Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Restrepo ~ A War In Hell

Restrepo - an outpost high above the Korengal valley in a God forsaken part of Afghanistan. But then their god isn't ours. It was named after a fallen comrad. It is also a film following one platoon for one year - for nothing.

I watched it on the National Geographic channel last night and thought, as I fought back nausea over what these young men were experiencing, that this film was the best depiction of the angst, the horror, the gut wrenching fear and the anger that is war. Without seeing a drop of blood shed. The part of the war that produced it's only living Medal of Honor winner.

The macho personas the young soldiers displayed as they were deployed soon disappeared as the reality of what they were to endure set in. Trying to convince village elders they were "good" guys. People with a language barrier and unbelievable cultural barriers. People who knew their lives were precarious at best from both sides of the fight. A knowledge shared by our soldiers. There was no safe side between the villagers and the Taliban. Who might be a good guy? I watched the faces of the elders as they listened to explanations by the American Captain. There was contempt, there was scepticism, there was cunning and hatred. Not an actor in the world is skilled enough to play either the Afghanistans nor the Americans.

If you want to know what the American GI feels, watch this film. Then follow the links to the entire production. Men who have been to war understand it all. Those of us who haven't don't even begin to, though maybe I now have an inkling. It's hard to watch. It's hard to watch them remember, it's hard to know it will always be a part of them, a part that will never totally heal. It will be a part of their families and friends and ultimately it will be a part of the fabric of our nation. It's good these men are like rugged denim rather than satin or silk.

I thought for a time that the day would come when we'd no longer have men seeking high office that had military experience. Iraq and Afghanistan have changed that. Now I will find it difficult to vote for one who lacks that experience. That experience that remembers the repulsiveness of war totally outweighs it's glory.


Margie's Musings said...

War is not the answer to anything. It only causes more problems...civilians killed, terrible massacres.

Eventually, we must learn to live together in peace. To be tolerant of different religions and cultures. We must stop trying to inflict our way of government on every other nation...whether they want it or not.

No, they don't believe we are their friends. They have seen too much of the havoc we have caused with our war. Those people are not the ones who destroyed the World Trade Centers. They are illiterate villagers. They just know we have killed or caused to be killed by our very presence there...their families and friends.

If we ever learn to put ourselves in their shoes, we would know that in a similar circumstance, we would do the same and we would react the same.

nan16 said...

I ordered this DVD from NatGeo and received it today. Haven't watched it yet but I know it will be upsetting. Thanks for mentioning this. I did see "The Hurt Locker" and yes was upset for days. Thanks again, I've got a learning experience to look forward to.