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Posted: 3/14/2005 8:18:23 AM EST
The author is whining, the movies and pictures about the Iraq war are too graphic, ie show too much destruction and death, kind of like "the pot calling the kettle black" non-sense.
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latimes.com

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/iraq/la-fg-videos14mar14,0,2298678.story?coll=la-home-headlines

COLUMN ONE
Extreme Cinema Verite
GIs shoot Iraq battle footage and edit it into music videos filled with death and destruction. And they display their work as entertainment.
By Louise Roug
Times Staff Writer

March 14, 2005

BAQUBAH, Iraq — When Pfc. Chase McCollough went home on leave in November, he brought a movie made by fellow soldiers in Iraq. On his first night back at his parents' house in Texas, he showed the video to his fiancee, family and friends.

This is what they saw: a handful of American soldiers filmed through the green haze of night-vision goggles. Radio communication between two soldiers crackles in the background before it's drowned out by a heavy-metal soundtrack.

"Don't need your forgiveness," the song by the band Dope begins as images unfurl: armed soldiers posing in front of Bradley fighting vehicles, two women covered in black abayas walking along a dusty road, a blue-domed mosque, a poster of radical cleric Muqtada Sadr. Then, to the fast, hard beat of the music — "Die, don't need your resistance. Die, don't need your prayers" — charred, decapitated and bloody corpses fill the screen.

"It's like a trophy, something to keep," McCullough, 20, said back at his cramped living quarters at Camp Warhorse near Baqubah. "I was there. I did this."

Film cameras arrived at the front during World War II, but soldiers didn't really document their own combat experience until the Vietnam War. (The technology didn't lend itself to amateur moviemaking until the arrival of the smaller Super 8 cameras.)

Today, video cameras are lightweight and digital technology has cut out the need for processing. Having captured a firefight on video, a soldier can create a movie and distribute it via e-mail, uncensored by the military. With editing software such as Avid and access to Internet connections on military bases here, U.S. soldiers are creating fast-paced, MTV-style music videos using images from actual firefights and killings.

Troops often carry personal cameras and video equipment in battle. On occasion, official military camera crews, known as "Combat Camera" units, follow the troops on raids and patrol. Although the military uses that footage for training and public affairs, it also finds its way to personal computers and commercial websites.

The result: an abundance of photographs and video footage depicting mutilation, death and destruction that soldiers collect and trade like baseball cards.

"I have a lot of pictures of dead Iraqis — everybody does," said Spc. Jack Benson, 22, also stationed near Baqubah. He has collected five videos by other soldiers and is working on his own.

By adding music, soldiers create their own cinema verite of the conflict. Although many are humorous or patriotic, others are gory, like McCollough's favorite.

"It gets the point across," he said. "This isn't some jolly freakin' peacekeeping mission."

Commanders have discretion to establish regulations concerning photography on base, but common-sense rules apply, an Army spokesman said. Images that threaten operational security — such as pictures of military installations or equipment — are not allowed.

Before being deployed to Iraq, some Marines were told they could not take pictures of detainees, dead or wounded Iraqis or American casualties. But photographs and videos of dead and maimed Iraqis proliferate.

"It doesn't bother you so much taking pictures of the guy who was just shooting at you," McCullough said. He added that he hadn't seen any pictures of dead U.S. soldiers. "It's just a little too morbid, a little too close to home."

On the bases where Benson and McCullough live, the Army regularly searches soldiers' quarters for drugs, alcohol and pornography as part of what it calls health and safety inspections. But searching personal laptops would infringe on soldiers' privacy, said Capt. Douglas Moore, a judge advocate general officer with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team at Warhorse. Besides, if this brand of filmmaking breaks rules, they're of a different kind.

"It's in poor taste," Moore said, "kind of sick."



McCullough was surprised that his favorite video was disturbing to his loved ones back in Texas.

"You find out just how weird it is when you take it home," said McCullough, whose screensaver is far more benign, showing him on his wedding day.

Brandi McCullough, then his fiancee and now his wife, said she had walked in as he was showing the videos to friends who were "whooping and hollering."

The 18-year-old was shocked by images of "body parts missing, bombs going off and people getting shot."

"They're terrifying," she said by phone from Texas. "Chase never talked about anything over there, and I watch the news, but not all the time. I didn't realize there was that much" violence.

She also wondered why anyone would record it.

"I thought it was odd — a home video," she said. "People getting shot and someone sitting there with a camera."

McCullough said his father, a naval reserve captain, had told him, " 'You know, this isn't normal.'

"They were pretty shocked," he said. "They didn't realize this is what we see."

Daniel Nelson, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Cincinnati School of Medicine, said he understood the disconnect.

"I'm not surprised about this — it's a new consciousness that we're beginning to see," he said, comparing the videos to the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse photographs. "What happens in this situation, the culture is endorsing something that would be prohibited in another context stateside."

What seems disrespectful or a trivialization is also a way for soldiers to distance themselves from the trauma, he said, which says: "I don't want to see what I've done or experienced as real."

The creation of videos resembles what Nelson has seen in his work with traumatized children and Vietnam veterans, he said.

