The characters in this film do not talk about “victory,” or “winning” or the politics of the situation in which they find themselves. Indeed, given the everyday situations these soldiers experience, notions of victory seem almost laughable. The closest thing to political commentary is when an Iraqi taxi driver is manhandled by American soldiers, Renner’s character remarks “If he wasn’t an insurgent, he sure the hell is now.” Former CIA terrorism expert Michael Scheuer recently criticized “Obama’s brass” for “continuing to reassuringly chant the Bush-Clinton-Bush lie to Americans that Islamists attack us because of our way of life not because of our interventionism.”
Though still hard for some Americans to comprehend, Scheuer’s observation that US foreign military intervention breeds Islamic terrorists would not be considered controversial, but fairly obvious, to the soldiers in this film.
The film’s intention is to make us think about the Iraq war in realistic terms, and it accomplishes this, or as much as any Hollywood production possibly could. ... It is not the soldier’s job to ask questions. Soldiers simply do their duty, and hopefully, survive. Asking questions is our job. When leaving the theater after seeing this movie in July, my first, obvious question was “was Iraq worth all that?” Virtually everything we were told about our reasons for invading Iraq — Saddam Hussein being behind 9/11, possessing weapons of mass destruction or threatening the U.S. — turned out to be untrue. ...
Why do so many continue to still say the Iraq war was “worth it?” If this is true, then any war our government can possibly conceive of could be considered “worth it.” Americans too often tend to justify war for its own sake. As citizens we neglect our important role of questioning our government, and that neglect has translated into too many de facto endorsements of the reckless use of our military. It seems we would rather eternally send more soldiers into even more “hurt lockers” than ever confront and deal with gross government incompetence on foreign policy. As with Vietnam, if Iraq wasn’t a mistake, it’s hard to imagine Americans admitting any war was a mistake. ...
If our government decides to go to war — too many Americans assume that it is their patriotic “duty” to support those wars without question. This is obscene, as the only thing standing between a soldier and a bad government decision is the American public. With the invasion of Iraq, Americans did not “support the troops” — we needlessly abused them. “The Hurt Locker” is a movie about that abuse.
Six Questions for Michael Scheuer on National Security, (former CIA), Harper's magazine