Leave it to Hollywood to show us our ugliness in the mirror and make us proud of it. The “Hurt Locker” perfectly communicates America’s dirty addiction to war, which is the driving force behind our militarism. As this film plainly demonstrates, young Americans like the adrenaline rush, the danger, and the bonding that comes from warfare. Those that want to mainline the war drug go to fight. Those who can’t tolerate a heavy dose watch it depicted on TV or in Movies like “Hurt Locker.”
There may have been a time when the post-9/11 wars could have been justified in terms of national “defense,” but that time ended years ago, with the revelation of the Bush administration’s lies and the calculation of the horrible toll of destruction unleashed on Iraq and Afghanistan. Not even the dumbest American recruit has any excuse to disguise the quest for action and adventure in a combat zone.
What makes the popular reaction to “Hurt Locker” so revealing is that the soldiers depicted in the film are not viewed as freaks or unfortunate victims. They are seen as exemplars of a new nihilistic heroism, in which all that counts is personal style and a savage kind of courage. It is this decoupling of sacrifice from reason that is the essence of America’s moral collapse. The soldiers in “Hurt Locker,” like most American consumers, are just living for their next buzz. That is all their lives have been reduced to – long stretches of boredom punctuated by brief moments of great excitement.
This is the end of the line for our sick society – when it no longer cares what it is fighting for, and it simply relishes fighting. We have become a wicked people who delight in violence for its own sake. Future historians will find “The Hurt Locker” provides a simple answer to the question “What were they thinking?” The answer is: “They weren’t thinking; they were just a bunch of war junkies.”