The War Tapes

July 23, 2006 - Robert May, a native of Luzerne County, PA, co-produced this 2006 documentary, which is directed by Deborah Scranton. The film follows three soldiers from the New Hampshire National Guard as their unit spends a year in Iraq. Much of the footage was shot by the soldiers themselves.

One of the men, Michael Moriarity, is a husband and father who was deeply affected by the events of 9/11. Another soldier, Zack Bazzi, enlisted in the Army after high school and served four years. He joined the guard when he enrolled in college. He was born in Lebanon, but his family came to the US when he was 10. The third soldier, Stephen Pink, joined the Guard to help pay his way through college. They left for Iraq in March 2004 and each soldier agreed to take a camera with him.

Each man has his own opinions about the war in Iraq, why we're there, what we're gaining. A lot of their criticism is reserved for KBR/Halliburton, which they see as profiting greatly from the war, thanks in no small part to the company's connections with VP Dick Cheney.

The unit spends much of its time in Iraq escorting convoys of KBR supply trucks. On these missions, the soldiers deal with everything from roadside bombs to crazy drivers to people running across the road. They're deeply affected by what they see, and each soldier returns home a different man than when he left.

Overall review: *** The War Tapes does not have a particular political point of view about the war in Iraq. However, the soldiers featured in the documentary are each disillusioned to one degree or another. Even Moriarity, who seemed to be the most pro-Bush, pro-war of the three, reached a point where he said the US should, in his words, "shit or get off the pot."

The documentary does not pull many punches. The bodies of dead Iraqis are shown up close, bloody and missing limbs. The language is as you might expect from soldiers.

I don't know that this documentary will change a lot of opinions about the war in Iraq. But, anyone who sees it should gain a deeper understanding - and a greater appreciation - of its effects on everyone involved.