When another soldier saw the body of the deceased, he ran to it sobbing his eyes out. You don't think of soldiers sobbing. It wasn't like in the movies where everyone is hard and dead to the killing.

After a chopper blew up an Afghan house and the patrol soldiers then found injured children afterwards, the commander tried to put an optimistic face on it, for the camera, about how they just killed five bad guys, but he didn't seem to even believe himself. He also had become frustrated when the Afghan civilians didn't seem to understand their endeavors were going to make life better for them. In the meeting with tribal leaders, he finally retorted, "Do you understand I just don't give a fuck?" Or something to that effect.

The soldiers were tasked with endeavors beyond their means. In the end, most just wanted to come home.

It was sure different than accounts given and movies made about World War II, with the body counts in that war and atrocities committed and seen. The soldier reactions I guess were not what I expected by comparison. I don't know if soldiers now are different than they were then.

Restrepo, the young man killed, for whom the movie, and a base perched higher on a mountain for better leverage on the enemy, were named, was so full of life and humor when shown in clips at the beginning of the movie.

Now he's feeding worms.

Most wars are pointless and waste young life.

Libya wouldn't be at war right now if its people had not allowed a crazy man to be their leader. They did nothing too long.

I still don't know why people fighting dictators the world over cry out for help from America. Maybe it's because we answer the call. Sure, America has its problems, but countries call on us for help for a reason.

Restrepo and your buddies, I don't know much about what is going on in Afghanistan or why we are there anymore. Maybe you didn't either. You just went.

Maybe one day we'll have a better world. Doesn't come easy though. Doesn't come just by hoping it will come.

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