Because my younger son is toying with the idea of joining the military and because he said it was a "fantastic" movie ("I watched it twice"), I watched "Restrepo" yesterday. The 2010, prize-winning documentary depicts in some detail the trials of Second Platoon, B Company, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment (airborne), 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team in one of Afghanistan's most dangerous locations, the Korengal valley. It is a very good movie, haunting as much for what it doesn't say as for what it does.
It fries my grits that I cannot transmit to my son the need to examine things. Here is a group of young men putting their lives on the line, relying utterly on each other, laughing and weeping in the most profound sort of way ... why? My son, I think, sees a 'band of brothers.' And he is not wrong.
In the whole platoon, there is only one person who speaks the language of those native to the valley. The soldiers live in a bubble of the mission. So might anyone. Their faces tell wracking tales. For what? For whom? Who benefits? The Russians couldn't tame Afghanistan in 10 years any more than the British could before them. What I wouldn't give to parachute 50 or 60 politicians into that world they saw so patriotically from behind their desks.
Live and learn. Die and learn.
Blasphemy is such a slippery word.
I do hate killing children. I am struck literally dumb with the anguish of it all.