In March, we were treated to the delightful vision of Brad Pitt as a four-star general tasked with rebuilding Afghanistan in "War Machine, the “politically charged military satire" adapted from the late Michael Hastings' book “The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America’s War in Afghanistan" that ended the career of said general. But while it was pretty clear from the brief 45-second teaser who, exactly, Pitt's channeling with his jovial smile and aw-shucks attitude, we didn't get a good taste of his portrayal.
But Friday, the new trailer for "War Machine" gave us our best look yet at Gen. Stanley McChrystal Glenn McMahon in action — and boy howdy, is he a character:
"We are here to build," says Pitt to his assembled troops in the opening of the new trailer. "To protect! To support the civilian population. To that end, we must avoid killing it at all costs. We can't help them and kill them at the same time, it just ain't humanly possible ..."
A pause. "... Now."
"War Machine" is billed as "part reality, part savage parody," an "anti-establishment, pro-soldier exploration in the form of an absurdist war story of a born leader’s ultra-confident march right into the dark heart of folly." But how does it stand up to reality? Well, let's check the original source from Hastings' original Rolling Stone article:
Where Gen. Petraeus is kind of a dweeb, a teacher's pet with a Ranger's tab, McChrystal is a snake-eating rebel, a "Jedi" commander, as Newsweek called him. He didn't care when his teenage son came home with blue hair and a mohawk. He speaks his mind with a candor rare for a high-ranking official. He asks for opinions, and seems genuinely interested in the response. He gets briefings on his iPod and listens to books on tape. He carries a custom-made set of nunchucks in his convoy engraved with his name and four stars, and his itinerary often bears a fresh quote from Bruce Lee. ("There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.") He went out on dozens of nighttime raids during his time in Iraq, unprecedented for a top commander, and turned up on missions unannounced, with almost no entourage. "The fucking lads love Stan McChrystal," says a British officer who serves in Kabul. "You'd be out in Somewhere, Iraq, and someone would take a knee beside you, and a corporal would be like 'Who the fuck is that?' And it's fucking Stan McChrystal."
Hastings published his story in July 2010; President Obama fired Gen. McChrystal for the commander's critical comments to the magazine about his administration's approach to the War in Afghanistan. The whole saga, though, seems fascinatingly absurd given nearly 7 years of hindsight. Either way,"War Machine" looks damn entertaining ... and with a premiere on Netflix, you don't even have to shell out cash for overpriced popcorn to laugh your ass off.
"War Machine" premieres on Netflix on May 26th, 2017.
Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.
An AH-64D Longbow Apache helicopter lands during a combined arms demonstration as part of South Carolina National Guard Air & Ground Expo 2009 at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., Oct. 10, 2009. (U.S. Army/Sgt. Roberto Di Giovine)
Welcome to Confessions Of, an occaisional series where Task & Purpose's James Clark solicits hilarious, embarrassing, and revealing stories from troops and vets about their job, billet, or a tour overseas. Are you in an interesting assignment and think you might have something to share? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your story.
"Nothing is more powerful than a young boy's wish. Except an Apache helicopter. An Apache helicopter has machine guns and missiles. It is an unbelievably impressive complement of weaponry, an absolute death machine."
James Jackson, right, confers with his lawyer during a hearing in criminal court, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019, in New York. Jackson, a white supremacist, pled guilty Wednesday to killing a black man with a sword as part of a racist plot that prosecutors described as a hate crime. He faces life in prison when he is sentenced on Feb. 13. (Associated Press/Bebeto Matthews)
White supremacist James Jackson – accused of trying to start a race war by killing a homeless black man in Times Square with a sword — pleaded guilty Wednesday to murder as an act of terrorism.
A soldier plugs his ears during a live fire mission at Yakima Training Center. Photo: Capt. Leslie Reed/U.S. Army
A Texas veteran is suing the company he says knowingly produced and sold defective earplugs which were issued to the U.S. military, leading him and many others to develop hearing problems, including tinnitus.