Monday, August 2, 2010

"Generation Kill"...It's Dead.

It's finally over: GENERATION KILL's run has been excruciating!
I sat through it, hooked by the hype that likened it to the excellent BAND OF BROTHERS and the not-bad-but-not-great THE PACIFIC. After each episode, I convinced myself there HAD to be better to come...just wait for one more episode...etc etc.
And so, in the post-analysis, my stats will be added to the overall viewing total to trumpet another tv success story. Well, sorry - but contrary to many raves, I found GENERATION KILL's depiction of the Gulf War to be deathly dull.
Almost none of the central characters are likable, intelligent or even believable. They stroke their own egos about each being worth a million bucks of training (as if that matters to a 25c bullet!), yet their gung-ho military tactics and assessment of potentially hazardous situations are appalling. So too is their attitude to the Iraqi locals, and the other countries assisting them in their 'War On Terror', eg:
+"Is there anyone else in this war - or just us again?" (What, y'mean like WWII?)
+They drop an airstrike on an Iraqi village...just because they can.
+They want to "become MEN" by 'greasing' a raghead.
+A mentally unstable officer is allowed to remain in combat.
+Attacks are undertaken, not for the strategic good, but so their unit can beat another unit.
+There is slack discipline and little sense of purpose.
+There's no court-marshal when a soldier kills two Iraqi children.
+They abandon a broken-down fully-loaded munitions truck...then complain when the enemy destroys it.
+They stop their entire convoy, bunched together, on a bridge - a perfect target.
+They strafe civilians because...well, they're Iraqis, right?
+This war is portrayed as one big video game.

Now some may say: "It's only tv"...but this was supposedly closely based on reality, as seen by a journo with a front-line unit. And if that's so, then it highlights problems within the US military at that time - one only hopes they're fixed now!
I've never been in combat, though having served in the army I fully understand "hurry-up-and-wait", military boredom, inadequate and insufficient supplies...but there's a lot more to winning a war than rushing in like cowboys, "kicking ass". Public opinion (both at home and at the front) has been part of winning wars as long as people have been waging them. An unpopular war will almost always be lost, no matter what strategic or tactical measures are used.
GENERATION KILL not only highlighted for me that the US mind-set lost the Iraq war before it began but also showed that, as a supposed tv tour de force, GENERATION KILL also lost the battle.

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