The best part about Generation Kill’s fifth installment, “A Burning Dog,” is the nighttime siege on the bridge at Al Kut. As the men approach the bridge, they are attacked by insurgents at all angles and one by one, take on each and every Iraqi fighter that approaches as they continue toward the bridge in their vehicles. When they finally approach the bridge leading into the city of Al Kut, a vehicle from Alpha company gets stuck and causes the line of humvees to halt and figure out a way to “unfuck this clusterfuck.” When a handful of men lift the humvee out of the crack in the bridge, they are able to see that the bridge had been weakened, making it too dangerous to cross. The airstrike that was previously called in is continued, and they are cleared to retreat away from the bridge.
The next morning the men patrol the area from where the insurgents were firing. The enemy was mostly young men dressed in casual clothing, and while searching a body of a dead “Iraqi,” the soldiers find that the young man was not even from Iraq; he was a student from a neighboring country who specifically came to Iraq to fight U.S. Forces only a few days prior to his death.
“A Burning Dog” reflects the Battalion leaders’ oft-futile attempts to keep order among the ranks. But the constant intrusions force a different outcome every time. Every action has its consequence and the troops are beginning to feel the frustration borne of cleaning up somebody else’s mess. Despite it all, the men continue on with an order to move out to the next inevitable consequence.
The sixth installment, “Stay Frosty,” airs on HBO 9 p.m. on August 17.