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The Battle for Marjah (2010)

7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 322 users  
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On February 13, 2010, American-led coalition forces launched the biggest military operation since the beginning of the Afghanistan War. Their target was the town of Marjah, a Taliban ... See full summary »

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On February 13, 2010, American-led coalition forces launched the biggest military operation since the beginning of the Afghanistan War. Their target was the town of Marjah, a Taliban stronghold in southern Afghanistan. There, the Marines had four tasks: remove the Taliban, hold all ground seized, build infrastructure and governance, and transfer control to Afghan security forces. In this powerful account, award-winning journalist Ben Anderson tells the story of Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 6th Marines, and its commanding officer, Captain Ryan Sparks. At the battle's outset, Sparks and the 272 men of Bravo are flown 12 miles and dropped into the center of Marjah, where the Taliban lie in wait. For the young Marines, their first task begins. Embedded with Bravo Company, Anderson provides an intimate and sobering look at the realities of counterinsurgency warfare. Written by Acorn Media

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17 February 2011 (USA)  »

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Well Done
21 March 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Despite what other reviewers here have said, this documentary is incredibly well done.

Like anything else, there is a bit of bias.

But personally, I believe the outlook portrayed by the film makers aligns with the situation on the ground; this story does not deviate from the books or articles I have read.

It is not that the Afghan War has been lost, but rather that it was unwinnable from the start; the history of the region should have been the first clue; Alexander the Great, the British, the Russians, and the US and ISAF to name a few - and there were many - let alone that a centralized government in Afghanistan (regardless of the capital - Kabul, Herat, Kandahar) has never been effective, with the exception of Abdur Rahman in the late 1800s: using money from the British, he created one of the most repressive regimes in Afghan history, crushed all opposition, and ruled by fear. Certainly, then, a far cry from the Jeffersonian democracy we have tried to install (which, I might add, is riddled with corruption; Karzai is a joke).

The Marines performed their duties nearly flawlessly. The modern battlefield is one of the most mentally taxing in world history; the "Three Block War" captures only a piece of this, particularly as Improvised Explosive Devices have added a major variable to the equation (and are now the number one cause of Coalition casualties).

To me, this film presents them as doing the absolute best job they can

  • and then some - in a situation that can only go from bad to worse.




The only major flaw, and why I've given it a 9, is because it fails to discuss that the Afghans interviewed here, natives of southern Afghanistan, are Pashtun, the ethnic group from which the Afghan Taliban are primarily comprised. No wonder, then, that they would be more sympathetic to the "sons of this land," rather than foreign Americans and Afghan National Army troops of a different ethnicity (Tajik, Uzbek, Hazara).


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