There is a powerful new documentary film about Iraq premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival next month called The War Tapes. I have seen dozens of Iraq war documentaries --and this is the best one I have seen yet. Period.
The War Tapes is a must see for every American--including Laura Ingraham and anyone else who thinks they have Iraq figured out.
This is the only film that provides an opportunity for people to really see what life is like in Iraq for our troops. The entire film was shot by the soldiers themselves. For a full year, they took the cameras with them everywhere. This is no Michael Moore film. In March 2004, as the insurgency grew, members of a New Hampshire National Guard unit arrived in Iraq--with video cameras. In The War Tapes, soldiers tell their own stories, as they lived them. The footage is nothing short of amazing. You can see special advance clips by clicking on this image:
IAVA has been involved in, and supportive of, this project for some time now. IAVA member Ben Flanders is featured--and did some of the filming. IAVA believes that The War Tapes should be an integral part of the national dialogue on Iraq and Veterans issues. This is something every politician in Washington should be required to watch.
The War Tapes follows three soldiers: Sergeant Steve Pink, Sergeant Zack Bazzi, and Specialist Mike Moriarty.
The soldiers were not picked by casting agents or movie producers. They selected themselves. The unit was based at LSA Anaconda in the deadly Sunni Triangle, under constant threat of ambush and IED attacks. They traveled, as a unit, 1.4 million miles during their tour, and lived through over 1,200 combat operations and 250 direct enemy engagements. The filmmakers are dedicated to telling the true story of the Iraq war from the perspective of the American troops living it. No spin. No sugarcoating.
I know you are going to ask, "What are the politics of this film?" Here is the answer from the filmmakers:
TWT believes in empowering citizens to tell their own stories - and believes citizen journalism can make amazing film. We are completely committed to opening up mainstream media and getting more human voices in.
If you're asking whether TWT is pro- or anti- war, it's neither. The soldiers with cameras have different beliefs about whether we should still be in Iraq. The filmmakers all respect those differences and this movie is not afraid to show them. You'll see one soldier joining because of 9/11, and another saying its all about money and oil.
This film is not an objective or partisan film - it's not trying to answer, "is this the right war?" Instead, TWT is trying to answer: "what is war for the soldiers who live it?"
The War Tapes is coming to theaters this summer (I'll keep you updated). When it does, skip the episode of Desperate Housewives and spend a few hours watching something that matters.