August 31, 2007

Images Redacted

Brian De Palma is tediously consistent if nothing else.

His Vietnam war fiction "Casualties of War" portrayed American soldiers as rapist thugs merely bidding their time for the opportunity to commit inhuman acts against a bucolic population.

Unlike "Casualties," which was filmed decades after the war in Southeast Asia, De Palma's new film, "Redacted" is an admitted attempt by De Palma to sway world opinion against Americans soldiers while they are actively engaged in combat.

A new film about the real-life rape and killing of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl by U.S. soldiers who also murdered her family stunned the Venice festival, with shocking images that left some viewers in tears.

"Redacted," by U.S. director Brian De Palma, is one of at least eight American films on the war in Iraq due for release in the next few months and the first of two movies on the conflict screening in Venice's main competition.

Inspired by one of the most serious crimes committed by American soldiers in Iraq since the 2003 invasion, it is a harrowing indictment of the conflict and spares the audience no brutality to get its message across.

De Palma, 66, whose "Casualties of War" in 1989 told a similar tale of abuse by American soldiers in Vietnam, makes no secret of the goal he is hoping to achieve with the film's images, all based on real material he found on the Internet.

"The movie is an attempt to bring the reality of what is happening in Iraq to the American people," he told reporters after a press screening.

"The pictures are what will stop the war. One only hopes that these images will get the public incensed enough to motivate their Congressmen to vote against this war," he said.

As noted above, De Palma's film is propaganda to which he proudly admits:

"The pictures are what will stop the war. One only hopes that these images will get the public incensed enough to motivate their Congressmen to vote against this war," he said.

I wonder how this country would have responded if Director John Ford had released a film showing American servicemen raping and killing an innocent Japanese girl in 1943 and murdering her family, instead of the propaganda film December 7.

In 1944, Ford was a commander in the USNR, and watched the June 6, 1944 invasion of Normandy from the USS Plunkett as the destroyer screened troop transports off Omaha Beach, and later landed on sands tinged red with the blood of American soldiers. To this day, most of the film Ford's team of combat cameramen shot on "Bloody Omaha" has never been seen. One may wonder how De Palma would have reacted in such a setting. Would his reaction have been to have noted the sacrifice of America's soldiers, or to vilify them for shooting fair-haired soldiers of the Wehrmacht as their lines collapsed and were overrun?

It seems almost certain that if De Palma covered the battle for Okinawa in 1945, his predilection for vilifying the American military would no doubt have led him to tell the story of the noble schoolteacher who led her classroom of children over the cliffs to their deaths at Humeyuri-no-to, and the bloodthirsty Marines they escaped from into death.

Of course, De Palma isn't making movies during World War Two vilifying America’s soldiers; he's making movies during a current war vilifying Americans soldiers.

What would once have been quickly identified as treasonous or seditious in past conflicts is now something that appears to be quite fashionable among certain aspects of our society.

De Palma and like-minded souls in Venice, Cannes, and Santa Barbara, of course, feel brave for making a film that portrays the young Midwestern privates and southern specialists and street-smart second lieutenants from Jersey on the frontlines as savages, capable and yearning to unleash unbearable cruelty.

As sweat drips in the eyes of soldiers and Marines as they attempt to bring peace to a land that has rarely known it, their enemies will be watching pirated and crudely-dubbed bootlegs of Redacted in training camps in Syria, in mosques in Saudi Arabia, and in homes throughout the Arab world, who already take a suspicious view of the American soldier in Iraq.

We will not see the pictures that would actually win the war, of an Iraqi father wrapping his arms around a suicide bomber to keep him from entering a mosque, or of the Iraqi interpreter who proudly dreams of becoming an American Marine. We won't see American ssaving Iraqi lives, or Iraqis saving American lives, or the brutality of those we fight.

Those, you see, are the pictures that Brian de Palma has redacted.

Blast From the Past: I'd almost forgotten. Venice was a pretty smart choice for De Palma, as the Italians have quite the fetish for dishonest anti-war propaganda.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at August 31, 2007 01:20 PM

Is it just me or does DePalma have a penchant for films involving the rape of young girls. I bet poor John Ford is turning over in his grave.

