Tag: experiencing war

The Lone Survivor’s War Council & Marcus Luttrell’s experience with war

It strikes me that a lot of people are going to head out this weekend to see Lone Survivor this weekend.  It was directed by Peter Berg (he did The Kingdom and Friday Night Lights) and stars Mark Walberg as Marcus Luttrell – the “lone survivor” of a  SEAL team mission in Afghanistan that went incredibly wrong.  I feel it’s important to try to gain some educational value, or consideration, before the tickets and popcorn are purchased – particularly as I just wrote that we ought to think seriously about war more than we watch war.

So here goes.  Marcus Luttrell sat down with 60 Minutes a few weeks back, and gave a very revealing interview.  Watch it.  But if you don’t have time, here’s a shortened version of events: the SEAL team of four members, while on a remote reconnaissance mission of a significantly larger enemy force, encounters an Afghan goat herder and is forced to make a tough decision.  They are unable to detain him for obvious reasons; they can’t let him go because he might alert enemy forces; they can’t kill him because that’s against our military code of ethics.  So the team leader called an abbreviated Council of War.  What follows is the interview transcript from 60 Minutes:

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Experiencing war and loss with Sebastian Junger and Tim Heatherington

Author Sebastian Junger gave an interview to NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross on 18 April 2013 about Junger’s new film Which Way is the Front Line From Here? The Life and Times of Tim Heatherington.

Heatherington, a British photographer, became very close to Junger while they collaborated on the documentary film Restrepo, which Junger turned into a book simply entitled War.  At left, one can see the two at the Academy Awards show – soon after the show the two were to go to Libya together on an assignment for Vanity Fair.  Junger had a last minute change, Heatherington went on his own and was killed by shrapnel from a single (likely errant) 82mm mortar round.  Junger’s film is meant to be a tribute to his lost friend; the interview also holds great insight for anyone who spends their life in a way that touches war and warfare.  Here is a sample of his thoughts:

On war photojournalism (at about 10 minutes into the interview):

“If you’re putting yourself in danger [as a photojournalist] in combat – if you don’t keep recording what’s happening – you’re putting yourself in danger for nothing. It’s utterly stupid. And so it’s actually easier to keep rolling in combat because at least it gives the risk some meaning.”

On fear in combat (at about 11 minutes):

“You go into shock a little bit. You know, combat’s not that scary actually.  It’s scary beforehand. The anticipation is very scary – and, afterwards, the fear catches up with you. But in combat you’re really very calm.  At least I am.”

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