War film’s por­trayal of sol­diers draws fire from GOP law­maker

The Washington Times Weekly - - National - By Sara A. Carter

The rank­ing Repub­li­can on the House Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee sent a let­ter to the chair­man of the Mo­tion Pic­ture As­so­ci­a­tion of Amer­ica on Nov. 21 call­ing the new Iraq war film “Redacted” shame­ful in its view of U.S. sol­diers.

Rep. Dun­can Hunter, Cal­i­for­nia Repub­li­can, sent a scathing let­ter re­gard­ing Brian De Palma’s new film to MPAA Chair­man Dan Glick­man ask­ing that he not for­get that there are he­roes who have sac­ri­ficed their lives for the United States and Iraqi peo­ple.

“Un­for­tu­nately, Brian De Palma’s new movie ‘Redacted,’ which opened in sev­eral the­aters this week, por­trays Amer­i­can ser­vice per­son­nel in Iraq as un­con­trol­lable mis­fits and crim­i­nals,” Mr. Hunter stated in his let­ter to Mr. Glick­man. “While in­ci­dents of crim­i­nal be­hav­ior by mem­bers of our mil­i­tary should never be ig­nored, the iso­lated in­ci­dent on which this film is based neg­a­tively por­trays Amer­i­can ser­vice per­son­nel and mis­rep­re­sents their col­lec­tive ef­forts in Iraq.”

Mr. Glick­man, a for­mer Demo­cratic con­gress­man and agri­cul­ture sec­re­tary, could not be reached for com­ment.

The De­part­ment of De­fense, which of­ten as­sists film­mak­ers with mil­i­tary-re­lated sto­ries, did not par­tic­i­pate in the mak­ing of Mr. De Palma’s film.

Pen­tagon spokes­woman Eileen Lainez said, “We don’t com­ment on pro­duc­tions with which we have no in­volve­ment.”

Other mil­i­tary of­fi­cials worry that the film could be used as pro­pa­ganda against troops in the re­gion and in­cite vi­o­lence against them by Is­lamist groups.

Mr. De Palma’s film, which is based on a case of U.S. sol­diers rap­ing a teenage girl and killing her fam­ily, por­trays troops as cal­lous to the plight of civil­ians in the war zone, crit­ics state. The real-life in­ci­dent in Mah­moudiya on which the film is based has re­sulted in sev­eral courts-mar­tial, lengthy prison terms and a pos­si­ble fed­eral ex­e­cu­tion.

Last week, while U.S. troops were hand­ing out toys to Iraqi chil­dren they were at­tacked by a sui­cide bomber, killing three U.S. sol­diers and three Iraqi chil­dren.

“This in­ci­dent, while tragic, demon­strates the good­ness and gen­eros­ity of our na­tion’s mil­i­tary, and its con­tin­ued mis­sion in Iraq,” Mr. Hunter said, re­mind­ing Mr. Glick­man and Mr. De Palma of the con­tin­u­ing sac­ri­fices U.S. troops have made.

Mr. Hunter’s let­ter isn’t the first crit­i­cism of Mr. De Palma’s film. Some film crit­ics have noted that the di­rec­tor’s own op­po­si­tion to the U.S.led war in Iraq gets in the story’s way and makes it im­pos­si­ble for him to live up to his other leg­endary pic- tures, such as “Scar­face,” “Car­rie” and “The Un­touch­ables.” It has scored only 46 per­cent “pos­i­tive” re­views from the na­tion’s film crit­ics at the Rot­ten Toma­toes roundup Web site (www.rot­ten­toma­toes.com).

“The film in­ten­tion­ally fails to show or give any in­di­ca­tion of the more than 3 mil­lion in­oc­u­la­tions ad­min­is­tered by Amer­i­can forces, the con­struc­tion of med­i­cal clin­ics and schools, as well as the con­struc­tion of other im­por­tant in­fra­struc­ture,” the let­ter went on to state. “Addi- tion­ally, the film’s neg­a­tive de­pic­tion of our mil­i­tary bla­tantly ig­nores the many acts of hero­ism per­formed by our sol­diers, Marines, air­men and sailors in Iraq.”

Mr. De Palma, how­ever, de­fended his movie and its long-term re­cep­tion at the Toronto Film Fes­ti­val in Septem­ber, telling the Cana­dian Press that, “all this crit­i­cism and at­tack comes be­cause that’s what’s po­lit­i­cally cor­rect at the time. [. . .] Now a movie that was re­viled when it came out — like ‘Scar­face’ — is con­sid­ered some kind of iconic clas­sic.”

Con­gress­man vs. Di­rec­tor:

As­so­ci­ated Press Getty Images

Rep. Dun­can Hunter of Cal­i­for­nia (left), rank­ing Repub­li­can on the Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee, sent a let­ter to “Redacted” di­rec­tor Brian De Palma (right) crit­i­ciz­ing his Iraq war film.

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