Of the 75 or so emails I received about Redacted, only one was so well thought out I had to post it. It came from a member of our Armed Forces. We have exchanged a couple emails and I asked him if I could post this anonymously . He presented it to his superiors , who approved the posting.
He is a hell of a guy.
Subject: This soldiers perspective on the Redacted issue.
I doubt that you will read or see this email, as I have to imagine
you receive thousands of emails a day. And while I figure mine will
just be lost in the flood, I happened across the story about you and
Mr. O’Reilly and the controversy over the movie Redacted, and could
not help but say something. I did not leave a comment on your blog as
I do not want my feelings on the matter to appear anywhere other than
in your inbox. The fact that I’m in the military could make my feelings on
this matter a banner to wave in the argument about this film. I hope
you can forgive me this small indulgence.
To introduce myself, I’m a soldier who was recently wounded in Iraq;
hence why I am in the US and have time to send you this email. Right
now I am still recovering from my wounds, their related complications, and further
surgery. I became aware of the current situation between yourself and Mr. O’Reilly by a
link to your blog on a newsfilter I read called Fark and read through your entries to
see what had occured.
I want to begin by saying that I am not an expert on Iraq, I can only
speak about what happened to me and what I have experienced. But I
think that Bill’s (his first name is faster than endlessly typing
O”Reilly) argument is flawed on a few levels. First of all, what happened in
the Mahmudiyah “incident” has already happened, and the news has
already been widely disbursed through the Arab press. Nearly every
house we ever drove by, even mud huts in rural areas in Baghdad, had
satellite dishes on them. So I would have to imagine that this movie
is not going to provide a shocking revelation to the average Iraqi.
From my experiences, they’ve already formed their opinions of us and
very little we do or say is going to change their minds. One movie,
regardless of its subject matter, is not going to overcome their
personal feelings about things like Abu-Ghraib, the criminal acts
discussed in Redacted, their fears about security and lost loved ones.
I was in Iraq when Insurgents ambushed an American convoy and
kidnapped American soldiers, claiming it was in revenge for what had
happened in Mahmudiyah, so I cannot honestly imagine that his case for
the movie helping motivate terrorists is correct. I think Bill has put the
cart before the horse to try and make a point, but thats standard
practice for idealogues on both sides of the fence, Michael Moore does
the same thing all the time, so does Ann Coulter, and the list goes
Now, I have not seen Redacted, nor do I wish/plan to. I’m all too
familiar with Iraq and the experience thereof, and I don’t want to see
someone who has never been there try and distill it into a film,
regardless of his motivation. In an effort to at least have some
slight idea of what I’m talking about, I did some research, read plot
summaries from objective sources, etc. I do have some concerns about
the film, but they’re not that it will provide idealogical support to
terrorists. I think we do enough of that on our own with our popular
culture, decadent society, and past mistakes in foreign policy. What
does worry me about films like Redacted is that people in America will
watch them and use isolated incidents to color their entire view of
the military and its service in Iraq. When you look at what we’ve done
there, the military has accomplished amazing things and done a lot of
good. But mistakes have been made and criminal actions that have been
committed (and harshly punished) are all that we ever hear people talk
about on TV, in film, and in print media. There aren’t many movies
about guys who die trying to bring freedom to an oppressed people
without ever getting to meet their children, or about how hard and
tirelessly soldiers work over there to try and do a thankless job,
while the media back home paints the war as lost and their efforts as
futile. But, I would never go so far as to advocate boycotting a film
or piece of literature just because I do not agree with what it says
or because I’m afraid of what it might cause. Free Speech is part of
the constitution I am sworn to defend, and there is no stricture in
the first amendment about liking what everyone says. I just wish
someone would tell the stories of the good things, too.
So, don’t worry about Bill. He’s just doing his job, and imagining
that he should always make sense is an exercise in madness. Sometimes he’s on
point, and sometimes he’s way off base. I think this is one of the
latter. For that matter, Brian De Palma is just doing his job too, no
matter how I feel about what he made or what he has to say. If I was
in your position, I would just cut my losses and walk away. Nothing
you can do or say will get him off your case.
If you actually read this, I apologize for the length and for my
occasional rambling. I’ve got a lot of time to think these days and
very little outlet for it. I just wanted to let you know what I
thought, without having it in a public forum. Thank you for your time.
Patriotic dissent is a luxury of those protected by better men than they. -Anon