Posted by: Tarheel at August 31, 2007 02:18 PM
shooting fair-haired soldiers of the Wehrmacht as their lines collapsed and were overrun?


rape and killing of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl by U.S. soldiers who also murdered her family

...And you righties are always spluttering and mewling about your problems with the perceived "moral equivalency" practiced by the left. Putting these two situations on equal footing is disgusting.

Posted by: nunaim at August 31, 2007 02:39 PM

It's despicable to see what De Palma is doing. It's totally irresponsible and only for political gain on his own part. He would be happy if we left now, Al Qaeda moved back in killed and terrorized the iraqi people with their taliban style rule.

What he's doing is sick and wrong.

Posted by: john at August 31, 2007 02:53 PM

Brian De Palma?

He is the one who gave us that 1984 blockbuster, Body Double.

Posted by: Dave at August 31, 2007 03:11 PM

Ah liberals.

Always the humanists.

Out of the 1000s of atrocities committed in Iraq on a daily basis- the mass murders, the car bombs, the assassinations, the rapes, the beheadings, the tortures, the 10s of thousands slaughtered by jihadis and ex-baathist thugs,

Only when the atrocity is done by an AMERICAN SOLDIER does it get his attention, and justify dumping millions into a feature film

Yeah, he cares about Iraqis.

His selective outrage is laughable if it wasnt disgusting

He isnt against America. He's for the other side.

Posted by: TMF at August 31, 2007 04:30 PM

Don't forget the mega-hit, "Bonfire of the vanities"

Posted by: Brad at August 31, 2007 05:55 PM

You mean you'd rather cover it up? Hide the fact that real justice was doled out in American courts for these heinous crimes? One soldier got 100 years, one 90 years, Steven D. Green, the ring leader may get the death penalty.

Why wouldn't you want that broadcast far and wide?

Posted by: markg8 at August 31, 2007 06:45 PM

I totally agree with TMF... My padna Lil Country and Me witnessed the day they dumped the decapitated body of that Korean Student on Route Irish that the insurgents had offed. they didn't even have the decency of dumping his squash with his carcass... just a jumpsuited body sans casaba.

This being ONE of DOZENS of innocent-murdered bodies we saw during a 22 month tour. NO MENTION by the "Bleeding Hearts" of the constant infliction of violence on the Innocents by the REAL Bad Guys but a constant harping on our US Troops. This leads me to my next thing:

I Have a THEORY: Its a odd one, but roll with me on this for a second. I've noticed an ever increasing trend that has YET to be picked up by ANY media source or even anyone else that I can tell.

Having said that, I have noticed an increase in denial of their aging by the "Baby Boomer Generation" which happens to be the majority of the scum-sucking 1960's anti-Vietnam War peaceniks.

This include my own parents. They are constantly trying to "Live Younger" and "Act Young" on a regular basis. Isn't it true that the Mass Media regularly dump stories on us on how "Young" the current crop of 59 to 65'ers are? How they are 'extending their lives' and all that crap? Look at the number of ads and drugs that are being pushed with the idea of 'living longer' and all that jazz...

Is it possible we are seeing a MAJOR resurgence in anti-military/anti-war behavior because of these sorry 'people' are intent on "Recapturing Their Youth" and "Leaving ANOTHER Mark for Another Generation by stopping THIS war"?

Does this have more to do with the DENIAL of the fact that they are a bunch of sorry retreads who learned the hard way that they were WRONG about Vietnam and that they are setting themselves up for future failure? Add on that in their self centered minds "THIS TIME WE'RE RIGHT!!!!"

Who do they think is going to be taking care of their wrinkled butts in another 20 years? Do they have any concept of this? My thoughts are NO. Its been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Post WW2 Generation... those of the '60's Lovefest' are the most self center egocentric and completely spoiled rotten group to have ever had the unfortunate situation of having been spawned. Because of their "Me-me-me-me-me" Selfishness and the denial of "Aging Gracefully" they are setting us up for failures that they themselves won't live to see. Islam-America anyone? Among the leftists and retreads.. do the see this as a possibility? Nah... No Hope for them... If you think I'm wrong... just look at the "Usual Suspects" out there who are either 'trying' or 'doing' in playing a role in the Anti-War (bowel)Movements:
Hanoi Jane Fonda
John "5 1/2 Months Incountry" Kerry
John "EX-Marine" Murtha
Ralph "Sunbeam" Nader
Justin Raimondo
Cindy Sheehan
and a host of others...all 60's and wannabe retreads.

