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Second Sunday Cinema features ‘Rethink Afghanistan’ Aug. 9

By Shannon Tolson at Lake County News

CLEARLAKE – Remember the quagmire of Vietnam? Remember the quagmire that is our military operation in Iraq? Remember the costs in lives and pain on both sides? Are you ready to do it all over again?

The fine documentary, “Rethink Afghanistan” – which is being made and released as a series in “real time” – urges you and every other US citizen to think twice, or three times, before we send our money and our family members into that wild and forbidding country. We will screen at least parts one through four.

Robert Greenwald, the respected director of such films as “Iraq for Sale” and “Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price” is asking critically important questions about the wisdom of conducting any US military operations at all in Afghanistan. And he’s listening to the answers of many experts from Afghanistan itself, and from Pakistan (Afghanistan’s deeply unstable and nuclear-armed neighbor).

He’s asking expert journalists and those who know the country well. He’s asking experts who know exactly how much the citizens of Montgomery, Alabama will pay to bomb people in Afghanistan. He’s also gone there repeatedly to film what’s happening – and as soon as he has more film and more information, he puts it together and sends it out. That’s why it’s in “real time.”

This film doesn’t look back, with intelligent and informed regret years later, telling us what mistakes were made. This film shows us what’s happening right now and says, in essence, do not do it, and here’s exactly why.

Already, this documentary has helped retired Cpl. Rick Reyes and other vets testify before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and meet with members of Congress. Reyes served in both Afghanistan and Iraq and told the Committee, “Sending more troops will not make the US safer and will only build more opposition against us. I urge you on behalf of truth and patriotism to consider carefully and Rethink Afghanistan.”

Although this film is not as polished as some, its immediacy and authenticity far outweigh any rough edges. While it is extremely informative, it is also compelling and deeply moving.

The Obama Administration and high-level military commanders pin their hopes on the strategy of “Clear, Hold, Build.” (The same as in Iraq.) But the “collateral damage” (dead women and children) and the realities on the ground are pointing to a bad outcome. In an area where US troops are already engaged, “now there are more people siding with the Taliban than with the (Afghan) government” says an Afghan Human Rights Commissioner. No one has ever tamed Afghanistan, ever.

“Rethink Afghanistan” will be screened, for free as always, at the Clearlake United Methodist Church at 14521 Pearl Ave. in Clearlake on Aug. 9.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. for socializing and snack and seat-grabbing The film starts at 6 p.m. We hope to see you there! Call 707-279-2957 for more information.