Bill Moyers Journal tonite: “The Good Soldier” documentary film

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

Cross-posted at Dkos and FDL


Tonight on Bill Moyers Journal on PBS, Moyers will present excerpts for the documentary film, The Good Soldier.

As America prepares to observe Veterans Day and President Obama weighs sending more troops to fight in Afghanistan, BILL MOYERS JOURNAL broadcasts a powerful documentary about the impact on soldiers of learning to kill – or be killed. THE GOOD SOLDIER follows four veterans – one from World War II, two from Vietnam, and the fourth from Iraq – as they reveal how the experiences of battle changed their lives.

Watch a preview here.


The Good Soldier will be theatrically released, and will be available also on DVD.

A synopsis from The Good Soldier website, where you can also locate screenings, read reviews, and find further links:

Directed by Lexy Lovell and Michael Uys (DGA, Los Angeles Film Critics, and Peabody Award winners for Riding the Rails)

The Good Soldier follows the journeys of five combat veterans from different generations of American wars as they sign up, go into battle, and eventually change their minds about what it means to be a good soldier.

Here’s what Jason Albert of the Onion has to say:

“It’s hard to imagine watching a more affecting movie than The Good Soldier … because it may be as affecting a movie as I’ve ever seen. It took one seemingly simple question-What makes a good soldier?-and reduced the answer to its essence. That being, the ability to kill other human beings. Using the voices of veterans from WWII, Vietnam, the Gulf War, and Iraq, each gave this exact same answer, and they all spoke not only of their guilt and regret, but also of how at some point during their time in the military they needed to kill. Their reasons were different, but the training that gave them the skills and permission was not. I found it both hard to watch and hard to turn away from, and I know I’ll never look at the words ‘collateral damage’ in the same way again. Really powerful stuff.”

Further comments from Jason Albert:

Reading over it, I felt like I might have implied that the soldiers featured were monsters. All of them were visibly haunted by their pasts, and have found ways to come to grips with the tasks they were required to perform. In some cases by regularly protesting, and in the case of Will Williams, by founding the Madison Area Peace Coalition. These were all good men who were deeply affected by the fallout from their wars, and each has done whatever they can to make a difference. I cannot get the image out of my mind of Iraq veteran Jimmy Massey standing alone on a street corner in North Carolina in battle fatigues holding a sign that said: ‘I killed innocent civilians for our government,’ as someone pulled up next to him and yelled: ‘You shouldn’t be protesting our government wearing that uniform!’ ”

Another review, from The Good Soldier website:

An astounding film, “The Good Soldier” directed by Lexy Lovell and Michael Uys should be mandatory viewing for every President and member of Congress who is willing to make the decision to send men and women into war. In a culture where many veterans do not speak back home of what they witnessed and participated in battle, this film portrays five combat veterans from different wars ranging from WWII to Vietnam to the Gulf War to Iraq who emotionally lay it on the line. The sheer humanity of such inhumane situations is astounding and riveting and heartbreaking. The courage it takes for these soldiers to speak of their darkest moments and moral dilemmas with such brutal honesty is to be commended and brings up questions of our government supporting those they would send to die who did not die but came home. “Life is more difficult than death,” one comments.

“War puts you at odds with what is right and wrong,” one veteran explains. Their training as soldiers is to become killers without remorse, but as one asks, “How do you turn that off? One day you’re killing then the next you’re sitting at a bar in New York City.” In wars where the enemy looks just like the innocent civilian, “collateral damage” leaves its mark on the psyche of the soldiers which haunts them for the rest of their lives. As one veteran who is a founder of Veterans for Peace states, “War is not the way to settle a disagreement.”

– Must See Films: Hamptons International Film Festival – Conflict and Resolution Section



Bill Moyers website also has a list of links of resources for veterans, and information and links for the Library of Congress’s Veterans’ History Project.


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  1. comes on at 9PM in my house

    powerful stuff

  2. …going to switch to another channel and watch it again at 10 pm.  I usually watch Moyers, but thanks for the notice.  Are you a vet, houndog?

    I have a bit to say on this subject.  But don’t know when it will come out.

  3. it had left him fearless, in a way that was remarkable to behold. I don’t mean undamaged, he was very damaged. Not normal at all, but didn’t try to hide it. He’d come so close to death so many times, that he had no fear of it, which gave him a type of social fearlessness also.

    He was part of some trained group that would get dropped in pairs behind enemy lines to go assassinate the other side’s leaders… I think as much as possible in their sleep.

    He said, “If I’d known what I’d be made to do, I’d have gone to Canada.”

    And, “If there’s another war, I AM going to Canada, so my son never has to fight in it.”

    • dkmich on November 8, 2009 at 14:53

    I have programmed this in my DVR.    

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