Friday, July 11, 2008

Set Your TIVOs

For Sunday night. HBO is beginning its production of Evan Wright's Generation Kill.

I read his series in Rolling Stone when it was first published and later bought the book. I thought it was one of the better things I ever read about actual combat. He did not minimize what was going on, there were some truly horrible things which happened during the initial, fast paced push into Bagdhad. Thing was, you came to love these gritty Marines.

Later I also read the memior of that unit's Platoon Leader, Nathaniel Fick, who wrote the beautiful One Bullet Away: The Making of a Marine Officer.

What struck me was that reading these memoirs, written without any contact or communication between the two authors, was that the stories jived. They dovetailed perfectly. Both on the events that took place, and the effect that those events had on the Marines who were right in the middle. That speaks volumes as to the truth of the recollections. That's an amazing thing in a combat memoir. Combat can blur all perceptions. Many times there were things that I remembered vividly, things I felt had been seared into my memory, that turned out to have been seen in a totally different way by others who were also there. Memories of combat and battles is like trying to describe a party that you only saw by looking through a tube from a roll of paper towells. Vision is restricted and most of the time restricted to the very immediate front of your sight lines. This didn't happen here.

This was a light armored Marine Force Recon outfit. They were the "pointy end of the spear" in the invasion of Iraq.

This is very well worth a long look. If you don't have HBO offer to take a cake or something over to somebody who has it. Camp out. Watch this.



Anonymous blackdog said...

Terribly sorry Minstrel, but I was in an extended conversation with Father Tyme on matters of physics and mathematics that made my blackhead swell more than a bit. My phone batteries went down the tubes, so if you will, I will attempt a reconnect tomorrow.

Thank you Sir.

I could hook up my old corded phone, but that would be like cheating. But what the fuck.

8:17 PM  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

MB, ref your cmts on the tube vision. i firmly believe that all veterans form false memories as a way to deal with and minimize their trauma.As such then it's hard to call it false since it's true to them. maybe selective memory will apply also.i'll check these books out at my first opportunity- i may read them on my roadtrip. jim

9:35 AM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

one instance is very clear, where my memories are totally different from those who were there with me was i saw one of our young ensigns go down, to me he was just in front of our line so i jogged out to him and brought him back.

later, the other guys said "dude, the shit was hot. and you zigged and juked like fran tarkenton being chased by the green bay line nearly 30 yards. you were blasting away with a pistol and dragging a guy that was bigger than you with one hand."

i really don't have any recollection of being under fire. if it had been as hot as they say i probably would have stayed home.

the nathaniel fick, especially, is an incredible memoir. he's a deep thinker, a classics major who went marine recon. when i read about that i thought of joshua chamberlin.

9:45 AM  
Blogger BlondeSense Liz said...

I watched the first episode with great interest and since I have HBO on demand I watched all the small segments about each marine and the writer which made it more personal for me. I assume by the last few episodes the characters will become much more familiar to me, but as the shit hits the fan, I imagine that their reactions may be more or less surprising.

What struck me is how much stuff for battle the soldiers are expected procure on their own and that kind of bugs me. But being a girl, a folk singer, a bleeding heart liberal and all that... who lost her share of boyfriends to the VN war, I feel that if a country wants to send the boys and girls to war, they ought to cough up every last supply down to the toothpaste and adult diapers that the troops need. I don't care if my tax money goes to it. It's better than the money going to war profiteers. If we have to be such a fucking war machine, we ought to do it correctly and I am gravely disappointed in my country when it comes to looking out for those who fight their wars.

Anyway, I expect to watch the whole series at least once and will look into reading the books too.

9:29 AM  

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