July 02, 2008

(l to r) ed burns, eric kocher, evan wright, marc steiner, david simon


The US-led invasion of Iraq began on March 19th, 2003. As the war continues through its sixth year, with no end in sight, what can we learn from looking back at the invasion, the first phase of the war?

Generation Kill, Ed Burns’ and David Simon’s new HBO mini-series, tells the story of the First Recon Marines who were at the forefront of the US attack. They crossed the Kuwaiti border and travelled across Iraq to Baghdad in a convoy of unarmored Humvees. They were often the first of the invading forces to pass through vast stretches of desert, small towns, and large cities. They didn’t know it at the time, but they were frequently used as decoys, sent ahead in the hopes of drawing sniper fire or diverting the attention of the Iraqi army from the main body of the US forces.

Embedded with the First Recon Marines was a Rolling Stone reporter, Evan Wright. He set out to write about the young warrior class that makes up an elite marine unit, kids mostly in their early twenties who volunteer to kill and to risk being killed.

Today’s show is a conversation between Evan Wright, the author of Generation Kill, David Simon and Ed Burns, who produced and wrote the mini-series, and Sergeant Eric Kocher, one of the First Recon Marines whose story is documented in the book, and now the mini-series, Generation Kill.