It was an ambitious film that sought to understand the President's strategy one year after winning the election with a campaign pledge to focus on the war in Afghanistan. The film crew accompanies US troops being deployed to Helmand province as part of a now long-ago military surge.
We hear about the ambitions of nation-building. Instead, what is revealed is mistrust, violence, and frustration over language and culture misunderstandings. We see that the US military does not have the will or the expertise to build nations.
The opening scene sets the stage (1:35). A sergeants voice is recorded preparing his troops for deployment. This is what he says.
“Make no mistake. We’re experts in the application of violence. We are attacking to seize control of the populations from the Taliban. The people are our objective…”
This remains the foundation of our policy and continues to fuel violence and instability in the country.
Note: The film was produced before the announcement in December of 2010 that President Obama would send an additional 30,000 US troops.