Restrepo – Documenting a Modern Empire on the March

Release date: June 25, 2010 (USA)
Directors: Tim Hetherington, Sebastian Junger

If you want a shockingly honest look at how an empire works then you will want to see the movie Restrepo. It is billed as “Chronicling the hard work, fear, and brotherhood that come with repelling a deadly enemy.” In my opinion, that statement is almost correct. Like most propaganda made for the masses the word “repelling” changes the whole dynamic so the statement. Repelling implies that you are defending what is rightfully yours and clearly Afghanistan belongs to the Afghan people. So that description attempts to change the logic of the situation. A more honest description of the movie Restrepo would go like this “Chronicling the hard work, fear and brotherhood that come with occupying a foreign country.”

One of the first things that struck me as odd was through the entire movie there was only one instance they showed any captured enemy weapons and that was just a few old beat up, rusted out weapons that may or may not have worked. The fact is that our military is just burning up ammunition and gun platforms (rifles, tanks, helicopters, planes) so the Pentagon via the Tax Payer will continue to buy from Corporate America. The fact is the American Soldiers are far better equipped than the Afghan Solider or as the Military likes to call them Insurgents or as the Government likes to call them The Taliban. The bottom line is that we are occupying their country.

I found it interesting how religion was used in motivating the soldiers. Around the middle of the movie, the Capitan was trying to inspire hate into them by going through one by one each solider that had died and then telling the soldiers to remember them when carrying out the next mission. Then he ended his hate rally with a prayer to God, as if that makes everything okay. Another indicator of the Capitan’s low moral charter was he badmouthed his predecessor. In several scenes he talks about the previous Captain’s shortcomings, a true professional will not use someone else to make excuses.

A striking and candid portrait of how the soldiers think can be seen in the story of the stolen cow. Early in the documentary, the soldiers are talking about how good the fresh cow meat was. Later in the documentary, some village elders came to ask for compensation for a stolen cow that the soldiers killed and ate without asking or buying. You can tell the Captain knew it was wrong but refused to reimburse the owner. In another scene, the Platoon kills 5 people and injures 10 others, mostly women and children. He again blows off the complaints from the villagers and gives them empty promises of jobs and future wealth. Which we know will never be delivered. There is just a total disregard for all Afghans by the American soldiers.

R | 1h 33min | Documentary, Biography, War | 6 August 2010 (USA)
Directors: Tim Hetherington, Sebastian Junger
Stars: The Men of Battle Company 2nd of the 503rd Infantry Regiment 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, Juan ‘Doc Restrepo, Dan Kearney

Ships Captain The Dread Pirate Dave

David is the Editor in Chief of Postcards From the Edge. I was born on a cold November morning on the showy plains of Colorado. Like my father, before me, I am an American Nomad.

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