And for those of you who wish to argue that the youth of America are involved as well:
The Younger Generation in College right now are being taught by what has been referred to as the Most Leftist Group of Professors this side of Joseph Stalin. And for this, I offer, my Dad has been a Professor in the state he calls the Peoples Socialist Republic of Massachusetts for 25 years... I know how bad it is... it's part of why he retired this year... anyways
nuff said... let the flames begin!

Posted by: Big Country at August 31, 2007 06:53 PM
Only when the atrocity is done by an AMERICAN SOLDIER does it get his attention
NO MENTION by the "Bleeding Hearts" of the constant infliction of violence on the Innocents by the REAL Bad Guys but a constant harping on our US Troops.

First: we're supposed to be the good guys, you fools. Are you seriously proposing that we judge our own behavior against the behavior of terrorists? As long we're not as bad as they are, then everything's cool?

Second: Our military presumably has the power to control the behavior of our soldiers, so it makes sense to complain about something that we can, at least nominally, have some influence over.


Posted by: nunaim at August 31, 2007 07:17 PM

The concept of "Good Guys" and "Bad Guys" went out the door years ago with "White Hats" and "Black Hats." Unfortunately its the fact of life. The fact that we haven't gone completely apeshit and done what really needs to be done shows the US Militarys restraint.

As suggested by my 'Fixer' (who thankfully I helped get out of Baghdad before the place became a TOTAL cesspool), he had his own ideas.

Mohammned told me (and he's a devout Shiite) that if we, the American and Coalition forces really wanted to stop the uprising and insurgency, his advice was that every single mullah who was publically speaking out against the Coalition be graphically and publically executed and their bodies be left in the streets as a warning to others.

Doing this he said would have prevented 95% of the violence that has since been perpetrated. The Iraqis he explained to me only respect strength and terror, and not necessarily in that order. Saddam for all his insanity understood the fracteous nature and basic tribalism of the people here, and stamped down accordingly.

Unfortunately or Fortunately, we as Americans prefer to approach things with a "nice guy approach." It's what gets our teeth kicked in every time. Nice Guys and Leftist finish last... reality is peace comes from a barrel of a gun, not from vacuous wishful thinking.

Posted by: Big Country at August 31, 2007 07:56 PM

No one forgives the rape and murder of a girl and her family--and the individuals involved were prosecuted because in fact we are the good guys--or at least keep our soldiers under more control than most other armies.

Nunaim goes into paroxysms of liberal guilt and angst. I suppose if it makes him or her feel better that's okay. In the meantime, Nunaim should get out of the way of the serious people and sit off in a corner somewhere nursing his/her aganst.

Posted by: Mike Myers at August 31, 2007 08:42 PM

Geez nunaim, even if we can't control the real bad guys in Iraq, how come we can't talk about them on TV or in the press in this country. TV shows about radical Islam get censored or cancelled, articles get spiked, Reuters doesn't even have the word terrorist in their lexicon (admittedely they're not U.S.). If we can talk about the bad deeds of the goog guys, why is there an embargo on a discussion of the bad deeds of the bad guys?

Posted by: daleyrocks at August 31, 2007 11:47 PM

"Our military presumably has the power to control the behavior of our soldiers, so it makes sense to complain about something that we can, at least nominally, have some influence over."

What are you thinking we should "complain about?" Do you think that the military could have prevented this? Do you think that the military somehow enabled this? Do you think that the military didn't prosecute this?

If, in fact, DePalma's point is to help prevent these sorts of atrocities in the future, then I'm guessing that the main focus of the movie would be on the heroes in the military justice system, who investigated this horrific act, prosecuted these animals, and sentenced them to terms long enough so that most of them won't be seeing the outside of a jail cell until well after their 100th birthdays.

