Other views on Iraq war moviesby Anna Weggel, Minnesota Public Radio
Many people responded to Minnesota Public Radio's Public Insight Network query about why they though people are avoiding Iraq war movies. Here is a selection of their comments.
Carolyn Perez, Maplewood
"Iraq war films are too painful to watch and too close to home. I listen to the news with sadness and regret and sadness for the Iraqi people and all the soldiers and others that we have lost unnecessarily. I have anger that our president took us into preemptive war when he knew it was wrong and Congress went along with him in his lies. This has severely damaged our stance in the world, we lost so many lives not to mention all the money squandered."
Susan Rengstorf, Shoreview
"I haven't been watching Iraq war films because it's too painful. It's a war that should never have happened. We must abandon this war, and never go to war again, unless we are attacked on our own soil."
Nancy Bee, Minneapolis
"I see so much of it on TV (public television). It is so depressing that if I rent movies about the war I will be that much more depressed. If something came out that was hopeful or helped us to feel that maybe we human beings were making some progress in the art of being humane I would definitely go see it."
Tim Connelly, Richfield
"Why watch war movies when we have been flooded with images of the war on a daily basis for the past five years? We are bummed out enough. Our emotions have reached a limit and I believe we have become numb to the casualties of war just like the soldiers who suffer from the daily stress of staying alive have numbed themselves to what is happening around them to survive and make it home."
Jann Cather, Weaver
"I studied the Vietnam War films when they began to be released in the 1980's. From these films, lessons were to be learned. With the current Iraq films, the war seems inherently hopeless and all that I have done to prevent it and stop it is a waste with the current administration. I don't watch films of the Iraq war because I feel powerless, trapped, and full of grief when I watch them."
Kari Rusch-Curl, St. Paul
"My husband is currently serving in Iraq, and although we used to be pretty optimistic that he may not be deployed again, reality tells us otherwise. When I first saw the preview for 'Stop Loss' while in the theatre to watch 'Juno' I had tears in my eyes just thinking about another year of separation. I will be the first to admit I've seen some great war films; 'Letters from Iwo Jima' and 'Flags of our Fathers' were incredible, but movies about the Iraq War while we're still in the war just seem to be too much too soon."
Victoria Morrison, Crystal
"I never watch movies, broadcast TV, satellite TV, cable, or anything on the internet. I don't watch You-Tube. I have dial-up and I'm not interested in spending money or time on those things. I read newspapers from all over the US, I listen to and read NPR and MPR's webpages a lot, and I get information from good quality sources on the internet. Unfortunately, whether the information is passed on as OK by the media or whether the information is looked at carefully by people willing to work hard at it, I can't do anything about what I hear or read."
Jean Rozinka, Cottage Grove
"Depends upon the reviews and the season of the year. In the summer we're at the cabin and see fewer films. 'Lions for Lambs' didn't get good reviews. 'In the Valley of Elah' was gone before we could get to it. I hadn't heard of the others."
Lucy Smith, St. Paul
"I probably wouldn't try to rent at present time any film dealing with Iraq, because I am getting plenty about it in the daily news, and I am as helpless about reaching solution for it as everyone deeply involved in either running or condemning the war. Actually, the very word "war" to describe events in Iraq, seems wrong, this does not resemble our usual idea of what a war is. In our schematic view of the war, we see a dangerous enemy standing at the borders of our country and ready to subject us to them, so we are sending our young people to "die for their country" or to die to maintain freedom for the "free world" as it was during World War II. Iraq war doesn't resemble any of this because our soldiers do not fight easily recognizable enemy, are ignorant of the culture and different ways of thinking and believing of many Iraqis and are confronting people, who had never stood at the borders of our country with menace of subjecting us to them."
Glenn Anderson, Brainerd
"I have seen Iraq War films for the same reason I watch all films -- I like cinema, especially in a movie theater. I don't mistake movies for documentaries, and even documentaries come with a point of view. I don't trust any electronic media other than N/MPR, which I listen to at least 2 hours a day. I read the local newspaper every day and force myself to at least skim the "war" news. I assume the reality is worse than is being reported because the Administration would surely shepherd the media toward any positive news it can find. The fact that in spite of this there is very little positive news leads me to assume that we're in another Vietnam era, both abroad and here at home."
