Several people are up in arms about the recent release of the film Redacted, now on video.
Written and directed by Brian De Palma, the story is based on the rape and murder of 15-year-old Abeer Qasim Hamza by American soldiers in the Iraqi city of Mahmudiyah in March of 2006. The soldiers also killed three members of the young girl's family and set her body on fire before leaving.
Folks like Bill O'Reilly and Sean McCormick rail against the Hollywood types who hate the war in Iraq and accuse them of trying to portray American soldiers as "psychotic killers and rapists".
They then go on to ridicule the movie's poor showing at the American box office, not taking into account the worldwide profits, and belittle the efforts of the movie makers.
They also claim movies like this hurts our standing in the world and can ultimately hurt our troops.
Well to that, I think the actual events are what are hurting our world standing and putting our troops into harm's way.
It seems to me the truth can only be a good thing.
I've seen the movie Redacted and I have to agree with O'Reilly on this one. Not that the movie is hurting Americans, just that the movie is terrible.
I think stories like the Mahmudiyah killings are important and I admit that I'm interested in them. Maybe it's too many episodes of 20/20 or Dateline.
I'm especially looking forward to the new Oliver Stone movie, Pinkville. This movie is about the 1968 My Lai Massacre in Vietnam. It's a story I've read about in many books and I've always thought it would make a great movie. I'm sure O'Reilly and McCormick would disagree.
Why these stories are important is because American soldiers are not psychotic killers and rapists, but it's important to know how these types of things can happen.
Redacted fails to do this. The film is shot as a quasi-documentary and it just doesn't work. It does do a good job of showing some of the boredom American troops go through and the searing heat as well. It's easy to get ticked off when you're sweating out of every pore of your body while manning a busy checkpoint day in and day out.
But the movie doesn't do a good enough job of telling how a group of soldiers got to the point where they decided to rape and kill a young girl.
I hope Pinkville can avoid that pitfall and show how a platoon of Army soldiers in Vietnam can go from being All-American boys to vicious killers of women, children and the elderly.
Maybe De Palma was trying to make a movie that hurts American's standing in the world and maybe that's why it failed here in this country. But I still think the stories should be told and the truth should always be available for those trying to seek it.