As the Marine First Recon continues further into Iraq, so does the incompetency of their command, who begin the episode by ordering the abandonment of a supply truck mid-mission. The supply truck is subsequently burned by enemy forces, resulting in hungry and doubtful troops as they are now limited to one meal per day. After a weak and very uninspiring speech that provided more comic relief to audiences than its actual purpose of raising troop morale, Bravo Company Leader, “Encino Man,” reminds troops that they should not blame their command for the demolition of the supply truck. “That’s the important thing to remember. It’s the enemy who stole your food and you should be really, really angry at them. Before we set off again let me remind you who your enemy is… The enemy.” Prior to his uninspiring speech, “Encino Man” was even told that it was his incompetency that is at the root of the problems the soldiers all must deal with. (Watch clip above)
So far in HBO’s Generation Kill series, each episode highlights the confusion and unpreparedness faced during the invasion of Iraq. It has now come to a point in the series where soldiers face confusion in every mission. There is never an answer to their actions, and although these men don’t require answers as they have been trained to follow orders based on the trust that their command actually knows what they are doing, the troops would still feel a hell of a lot more confident following orders if their actions weren’t based on the possibility of a “rumor.”
Such was the case when Bravo Company drove closer to Baghdad, only to see the friendly company of Alpha drive in the oncoming, opposite direction. Alpha was told that a marine was captured and “crucified” in the middle of a city believed to be filled with Republican Guard. Upon arrival, the streets are erupting with civilian celebration due to the fleeing of the Republican Guard after a U.S.-led air-strike wiped out Republican Guard HQ. Civilians are looting stores, dancing to Iraqi house music and shooting bullets into the air in celebration. As if these troops haven’t been dicked around enough, Alpha was also told to abandon the search for the “crucified” marine to join the Iraqi Freedom Fighters in a search for “Chemical” Ali, also believed to be in the city. Soon after, the Company is told to abandon all missions involving this area and the Iraqi Freedom Fighters’ Leader abandons the Marines, taking Alpha Company Captain Patterson’s Oakleys with him.
While all this is happening with Alpha, Bravo was given the task of setting up roadblocks to prohibit traffic in and out of the nearby cities. A seemingly uncomplicated task, the men complete the roadblock with ease and set up shop swiftly and concisely. The understanding between Iraqi civilians and U.S. Marines, however, is not so uncomplicated. The men quickly find out that oncoming drivers do not understand the purpose or meaning of “warning shots” and continue to drive toward the roadblock, forcing the only competent commander introduced to us, Lt. Nathaniel Fick, to order his Gunner to open fire on an oncoming eight-wheeler. More civilian casualties ensue as the truck is forced off-road and its passengers are killed while exiting the truck now lying on its side. Seeing that they have just killed more civilians, Lt. Fick wonders if Iraqis understand the purpose of warning shots.
The fourth episode, “Combat Jack,” is appropriately named after the act of masturbating in a combat zone. From what we’ve seen, these soldiers were definitely getting jerked around with discombobulated orders and bad judgement calls made by their commanding officers. Despite all that, TACTICAL-LIFE.COM still has hope in our men and will most definitely be tuning in for the fifth installment of HBO’s Generation Kill, “A Burning Dog,” airing Sunday, Aug 10 at 9 p.m.