Former Marine Miles Lagoze hopes his film “Combat Obscura” will alter the “sanitized and sanctified view of the military” many Americans hold by showing them his view of what combat is actually like.
“It’s important because if you worship the military too much, you lose track of why we’re actually at war and the underlying issues that are causing it,” Lagoze told Stars and Stripes during a phone interview before the film’s release on Friday.
The documentary — a patchwork of scenes showing Marines smoking marijuana while on patrol in Afghanistan, defecating outside the homes of locals, swearing at children and talking lightly of killing innocent people — goes far to challenge the ubiquitous label of “hero” frequently bestowed on American servicemembers.
The cultural insensitivity on display may also give viewers the feeling that they’re getting an explanation, or at least part of one, as to why America’s longest war — now in its 18th year — hasn’t been won.
Footage used in the film was taken by Lagoze, then a lance corporal, and other combat cameramen during a deployment to Helmand province with the 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment between 2011 and 2012.