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Parents' Guide to

The Line

By Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Violent, curse-filled docuseries covers military ethics.

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As the compelling TV documentary chronicles Eddie Gallagher's actions during deployment in Mosul, Iraq, it reveals conflicting viewpoints surrounding the moral standards that guide modern-day military operations. The decision of some SEAL Team 7 members to report Gallagher (the first time in Navy SEALs history that officers turn their leader in for alleged war crimes) was motivated by actions they allegedly saw him commit, and the immorality he exhibited while committing them. But Gallagher, who is a decorated SEAL who served in the Navy for 19 years, argues that the younger, more inexperienced team members are unable to understand that the decisions he made during the covert mission were both appropriate and necessary if they were going to succeed in clearing out the Isis capital.

As platoon members, U.S. civilians, and even then-President Trump contextualize the events that took place from their points of view, the overall documentary narrative serves as a foundation for broader conversations about contemporary military ethics.The Line underscores what it means to serve in the armed forces, and the formal and unwritten doctrines that guide its members. But conversations are also had about how these principles are challenged when confronted with the realities of combat, and whether or not this was acceptable in Iraq given the nature of the conflict. Though an interesting discussion, the consequences of this "gray area," which includes normalizing (and justifying) the taking of human lives in ways that violate the Laws of War that some viewers will find most disturbing. It's not the easiest docuseries to watch, but it certainly leaves viewers with a lot of food for thought.

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