Camp Victory, Afghanistan

Over the weekend I went to see a screening of Camp Victory, Afghanistan. In short, if you get a chance – go see it.

What makes the film different from many others about Afghanistan post-2001 was illustrated by a comment from the director in a post-screening Q+A session. Carol Dysinger explained that, unlike many others making films of the conflicts in Afghanistan, she had first approach the Afghan government for permission to film rather than the US (or other) military forces.

It is the Afghan army that is at the centre of the film. The footage comes from five visits, each of two months, that the director made to the country. The length of these visits means she earned enough trust from many of those filmed to reveal more than superficial first impressions. Yet at the same time the film is deftly edited together with an economy of style that packs in numerous illuminating pointers to wider issues. It only takes 30 seconds of an American special forces officer pointing out in a meeting that he has a completely separate line of command from all the others in the room to throw a stark light on the tangled command structures: US special forces, US non-special forces, Italian, NATO and Afghani.

Camp Victory screenshotThe film’s focus on Camp Victory and its key personalities means that direct fighting features only rarely in the film. That is not to sanitise the military conflict, but it means the film covers the wider and longer-term issues than the usual reports which are drawn like a magnet to cover the ‘kinetic stuff’, giving drama at the expense of understanding (a point I talked about back in September).

Through the personalities we see the successes and failures of attempts to build up the Afghan army and the tangled web of political, social and economic problems which influence those efforts. As the director recounted in the Q+A, one Afghani said to her when she was asking about how bribery and corruption could be tackled, “You call it corruption. We call it an economy”.

The film is low-key in its presentation, with little in the way of editing or music to force a message on a viewer. However, the regular cycle of US advisers leaving Camp Victory and burning their papers before departure leaves a symbolic message about the difference between those who can tidy up and move on and those who are left behind.

Read more by or more about .
This entry was posted in News.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?


Recent Comments

  • User AvatarTim13 18th Jan - 11:29pm
    In particular we need to look at 2010, and the run-up to it, so we understand what not to do. We need to absorb the...
  • User AvatarCath Hunter 18th Jan - 11:17pm
    A true gentleman we helped him in his 1970election school girls and could not afford the 12/6d ticket to victory ball in The Norseman not...
  • User AvatarTom Barney 18th Jan - 11:11pm
    I will remember him for his kindness and courtesy. I organised a fringe meeting at which he agreed to speak. Afterwards I wrote to thank...
  • User AvatarDavid Becket 18th Jan - 10:48pm
    @ Simon McGrath I will deal with comments possibly to-morrow, but I must point out a correction. Simon Please read Page 94 of our 2019...
  • User AvatarBarry Lofty 18th Jan - 10:09pm
    Well said Chris Cory, I could not put it better.
  • User AvatarNigel Jones 18th Jan - 9:58pm
    I must add to my comment that we must simultaneously deal with inequality, otherwise many people will not support us on green/international issues.