Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Look on the Wild Side

by Philip Giraldi, January 13, 2011

"I have been hearing about the National Geographic documentary Restrepo for some time, though I only had a chance to view it last week. The ninety-minute film and a book based on the documentary describe the experiences of a platoon of US Army soldiers from the 173rd Airborne Infantry in the Korengal Valley of Afghanistan from May 2007 until July 2008.....

Ironically, Forward Operating Base Restrepo was abandoned in the spring of 2010, together with other exposed outposts similar in nature, demonstrating perhaps that it should not have been there in the first place and also making it clear that the US Army, with all its resources, cannot successfully occupy Afghanistan. Fifty American soldiers had died in trying to hold the Korengal Valley. The number of dead Afghans is not known, or at least is not reported by the filmmakers. Clearly, the presence of American soldiers might have made logistical problems for the Taliban but it also turned more Afghans into enemies as a result of the complete cultural insensitivity and ignorance of the US troops. This is what I took away from the film and this is why I think that Restrepo, by virtue of its dispassionate presentation of a terrible reality, demonstrates that the United States will never succeed at anything in Afghanistan and that continued presence there will only guarantee more killing and instability. That makes it one of the best antiwar films that I have ever seen, a complete indictment of a failed and ruinous policy without having to hammer the pulpit to get its message across. One wonders if Barack Obama has seen it and, if so, what he thought of it."

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