Netflix’s new movie, All Quiet on the Western Front, was adapted from Erich Remarque, a German veteran from World War I.

The book has been adapted before but this is the first time the movie was made with Deutschland speakers.

This movie reminded me of how important it is for us veterans to tell these stories because war is not glamorous at all.

War is burning shit pits in Afghanistan, it’s watching your friend bleed out and turn grey, and the haunting visions don’t go away.

It will be uncomfortable to watch for most and if anyone wants to see how political and military leadership can be led astray by a bad incentive system this film does a great job of that.

The movie follows a group of young German friends who upon graduating high school decide to all enlist in the Army to fight for their homeland. They soon realize the horrors of war as they are fed into the meat grinder.

I appreciated how the movie also showed how politicians and military leadership can be at odds, and how losing the war prepped the German psyche to go all in with Hitler in the 40s.  The punitive nature of the treaty of Versailles just about guaranteed that Germany would have to fight another war just to ensure its own national survival.

I also couldn’t help but draw comparisons to what led us into Iraq (again), and how we overstayed in Afghanistan by twenty years.

America’s political machine was like two cars speeding down a steep hill with no brakes. Everyone watched them roll out of control but few could do anything about it, especially those who wear the uniform.

I believe in a strong military but war should always be the last resort.

I used to think that my elected officials were smart and had our best interests in mind when I was serving in the Navy SEAL Teams. This changed when I left the navy and had time to reflect and ask the same leadership pointed questions about US strategic purpose. There were no good answers.

Seeing my friends die needlessly in Afghanistan and Iraq sits in my stomach like bad milk. We lost some of the best and brightest in this country and there is nothing good to show for it. That’s the dirty underbelly of America with weak political leadership.

Now, what do I think?

Lions led by lambs comes to mind.

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There are not too many US politicians I wouldn’t like to drop into Taliban territory with a rifle and a backpack after witnessing systemic incompetency on both sides of our failing two-party political duopoly.

Our political system is like a beat-up old Ford pickup truck that needs a rebuild and it’s on us to take a stand.

Summary

This film should be mandatory for viewing every serving and incoming member of the Senate and House of Representatives.

As uncomfortable as it was for me to watch I highly recommend it. You’ll come away with a better understanding of how America’s own leadership went wrong in the last two decades of failed foreign policy.

A must-watch film for the SOFREP audience.