Restrepo is the name of a film, an outpost, a soldier. It is the legacy of at least a couple of dead men. It is an intimate documentary of the soldiers involved in a campaign in the Korenagal Valley, a remote location somewhere in the depths of Afghanistan. It's about broken promises.
Not many people stateside are aware of our goals in Afghanistan. I am certainly not informed by public discussion on the matter. But as I watched the film it was clear that we are holding to the new form of ideological warfare, where we are not interested in holding property, but slewing the the population and eliminating those enemies bold enough to call themselves enemies. It is a rather stupid form of war when you think about it, but it's about all we can manage these days in our half-hearted foreign policy.
The kind of war that makes more sense that we do not pursue is the kind that demands peace. Instead we pursue the kind that sorta argues for peace and kind of asks for peace. The difference is found in the attitude towards the enemy combattant. IE the definition of the enemy. You see we do not make war on a place so much as we do on an idea that's somewhat in place in a place. In the good old days, every male who could pick up a rifle and shoot was considered a potential soldier and thus subject to being killed or captured. These days we find an interpreter and have him fill out a questionaire. Are you a bad guy? Well we saw you hanging out with bad guys, what do you think of that? It's a job our soldiers aren't very good at, young as they are. Nor should soldiers be good at police work. But that's how they get their purple hearts these days in Afghanistan.
In the course of human events there are things worth warring over, but it's not clear we have such purpose these days. It's something we once had, but not so many hearts bleed over what passes for injustice in Afghanistan. War is the most expensive sort of justice, even when it's done right. But there's no peace worth demanding these days - just a lot of people who may or may not deserve to die for no particularly good reason. We've signed on to that, and as a nation bound by our global obligations we are marching to the 4/4 timing we established.