Ben Flanders Responds to the Village Voice
This is a guest post from Ben Flanders, who was one of the "Soldiers with a Camera" whom you don't get to meet in the movie. This was posted in response to remarks in a review in the Villiage Voice. To read all of the amazing press that The War Tapes has gotten check out our War Tapes in the Press page
Village Voice--"It's no surprise that the soldiers are largely prone to mercenary self-regard and care only about getting home, not about where they've been, what they've done, or why. But what about us?"
Yeah what about you? Have you actually been affected in a profound way by the film and are too afraid to know what to do about it? I guess the critic didn't actually see the film because the issue of "what did we do and why" permeates the entire film. And the whole point is that, as a soldier, you are unfortunately reduced to considering your stay in Iraq as temporal and maybe ineffective to the larger systematic problems in the country. It's no wonder soldiers default to a "got to get my buddy and I home" mentality.
So here's a thought: why did we send troops to Iraq, what are they doing there and why? That sounds like a good question to ask the citizenry of the US, on behalf of whom these troops were sent. Don't like it? Then do something about it rather than asking soldiers to not only carry the burden of war but also the burden of why they went to war.
Finally, there are no apologies for the families interviews back home for being "predictable." Or did you mean trite? So unless you have already had a loved one (like a spouse) deployed or you have been deployed yourself, maybe you shoudln't be so presumptuous to know what "bucking up" is all about.
Benjamin Flanders was a Sergeant deployed with Charlie Company in Iraq and was Mike Moriarty's Team Leader for part of the year. Currently he is a graduate student in Mathematics and is pursuing a commission as an officer in the army. He writes for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America's blog