Somehow, I'm skeptical that that is, in fact, the focus.

Especially since DePalma says that his intention is to "use the pictures to stop the war." The pictures can only do that if he is somehow claiming that it's the war itself, i.e. the US military, that is responsible for this rape/murder. That, in other words, these sorts of things are a consequence of "Bush's War," rather than the horrendous acts of individuals, and that, therefore, the individuals who committed this crime are somehow, themselves, victims of the evil military, or the evil administration.

Crimes like these cannot be 100% prevented in any instance, under any circumstance, civilian or military. With more than 1 million troops having been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan (, a few really sick, twisted animals must be among the bunch, no matter how well screened and trained they are. So, in other words, if Bush hadn't sent these individuals to Iraq, there's no reason to doubt that they would have committed this or a similar act in Germany, or Okinawa, or Cleveland, or wherever they would otherwise have been living. Would it still have been worth making a movie about?

Posted by: notropis at September 1, 2007 12:10 AM
The pictures are what will stop the war
If only it were so! Quite to the contrary the most the pictures can accomplish is to end the U. S. involvement in the war. 90% of the casualties and 99.9% of the atrocities have been perpetrated by people who aren't Americans.

There are people of good will who honestly believe that the entirety of what's going on is a “war of national liberation” and that when the Americans leave, the war will end. I respectfully disagree and suggest that this scenario corresponds to no credible theory of human behavior. If the Americans leave before the war is over, the war will go on merrily without them. There just won't be anybody in Iraq with the will or ability to prevent the worst possible effects from taking place.

Posted by: Dave Schuler at September 1, 2007 08:03 AM

Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 09/01/2007
A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention updated throughout the day…so check back often. This is a weekend edition so updates are as time and family permits.

Posted by: David M at September 1, 2007 08:12 AM

Brian DePalma is another burned out 1960s hippie. The irony here is that if there were a Teheran Film Festival, he would be hiding in a loft in Fresno, the subject of a fatwa.

Posted by: arch at September 1, 2007 09:22 AM

Ever heard of paragraphs? Of course I shouldn't expect much from a vicious military hater like yourself.

Posted by: Capitalist Infidel at September 1, 2007 01:36 PM

I wish I could write this up well. I tried blogging it, but lost the train of thought...Here is the pot shot version:

Do you remember the big debate around 9/11 2002 about not showing the images of the planes flying into the towers or the towers coming down on the anniversary of the attacks?

They were "too traumatic" and it was better for our Western society to gain some closure, and not further demonize all Muslims, by showing those images again. And we didn't.

Now, we have Opus cartoons taking shots at radical Islamicists needing to be censored in order to not demonize, radical Islamicists? oh, no, just don't use the radicals to demonize all Muslims.

Using a few GIs to demonize the US military and ultimately the foundations of Western society, OK....that is progressive.....but not the Other...

I know I've lost a lot of people with the "foundations of Western society" bit, but it does fit together.

How many movies have come out about 9/11? Big block buster movies? Movies with the intense thriller aspects and expert, best of Hollywood direction along the lines of Spielburg's Munich???

8 anti-Iraq War II films in the pipe, but I guess stories about the carrying out of the 9/11 attacks or the horrific terror and agonizing deaths on 9/11/2001 aren't compelling enough......or maybe Hollywood cares so much about that event, they are waiting for something like the 10th anniversary to really pay tribute to the events of that day....

Getting the anti-Iraq War II stuff out is just easier and makes more sense...somehow...while holding back on 9/11 material also...somehow makes sense.

It is the same kind of sense that has movies like The Good Shepard made. Not too much of an overly political movie, but it has threads that tie it to the bigger picture - which is connected to why anti-war movies are the vogue and 9/11 movies are not....

A few times in De Niro's movie, they mention that fearful organizations like the CIA need (to manufacture fake) enemies to justify their power (and the bad things they do with it)...

He also had a scene that gave the argument that the Soviets were a hollow, rotting mammoth that "was never a threat, is not a threat, will never be a threat....."

