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The War Tapes: The Huffington Post on The War Tapes

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The Huffington Post on The War Tapes

Nora Ephron has a post at The Huffington Post which talks about one of the aspects of the film that makes it unique and an extremely valuable addition to today's debates over the Iraq War: the fact that Deborah decided against embedding with the New Hampshire National Guard unit that is featured and instead recruited soldiers to film the war themselves.

One of my favorite moments in "The War Tapes" focuses on a parking area in Iraq that's full of trucks owned by Kellogg Brown Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton. There are hundreds of these trucks, stretching out to the horizon, and according to one of the soldiers in the documentary, each truck requires its own individual soldier to stand guard. Sometimes the trucks contain food, so the detail of guarding the KBR trucks is called "Guarding Cheesecake." A certain amount of venting takes place among the soldiers in the movie about Halliburton and Dick Cheney and whether it makes sense to use so many troops to guard cheesecake; this is almost the only political moment in what's otherwise a frustratingly-evenhanded look at the war.

The war has of course changed since the beginning; Ghosh is right about that. And today, most of the journalists still covering Iraq aren't embedded. But I couldn't help wondering whether things might not have turned out differently if the press had refused to be embedded in the first place; after all, it was the journalistic equivalent of guarding cheesecake.

We're glad that Nora and many others see the movie as an evenhanded look at the war, even if it is frustrating. We believe that what we need now is an open and honest debate about the Iraq War, and our hope is that The War Tapes can help to nurture this.