Home » Documentary film shows ‘a world without innocence’Documentary film shows ‘a world without innocence’

Documentary film shows ‘a world without innocence’Documentary film shows ‘a world without innocence’

SALISBURY — The Salisbury Forum series of lectures brings an unusual documentary film to the Moviehouse in Millerton on Sunday, Feb. 26, at 11:30 a.m.“Human Terrain” is described by the filmmakers James Der Derian, David Udris and Michael Udris, as “an expose of the U.S. effort to enlist America’s best and brightest in a global struggle for the hearts and minds of its enemies. “After winning the short battle of ’shock and awe’ in Iraq but losing the long war to bring democracy and peace to the Middle East, the U.S. military began a controversial program to ‘operationalize’ culture as an instrument of irregular warfare. With the ‘Revolution in Military Affairs’ that produced high-tech, low-casualty victories in Panama, Bosnia and Kosovo tarnished by long and costly counter-insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army and Marine Corps enlisted anthropologists, political scientists, historians, and other academics in ‘Human Terrain Systems’ for the global war on terror.”The filmmakers “embedded” with Marines during training in the Mojave desert, and they observed urban warfare training at Quantico, Va., and training at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.The idea was to make “cultural awareness a key element of [the military’s] counterinsurgency strategy.”The film is also the story of a casualty — and becomes very personal for the filmmakers.Der Derian wrote in a statement published on the www.humanterrainmovie.com website that the team “interviewed the key players as well as the most vocal critics.“However, our original intentions as well as moral fixities were undone when Michael Bhatia, a colleague, collaborator and friend, was killed in Afghanistan while we were making the film.” Bhatia, a graduate student at Brown University, was studying how “the Pentagon was creating new doctrines, strategies and organizations to help return some symmetry to the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan.”What the filmmakers didn’t know is that Bhatia was being recruited for his expertise. When he joined a “Human Terrain” team in Afghanistan, they kept in touch with him and were preparing for a video interview when Bhatia was killed by a roadside bomb in November 2008.Michael and David Udris wrote: “... perhaps Michael himself was not sure of his intentions and motivations” in joining the military’s program.They ask: “In terms of counterinsurgency doctrine, are we taking the gloves off or putting them on, in that argument have we lost sight of the fact we are talking about war?”And concludes: “We have ended up making a film, a document, fueled by good deeds and dirty hands in a world without innocence.”

More Information

TriCorner News

Copyright The Lakeville Journal
PO Box 1688, Lakeville, CT 06039
All Rights Reserved