Rambo III showed us that Afghanistan would be an awful war
Rambo III gave us many things — stick fighting, Rambo beating the Afghans at some game where they carry a dead goat around on horseback, and the inside info that fighting a war against the Afghan people would be a really bad move.
The scene above comes right after Rambo announces his plan to break into the Soviet garrison to free his old commander. The Afghan elders don’t like the plan, obviously concluding that he is embarking on a suicide mission.
In true American badass fashion, Rambo tells the elders that he is willing to die in this mission, so who cares if the plan sucks. To Rambo, this is the end of the discussion. He establishes his willingness to die among men he believes want to survive the war. One man willing to sacrifice his life for another. Simple.
Unfortunately the Afghans have been fighting the Soviets for near one decade and don’t have the time for this sentimental bullshit. Not only could they give a fuck about Rambo’s life — turns out they don’t care about their own. As mujahideen, they have in fact already had their funerals and been declared dead in the eyes of their society. Before you get all misty about how cool that sounds (and it does), remember that means some other dude is now plowing your main squeeze because you are “dead”.
They do, however, care about defeating the Soviets. They don’t intend to survive the war but they damn sure want to win. And as such they only want to sacrifice their lives if it means they can take a fuck-ton of the enemy with them.
For Rambo and the U.S. as a whole, war is a personal affair, fought by individuals who come together in brotherhood under a common cause. The soldiers retain their individuality and their value. Country comes first, but the war is a personal affair. God Bless the USA.
The Afghans don’t share our sentiment for the individual — only for the success of the whole. They don’t care if they or their friends die. This makes them a dangerous opponent. They will sacrifice more people than we will. I’m no military commander, but to paraphrase the words of Denzel from Malcolm X, “don’t fuck with a man who’s not afraid to die”.
We should have watched Rambo III a few more times before we decided to invade.