Friday, June 02, 2006

Free speech in the USA: We're not lost yet

I was very encouraged to read about the release of The War Tapes, a documentary shot by soldiers in Iraq. The film won the award for best documentary at the Tribeca Film Festival and opens to the public today in New York City.

The hardest thing for me to believe after watching the trailer was that the military had allowed the film to be released. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the military had asked the director to come to Iraq.

The New Hampshire National Guard offered director Deborah Scranton the opportunity to 'embed' as a filmmaker. "I called the public affairs officer and asked if I could give cameras to the soldiers instead," she said. "He said yes...but it would be up to me to get soldiers to volunteer to work on the project."

According to the film's press notes, the only footage the military refused to let them include in the film was of dead insurgents after a firefight.

As long as things like this can still happen, I have faith that the First Amendment is thankfully still alive and kicking in the United States.