After U.S. soldier Robert Bales murders sixteen civilians, most women and children, you want to understand more and peer into lives of Americans fighting in Afghanistan. You can’t go there and don’t have to. In your suburban living room a large flat screen on the wall video streams any movie you choose, in this case the documentary “Restrepo.”
In vivid color against stark, mountainous backdrops, soldiers say they take fire every day and feel like fish in a barrel and have to fortify themselves in unpleasant places where they burn their feces. On combat patrols, when soldiers hear someone’s hit, they pray it isn’t a close friend. Afghans are also weary of friends getting hit. A villager tells a soldier it’s okay to kill Taliban fighters but the U.S. has also been killing ordinary people. Soldiers scarred by several firefights a day don’t worry much about who they shoot. Still, the experience is not always unpleasant. One soldier swears there’s no better high than getting shot at, it’s like crack. You wonder if this soldier’s ever smoked any.
There may be fleeting rushes during firefights but you doubt anyone is having much fun. Bullets from hell rain down on the soldiers. One cries in a field after another friend dies. Some Afghans are going to pay. The soldiers all commit to keep on fighting no matter who’s killed. Their late comrade Restrepo would be proud.
Source: Restrepo, a documentary film.