I’ve just been sent this link to this haunting depiction of firefight in Iraq, as seen through the eyes of U.S. Army Specialist Colby Buzzell.
This segment is from Buzzell’s story Men in Black, part of a longer PBS documentary, Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience, which first screened in the US back in April.
Soldiers in Iraq found the American Defense Department were sending out brief news releases that seemed to sanitize the experience of soldiers, with little or no reports of the work of personnel in the field other than officers, so during his year long tour in Mosul, Buzzell started posting his experiences to a blog. Pilot Online reports that for a brief six or eight weeks, until his bosses persuaded him not to, it was a way to counter the boredom and capture the bravado that he saw with the 3rd Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division.
The final film was produced by Richard Robbins, with Buzzell’s piece accompanied by animation above, visualising Buzzell’s account of a fierce firefight, while another flashes pictures of 1,900 fallen servicemen and women during the narration.
Robbins says he chose not to politicize the soldiers’ and Marines’ experiences. He didn’t want to make a film about whether the war was justified, but about the human experiences of those on the ground.
It’s a stirring and thought-provoking piece, the link arriving in my inbox on the day the news broke here that a soldier Lancaster has died from wounds inflicted after his convoy was hit by insurgents just outside Basra. One more grim statistic from the ongoing conflict, on top of past military deaths and at least 62,000 Iraqi civillians.