"How do we create the story about our lives?" he asked. "Part of the healing process is for them to create a narrative, to organize an emotional story that allows them to get a handle on it."

Thomas Doherty, chairman of the film studies program at Brandeis University and author of "Projections of War: Hollywood, American Culture and World War II," called the videos an authentic diary of the war.

"There's always the disconnect between the front-line soldier and the sheltered home front," he said. "It's a World War II ethos: You don't bring it home."

After watching the video, Doherty said, "Of course you're struck by the gruesomeness of the carnage, but it's a wide range of images."

He went on to praise "the contra-punctual editing — the beat of the tune and the flash of the images," calling it "a very slick piece of work."

"The MTV generation goes to war," he said. "They should enter it at Sundance."

In another video, made by members of the Florida National Guard, soldiers are shown kicking a wounded prisoner in the face and making the arm of a corpse appear to wave. The DVD, which is called "Ramadi Madness," includes sections with titles such as "Those Crafty Little Bastards" and "Another Day, Another Mission, Another Scumbag," came to light in early March after the American Civil Liberties Union obtained Army documents using the Freedom of Information Act.

James Ross, senior legal advisor for Human Rights Watch, called it "disturbing that soldiers are making videos like that." But he added, "It doesn't mean that it's necessarily a violation of the Geneva Convention."

The Geneva Convention instructs that remains of deceased shall be respected and not "exposed to public curiosity," Ross said. "It's not putting heads on spikes and things like that. To argue you can't photograph [a body] would be a bit of a stretch."

Several websites sell footage from the war.

"Militants fight in the streets of Baghdad, looting, lawlessness," is how clips are advertised on efootage.com. A Las Vegas-based company, Gotfootage.com, offers $50 and $100 clips that include older footage of Saddam Hussein, Jessica Lynch, aerial bombardment and "sooooo many bombs." The site also advertises video showing an Iraqi fuel truck being destroyed by U.S. bombs during the invasion in March 2003.

Another website advertises, "GrouchyMedia.com is the place to find those pump-you-up-to-kill-the-bad-guys videos everyone has been talking about."

Spc. Scott Schroder, a gunner with Task Force 2-63, wouldn't show what he described as the "evil, nasty kill-videos," to his family.

"That's cool with the guys," he said. "I don't think my mom would care to see any of these videos."

Another specialist, who wouldn't give his name, said the bloody videos disgusted him.

"I wouldn't watch them, and the people I work with wouldn't watch them," said the specialist, stationed at a base near Mosul in northern Iraq. "I don't think it's proper."

He compared the violent videos to those made by insurgents showing beheadings.

"You bring yourself down to their level," he said. "Why would you do that?"



A poster for the video game "Grand Theft Auto" is pinned to the door of McCullough's room at Camp Warhorse.

Watching the home videos gives him a different perspective on combat, he said. Details are missed in the heat of battle, and the military "could use it as a tool, kind of like how they do it with high school football."

His roommate, 30-year-old Sgt. Benjamin Bronkema from Lafayette, Ind., said he was surprised no one had tried to sell the movies yet.

"If I had a copy of it, and MTV called, I'd sell it," he said. The videos are no different than what's on screen at the cinema, showing glorified violence, he added.

"It's no more graphic than 'Saving Private Ryan,' " he said. "To us, it's no different than watching a movie."

Copyright 2005 Los Angeles Times
Link Posted: 3/14/2005 8:22:04 AM EST
I'd buy a copy!
Link Posted: 3/14/2005 8:22:37 AM EST
This thread really sucks without a link to the video!!
Link Posted: 3/14/2005 8:22:52 AM EST
Reality can be hard to take.

Especially when you're comfortable.

Link Posted: 3/14/2005 8:25:02 AM EST
Cool.
Link Posted: 3/14/2005 8:29:39 AM EST
Tagged for when someone finds the video....
Link Posted: 3/14/2005 8:31:21 AM EST

Originally Posted By Stoney-Point:
Tagged for when someone finds the video....



+1
Link Posted: 3/14/2005 8:35:39 AM EST
So, its not OK to learn how combat really is?
Link Posted: 3/14/2005 8:36:08 AM EST
Tag
Link Posted: 3/14/2005 8:41:31 AM EST

Originally Posted By Brohawk:
Reality can be hard to take.

Especially when you're comfortable.




Yep, some people will never understand that sometimes you don't live with it, you live it, and deal with it however you can.
Link Posted: 3/14/2005 8:49:11 AM EST
Too bad his dad's a fag and he married an extremely ignorant cunt. Just calling a spade a spade.

Sounds like a realistic soldier to me.

I and my family thank him for his service.
Link Posted: 3/14/2005 8:55:20 AM EST
where is the footage?, clicked on this thread expecting to see footage....
Link Posted: 3/14/2005 9:12:21 AM EST
How to win a war? Total war must be fought on all fronts: militarily, political, psychological and social.

To win psychologically, you must de-humanize the enemy. Let the movies run on prime time!

The terrorists are way ahead of us on this.
Link Posted: 3/14/2005 9:17:20 AM EST
taggerroo
Link Posted: 3/14/2005 9:19:00 AM EST
So when can we download the video?
Link Posted: 3/14/2005 9:22:49 AM EST

Originally Posted By Top_Secret:
So when can we download the video?

