18 July 2009

David Zeiger : This is Where We Take Our Stand

Episode One : For Those Who Would Judge Me

This is Where We Take Our Stand
A web series about Winter Soldier

By David Zeiger / The Rag Blog / July 18, 2009

I am more than pleased to announce to Rag Blog readers that the web series produced by Bestor Cram and me about last year's Winter Soldier Iraq and Afghanistan Investigation is finally starting. Throughout the summer we will be posting six episodes of This is Where We Take Our Stand, one every two weeks, at www.thisiswherewetakeourstand.com. Episode one is available now, along with the trailer for the series, and I want to urge all of you to not only watch but post, promote, and help spread the series throughout the internet.

Why this series, and why now? you may ask. Good question. Last year we spent three months following and filming the complicated, intense and emotional process of bringing two hundred and fifty veterans and active duty soldiers to Washington, DC, to expose the realities of America's occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan from their own experience. With strong support from the antiwar and progressive funding community, we hoped and expected to have a film available in six months. But surprise! Along came Barack Obama and suddenly that support was dust in the wind. I won't go into details -- I think you know the reasons.

In my view, there is no better time than now to present this series. In the name of "not looking backward," the very policies and strategic goals put in place by the Bush administration in the Gulf region stand fundamentally unchallenged and unchanged by the Obama administration. Am I overstating the case here? Yes, the rhetoric is different, and Obama has even called the invasion of Iraq a mistake. A mistake?! If it's a "mistake," that means the goals are valid and righteous, they're just being pursued with the wrong tactics-as Obama has repeatedly said in the name of "supporting the troops."

Well, I beg to differ. At the risk of stating the obvious, if these wars were illegal and immoral under Bush, by what logic are they not illegal and immoral under Obama?

Below is the statement about the series written by Bestor and me. I hope that our series will do a little to rattle the sleep out of many people's eyes, as these occupations continue and, in the case of Afghanistan, expand. Please help us make that happen.

[David Zeiger is an award-winning film producer and director whose highly–acclaimed film Sir! No Sir! documented the little-known GI resistance to the Vietnam War. His production company is Displaced Films.]

This is Where We Take Our Stand:

The series that tells the riveting and timely story of the hundreds of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who testified at last year's Winter Soldier investigation, has now begun. We hope to reach thousands, even millions worldwide as the six episodes are released throughout the summer:
  • Episode One: For Those Who Would Judge Me available now. See above or click here.
  • Episode Two: Rules of Engagement will launch July 27, 2009.
  • Episode Three: Why We Fight will launch August 10, 2009.
  • Episode Four: Broken Soldier will launch August 24, 2009.
  • Episode Five: This is Not Human Nature will launch September 7, 2009.
  • Episode Six: No Longer a Monster will launch September 20, 2009.
Where's the debate?

Are we watching passively while Barack Obama carries out the same policies as George W. Bush?

When an American bombing raid this May killed over two hundred civilians in a village in Afghanistan, it was met with a deafening silence. When Obama's promised "withdrawal" from Iraq leaves 130,000 troops there for at least two more years and 50,000 permanently, it's hailed as an end to the occupation. And who is demanding to know just what the mission really is when 30,000 more troops are sent to Afghanistan?

Where's the debate?

In March of 2008, two hundred and fifty veterans and active duty soldiers marked the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq by gathering in Washington, DC, to testify from their own experience about the nature of the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq. It was chilling, horrifying, and challenging for all who witnessed it. Against tremendous odds, they brought the voices of the veterans themselves into the debate. That was then.

This is now. Today, we present to you This is Where We Take Our Stand, the inside story of those three days and the courageous men and women who testified. And we present this story today, told in six episodes, because we believe it is as relevant now as it was one year ago. Maybe more.

Here is our challenge to you: Watch the series; spread it far and wide; and ask yourself, Is this about the past, or the present and future? Then add your voice.

If you are a veteran or active duty, present your own testimony. If you are not, but you are still a living, breathing member of the human race, then do whatever you can to join and fan the flames of debate.

- Displaced Films and Northern Light Productions

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