The movie makers and we know that the rotting, bloated giant part turned out to be true, but not only did it not seem that way back then.....if you look at North Korea can see how even an already collapsed, tiny state can.....still offer a terrible threat of doom due to its military size and the weapons it possess....Could the Soviet's have ever defeated the Allies? Were they ever strong enough to give it a go? It is immaterial when considering whether the threat was real or not. NK can't win a war, but it can still rain down hell on 10 million South Koreans alone living in Seoul....

But, these De Niro items in The Good Shepard are part of a trend that has been going on since before the end of the Cold War....and the objective is the same as De Palma and Hollywood on Iraq War II today AND their objective in avoiding stoking patrioticism-demonizing Muslims by not making 9/11 movies or movies that portray US soldiers in a good light....

As the Cold War was still going on, and since, segments of our society, mainly the intelligencia, have tried hard to down play the ill in the Others and play up the ills (real and imagined) in our own Western world.....

Look at the references to Dresden and fire bombing of Tokyo in literature and movies.....Try a movie I recently watched.....The Map of the Heart....

And on the flip side, I read recently, though I don't know the validity of the reporting, that the Brits are cutting out Churchill in new history textbooks to make room for other material.....but at the same time......Hitler and Nazi Germany is getting some "different perspectives" put in to help de-demonize the English view of Germans and Germany as a nation......

What we have here is the same battle going on for the hearts and minds of members of Western society.

The same battle that went on early in the 20th Century --- the battle to overcome the evils of capitalism and capitalistic society.

Is this the same as calling all these guys "communists" as we saw in the Cold War ideological battles?

No. At least the people that were openly leftists back then had an ideology they believed in...

Today.....we have the same types of people, even in some cases the same people, fighting the good fight.....they just lost any sense of an alternative with the end of the Cold War and the collapse of any hint of the Soviet-way as a viable alternative....

Today....the best they can do is Global Warming...

I know this all sounds far fetched...but think about it....

De Caprio (sp?) comes out with a GW movie and Hollywood wants to make Gore a secular saint. Big business is a constant target of the intelligencia and the pseudo-intellectuals of pop culture. And they also happen to have just pumped out a string of anti-war movies during a presidential election cycle.....

These are the same groups of people who argued the Soviets (and even the likes of North Korea) were viable alternatives to Western ills back in the day....

I mean, these are the same guys and girls who fawn over Michael Moore for going to Cuba to rave about its health care system.......

The desire is the same......they have been trying to bring about a reformation of Western society.

They do so by playing up its faults.
"Deconstructing" its "supposed" good qualities.
And by defending and shielding its enemies in various ways.

That is why Dresden naturally comes to mind for them when thinking about WWII (and not saving the world from fascism)....

That is why movies about Iraq War II demonizing American soldiers and Western governments is the right thing to do ---- and not movies about 9/11...

Posted by: usinkorea at September 1, 2007 04:23 PM

"The Map of the Heart" should be "Map of the Human Heart" and the line about Michael Moore should have emphasized that these groups are STILL going to communist dictatorships to recuperate their image...

Posted by: usinkorea at September 1, 2007 04:30 PM

"Quite to the contrary the most the pictures can accomplish is to end the U. S. involvement in the war. 90% of the casualties and 99.9% of the atrocities have been perpetrated by people who aren't Americans."

So true, and thanks for the correction/clarification to my post.

Posted by: notropis at September 1, 2007 05:26 PM

He was one stoned slacker; Jeff Piccoli from Texas, not representative of the overwhelming
majority of US soldiers in Afghanistan 0r Iraq.
(Interestingly; Sean Penn friend to the Iranian mullahs, Katrina grandstander, and friend of Hugo
Chavez; was in "Casualties of War"

Posted by: narciso at September 1, 2007 06:27 PM

Why wouldn't you want that broadcast far and wide?

De Palma will have to omit the final act, because it would let the air out of the rest.

A proper documentary would necessarily include the trials and sentencing. He's not making a documentary though and has made no mention of including the trials and sentencing.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at September 1, 2007 10:44 PM
De Palma will have to omit the final act, because it would let the air out of the rest.

Your reasoning doesn't make sense; the trial and sentencing would underscore the absolute wrongness of what he did.