Jefferson Tholen, Marshall
"I'm more interested in seeing documentaries or programs like Frontline than I am in watching films like these. I think that these films don't do well in theaters because in comparison to films like 'Platoon' and 'Schindler's List,' which dealt with conflicts that effected a much larger group of Americans directly, there is a small percentage of the population that is fighting in Iraq. It's not like WWII where nearly every family in America had an immediate family member in the war. In comparison to Vietnam, there are no protests of the war going on, there is no draft. I find it interesting that more people protest the Beijing Olympics in America than the Iraq war."
Susan Arquette, Minneapolis
"I feel frustrated, angry, disgusted, powerless and ashamed of my government. I feel guilty for what my country has done to Iraq and to the American veterans, and for the arrogance and willful ignorance that led to this. I am sad that we are wasting billions of dollars on a misguided war when we so desperately need that money to fund healthcare and other human needs both here and abroad. I don't know of anything I can do that can have any impact on the situation, and watching the movies would only confirm how I feel and add to my pain about it."
Lori Hubin, Crystal
"I haven't been watching Iraq War films because they appear to 1: portray our troops as poorly educated, helpless individuals who were forced to go into the services due to lack of opportunity; 2: paint the US as the source of all the world's troubles and that it is a worse country than, say, Cuba; 3: that all politicians except the brave liberal (left) ones are liars, cheats, and unethical, and 4: that any conservative viewpoint must be communicated as "Nazism" or even worse. These filmmakers have no respect for half the country, and that's why no one is going to see those movies. If there was a movie about an incident in war that portrays the soldiers HONESTLY, heroic and non-heroic, then I would certainly consider seeing it. I don't need to pay money to be made to see inaccurate, misleading and vile material."
Chris Gegax, Minneapolis
"Initially, I sought out Iraq War films to understand why things were going so horribly wrong over there, and to try and understand the Bush Administration's motivations to attack a sovereign country that had nothing to do with the terrorist attacks of 9/11. It was a mistake to go in and what our elected officials need to end the occupation. Now with so many demands on my time, and my inability to have an impact on this situation, I've sort of run out of energy. I must admit to some fatigue. Having paid attention to news coming out of there, I believe the situation there is far bleaker than most American's realize (the cost: both human and financial). I listen and wonder why Congress, after Democrats won it back, hasn't acted decisively to bring this fiasco to an end."
Dick Holt, St. Cloud
"Frustration, anger, apathy, etc., are feelings I experience. The human cost of our forces as well as Iraqi people is obscene. As are most, I am tired of the lies told by this administration and hope for a change of direction with a new administration. One of my greatest concerns is the lack of attention given to the long term impact of this war and the "trade offs" it will necessitate. If the cost of this war was explained in terms of what it will mean for health insurance premiums or social security benefits, etc., I doubt that anyone would support the war."
Debbie Deblieck, Minneapolis
"Not that I don't want to watch them, there are so many out there. The war is still going on. The movies I watch that are war related is because they are past done. And if it is a movie based on true story or true events, compiled, that makes me want to watch them the Iraq war is not over. Doesn't mean I wont watch them, but say if one is out that has an event in it that just happened, it better be true if its in the screen already even less than a year from that event. Every paper, news cast, radio and internet bombards us with it all. Some times more than we like to know we can become numb to it and not care one way or another. Try to even analyze the whys, whens and how comes of it all. I believe when its finally done, like all other wars we were involved in, or not, we can then sit back and then see what REALLY happened because it will be history. Provided that the records of it all do not get tampered or deleted from what we should know, not what the government, media, et el WANTS US TO KNOW."
Jennifer Nedry, Cottage Grove
"I watch or go to the movies for escape. Iraq war films are too based in reality. If I was told that these films gave us some clue about a possible plan on to how to exit this war, I would support them 100 percent.
Griffin Woodworth, Minneapolis
"As a left-leaning intellectual who opposed the war from the very first moment it was foisted upon the American people, every cultural artifact that reminds me of the war--even those things highly critical of it--are simply reminders of the senseless, needless, and goal-less slaughter of American soldiers and Iraqi civilians. We have been inundated with information about this topic for years now, and I feel that we've reached the worst kind of conundrum: the American people are bored to death hearing about it, and yet simultaneously enraged at the thought that our loved ones are over there, dying for nothing. No gain, no coherent reason, nothing. Being reminded of it day in and day out makes me feel sick to my stomach, and I'm certainly not about to go pay money to hear more about it, even from filmmakers who share my political agenda of getting the troops home yesterday."