Restrepo’s Afghanistan

Restrepo is a great documentary about soldiers in Afghanistan. Sebastian Junger spoke in a John F. Kennedy Library forum. He explained why young men are particularly disadvantaged in transitioning back to civilian life after experiencing war. He pointed out that the average 18 to 20 year-old guy controls very little in his life; girls are after the older guys, his parents’ socio-economic status is controlled by them yet it affects his status, his physical appeal is a matter of DNA, and he is at the bottom of the wage scale so he has no money. If that young man goes to war he is part of a tight unit that collectively controls its destiny. Once he comes back to society he’s back in the same powerless position he left and it’s a hard spot to be in.

I’d like to think I’m a pacifist. I wasn’t feeling peaceful when I watched parts of the documentary.  If you’ve ever been part of a group completely reliant on all of its member’s individual contributions for collective survival you’ll be able to identify with the soldiers. If you remember dancing in your youth and cutting up with your friends, you’ll identify with them too. I was compelled to purchase a copy of Restrepo from Amazon for my local library because I’m hopeful that it will help people better understand where our soldiers have been and why it’s so hard for them to come back.


About elroyjones

Married, no children, responsibly self-directed, living happily.
This entry was posted in Human Condition, Politics and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Restrepo’s Afghanistan

  1. It is awesome that you are sharing this.

    • elroyjones says:

      It’s well done and it reveals the ordinary lives of the soldiers without making a political statement. If I were a soldier’s wife, sister, girlfriend daughter, grandma, friend, or neighbor I’d want to see the film. From what I have read and seen this is the single most helpful work on the subject of the modern fighting man. It’s poignant because the viewer feels what it must be like to miss the fraternity of that existence. I don’t know how soldiers assimilate back to society after spending a year high on adrenaline and I don’t know how they ever get to a place where they can reconcile the emotional conflicts of the experience.
      In Maine, there is a sheriff who spent a tour in Iraq. He had some emotional problems when he came back, which were the catalyst for a more empathic method in treating vets who are held in Knox county jail. Vets are housed in a separate block with other vets, the doors don’t make the jarring noise that they do in other areas of the jail and there are programs in place to help them. The vast majority of them had clean records before they went to war. Maine Public Broadcasting made a documentary, A Matter of Duty, where the sheriff spoke frankly about his experiences.

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