Gruesome Iraq War movie sparks Pentagon outrage

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by GuyT, May 18, 2006.

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  1. Gruesome Iraq War movie sparks Pentagon outrage

    "A new documentary about an emergency room of a U.S. military hospital in war-torn Iraq sparked outrage among top Pentagon officials.

    The film, titled “Baghdad ER”, shows the daily lives of doctors, nurses, chaplains and soldiers in the emergency room of a U.S. hospital in the Iraqi capital.

    Baghdad ER (ER stands for emergency room) is the work of the Emmy-winning filmmakers Jon Alpert and Matthew O'Neill, who spent two months in mid-2005 at the 86th Combat Support Hospital in Baghdad's Green Zone, the main medical facility for the U.S. army in Iraq, where wounded soldiers go to recover and learn how to re-use their mutilated bodies.

    The documentary, due to be aired next Sunday on the U.S. cable channel Home Box Office, was screened on Monday night at the National Museum of American History and is scheduled to be shown at 22 military installations across the United States."

    .....the rest of the article can be found here:

    What are the chances of it being shown here in the UK I wonder?

    You'll find more articles at


  2. Outrage? That's not quite the term people here in DC are using, more like a lack or evaporation of support for the film from the top brass. But I suppose 'outrage' gets more website hits. From the Washington Post's perspective.
  3. I'm not convinced this is political at all. I think there may be a simpler explanation for the lack of uniforms- how many men and women serving actually want to be reminded of what can happen to them? It'd be like trying to get race car drivers into a room to watch crash scenes for 90 minutes.
  4. Something stinks here. There may be some truth that the top brass were upset, but there's manipulation going on, and a definite odour of 'let's get some publicity for this film' prior to the release date - and here's an object lesson in how that's achieved
  5. Didn't I see something very similar to that on the TV a week or two ago, about Balad's hospital? Same thing, they hung around the hospital for three days, filming everyone that came in, and taking the flights back to Germany and the US with the casualties. Assuming the Baghdad ER one is about the same as the Balad/Anaconda one, I don't see the issue.

  6. Could it be that the top brass want to distance themselves (and the forces) from a film that may portray life as it actually is in combat. Or that it may further discourage citizens from joining up, ending with a further degradation of the level of support from the populationf for the continuation of the war.
  7. There's an even better one out called 'the wartapes' which has video shot by the troops on the ground - apparently very effective - shows the horrible as well as the plain daft (check the Marine riding a donkey on patrol!) - and has won several prizes so far. Trying to find out when/where it will be released over in the UK.
  8. Unlikely to be a modern day M*A*S*H I suppose.
  9. Did see something, maybe a Panorama or Dispatches documentary a couple of years ago that broached the same subject (although may not have been just about that in it's entirety). Filmed a lot of medivac helicopters coming in and out and talked to a lot of the injured blokes.
    May have been about a coverup on the amount of US soldiers injured.
  10. The numbers of injured troops is a matter of public record.

  11. So, Baghdad ER screened on HBO last night.

    Very moving and pretty rough stuff all around- in the opening sequence you see a nurse putting a severed arm into a waste bag- though fairly apolitical. It doesn't have any axe to grind either pro or anti-war. There were one or two brief comments about the senselessness of the war from the padre and a couple of the doctors. I don't think for a second that these were political statements, but rather the natural reaction of someone who has just had to amputate a limb or pray over the body of a Marine who the hospital spent a great deal of time and effort to try and save. You do have the feeling though that, as horrible as it is for them, the men and women wouldn't want to be anywhere else but where they were. I went out with a girl who's a general surgeon in the USN, and so I think I have a fair idea of what's going on in their heads- and this film summed it up pretty well.

    What the documentary does do, and where it might cause the higher echelons to shuffle in their seats, is show the true nature of the war and its effects. Nothing is glamourised in this film, and there's nothing particularly "heroic" about it in a Boy's Own kind of way. There's just a stunning portrayal of the professionalism of the men and women of the 86th CSH in a very nasty situation. I hope you guys in the UK get a chance to see it.
  12. In the US, yes. OBTD may have been thinking of UK cas stats.
  13. baghdad M*A*S*H would be much better i think
  14. Isn't there a vietnam medical 'army documentary' vid in circulation around the British Army? We were shown it as part of our recruit training under the guise of first aid & healthcare training. Ok perhaps it's a bit From what I remember it was pretty graphic - leg amputations filmed from the soggy end, full body burns, gunshot wounds to the groin, apparently there was good training value in it, somewhere. I guess such films are good for demonstrating the reality and consequences of combat, and what can be done to put you back together again.