Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Afghanistan: What the freak are our troops doing out in the middle of NOWHERE!

I just finally got around to renting "Restrepo," Sebastian Junger's excellent DVD documentary describing one U.S. Army platoon's deadly year-long experience in the high mountain wilds of Afghanistan. This movie won the grand jury prize at Sundance. Here's a link to its trailer:

And at one point early on in the movie, our brave Army platoon members pop into their various helicopters, tanks and Hummers and move off into the Korengal Valley -- out in the middle of freaking NOWHERE. And I'm looking at this movie and I'm asking myself, "What in the freaking hell are our troops doing HERE!"

Then there's that one first scene in the movie where an American tank is negotiating a narrow rocky mountain pass that had been obviously built originally for camels. Rock walls run straight up on your left side and absolutely nothing runs straight down on your right. This place makes Death Valley look civilized. You might as well be on the frigging surface of the MOON.

And I'm sitting here, in Berkeley, in front of my computer, watching Netflix, and I'm asking myself, "How the freak does having our troops over in THAT god-forsaken place make America any safer?" Like those primitive tribesmen over there are gonna jump onto their camels, lock and load their RPGs, swim the Atlantic ocean, take the I-80 across middle America, arrive in Berkeley unnoticed and endanger ME? Yeah right.

But what is really endangering me and my family right now? And your families too? Everyone here knows. It's Wall Street and the banks, raids on Social Security. The military-industrial-academic complex, war profiteers, corrupt lobbyists and corrupt congressmen in Washington. A president who has sold out his base. Unemployment. Media that is owned by oligarchs. Lack of decent, free college education for our children. Subsidized agribusiness. And bleeding out in an over-crowded ER.