The War Tapes (Scranton, 2006)

A crucial primary source document of the ongoing conflict in the Middle East, The War Tapes is a first hand account of the devastating affects a combat experience has on embedded soldiers, even after they return home. Filmed by it’s three real life Army subjects, New Hampshire National Guardsmen Zach Bazzi, Michael Moriarty, and Steve Pink, this film follows the men’s year long military tour in Iraq from 2004-05. Along with their M-16 rifles, all three arm themselves with hand held digital cameras to capture the environment of war, as well as the changing nature war has on personnel. Beginning with basic training, on through to the deserts and bombed out infrastructure of Iraq, and back again to the tormented silences of home, The War Tapes offers a collection of haunting images of combat, guilt, fear, and hope from those fighting on the front-lines. Bazzi, a 24 year old Lebanese American student, voices his displeasure with the contradictions in protecting Haliburton trucks and denying aid to Iraqi civilians. Moriarty, a family man whose dedication to the cause is apparent, has his faith in the American government tested to the limit. Pink, whose brutally honest journal entries provide the film’s core narration, is left with mental scars permanently ingrained upon his psyche. All three represent different political opinions on the war, but each is left with their own lasting nightmare from their time in the desert. The commentaries and images offered up by these men represent those on the ground and in the know of an escalating war time situation, a discourse which rightfully destroys political talking points and news spin and reinstates the human condition in times of inhumanity. The War Tapes gives those of us at home a rare glimpse into a chaotic world no one except the soldiers themselves can truly understand, making these sacrifices even more frustrating since their losses, and those of the innocent Iraqi civilians, seem to matter very little to the puppet masters in Washington pulling the strings.

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