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  1.    #1  

    Hearing Their Side
    U.S. Soldiers View Documentary Portraying Other Side of the Iraq Conflict



    By MIGUEL MARQUEZ

    BAGHDAD, Oct. 8, 2007

    It's the strangest film screening I've ever been to: a film in which Iraqi insurgents play the starring role, telling their story of why they kill Americans.

    The venue: Faw Palace, headquarters for Camp Victory, the largest American base in Iraq.

    The audience: American servicemen and servicewomen in Iraq  the toughest critics of all for a film meant to provoke strong reactions.

    And where did this film come from? The deepest bowels of the Internet? A jihadist Web site, maybe? No. It was a film made by two western journalists in 2003, in the months after Baghdad fell.

    "Meeting Resistance" will be released in New York, Washington, Nashville, Tenn., and Los Angeles later this month, and then will go into wider release across the country in November.

    To make the film, journalists Molly Bingham and Steve Connors interviewed dozens of Iraqis to record hundreds of hours of interviews. After 10 months of shooting, completed in the Spring of 2004, they concentrated on a handful of characters who tell the story of how Iraq's insurgency was sparked and then grew into an inferno.

    'Normal People Who Are Pissed Off'

    The documentary raises questions that many soldiers fighting this war wrestle with every day. Sgt. Mike Kelley, with the 3rd Infantry Division, says that the film gave him a perspective he rarely sees  the Iraqi side of things.

    "They're normal people who are pissed off because we're here and we're not welcome," he said.

    And though it is Spc. Travis Barnes' second tour of Iraq, he says it's important for all soldiers and all Americans to see this film, "because we don't know the Iraqis very well. I don't know anything about them."

    Filming "Meeting Resistance" became increasingly dangerous during its 10-month production schedule, as the U.S. involvement here deepened. It ended shortly after pictures of U.S. guards humiliating Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib grabbed worldwide attention.

    "We slipped through a rapidly closing window of opportunity," said Connors. "We got in there early. We understood there was something big happening here & and that this war wasn't one-sided."

    For Some Iraqis, Occupation Was Humiliating

    The film traces the path to insurgency for a dozen Iraqis. Their faces are blurred to obscure their identities, and they are called by simple descriptions, like the wife, the warrior, the teacher.

    All the film characters complained bitterly about what they saw as a deeply humiliating U.S. occupation. Out of pride, fear, shame, honor and duty, they all arrived at the same conclusion that American soldiers, and those "collaborating" with them, are legitimate targets for attack.

    The way Bingham puts it, "When we spoke to them, they weren't anti-American just for being anti-American. What they were was against the occupation," she said. "We got a sense that it didn't matter whether they were Chinese or French or Tunisian  if you came here and occupied Iraq, you were going to be met with the same sense of rejection."

    The film and the filmmakers were brought to Baghdad by the military's Red Team  an organization whose sole mission is to present alternative views about the enemy to U.S. troops.

    This was the last in a series of films on insurgencies sponsored by the Red Team.

    Also in the series were classics of war and fighting insurgencies, like Gillo Pontecorvos' 1966 "The Battle of Algiers," the 2004 documentary "Control Room" about Al Jazeera, the Arabic satellite channel and the views it transmitted about the U.S. war in Iraq; it even screened a western, Fred Zinnemann's 1952 film "High Noon," about a sheriff trying to bring order to a lawless town whose citizens are too afraid to lift a finger to help him.

    "We are literally the devil's advocate," said Red Team leader Lt. Col. Jeff Ragland. "It doesn't make you a popular guy, but it's a necessary thing."

    Necessary, said Ragland, because defeating an insurgency is about more than killing the bad guys. "If we were to kill every insurgent tomorrow, would we win? If we don't do something to the motivation and the root cause, we're not likely to defeat it."

    As the Camp Victory screening let out, soldiers mingled and chatted inside the massive and lavishly decorated lobby of Faw Palace. As if on cue, a mortar round exploded nearby, a sharp reminder that the insurgents are still out there.

    Copyright 2007 ABC News Internet Ventures


    VERY interesting story and looks like a well made movie. I look forward to seeing it.
  2. #2  
    too little too late -- american forces have in the face of blunt trauma been forced to confront reality -- rather than the neocon fantasies that junior, Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Bremer imagined when they came to Bagdad.

    Seeing the world through the eyes of our adversaries is the first step to understanding and avoiding catstrophes like Iraq.
    755P Sprint SERO (upgraded from unlocked GSM 650 on T-Mobile)
  3. #3  
    Quote Originally Posted by BARYE View Post
    too little too late -- american forces have in the face of blunt trauma been forced to confront reality -- rather than the neocon fantasies that junior, Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Bremer imagined when they came to Bagdad.

    Seeing the world through the eyes of our adversaries is the first step to understanding and avoiding catstrophes like Iraq.
    I couldn't agree more. Until and unless those on the side supporting a war on terror come to terms with what causes and fuels the individuals who make the choice to support terrorist interests, the more quickly that ticking timebomb can be diffused. Without that clarity of understanding, we are our worst enemy.

    Probably worthy of its own thread, but I've been also reading about the Oxford Research Group's ( http://www.oxfordresearchgroup.org.uk/ ) report on Iraq and the war on terror. A centrist, pragmatic group which determined that the collective 'war' is a failure.

    "If the al Qaeda movement is to be countered, then the roots of its support must be understood and systematically undercut," said Paul Rogers, the report's author.

    "Combined with conventional policing and security measures, al Qaeda can be contained and minimised but this will require a change in policy at every level."

    He described the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq as a "disastrous mistake" which had helped establish a "most valued jihadist combat training zone" for al Qaeda supporters.
    http://www.reuters.com/article/lates...s/idUSL0379063

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