Headline, June03, 2013


This slew of new war movies, filmed and released while American soldiers are serving and dying in the film's locations, dramatically contradicts what until now have been the rules of war films.

Projects released during a conflict were patriotic and supportive: for example Laurence Olivier's Henry V and Noel Coward's in Which We Serve, which became part of the war effort. Criticism of military action had to wait until the mourning families of the soldier had served a few anniversaries.

The first Vietnam movies  -The Deer Hunter, Coming Home and Apocalypse Now  -were not released until several years after the war and during presidency of liberal pacifist Jimmy Carter, who ha not been involved in the events.

This paranoia about anti-patriotism was so strong that Larry Gelbart and Alan Alda, writer and star of the great Seventies military TV comedy M.A.S.H, both made clear in their later memoirs that the US network only green-lit the series because, while viewers and reviewers regarded it as a show about Vietnam, it was actually set during a previous conflict in Korea and so had the protective distance of history.

British Director Nick Broomfield has his own take on the invasion of Iraq. Quintessentially Nick Broomfield has crossed the line between documentary and drama in Battle For Haditha, a disturbingly realistic reconstruction of the massacre of Iraqis by US Marines on 19 November 2005.

After Sunni insurgents had bombed their convoy, Kilo company went house to house in Haditha, looking for those involved. Twenty four Iraqi civilians were killed, though none it transpired, were involved in the bombing.

Battle for Haditha features a cast made up of veterans of the Iraq war and the Iraqi refugees, and received a Best Director award following its European Premier at the San Sebastian International Film Festival.

''I think it makes sense that there are a lot of films about Iraq now,'' Broomfield says. ''But there are few films that deal with the essence of what's it like to live there. Modern wars are about unarmed civilians caught in the middle of conflict. Most of the people in the film has lost someone, and I wanted to place the audience in the reality of that situation.''

''It doesn't seek to blame the Americans or the Marines, but this is a war that the American public only now beginning to understand and address. I think we have to examine the values and philosophy behind the Iraq conflict. Where we go from here is what's important.
I hope this film at least helps encourage understanding and debate.''

With respectful dedication to Robert Kuttner   -Co founder, Co Editor The American Prospect.

Good Night & God Bless!

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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