The Ground Truth (Foulkrod, 2006)

As the military and civilian casualties pile up in Iraq, documentaries like The Ground Truth will gain even more resonance. Not entirely well made or stylistically impressive, director Patricia Foulkrod’s film does display a beautiful sensitivity toward America’s entrenched soldier, allowing survivors of the current war in Iraq to share views on guilt, fear, doubt, and most strikingly, shame. The Ground Truth fixes it’s sights on the issue of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome and how the American Military Complex rarely addresses this disease with candor or compassion. As a devastating parallel to the first hand experiences in Iraq (needless killing, deaths of friends, questioning their roles in country), Foulkrod spends ample time with these men and women after their return home. We see everyday life like fishing trips, shopping, parks, beaches, all unsuccessfully masking the ingrained horrors bubbling inside these soldiers. Each subject has had traumatic experiences and there responses range from insightful to painful. The narrative constitutes a seamless push forward, characterizing the soldiers not in terms of Bush speak or liberal rebuttals, but instead focusing on the faces, the missing body parts, the smiles and frowns of the broken souls who bluntly and bravely address their inner demons. One hopes they can find some deserved solace in the process.

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