Film preview anyone?
This is the documentary accompanying Sebastian Junger’s latest book – War.
I reviewed it recently for The Army Rumour Service
For 15 months, Sebastian Junger followed a single platoon based at remote outpost in eastern Afghanistan. His objective was both simple and ambitious: to convey what war actually feel likes.
This is a bloody, brutal account of soldiers who were born to fight. It made me think about war in a weird way. Bizarrely, I had a lot more empathy for the civilians of Afghanistan than I had thought about before. Not the enemy, not the Taliban but the village dwellers to whom the US soldiers must seem like aliens. The soldiers are thugs for hire with no sense of why or who. They are full of anger and hate if they weren’t fighting here, they’d be fighting in the streets, when they are not fighting war they are fighting each other. It’s made me realise that there is a part of the male psyche that needs to fight with something or someone; men need war. To some extent sport fulfils these needs on a day-to-day level but I think there is some primitive hunting instinct in males that makes them need to fight. The fighting seems barbaric and futile with no real purpose. It seems to be exacerbating the problem not improving it and I can see why. It makes me think of Star Wars – the USA are the imperial Storm-troopers – and the Taliban are Luke Skywalker and the Rebel Alliance. But what I find most frustrating is that you never see what the enemy looks like and why they are fighting. It’s like a terrible horror film where the enemy is so gruesome it is never seen, it jumps out and grabs people and you hear the screams. But for the soldier it’s just bullets, fighting, death, grief, anger, sleeping and wanking, no pause, and repeat.
The body count is high. Junger composes the narrative superbly, knitting a continual compilation of fact and observation. It’s messy, gritty, dirty and violent. It’s a must have read. Hesitate not one moment and purchase immediately.
If you would like to attend RSVP to: Anna Sissons – firstname.lastname@example.org
Me and London City Mum will be there. The more the merrier.