The National Section of the Sunday New York Times (login required) ran a story called “Army Concerned about HBO War Film.”
The “War Film” in question is a doc called BAGHDAD ER, which “chronicles two months at the 86th Combat Support Hospital.”
However, after granting filmmakers “broad access to follow doctors, nurses, medics, and others as they treated soldiers wounded by roadside bombs and in combat,” Army officals, who are now concerned about the doc, “which includes footage of an amputation and of wounded soldiers undergoing surgery and, in some cases, dying,” have declined to support an advance screening of the film “out of concern that its grim and medical scenes could demoralize officers and their families and negatively affect public opinion about the war.”
On Monday, The Times followed up with: “Army Issues Warning About Iraq Documentary.”
Here is an excerpt from the story:
“The U.S. Army is warning soldiers and their families that a new film about an Iraq war medical unit may trigger mental health problems for some who view it.
Filmmakers Alpert and Matthew O’Neill were given access to the hospital, and the result, Alpert said, ‘is a very patriotic film.’
‘…It shows the heroism of the soldiers, and you can’t understand the heroism of the doctors and soldiers unless you see the horror that they face every day,’ said Alpert.
The filmmaker said he has since spoken to many of those featured in the movie who told him they are proud to have been a part of it.”
That the Army is showing such concern about the effects of a movie about the Iraq war on soldiers and their families is telling.
But Alpert may have the real reason there is much ado about this film: “It shows the true consequences of [this] war. Americans haven’t had the chance to be able to see some of the consequences.”
HBO will screen the film on May 21.