This is War: Memories of Iraq

This is War is a video diary about the experiences of an Oregon National Guard battalion sent to Iraq for a year in 2004. This Is War is divided into short chapters that bring home multiple aspects of a difficult and dangerous mission. Beginning with the troops emotionally preparing for a half-year’s combat training and gradually acclimating to Iraq’s tremendous heat, the film traces a gradual awareness of day-to-day realities and responsibilities where the enemy is often unseen. While the soldiers know the predictability of their own movements make them constantly subject to attack, there is little they can do about it, and when assaults come they watch and adapt as their teammates die. Told anecdotally, this video collage offers many specifics about events most of us only know through general knowledge about the war’s progress. While Brian De Palma’s Redacted was a protest against official control of information coming out of the Iraq War–told from the point-of-view of a faux video diary–This Is War is the real thing, and is a richer experience for its marriage of the Guardsmen’s cynical yet workaday ethic and muted emotions about the horrors and treachery that surround them. –Tom Keogh

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