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Started by 1MELSM on Jul 17, 2020 10:51:44 AM
Once Upon a Time in Iraq (BBC TV)

Five-part high-quality documentary series focused on the ground-level, popular experience in Iraq of wartime events and consequences.

AdonisBlue - 17 Jul 2020 15:14:11 (#1 of 16)

Really enjoying these, although they are quite harrowing. Lots of shots of things they wouldn't normally show, although I'm sure much worse is on internet if you look.

Some of the characters are larger than life 'rambo' marine with the scary arms, hippy Australian reporter etc.

Everyone seems to smoke a lot. The interviewers seems to have twigged if you allow a smoker to smoke in an interview they open up more.

Overall I'm enjoying it, although it's a bit depressing.

Jacob_Richter - 17 Jul 2020 15:37:11 (#2 of 16)

1MELSM! Welcome back.

1MELSM - 17 Jul 2020 18:33:51 (#3 of 16)

Hello, Jacob. Thank you for the welcome. I hope you're well.

crackfox - 21 Jul 2020 15:35:46 (#4 of 16)

It's grim beyond belief but an excellent documentary. The story of Lt Sassaman was fascinating - he looks like a totally broken man now.

HouseOfLametta - 21 Jul 2020 15:51:11 (#5 of 16)

It's great, but really punishing. I turned it over. And then back again. I wasn't coping, but I couldn't look away.

Jacob_Richter - 21 Jul 2020 21:27:12 (#6 of 16)

I've seen 3 episodes so far. It's gripping. The big take away so far is the deep psychological damage done to everyone without exception. The Recon Marine from ep 1 (Rudy?) was especially fascinating: turned by the US military into an inhuman killing machine and aware of this abuse and yet somehow still proud of it but only able to maintain that fiction on the surface, clinging to the thought that 'it was worth it' yet knowing it wasn't and having to swig tequila in order to start the interview. The brutalisers must first be brutalised.

bossab2 - 21 Jul 2020 22:16:36 (#7 of 16)

Theres some harrowing Iraq footage on Michael Moores Fahrenheit 911 documentary.

Jacob_Richter - 22 Jul 2020 15:45:59 (#8 of 16)

A weakness of the format where the focus is upon individuals' experiences is that sometimes bigger political issues are missed - we had this with this series not covering the motives for the war. We had it again with the episode 'Saddam' which covered the civil war as if it was confined to Sunni v Shia with AQ being ultimately responsible. In fact, it was asserted that the only way the Sunni community could retain power was by winning a civil war and so this was what AQ sought to do. That's a flawed analysis on a number of levels - as an analysis of the nature of Saddam's regime, the nature of the Iraqi insurgency and AQ's role within it and of Iraqi history.

Not discussed was the Coalition's determination to enforce a sectarian political structure upon Iraq nor the role of US ambassador John Negroponte in the formation of Shia sectarian death squads.

1MELSM - 28 Jul 2020 18:31:17 (#9 of 16)

Entitled 'Fallujah', part three of this series was broadcast last night. This is powerful, exceptional television. At home we're finding the effect of this kind of documentary series is enhanced by watching each programme weekly rather than binge through it.

AdonisBlue - 28 Jul 2020 18:39:40 (#10 of 16)

Ah probably, but I enjoyed the first one so much I binge watched them all on iplayer. Excellent series.

Sabacious - 28 Jul 2020 18:41:27 (#11 of 16)

I thought the last two were the most insightful and compelling TV I can remember watching in a long time. Dexter Wotsit and Ashley Thingummy are a fascinating pair.

Jacob_Richter - 28 Jul 2020 18:51:57 (#12 of 16)

Yes. Please don't think that I didn't enjoy - if that's the right term - for the series. It's been one of the best things on TV for a long time.

Jacob_Richter - 29 Jul 2020 00:00:53 (#13 of 16)

Having said that, I'll make another criticism: there are no interviews with insurgents apart from one with an ISIS member which is illuminating. There is no mention at all of Shia opposition...the Mahdi Army and Muqtada as Sadr are not mentioned at all.

AdonisBlue - 29 Jul 2020 15:06:38 (#14 of 16)

The ISIS guy looked like Barry Shitpeas.

popstar7 - 29 Jul 2020 15:13:08 (#15 of 16)

I got the strong feeling that the photographer was acting a role in a film in his head. It was like a screen test for a film about a war photographer who's seen too much. Not unlike the Rambo guy in the first programme.

AdonisBlue - 29 Jul 2020 15:28:57 (#16 of 16)

Yes they both seemed like actors hamming up a role.

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