Nov 28 2006

From Vietnam to Iraq: Preserving the Archives

Sir! No Sir!GUESTS: David Zeiger, writer, director and producer of “Sir! No Sir!” and Patricia Foulkrod, producer and director of “The Ground Truth”

The voices of people affected by war, whether they are victims or soldiers, have been preserved in the Archives, particularly from the era of the Vietnam war. Today the US is once more deep inside a war that has killed hundreds of thousands of people, including Iraqis and US soldiers. The number of U.S. military personnel killed in Iraq is nearing 2,900. An Associated Press count shows as of Saturday, at least 2,874 service members have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003. As the death toll mounts, we spend this hour taking a look at the resistance of soldiers, past and present, with two Los Angeles based independent film makers who have focused their documentaries on the stories of soldiers, their experiences in the wars in Vietnam and Iraq and their resistance.

Sir! No Sir! is a recent film directed, written, and produced by David Zeiger. It is about the little known GI anti-war movement during the US war with Vietnam. By the Pentagon’s own estimates, there were more than half a million “incidents of desertion” between 1966 and 1971; officers were being “fragged,” that is, killed with fragmentation grenades by their own troops at an alarming rate; and by 1971 entire units were refusing to go into battle in unprecedented numbers. In the course of a few short years, over 100 underground newspapers were published by soldiers around the world; local and national antiwar GI organizations were joined by thousands; thousands more demonstrated against the war at every major base in the world in 1970 and 1971, including in Vietnam itself; stockades and federal prisons were filling up with soldiers jailed for their opposition to the war and the military. Sir! No Sir! is the first documentary to cover the GI resistance against the Vietnam war. It features sounds of the war resistance from the Pacifica Radio Archives.

The Ground TruthThe other film we are featuring this hour is The Ground Truth, a new film produced and directed by Patricia Foulkrod. It takes an unflinching look at the training and dehumanization of US soldiers, and how they struggle to come to terms with it when they come back home. The film overrides the familiar images of heroic soldiers in battle, reunited with their families in one effortless stroke. Instead, we see a scenario that can include illness, amputation and injury, depression and post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD), of which Iraq has become a fertile breeding ground. The film features veterans like Aidan Delgado, Camilo Mejia, and Stan Goff, who are now active in the movement to end the Iraq war. Time Magazine says “this is the best film I’ve seen to emerge out of the 9/11 attacks.

Sir! No Sir! by David Zeiger is available on DVD this morning as a thank you gift for your donation to the Pacifica Radio Archives fund drive. It’s available along with The Ground Truth by Patricia Foulkrod. Together, the two documentaries are available for a $150 pledge. Please call 1800-735-0230 and make your pledge.

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One Response to “From Vietnam to Iraq: Preserving the Archives”

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