Wednesday, June 13, 2007

War Documentaries

My dad frequently has the tv on as background - baseball, ESPN and the history channel. He likes to watch the films/documentaries on World War I and II, in addition to the other wars. I never understood this interest. While I love history- it was my major at UVA- war films were not my interest.

However, with this war I cannot get enough. Every night I turn the tv on around my bedtime to watch the news or Frazier or other inanity- only to become completely engrossed in Frontline. Last night's episode was titled The Lost Year in Iraq. Next Week will be Endgame- how are we getting out of this mess in Iraq. On Monday night I watched America at a Crossroads from Kansas to Kandahar. Another spectacular documentary detailing an Army reserve unit's year in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

So I am now a fan of the war documentary. I suppose it had to be relevant to my life before I learned the value- but now I suspect I will watch all kinds of them. The soldiers are amazing- the sacrifice these men and women and their families make is dramatic. The reporters do such a good job (imo) telling the stories.

My only criticism is about last night's Year in Iraq- the reporting made it seem like the choices the Bush administration made were obviously wrong at the time they were made. While I tend to agree with that perspective (hiring a 25 year old to create policies for a country at war?). I have to believe, even if somewhat naively, that the choices were not so stark and obviously wrong. People seemed to be sounding the alarm at every turn that neocon policy and electoral politics were driving the war & CPA effort. At this moment I do not want to conclude that 3500 lives are a political tool for this administration to test its crazy theories. Things would be different though if Rumsfeld had lost his job earlier.

I dont know if this helps the war effort at all, but I am glad to know more about the work the troops are doing in Iraq and Afghanistan.


mckora said...

I am not so sure that the decisions weren't clearly wrong at the time. Look up the difference between strategy and logistics regarding military action. W's strategy was sound but logistics were strictly amateur. It doesn't take hind sight to see that. Strategy is easier to see and far more engrossing to most of us. Logistics people ask really important mindnumbingly boring questions.
Thanks for the plug(again).

Gretchen said...

Band of Brothers is not a war documentary per se but if you want to see something truly amazing and haven't seen this yet, you might want to give it a go. I've heard from WWII veterans that watching it was just like being there again. It's based on the actual 101st Airborne, Easy Company and it's compulsive viewing. I was floored.