Land of Confusion
March 18, 2009 by Heather
After watching the conclusion to Jeremy’s film, I’ve been very upset. I absolutely disagree with watching weekend warriors complain about their experience.
I don’t believe this film was intended for a military audience, but rather the susceptible American public. It seemed to want you to feel pity for these soldiers who had no hot water, washing machines, or gear as the prepared to go to war. However, active duty personnel go through this on a daily basis. Furthermore, what do you think the people standing in their shoes two hundred years ago had?
As I watched the film, I became even more enraged by soldiers who openly questioned why they were in Iraq and disrespected their commander in chief. This only gives more ammo to the American public and their call to end the war. If the armed forces don’t believe we should be there, then we definitely shouldn’t be in Iraq. Right?
Wrong! The President and other appointed officials felt the need for us to be there and so we are there. Therefore, the American public should stand behind its elected officials—and its troops. Furthermore, the troops should be standing behind the President. Yet somewhere, the soldiers in the film forgot this and their oath. They enlisted, affirming to serve their country and in doing so, swore to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic” and “obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over [them], according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice.” Therefore, what these soldiers said was in violation of the what they SWORE to do, not to mention the UCMJ. What’s worse is they did it in uniform.
As for Jeremy’s answer that a film does not always dictate the opinions of the producer, if he didn’t feel the same way, why didn’t he make any attempt to tell both sides? I’m sure there were soldiers proud to serve there country and believed in the cause, even in the National Guard.
As for the actual film, I believe Jeremy could have told the story better by omitting the soldiers complaining in Iraq and the section on KBR. I think it would have been better, if he just told what life was like. It would have been okay to leave the footage about the conditions at Fort Dix, but then interview soldiers about their expectations of Iraq, followed by actual life in Iraq. However, I don’t think he told the story this way because he was trying for a very specific arc in the story. He wanted to show the soldiers going through all different conditions (lack of gear and commodities; homesickness; jealously of what others (KBR) had; death of comrades) and how this transformed them to now say what they were saying.
The part of the film I thought was especially good was when Jeremy showed soldiers watching their kids in Iraq. You could almost feel the pain the individual was feeling as he showed video of the child, then switched to the face of the soldier.
The last technique I noticed Jeremy using was his voice over. He used this as exposition, since many scenes did not give the viewer enough information.
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The course utilized a blog both to continue the discussion outside the classroom, and to provide training for the students in blogging, video compression, and video sharing.
Students used the blog to post reflections and ideas, to share and comment on the video assignments, and to respond to each other's posts.