Friday, January 14, 2005

Inside Iraq: The Untold Stories (movie review)

Few of you will have had an opportunity to view this one yet. Mike Shiley, a guy from my neighborhood, armed with a still camera and video equipment, ventures alone into Iraq with hastily arranged press credentials. Later, he gets certified to operate a tank's machine gun -- whatever it takes to get the best camera angles. With beginner's luck (or perhaps Allah's protection), he out performs most seasoned pro journalists to bring us this story.

Mike's premise is that spreading democracy is indeed the mission, and in that light, he shares his qualms and misgivings, but without delivering "a left wing rant" -- I use the quotes because he told us this directly; the guy was right there in the theater, and selling the DVD when it ended (I bought one, picked up a biz card).

The Iraqi lady in the car says it well: we're suffering too much, and democracy will never happen amidst this ongoing chaos and destruction. The level of incompetence that delivered us into this mess is extreme. I won't get too personal on that score, but many histories will be less restrained. My policy is more to forget than forgive.

I did come away thinking there must be a special place in hell for people who make and deploy land mines. The compassionate response would be to arrest them now, and save them from certain oblivion. Or maybe not. Let others judge. Maybe ABC News, for which Mike was on assignment, will air this nationally and uncensored. That'd help orient a bigger audience in a shorter time than will the art theater circuit.