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You Can’t Handle The Truth

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Korengal is a study of modern war, which is to say that very little has to do with gunfights or explosions. Rather, it's about people repairing or destroying fragile relationships. Captain Dan Kearney, Battle Company's commander, laments the Korengalis in an interview after the deployment. "They're liars; they didn't want us," he says of the locals caught between American shelling and clandestine Taliban threats. "They didn't want our help."

The truth about all real wars is that they're mostly spent waiting. Second Platoon waits for the next round to skip into a gun position, or a mortar to fall onto their outpost. They wait to see if they'll be alive from one moment to the next. In the Valley of Death, combat isn't as destructive on the human mind as the bracing for its inevitable return.

During these long lulls between fighting, they sleep, wrestle, clean weapons, and play guitars. In one jarring scene, a despondent soldier walks the outpost physically grasping at others while babbling and looking into a mirror aimlessly. He has gone from 100 to zero, like a daredevil slamming into a brick wall. Other soldiers spend hours debating who would win a fistfight: George Clooney or Fabio.

It sounds like it's really hard to be a soldiers.

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