Posted by: nunaim at September 2, 2007 07:53 AM


Keep up the good work! Nobody has noticed one of my movies for over ten years. If you keep hacking away at it, you might just give me enough publicity to make this sucker break even.

Posted by: Brian De Palma at September 2, 2007 07:56 AM

Well, if were going to use the actions of a very, very tiny, insignificant minority to smear an entire group/policy, I guess we can do an movie on mistress murdering drunk Teddy Kennedy as a commentary on all liberal Democrats.

Posted by: TMF at September 2, 2007 12:06 PM

Or a movie on philandering, perjuring, lying to the face of the American people, justice obstructing William Clinton as a commentary on Hillary.

You get the picture

These guys did a horrible thing- the type of thing, sadly, that happens with similar frequency amongst the civilian population here in the US every day.

This movie is a piece of propagandist garbage that would make DePalmas proteges in the SS proud.

Posted by: TMF at September 2, 2007 12:08 PM
I guess we can do an movie on mistress murdering drunk Teddy Kennedy as a commentary on all liberal Democrats....Or a movie on philandering, perjuring, lying to the face of the American people, justice obstructing William Clinton

Go for it, dude! If the Lewinsky BJ scene is graphic enough, I may even buy a ticket.

Posted by: nunaim at September 2, 2007 02:46 PM

I do not believe Americans are free to say and do whatever they want. The thought of anarchy in a system of law in contradictory. War is hell, and war is ugly. America and England have gone far beyond any normal call for civility during war, investigating everything. When will the propagandists be held accountable? When will the American people demand this garbage stop?

Posted by: Mekan at September 2, 2007 04:09 PM

Confederate Yankee, you refer to Casualties of War as "fiction."

You might want to rethink that charge. The rape-murder portrayed in Casualties of War most certainly took place in 1966 during a five-man recon patrol mounted by a battalion from the 1st Cavalry Division.

Now, I'll grant that the movie version is overly dramatic and involves much more combat than actually occurred during the incident in question.

I'll also grant that the rape-murder portrayed in Casualties of War cannot stand as a representational portrait of the American grunt in Vietnam. Certainly, such incidents were few and far between.

But there is no doubt that rape-murders did take place during the war, and the one portrayed in Casualties of War is based on actual court-martial testimony and interviews with the one soldier of five who refused to participate.

In other words, you use the word "fiction" in a most disingenuous manner.

Posted by: PITA at September 2, 2007 05:19 PM

At least "Casualties of War" had a trial.

Posted by: davod at September 3, 2007 01:28 PM

De Palma will omit the "final act", i.e., the trial and imprisonment of the perpetrators, because that would nullify the entire purpose of the movie-- to demonize the U.S. military. Which means he is a propagandist for the enemy of the lowest order. In WW2 he would have been prosecuted for sedition and shot for treason. But that was before our country became infested with Liberals. They will be the downfall of America. They are the barbarians within the gates.

Posted by: Carlos at September 3, 2007 01:39 PM

DePalma certainly included the trial and imprisonment of the offenders in his previous Casualties of War..... a movie which CY still seems to consider "fiction."

Posted by: PITA at September 3, 2007 09:49 PM


What's worse is that this is supposed to be a documentary/fiction. Which means that they'll include just enough fact to make it somewhat credible but then blow it up as much as possible.

And that Mark Cuban is involved is something of a disgrace as well.

Posted by: memomachine at September 4, 2007 10:55 AM

Confederate Yankee, do you mind if I ask for a third time why you refer to Casualties of War as "fiction," when, in fact, the rape-murder portrayed took place in November of '66, and was carried out by four of five members of a recon patrol from the 1st Cavalry Division?

That fifth member of the patrol who refused to participate in the rape-murder, and who was ignored by the chain of command when he tried to report the incident, and who was immediately transferred out of his rifle company (for fear his comrades might retaliate against such a "gook-lover") also saw several other atrocities committed by his fellow grunts during other patrols. He also saw evidence of Viet Cong atrocities against civilians.

All of this was documented decades ago in the book Casualties of War by Daniel Lang.

Why do you pretend otherwise?

