Remote Hog

Baghdad ER


11 p.m.

I went to a butcher shop, and a military hospital emergency room broke out! That's what it seemed like when the handheld camera zoomed in for the money shot: a human leg being lopped off right at the upper thigh, exposing a premium cut of man beef. It looked choice enough for Sam to wrap up for Alice to take to the Bradys. “Marcia, why is there shrapnel in my rump roast?” Fortunately, Baghdad ER is not all about the gore, showing it only sporadically—although quite graphically. The filmmakers seem more bent on revealing the emotional scars being left on the wounded, the doctors, the nurses and a constantly teary-eyed chaplain, who is called upon to give last rites as often as postmen are called upon to deliver the mail. The overall theme here is war is hell, soldiers and medical personnel are the bravest of the brave and the situation over there is not getting any better. The filmmakers were on the radio the other day saying the Army bent over backwards to give them access and promote their finished product—without asking that one frame be changed. They explained the military is quite keen on Americans seeing the reality of this war and the toll it is taking. Strangest recruitment film I've ever seen.

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