DVD: The Ground Truth
Unlike any film about veterans of an ongoing, current war yet made, THE GROUND TRUTH derives its title and its essence from the fact that these are the images and voices of Americans who have been on the ground in Iraq, and have their truth to tell us and this government. This mesmerizing documentary was shown in homes and public meeting places across the country the week of October 4-11th, 2006 on the fourth anniversary of Congress' decision to let Bush invade, occupy and begin this war against Iraq. These are all first-person views directly from those who fought this war themselves, and who made it home to speak their truth about what they did and saw there. It is a film that will only grow more significant with the passage of time. An excellent film to show on or near Veteran's Day, Memorial Day, or July 4th (along with the outstanding film about the life of Vietnam Marine veteran Ron Kovic, "Born On The 4h of July").
• "This is undeniably one of the year's most compeling films..." - Claudia Puig, USA Today
• "Honor the veterans by really listening to what they have to say." - Aidan Delgado, Specialist, U.S. Army
• "The Ground Truth is a powerful, polemical, probing examination of the devastation the war has taken on returning soldiers." - David Ansen, Newsweek.com
• "It's strange to go from soldier to activist. Well, it's not typical. What I hope to do is to be a teacher. I think that might be some redemption for me, to try and change the next generation." – Mike Blake, U.S. Army Reserve Specialist
Statement from producer & director, Patricia Foulkrod:
"With our nation engaged in a war, it is an extraordinary time to learn from each other. I believe we are all trying to understand and be pro-active in this war...
I produced and directed THE GROUND TRUTH so we could all talk openly about what really happens in war - the fact that people kill and get killed; the thousands and thousands who are injured in combat and must now struggle to cope with their pain and new stressful living conditions – long after the conflict is out of the news.
I wanted to show how deep the effects of killing in combat truly are - whether in self-defense or not - and create a national dialogue about our 'consciousness of killing.' I felt it was important for us to witness the despair returning soldiers experience when their psychological needs are not recognized or provided for. I wanted us to hear their hearts and troubled minds, so hopefully we can become more involved in long-term solutions for our veterans.
These soldiers' needs have not changed since Harld Russell and 'The Best Years of Our Lives.' Sixty years later, we need to recognize not only that the U.S. is in very different war circumstances, but also that our fighting men and women face tremendous challenges back home that we can no longer ignore.
And most important, through this film I hope to share with all Americans the profound wisdom these young men and women have to impart. Their healing can begin with our listening."
• "The Vietnam veterans, the Iraq veterans are our children. Those are our kids, and that's how we feel about them." - Stan Goff, reired U.S. Army
• "There is no higher freedom that can be achieved than the freedom we achieve when we follow our conscience, and that is something you can live by and never regret." - Camilo E. Mejia, U.S. Army
• "Just the other day, a guy asked me how I lost my arm. I told him lost it in the war. He said, 'What war?' I said, 'The War in Iraq.' He said, 'Is that still going on?' I said, 'Yeah dude, it's still going on.' - Robert Acosta, U.S. Army
A Review from the Committee on Militarism & the Draft, San Diego, CA...
I teach courses about multicultural education at a university in Southern California. My class prepares teachers to insruct chidren from a wide variety of backgrounds, including those whose parents are in the Marines and Navy, refugees from war-torn areas, privileged groups, and immigrants. Some of their parents are between military deployments; some are disabled or deceased as a result of war. (An estimaed 1,600 U.S. children have los a parent to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan [as of fall 2006]. ) Some of eh school-aged children themselves have memories of bombing, hacking, hiding, escaping, smuggling and surviving. I do my best to prepare student teachers for the cultural variations and cognitive challenges that kindergartners through twelfth-graders bring to Southern California classrooms.
Up to ow my focus has been on ethnic and cultural realities, including class, disabiliy and LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, questioning). After screening the film "The Groud Truth," I plan o add military culture and its impact on school-aged children and their families.
The film tracks the experiences of men and women who joined the military
for a variety of reasons. including patriotism, tradition, "to be a man," healthcare benefits and/or lack of other employment or education opportunities. The film follows them through induction, basic training, deployment, injury, discharge and veteran status. The bait-and-switch tactics of military recruiters are emphasized. One individuyal in the film commented, "They don't tell you the consequences," citing the example of "seeing your friends killed." While the recruiters emphasize the career opportunities of the military, one recruiter says, "The purpose [of the training] is to kill. The purpose is o take life." Another states that the military creates "a sustained state of mind to take a life when you are no enraged as a conditioned response."
A key part of the training is the de-humanization of "the enemy" through songs and marching cadences that include characterizations such as "ragheads" and "hajiis."
I met a veteran at the university once who as having a difficult time readjusting to civilian life from the kind of hyper-vigilance that is necessary for survival in a war with no front line and where the enemy is anyone.