Cost of War


When Obama released the torture memos he cracked the dam of complicity and unleashed wave of fear. In the aftermath he has assured CIA agents that they will not be prosecuted, but has not done the same for Bush aides (perhaps Bush should have pardoned himself).

In many places the cost of conflict is quite obvious:

However, this hasn’t really been the case for the U.S.: an estimated 320,000 troops have suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury while deployed and the ban on covering the transportation of coffins from war zones has only been lifted for a few months.

Fortunately, The Corporal’s Diary does much to detail the cost of war. The movie is based on Jonathan Santos’s personal video footage — him clowning around with the guys, playing with his dog, and then serving in Iraq — and his diary, which is passionately read aloud by his brother. This footage is pure, having little pretence or performance. Patricia Boiko, the director, connected with Jonathan’s mother through the Eyes Wide Open exhibit (an excellent portrayal of the human cost of war). She then edited Jonathan’s footage and her own of his family and friends into this moving piece. The Santos family deserves much credit for being so natural and vulnerable before the camera. As Jonathan’s mother tearfully states,

If you could have filmed me when they knocked on the door and they told me that Jonathan was dead, if you could film that and Americans heard that, there’s no way that they’d want any other mother to hurt like this.

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