14. War Machine
The United States has been involved in the Middle East for quite some time now. A variety of people have been making decisions on what the role of the US is in these conflicts and what they should be doing to “accomplish” their goals. These leaders range from Presidents, cabinet members, generals, and a slew of underlings crafting plans to deal with the problems of war.
War Machine is a satirical comedy about those conflicts the US has had in the Middle East. While the story is loosely based on a nonfiction book The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America’s War in Afghanistan, it fictionalized the events but the timeline remains the same.
In 2009, the United States sends Four-star general Glen McMahon, Brad Pitt, to Afghanistan to prepare an assessment to hopefully end the war. His involvement is due to his reputation as an effective leader but quickly finds out he is hampered by red tape and bureaucracy. One of his many holdups is that he cannot request more troops to be deployed.
Concurrently, the Afghanistan Presidential election is upcoming and the request for 40,000 more troops from McMahon would create a conflict in who the US wants to be elected. His constant attempt to win the war is held back by the government that sent him there to do just that, win. While the story is played up for the screen, it’s not too farfetched to see that this may have been close to true. The US has been embroiled in a war since 2001, and before that as well. The soldiers deploy, secure an area, get sent back home, and then the area is taken back by the groups they are fighting.
War Machine sheds light on this lengthy conflict, but also utilizes a stellar cast to bring humor to an otherwise dark time in the world.