Interview With a Screenwriter
Heads are already starting to explode like victims of a pissed-off Scanner in the Right Wing blogosphere over Homecoming. But one of the half-way legitimate questions I have seen is: aren’t you in a sense speaking for dead US veterans as the main character in the movie is? How do you know how a zombie soldier would vote?
We assume most soldiers support the war and the war party. That’s a point we make explicitly in the picture: the ones who died for a cause they believe in—that “noble cause” that the administration has never quite gotten around to defining, whatever it may eventually turn out to be—are at peace. They don’t come back. Our story is not about them. Our story is about vets who believe they were killed for a lie.
The vets in our story are the guys who were ordered by their commanding officers to shut down their antiwar blogs. They’re Col. Ted Westhusing, whose suicide note read “I cannot support a msn [mission] that leads to corruption, human rights abuse and liars. I am sullied. I came to serve honorably and feel dishonored. Death before being dishonored any more.” They’re Pat Tillman, who quit the NFL to fight al Qaeda in Afghanistan and wound up redeployed to Iraq. His family didn’t find out for months that he’d been killed by friendly fire because the administration was busy using him as a recruiting poster. The guy was a Chomsky reader, for Christ’s sake; he used to go around saying “This war is so fucking illegal.” But until the truth came out, the administration didn’t mind speaking for dead Pat Tillman. We don’t get to hear his own voice because the daily journal he kept mysteriously disappeared from his effects.
Maybe those guys represent ten percent of all soldiers. Maybe five, maybe one. What does it matter? The death of a soldier who supports the war is just as tragic and just as needless as the death of a soldier who doesn’t. It doesn’t dishonor a fallen soldier’s gallantry or valor to say that his sacrifice could have been avoided, or to hope for a little less sacrifice in the future.
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