You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Filmmaker Greg Barker on How CNN’s ‘Legion of Brothers’ Tells Human Side of Special Forces

WASHINGTON — Greg Barker’s documentary “Legion of Brothers,” which debuts on CNN on Sunday night, tells the story of the special forces units that were instrumental in rooting the Taliban out of Afghanistan in the initial months following 9/11.

But the project is unique in that it captures the thoughts and emotions of the special forces units more than 15 years later, including their candid observations about their discomfort as they waged what has been called a “secret war.”

“There’s the Hollywood version of ‘gung ho’ SEALs. It is really not that way,” Barker told Variety‘s Ted Johnson on SiriusXM. “The people who are recruited to these elite units are incredibly intelligent, thoughtful, sophisticated people. Elite soldiers. But they really do think and reflect on what they are doing. And the killing, and what it means for themselves and our country. They would like us all to reflect on what we ask them to do when they do these jobs.”

He adds, “The horror of war stays with them for the rest of their lives. They just never really get that out of their head.”

President Donald Trump has announced more troop deployments to Afghanistan, where the U.S. involvement is nearing 16 years, the longest in history.

Barker said that in his conversations with the veterans of the initial mission in the country, they would like to see a strategy where soldiers on the ground are given “more flexibility [to do] what they see fit in that the moment.”

“Just having more troops there is not always the answer,” he said. “If we have troops not trained in local culture, and not trained to work through our allies on the ground … then you are in a position where you have a large footprint trying to impose the will, and that invariably leads sort to some kind of reaction, which is not always a good one.”

Listen below:

The documentary airs at 9 p.m. ET on CNN.

More Politics

  • Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

    Kirsten Gillibrand Kicks Off Her Campaign and Plans L.A. Visit Next Week

    WASHINGTON — Fresh off announcing on “Late Show With Stephen Colbert” that she is entering the 2020 presidential race, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) has been taking the traditional next step in the process: Contacting potential donors. Sources said Gillibrand is planning a visit to Los Angeles on Jan. 22, next Tuesday, to meet with potential [...]

  • Nancy Pelosi Swearing In

    Nancy Pelosi Suggests to Trump That State of the Union Be Delayed

    WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is suggesting to President Donald Trump that his planned State of the Union address, scheduled for Jan. 29, be delayed or that it be delivered in writing. Pelosi cited the government shutdown and the fact that the two agencies tasked with security and planning, the Secret Service and the [...]

  • L.A. Teachers' Strike: Hollywood Studios, Unions

    Hollywood Studios, Unions Support Parents and Educators as L.A. Teachers' Strike Rages

    Hollywood unions and entertainment companies have stepped up to support the 31,000 Los Angeles teachers in the second day of a massive strike that’s affected nearly half a million students. More than 50 SAG-AFTRA members picketed at a Tuesday afternoon rally in the driving rain next to the Hollywood & Highland Center with secretary-treasurer Jane [...]

  • Kirsten Gillibrand

    Kirsten Gillibrand Tells Stephen Colbert She's Forming 2020 Exploratory Committee

    WASHINGTON — Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) told Stephen Colbert on Tuesday’s “Late Show” that she was forming a presidential exploratory committee, the latest Democrat to move toward a bid for the White House. Gillibrand chose to make the announcement on Colbert’s show, reflecting the influence and national reach of the late night host. He’s become [...]


    British Lawmakers Reject Prime Minister's Brexit Plan, Heightening Uncertainty

    British lawmakers have resoundingly rejected Prime Minister Theresa May’s terms for the U.K.’s withdrawal from the European Union, heightening the country’s sense of uncertainty and paralysis less than two months before the exit is supposed to take effect. Parliament rejected May’s Brexit plan by a 432-202-vote Tuesday evening, one of the biggest parliamentary defeats in [...]

  • William Barr

    Attorney General Nominee William Barr Says He'll Look at Antitrust Impact on Tech Giants

    WASHINGTON — William Barr, President Donald Trump’s nominee for the next attorney general, said that it was “more important” that the Department of Justice get involved in questions of how effective antitrust enforcers have been in protecting competition amid the growth of tech giants. “I would like to weigh in on some of these issues,” [...]

  • Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

    Kirsten Gillibrand to Guest on 'Colbert' as She Moves Toward Presidential Run

    WASHINGTON — Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) will be a guest on “Late Show With Stephen Colbert” on Tuesday, leading to speculation that she will use the platform to announce that she is forming a presidential exploratory committee. To announce on “Late Show” would be a bit unusual, as campaigns have usually debuted with carefully scripted [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content