+1
gimmegimmegimmegimmegimmegimmegi­mme

Link Posted: 3/14/2005 9:28:34 AM EST
ya, lots of guys were making these movies when I was over there. Dont show them to the family, they cant understand any of it anyways. Hell, I dont even understand the feelings I get most of the times from having been over there.
Link Posted: 3/14/2005 9:29:57 AM EST
I love these music videos, whenever I can grab them, even if I dislike th esong, great videos

Hell, even the ones just aboutht esoldiers are great, Toby Keith leaps to mind, he has done a number of videos showing soldiers and Marines....

I am sure he is not the only one
Link Posted: 3/14/2005 9:30:10 AM EST
don't cops and docs and emt guys suffer the same such disconnect? How can you not under such work related circumstances?



-HS
Link Posted: 3/14/2005 9:32:39 AM EST
Where's the vid!?!

Shawn
Link Posted: 3/14/2005 9:33:09 AM EST

Originally Posted By grywlf52:

Originally Posted By Stoney-Point:
Tagged for when someone finds the video....



+1



+2
Link Posted: 3/14/2005 9:34:31 AM EST
Due to overwhelming popular demand, I've emailed the author requesting the web site for the videos that she is describing.

One thing for sure, the author is definitely anti-war, otherwise they would have listed the website.

Stay tuned, I will let know folks know what became of my email.
Link Posted: 3/14/2005 10:11:04 AM EST
Well, here is her reply:

Some of the websites with less graphic content can be found at
grouchymedia.com. I don't know of a site that would feature those real
home-made videos.

Best,

Louise Roug

Link Posted: 3/14/2005 10:21:55 AM EST
What a bunch of touchy feely sissies! Would love to see this pic! WAR is a wonderful Thing!
Link Posted: 3/14/2005 10:27:47 AM EST

Originally Posted By 50cal:
This thread really sucks without a link to the video!!




Yeah! This thread is useless without the link!
Link Posted: 3/14/2005 10:34:00 AM EST
Grouchy Media

not the Ramadi Madness Video, but good videos none the less.
Link Posted: 3/14/2005 10:46:54 AM EST
tag
Link Posted: 3/14/2005 11:26:06 AM EST
tag for the footage.
Link Posted: 3/14/2005 11:38:49 AM EST
Excerpts from the video can be found here.
Link Posted: 3/14/2005 11:46:45 AM EST
tagged... for later. Thanks!
Link Posted: 3/14/2005 11:51:37 AM EST

Originally Posted By 50cal:
This thread really sucks without a link to the video!!


+1
Link Posted: 3/14/2005 11:53:23 AM EST

Originally Posted By warlord:
The author is whining, the movies and pictures about the Iraq war are too graphic, ie show too much destruction and death, kind of like "the pot calling the kettle black" non-sense.
===================================================================
snip...

"They're terrifying," she said by phone from Texas. "Chase never talked about anything over there, and I watch the news, but not all the time. I didn't realize there was that much" violence.

snip...

Copyright 2005 Los Angeles Times



I think this may be part of the problem.
Link Posted: 3/14/2005 11:57:32 AM EST

Anyone has links to those videos?
Link Posted: 3/14/2005 12:00:09 PM EST
[Last Edit: 3/14/2005 12:02:55 PM EST by 4GodandCountry]
Who gives a fuck? Let our soldiers shit in their mouths once they've waxed the godless bastards... I don't

fucking care. As long as our soldiers are doing their job, who gives a shit what they do in their spare time

as long as it isn't illegal? Fuck California and most of the cock-suckers that come out of that land of Oz. I

wouldn't mind getting my hands on a few videos anyways. Like the man said, it isn't hard to hate

someone that was just shooting at you.
Link Posted: 3/14/2005 12:08:42 PM EST

Originally Posted By 4GodandCountry:
Who gives a fuck? Let our soldiers shit in their mouths once they've waxed the godless bastards... I don't

fucking care. As long as our soldiers are doing their job, who gives a shit what they do in their spare time

as long as it isn't illegal? Fuck California and most of the cock-suckers that come out of that land of Oz. I

wouldn't mind getting my hands on a few videos anyways. Like the man said, it isn't hard to hate

someone that was just shooting at you.



The LA Times does not speak for Californians.
Link Posted: 3/15/2005 5:07:10 AM EST
.
Link Posted: 3/15/2005 5:51:45 AM EST
So many people want to live in their little isolated, safe, sterile world.

So be it. I have no problem with people wanting to do that. That's what our boys are actually fighting for.

However, those of us who want to know and see what is really happening......

I think all of this is a non-issue.

Reality isn't always pretty.
Link Posted: 3/15/2005 9:26:21 AM EST
ive got a few vids ive made from stills and a bunch of footage i filmed down there, and ive been trying to find someone to host it so i can post it here, but so far not much luck, there kinda large, and i can't email them for shit, which is why the two offers ive had so far havent worked out.

but i got a bunch of vids, including an original copy of the dude gettin pushed over in the porta potty.
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