Saturday, October 23, 2004

NY Times Gives "Stolen Honor" a Positive Review

Surprisingly, the New York Times gave the documentary "Stolen Honor: Wounds that Never Heal" a positive review. The film is an hour long documentary which examines the effects the anti-war protestors had on Vietnam POWs. Here are some excerpts:

[this] highly contested anti-Kerry documentary, should not be shown by the Sinclair Broadcast Group. It should be shown in its entirety on all the networks, cable stations and on public television.

what is most enlightening about this film is not the depiction of Mr. Kerry as a traitor; it is the testimony of the former P.O.W.'s describing the torture they endured in captivity and the shock they felt when celebrities like Jane Fonda and Tom Hayden visited their prisons in North Vietnam and sided with the enemy

The former prisoners - now old and graying - are not just talking about their sense of betrayal by fellow Americans. They also seize the Kerry candidacy as a chance to recall their experiences:

This film is payback time, a chance to punish one of the most famous antiwar activists, Mr. Kerry, the one who got credit for serving with distinction in combat, then, through the eyes of the veterans in this film, went home to discredit the men left behind.

He recalls listening to Mr. Kerry's testimony in 1971, saying, "I felt an inner hurt no surgeon's scalpel could remove.''

That pain is the main theme of the documentary.... One former P.O.W., John Warner, lashes out at Mr. Kerry for having coaxed Mr. Warner's mother to testify at the Winter Soldier Investigation, where disgruntled veterans testified to war crimes they committed. Calling it a "contemptible act," Mr. Warner, who spent more than five years as a prisoner, tells the camera that Mr. Kerry was the kind of man who preyed on a mother's grief "purely for the promotion of your own political agenda."

While I haven't seen the film, I think the subject matter is something that needed to be discussed. The article correctly makes the point that while the History Channel tends to portray the heroics of WWI and WWII, any examination of the Vietnam War solely focuses on "its moral and strategic ambiguities and its effect on American society in the 1960's and 70's."

The pyschological toll levied on POW's by anti-war protestors is something which definitely needed to be examined.


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