But frequently are none. No winners. Only losers.
In fact, it has been said that those involved in war can only suffer losses and the question is not who wins the most but who loses the least.
When President George W Bush led United States to war against Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi forces, it affected the entire world.
The US might have eliminated the force that they were up against but victory came at a cost that somewhat crippled the US economy.
That war has cost US taxpayers more than $3 trillion to date. It also came at a cost of over a million lives, most of whom are believed to have been innocent.
So does anyone benefit from such situation? If so, who are they?
They are a bunch of guys who are known as “war dogs.” These are the manufacturers and suppliers of guns, ammunitions and other devices used in a war.
And now movie director Todd Phillips has made a biographical crime/war/comedy-drama, War Dogs, which is about two friends who hustle their way to fulfilling the American dream.
The movie is set in 2005 during the US war with Iraq.
David Packouz (Miles Teller) is a struggler. He has been fired from a number of jobs and works as a masseur in Miami Beach, Florida.
David has an insatiable itch to make quick money. He invests his whole life savings in a blanket business which fails to see the light of the day.
Dejected and lost, he meets his childhood friend Efraim Diveroli (Jonah Hill) at a funeral where the latter offers a chance to David to make big bucks by becoming an international arms dealer.
With the impending responsibility of becoming a father for the first time, David feels he has no choice but to be part of Efraim’s scheme.
Together, the two exploit a government initiative that allows businesses to bid on US military contracts.
Initially starting small, the two fight considerable odds, including driving through the “triangle of death” to hand-deliver several thousand Beretta pistols to US Troops stationed in Baghdad.
This lands them a massive $300 million deal to supply Afghan forces with arms, including 100 million rounds of AK-47 ammunition.
With big money comes even bigger risk and the rest of the movie is about how the duo try and pull this deal through.
I expected War Dogs to be a comedy, pumped with doses of rib-tickling jokes to have me almost rolling on the floor laughing. I was wrong.
Director Phillips is known for movies such as the Hangover series which is probably one of the funniest movies I have seen coming out of Hollywood.
In War Dogs, he went for something serious. He ventured into uncharted waters and sailed through flawlessly.
There are a few sequences that will have you grinning, but the detailing of the story within the two hour frame is the one that stands out from the rest of the elements.
Phillips has clearly brought the best out of the actors especially Hill, who effortlessly plays a larger than life character, who is a good liar, with crazy impulses and roller-coaster emotions.
War Dogs is not only about opportunists who leave their humility behind to make the most of the situation, no matter how dreadful. It is also about the loopholes in high security organisations such as the US military that attract opportunists like them.
As Efraim says in the movie, “Everyone’s fighting over the same pie and ignoring the crumbs. I live off crumbs.”
War Dogs tells you why it’s sometimes better to live off crumbs.