Monday, February 21, 2011


Gentle Readers,

Not for your viewing pleasure, though this is an amazing work of art, but more for your education and information, I simply must insist that you see Restrepo.

This documentary by Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington follows a year in the lives of the Second Platoon in Afghanistan. It offers no narration or commentary other than that provided by the soldiers themselves, who are fighting in the particularly dangerous Korengal Valley. We are with them as they come under fire from the Taliban, sometimes more than once a day. We are with them as they mourn their dead. We are with them as they try to deal with the local elders, which seems as frustrating as dealing with cavemen.

These men work as one and rise to the most extreme situation -- fighting for their lives, and they're doing it for all of us. Yet, it leaves me asking, as always, Why? The U.S. pulled out of the Korengal Valley last year in April. What did the 50 U.S. soldiers killed there die for? Are we really going to find Osama Bin Laden and wipe out the Taliban? That would be wonderful, but I think Osama will die of old age.

Perhaps if the U.S. had concentrated all of its efforts on Afghanistan instead of stupidly invading Iraq, the situation would be different. We should have gone after Osama with everything we had instead of getting distracted by going after the guy who wanted to kill W's Poppy. I don't think Iraq was a good and happy place to live, but sometimes . . . one thing at a time. Concentrate. Focus your energies. Strike.

I salute our service people all around the world on this Presidents' Day. I wish you got a day off too, to spend with your families and do the little things like shopping at Macy's mattress sale.

Infinities of love,


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