"The Longest War" (2020 release; 82 min.) is a documentary that takes a look back at America's longest war ever. That would be true if we were to look only at the post-9/11 war in Afghanistan, but as the movie opens, the film makers trace is all the way back ti 1979, when the USSR invaded Afghanistan, prompting a response from the US. After that brief introduction, we are introduced to Lisa Maddox, a CIA Targeter, i.e. (counter)intelligence gatherer. "I don't see how this ends", she laments. We then go back in time to 1979, and from there we get a reminder course 101 on how it all unfolded from there. At this point we are 10 min. into the documentary. Couple of comments: this is the latest from veteran documentarian Greg Barker ("The Final Year", "Homegrown: The Counter-Terror Dilemma", etc.) Here he traces the history of our country's involvement with Afghanistan. When you see it playing out as presented in this film, it absolutely blows the mind how long this has been going on. "It was always the CIA's war", comments someone about what the US was doing covertly in the 1980s. We witness the rise of the Taliban starting in the late 80s and early 90s, and it all leads to the post-9/11 environment, where things at first go quite well, but then when the US invades Iraq in 2003, all goes to hell in a handbasket, both in Iraq and Afghanistan. Along the way we get some really thoughtful perspectives, including from Roya Rahmani (current Afghan Ambassador to the US, the first woman ever in that position) and from a guy named Amrullah Saleh who at first is described as "Former Chief of Afghan Intelligence" but later is revealed as the current "Vice President of Afghanistan". "The Longest War" premiered earlier this week on Showtime and is now available on SHO On Demand and other streaming services. No, it is not the most cheerful thing to watch and in fact at times it makes for difficult viewing, but frankly also necessary viewing. We have poured over a trillion dollars into that country (whether for waging war and/or funding reconstruction), it just blows the mind. And why are we still there? If you have any interest in geopolitical issues, I'd readily suggest you check this out and draw your own conclusion.
The Longest War
The Longest War
This documentary feature unpacks the human stories and drama behind America's involvement in Afghanistan, now the longest war in U.S. history. First-hand witnesses bring their experiences to life through emotional interviews.
November 11, 2020