Generation Kill chronicles the service of an elite marine recon unit through the initial stages of Operation Iraqi Freedom. While there are some successful engagements, this miniseries largely portrays a string of blunders by a group of Marines at varying levels of stupidity and psychopathy. While this HBO miniseries offers some commentary on this particular engagement (the soldiers say that Afghanistan makes sense but Iraq doesn’t), it more generally seems to offer a view on war and the people we send out as a nation to do our killing. In the final scene, the unit huddles around a video montage of their tour in Iraq, and one by one they file away, disgusted by what they see, until only a true psychopath is left in the room enjoying the video. No sane person was proud of what had been accomplished and what it had done to their very souls.
Interestingly, a few days after finishing this series, I had the opportunity to talk to a Marine who had toured in Afghanistan. Contrary to the view of the soldiers in this miniseries, this particular soldier felt that neither war made sense, but that of the two operations, Iraq actually made more sense. He also claimed that you would be hard-pressed to find a Marine who felt we should be in those places because we aren’t helping anyone or accomplishing anything. This view was sobering for me, especially after the highly-positive views from American Sniper and the Lone Survivor novel and movie.