Response to Restrepo

Restrepo successfully conveys the many emotions that a soldier experiences while deployed. The boredom while sitting around, the camaraderie, the devastation when a friend dies, the frustration of dealing with locals, the anxiety while out on patrol, the adrenaline while under fire, and the excitement of a successful mission. In this regard, one is given the full view of what takes place. However in regard to the Afghani locals, the viewers experience is not balanced and impartial. I thought the film portrayed them as stubborn, unfriendly, and irrational. This is exemplified during the exchange over the dead cow. The cow dies as a result of an American presence, if they were not stationed there the cow would not have died, yet the Americans refused to pay the Afghani the worth of the cow. In fact, they act as if it is ridiculous that the Afghani is even asking for monetary compensation.

I think the Vanity Fair article is most effective in conveying the reality of the conflict. It provides background information that was missing from the film because it is so emotionally charged. The article includes a segment describing the Korengal locals. It states,”They practice the extremist Wahhabi version of Islam and speak a language that even people in the next valley over cannot understand.” Knowing these facts made it easier to understand the actions of the locals in the film and why the Americans may have acted aggressively towards them.

The film was effective in depicting other peaceful ways that Americans interacted with Aghanis; it was not all fighting. They would hold shura with the elders to discuss problems, and they would talk to the locals about the economic opportunities within the valley. I think these elements are missing from daily media, almost everything I read about is violent in nature.

Photo Credit: Apple trailers

Photo Credit: Apple trailers

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