Army Concerned About HBO War Film

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Geez, you'd think the fellas in charge of the military were squeamish or something. War is by very definition a gruesome, horrendous, bloody activity, which is why our mis-Administration are all such assholes for sending brave soldiers to fight somewhere that wasn't absolutely necessary.

Army Concerned About HBO War Film Army officials are worried that a documentary about a Baghdad hospital could negatively affect public opinion about the war.

Two senior Army officers, who were granted anonymity to publicly discuss the private deliberations of Army leaders, said the secretary of the Army, Francis J. Harvey, had declined to attend the screening by HBO, scheduled for Monday night at the National Museum of American History in Washington.

High-ranking military officers, including Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, who is the Army chief of staff, and Lt. Gen. Kevin C. Kiley, the surgeon general of the Army, had been expected to attend the screening but now will not, people involved in preparations for the event said.

The documentary, titled “Baghdad ER,” chronicles two months at the 86th Combat Support Hospital, where filmmakers were given broad access to follow doctors, nurses, medics and others as they treated soldiers wounded by roadside bombs and in combat. As one nurse, Specialist Saidet Lanier, says in the film: “This is hard-core, raw, uncut trauma. Day after day, every day.”

Richard L. Plepler, an executive vice president at HBO, said the screening would take place as planned on Monday, but he said he expected far fewer people to attend than the 300 or so that Army officials told him to expect after an initial screening at the Pentagon.

“We had discussed a larger degree of participation from senior members of the Army when we first visited the Pentagon in March,” Mr. Plepler said. “One retired general who was there told us the film 'captured the soul of the United States Army.' Therefore, we're a little surprised by the change in plans.”

Our civilian leadership continually attempt to purge any and all images of the brutality of war from our fragile little minds. No matter that this film sounds like a celebration of the heroism of actual soldiers, and of the medical staffs too.

The film, directed by Jon Alpert and Matthew O'Neill, will be shown May 21 on HBO.

HBO has been promoting the documentary as a tribute to the heroism of the soldiers and medical personnel who are shown working under severe stress. But the producers acknowledge that its harrowing scenes could be interpreted differently.

“Anything showing the grim realities of war is, in a sense, antiwar,” said Sheila Nevins, president of HBO's documentary and family unit. “In that way, the film is a sort of Rorschach test. You see in it what you bring to it.”

Baghdad ER should be screened before every meeting of the Iran Invasion task force (the Operation Iran Liberation team) in the White House Situation Room. Play it on the Big Board.

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Bad publicity makes 'em squeamish.

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This page contains a single entry by Seth A. published on May 14, 2006 3:11 PM.

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