guilty as charged

03Jul06

last night craig and i wwent to see the war tapes, it is an amazing new documentary about the current war in iraq shot by 3 soldiers – national guardsman guarding supply convoys for a year. a documentarian got a grant to create a movie about the current operations in iraq. instead of going there and filming from the outside, she gave cameras and supplies to the three soldiers and had them film from the inside. they could film things she probably never dreamed of.

it was gripping. despite the fact that every second of footage sent back to the director had to be approved by the army, it was in no way some crazy patriotic pro-US government rah rah. it was not some clean, pretty surgical strike with smart bomb type of show. no, it was guts on ground and complaints all around. even the most patriotic of soldiers are talking about the war like it’s purely for money / oil by the end of their year’s duty. probably because it was their job to guard kbr haliburton employees who were making 120k / year. just like the marines in generation kill, these guys had no disillusions about why we were at war. they were their to fight because they had signed up, not because they think they’re protecting america.

it also reminded of generation kill because we saw iraq from inside a soldier’s view. not a mass media view or a government sponsored one. but the big difference was that watching the war tapes you actually SEE the soldiers’ view, not just read about it. and they do not pretty it up. there’s some serious gore and guts. not too much. just enough that you actually get a tiny glimpse of the honest effects of all that gunfire. honestly i was afraid i would have nightmares about it. but i didn’t. instead i slept better than i have in days. and that is why i feel guilty.

because these guys are guardsman, they were not professional soldiers like the recons in generation kill. the marines weren’t particularly happy about killing and death, but they saw it as their job and seemed to deal with the emotions of it as such. these guardsmen were not so lucky. while still on their tour they were often affected by the horror as soon as their shifts were over. and now that they are back in the states, many of them are suffering from PTSD and don’t know how to deal with what they saw and did. those images which they saw first hand and i didn’t, are preventing them from getting the kind of sleep i got right after watching them. and that makes me terribly sad. and guilty. and angry.

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