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Full Battle Rattle (2008)

 -  Documentary  -  9 July 2008 (USA)
6.5
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 138 users   Metascore: 72/100
Reviews: 5 user | 23 critic | 9 from Metacritic.com

A film about life inside the US Army's Iraq simulation in California's Mojave Desert.

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A film about life inside the US Army's Iraq simulation in California's Mojave Desert.

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Strangely even-handed depiction of preparing for combat.
13 October 2009 | by (Raleigh, NC, USA) – See all my reviews

I'm used to documentaries about the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the political machinations here in the US that are behind them, having a lot more political elements to them. FBR is amazingly neutral in its approach, yet it is quite moving when you listen to the Iraqi immigrants/refugees who work with the US troops training there.

Before I saw this film, an acquaintance warned me that it would be "unblievable." I asked him in what sense. He seemed sure that I would be shocked that US troops do this type of training. I had to disappoint him...of course some US troops have the opportunity to train this way. I wouldn't want it any other way. You can argue about the wisdom of being involved in these conflicts, but I would never begrudge US troops the best equipment, weapons, and training possible. Further, I firmly believe (after watching FBR) that this is one of the best ways to minimize casualties on both sides. (As a sidelight, I will also admit that I have never understood why some people are so fascinated with Area 51. Why wouldn't the military have a location to develop new aircraft designs in secret? And wouldn't they guard access to it? And wouldn't you EXPECT it to be secretive?)

As a parting shot in my review, I do want to address people (including a reviewer or two on the Web) who seem to believe that US troops should be exercising their political influence on the US position re Iraq and Afghanistan. This scares me a bit. Certainly, as voters and politically-involved citizens/permanent residents, members of the military should be involved in US politics. But the military itself should be under civilian control. It's OUR job to employ them wisely.

Definitely recommended for those who are interested in military training and how we try to prepare our troops for the indescribable.


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