Karen and I saw a screening for Gunner Palace this evening — it was a documentary of sorts by Michael Tucker that portrayed his experience living with the Gunner brigage in ~2003 in Baghdad, Irag — they were based out of one of Saddam’s son’s (Uday) palace, hence the name. It was fairly powerful, as the film didn’t really take a political position or voice; rather, it let the soldiers themselves describe what they were going through, interpret the experiences, and communicate their emotions.
Afterward, the filmmaker and one of the soldiers spoke to the audience about the making of the film and the audience was able to ask questions — this is one of my favorite benefits of being a member of the Warren Report (if you live in Seattle, I highly recommend this).
I thought it was interesting that when the soldier was asked a politically leaning (i.e. democratic-friendly) question, that he had to explain that the soldiers on the ground don’t really think that much about who the President of the United States is — instead, they’re more worried about how their families are getting by back in the States, how their insurance payments are being made, and whether they’re going to return home safe.
I left the screening room (at the Seattle Art Museum) even more respectful for what our troops are doing on the ground in Iraq — while I don’t agree with how we were convinced to enter Iraq, or how Bush is handling/planning it, the soldier’s themselves really are performing heroic work. Sadly, though, I don’t think we’re going to be seeing a quick improvement in Iraq — I fear that the elections and eventual political situation will not go well at all, and that we’re in an almost interminable situation over there.
One last thing — Warren told us that the film has received an ‘R’ rating by the MPAA — that is very disappointing, as I think it would be fantastic for high school students to see this film — the vernacular is very much ‘teenager’, as many of the soldiers were 19-20 years old — after seeing the movie, I was left puzzled by the rating, as there is very little actual shooting or violence — there is a little ‘bad language’, but honestly folks, they’ve heard it before…