With the White House mulling a new troop surge in Afghanistan, “War Machine,” a dark comedy about the last time we tried this, is exactly what we need right now. On the surface, the feature-length film from writer-director David Michôd — streaming on Netflix starting today — is an examination of post-colonial hubris. Brad Pitt stars as an eerily familiar four-star general tasked with doing what no other foreign military leader could: winning in the storied Southwest Asian graveyard of empires.
In early January 2010, a squad of Marines from Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 6th Marines, got pinned down in a gully under fire from Taliban fighters holed up in an adobe farm compound on the outskirts of Marjah, Afghanistan. It was the beginning of Operation Moshtarak, the attempt to wrest the town from the Taliban’s grip.