Posted by: PITA at September 4, 2007 03:42 PM

PITA, the movie Casualties of War was a movie directed by Brian De Palma, based up a script written by David Rabe, which in turn was based upon Daniel Lang's article in The New Yorker, which in turn, was inspired by a true event.

Further Rabe was irritated with what De Palma did to his script, further fictonalizing and stylizing it into what Vietnam correspondent and feminist Frances Fitzgerald, called "a sadoporn flick coated with sentimentality and laced with every cliche of the Vietnam War."

There is a reason this film wasn't called a documentary, junior.

"Casualties" is based upon a true story, but as anyone over Barney-watching age should know, that isn't remotely the same thing as reality.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at September 4, 2007 07:14 PM

Junior? Barney-watching age? What gives with the down-your-nose rudeness, Confederate Yankee?

Here's the deal: "Casualties of War" is a typical over-the-top DePalma movie with some invented combat scenes, and an invented attempted-fragging scene.

The movie is entirely accurate, however, in two key regards: the gang-rape and murder of the girl kidnapped by the recon patrol (it was every bit as brutal and bloody as portrayed on the screen); and the attempted cover-up of the incident by the chain of command (platoon leader and company commander, as shown in the movie, and battalion commander, too, as noted in a book written by the chaplain who finally reported the incident to division headquarters).

So, again, why the charge that the movie is "fiction"?

Unrepresentational of the American grunt experience in Vietnam? Yes. Fiction? Afraid not.

Posted by: PITA at September 4, 2007 09:32 PM


While I'm not the expert that you obviously are on this particular incident, I would still make the argument that the fictionalization of the real events (the "Hollywood" type combat scenes and fake latrine fragging attempt come to mind) to serve a "larger truth" are inaccurate enough to warrant calling the film fiction, even if key elements of the film was based upon real events.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at September 4, 2007 09:44 PM

Well, fair enough, CY. I think we can agree on this: there's never been a movie about Vietnam, no matter what the political agenda, that did not fictionalize certain key aspects of the story.

And that's really too bad.

Put all the Vietnam movies in a blender (from The Green Berets to Platoon), and the viewer might get an accurate impression of how the war was really a hundred different wars, depending on when, where, and with what unit a soldier served.

Enough of my rambling.

Posted by: PITA at September 4, 2007 10:08 PM

I accidentally put this comment in another post....

DePalma is a hack. He completely ruined The Black Dahlia. The pretentious little documentary about the killing that he stuck onto the DVD of that movie is laughable, no matter how gory. His fondness for such bloody fare makes me wonder if doing films like Redacted allows him to have his cake and eat it, too--in that he can satisfy his fondness for sadism even as he feigns outrage. Pervert actually means something, sometimes.

Posted by: clazy at September 4, 2007 10:48 PM

De Palma is a crappy director, used to be good but now he's lost it. However I have no problem with someone making a film about this incident. Iraq is not the same as WWII. In WWII an imperial power, germany, was the invader. Here America is the invader, and has a duty of care towards the Iraqi people - whose country they have demolished. America is not like germany in WWII, not a fascist nazi state. However in order that it never becomes one, incidents like the rape and murder of this girl and her parents must be exposed. Only by holding onesself to a higher standard can one hope to achieve that standard.

To crtiticise the filmaker for making a film about something that REALLY happened is moral cowardice. It DID happen . It IS a crime. It must NOT happen again. Covering it up, or hiding these things behind operational imperatives ensures that these rapes and murders are more likely to happen.

In vietnam we saw footage of the horrific things being done to the people of vietnam. The chemical weapons used on them, the napalm. The destroyed villages, the massacres of civilians. These images helped bring what was an unjust and unecessary war to an end. however NO SUCH FOOTAGE of iraq is being shown. No bodybags are shown of the young men sent to die in Iraq - why not? No combat footage is being shown on the news - why not? How is hiding the war from the public serving the troops?

Posted by: Wisdo at September 5, 2007 04:45 AM

If I may extend the eating analogy, Wisdo, Hollywood is like a neurotic who will eat nothing but orange food, and Depalma is the man who makes cheese puffs.

Posted by: clazy at September 5, 2007 08:44 AM