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Movie Review: The War Tapes

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A powerful subject, handled in a straightforward, very vivid way: Three National Guardsmen were given video cameras to record their 16-month tour of duty in Iraq. (Apparently many cams were given out, and these three were chosen from the results.) The Iraq footage is intense and sometimes hard to watch. These men witnessed some horrific action. There is also footage taken on the home front, both during and after the soldiers’ time in Iraq. This is moving, but also a bit overextended.

Nonetheless, the Guardsmen themselves make memorable impressions. They may have been chosen because they represent three political points of view — a hard-line militarist Bush supporter; a former supporter of the war, now turned bitter and cynical opponent, as he describes it as "all for money," to protect the profits of companies like Halliburton/KBR; and a Lebanese-born soldier, very outspoken and articulate in his political opposition to Bush and the war policy, yet a hard-working, dedicated non-commissioned officer just the same.

The film may not be welcomed by the right, but it is far from a leftist polemic. The events and people are allowed to speak for themselves. As the real story of real soldiers, it should be seen by anyone with strong opinions on the war. Follow-up material is available on on the WarTapes website. 

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