How Generation Kill Defies Expectations
By Robert Silva
With asides on Jennifer Lopez and
It’s a surreal road trip
This is a story about men in their 20s, full of energy and anticipation, on the road. Only
It’s brutally funny
Would real Marines crack gloriously crude jokes about their fellow soldier’s ethnicity, sexual orientation
It gets the details right, especially the ugly ones
The title Generation Kill, according to author Evan Wright, was intended as a counterpoint to the term the Greatest Generation, which he felt over-sentimentalized war. Whether or not World War II was a “good war,” it definitely wasn’t clean. (Consider that the bombing of Dresden killed over 20,000 non-combatants in World War II. Now, name a single World War II film or TV show that shows civilians dying at the hands of American soldiers.) Gen Kill doesn’t hide the shocking moments: A village teeming with women and children incinerated in an instant. A little girl filled with bullets at a roadblock. This is the nature of warfare.
It’s not on message
Generation Kill looks at the invasion of Iraq through the viewpoints of soldiers trained to complete a mission. The mission is tactically complex and politically controversial. And for the 1st Recon Marines, their contribution is to kill and, maybe, score points with the generals — and they’re looking forward to it. Which is to say, if you’re looking for a polemic, look elsewhere. This isn’t going to confirm or deny anyone’s thinking about the Invasion of Iraq. Whatever their feelings, the soldiers weren’t given the option of not fighting. They follow orders.
War may be hell, but it’s also complicated as hell. What’s important, one might take from Generation Kill, is to present a clear picture.
Marines in Kuwait awaiting orders to invade Iraq are joined by a writer from Rolling Stone, in the first episode, "Get Some."