An excellent review of the new Iraq documentary, Year at Danger. For operations in Iraq, the National Guard mobilized schoolteachers, police officers, bankers, mechanics…and one filmmaker.
Tag: Iraq War
My cousin, Steve Metze, is currently serving in Iraq for the Texas National Guard. He has an interesting story, really. Heâ€™s a graduate of West Point, teaches Television and Film at the University of Texas, and is second or third in command of the Texas National Guard. In May of 2004 he got married, and conceived a child a couple months later. Then he got word that he was going to ship out to Iraq at the first of 2005. He was overseas as his wife went through the third trimester, and (thanks to a generous temporary leave from the military) was only around for a couple weeks to witness the birth. Right now he is serving the rest of his year in a wing of a former Iraqi palace, on the other side of the planet from his new wife and newborn daughter.
A couple years before he left for Iraq, he made a documentary about gamers (of the Dungeons and Dragons kind). Since he is part of the command in Iraq, he has been in a relatively unique position. And being a filmmaker, he has decided to put his talents to good use. Though he has not officially announced it, he is currently filming a documentary about the life of the troops in Iraq. As soon as he gets back to the United States he will turn the footage over to his editor, and soon after that we will be setting up a site to promote the film. Iâ€™m looking forward to working on that project almost as much as Iâ€™m looking forward to seeing the film, but not nearly as much as Iâ€™m looking forward to seeing him home again.
One of the things that bother me about some people is their refusal to look at things in the long-term, or the Grand Scheme of Things. I’ve observed that many conservatives fall into this category, and I believe this is due to a predilection to maintain tradition. This can be a good thing, but it does tend to dissuade change. If a conservative is going to agree to change, it had better produce some quick results. Their haste to produce, however, blinds them to certain long-term effects. Such is true of the economy, politics, and the environment. Ironically, the conservatives are the worst conservationists in government.
For example, my school, Texas Tech, will soon stop funding their recycling program. Why? Well, it cost a lot to maintain and when the numbers came back they weren’t making enough money. The business assholes that run our “institution for higher learning” were only thinking about the bottom line. Certainly money is an issue, but don’t forget what the program was doing in the first place: recycling. Sure, it may cost a little in the end, but it’s the long-term benefits that we are seeking. Our ethics should guide our spending, not our greed.
Which brings me to my main point, and that is the “ongoing” war in Iraq. For whatever reason, the Bush administration decided it was going to war with that country. To gain public support, they had us envision a fantasy world which included a democratic Iraq, liberated from their generation’s Hitler, kissing soldiers in the streets, and embracing Christianity. Okay, no one ever admitted that last one, but you know they secretly hoped for it. The fact is, Iraq is a mess, and we (Americans) are going to be blamed for it, even if we’ve been protesting it from the beginning. But now that we’re engaged in this thing, we have to see it through to the end. It is going to cost a lot (which, incidentally, doesn’t seem very conservative to me) both in dollars and lives, and I don’t think people stopped to consider that before they started chanting for war. I can only hope that one of the benefits of this war is that people start to consider the long-term.
© 1999-2022 Eric P. Metze