RANGER AGAINST WAR: Strawberry Fields Forever <

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Strawberry Fields Forever

 We ain't gon' do shit about it. Close it up.
Throw it back in the trunk. Everybody go home.
Have some pumpkin pie, warm apple cider... 
--American Gangster (2007)

Rethinking Restrepo, Pt. I:

Last night Ranger couldn't sleep for incursive thoughts of the film "Restrepo" which featured the travails of an Army Airborne Infantry unit stuck out on an Afghan hillside with an unknown mission in the Korengal Valley.

The official cover story is that the Outpost was intercepting anti-government forces infiltrating across the Pakistan border, but the truth seems shadier.

It was clear that the people of the Korengal had no love for the United States' troops and less for the alleged Afghan National Government. Korengal's documentarian, Sebastian Junger, declared the Korengal "the most dangerous place in the world." But it was this assertion which jolted Ranger awake.

Being a Cleveland boy, he wondered about his foundering home city. Only a fool would walk the perimeter of an inner city neighborhood there after nightfall. And further, what of the rest of the Rust Belt, or even our nation's capitol? None safety zones.

The kill rate of our urban metro areas exceeds that of the Korengal occupied by U.S. troops any day of the week. The kills in Detroit enjoy a conviction rate of only 10%, but Detroit's homicide rate and dismal prosecution record is not the subject for any documentary Ranger knows of.  This is not to detract from Junger's and Hetherington's superb efforts, but who speaks for the means streets of America?

During the panel discussion following the film, a member of the 26th Mobile Amphibious Warfare unit took exception with other panel members who lauded the" great beauty" of Afghanistan. He said, "I must've missed that," but that he did remember the blood red fields of poppies in the South. A RAW reader recently sent photos of Marines guarding those fields in Afghanistan (that nation's moneymaker, while the U.S. continues its futile "War on Drugs.")

How much of the world's heroin originated in Afghanistan while our troops protected the crops? How many inner city denizens were imprisoned or died surrounded Afghanistan's bounty, being protected by our soldier. It is a riddle wrapped in an enigma.

As an old guy who once wore an Airborne patch on his right sleeve, Ranger would like to think that his country's wars have (had) real meaning, but the reality belies the belief.

NEXT: Rethinking Restrepo II: PTSD with tab.

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