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Source: CentCom.

30 November 2007
Staff Sgt. Mary Flynn
Army News Service
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WASHINGTON – Like many Soldiers deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, Soldiers from the Oregon National Guard’s 2nd Battalion, 162nd Infantry brought their personal cameras to Iraq during their deployment in 2004. They snapped photos of each other firing weapons, shot video of explosives they detonated and logged plenty of footage of their own commentaries intermixed with Soldier humor.

But they never expected that their day-to-day antics would one day represent deployed National Guard Soldiers everywhere, preserved in a feature-length documentary film called “This is War: Memories of Iraq.”

The National Combat History Archive and Lucky Forward Films used the unscripted testimonies of nine Soldiers of varying ranks and experiences to narrate the events. Photos and video they shot with their own personal cameras illustrate their experiences.

“We wanted to make a very non-political film that took someone who’s never been to Iraq … to show what it means to go into combat,” said the film’s director, Gary Mortensen. “We told it in a non-specific way so that it could represent Soldiers everywhere – we wanted to tell a tale that anyone who has been over there can identify with.”

Mr. Mortensen added that the unique thing about the film is that these Soldiers had their own personal recording devices on hand, giving an intimate view of what they saw on a daily basis. The Soldiers had no idea any of it would be turned into a film, so the result is a very honest and raw portrait of their experiences.

“It’s very powerful,” said Sgt. 1st Class Phillip “Vince” Jacques, one of the Soldiers featured in the film. “It really represents the professionalism of these guys and shows exactly what troops are going through over there. They’re the ones fighting the war. You might as well hear their story.”

Present at various screenings of the film, Sgt. 1st Class Jacques noticed that the audience’s reaction was often one of awe. “Whether they support the war or not, they come away with a whole different view of what Soldiers are doing over there,” he said.

National audiences are also beginning to take notice. “This is War” won the Audience Choice Award and Best Documentary at the Idaho International Film Festival, and received the Jury Award: Best Documentary at the Florida International Media Market. It also took home awards for best documentary and best director at the Sweet Onion Film Festival in Walla Walla, Wash.

Unfortunately, the film isn’t available in local video stores yet; Mr. Mortensen explained that they are working on the film’s distribution and broadcast rights. It can be purchased by calling (503) 597-7030 or by checking out the Web site at http://www.luckyforwardfilms.com.

According to the site, all sales of the film help support the Fallen Soldiers Relief Fund, the National Combat History Archive, the Iraq/Afghanistan Oregon Memorial Fund and the Wounded Warriors Project, a non-profit organization that helps injured servicemembers by providing programs and services to meet their unique needs.

Photo – The National Combat History Archive and Lucky Forward Films used the unscripted testimonies of nine Oregon National Guard Soldiers of varying ranks and experiences to narrate the events of the film “This is War: Memories of Iraq.” Photos and video the Soldiers shot with their own personal cameras illustrate their experiences. (Contributed Photo).

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I have news that as of August 14, 2007, the Public Broadcasting System has finally taken their claws off the documentary that was supposed to air as a special with “America at a Crossroads.” However, the Oregon Public Broadcasting is being very sneaking about this situation.

It is going to air in Arizona without any publicity, and it will be after prime time. The name of this documentary is “Islam vs. Islamists.”

The reason for the delay of the airing of this documentary? The moderate Muslims that appear in this were charged with not being fair to the extremists! There is an excellent explanation you can read here which will shed light on the fact that our broadcasting airwaves are on the side of the terrorists. Can anyone spell Treason?

Check your local listings to find out where this documentary is playing near you. There are three men directly involved in creating this documentary with the federal funds appropriated for this to be accomplished. One is Frank Gaffney, another is a journalist, and the third is Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser.

“M. Zuhdi Jasser is a physician in private practice and a former U.S. Navy lieutenant commander. He is chairman of the Phoenix-based American Islamic Forum for Democracy. He can be reached at Zuhdi AT aifdemocracy DOT org.”

Check your local PBS listings for times in your area. If it is not scheduled or publicized directly contact your affiliate to find out why. Currently, the documentary and discussion is reported to be scheduled to air in around 40 markets including Detroit, Denver, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Boston, San Jose, Houston, and Dallas.” (California has no such listing. Grrr.)

“For a background of the controversy, and censorship issues surrounding CPB and the national release of this film as originally intended with the Crossroads Series please see Free the Film.” If you happen to find when and where it will be aired in Southern Califonia, please let me know! Thank you.

Update: Here are some more links to American Muslim Forum for Democracy:
U.S. Muslims condemn Taliban kidnapping, by Audrey Hudson, Aug. 2, 2007. Washington Times.
AIFD Statement on Korean Hostages in Afghanistan, Aug. 3, 2007.
Exclusive: Fascism Spares No One, by M. Zuhdi Jasser, Aug. 10, 2007. The Family Security Foundation, Inc.
A forum to oppose Muslim radicals, by M. Zuhdi Jasser, Aug. 14, 2007. AIFD website.

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