Tuesday, July 27, 2004

U.S. Army veterans object to Moore's use of footage in 911

Army Staff Sergeant Ray Mitchell is none too pleased about Moore's using footage of him in as a patient at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington:

"I'm in it," he said. "And I didn't know until it opened."

In a brief film clip taken from an interview he did with the British television network Channel 4 in February, Mitchell appears in the physical-training room of Walter Reed, where he shared the following words about wounded soldiers:

"The ones that are covered are the KIAs - the 'Killed in Action.' I'm not taking anything away from those soldiers. They deserve that coverage. But there is also us. To say we're forgotten, that would be going just a little bit too far to say we're forgotten, but I'd say we are the missed soldiers of the Army."

Mitchell does not deny making the remarks. But he vehemently objects to filmmaker Moore's using them - without his knowledge - in a film he thinks undermines the military's mission in Iraq and Afghanistan, where he risked his life.

"The president is the commander in chief of our military," Mitchell said. "I don't want to have my face in a film that's anti-Bush, or anti-military."

Mitchell has not seen Fahrenheit 9/11 in its entirety, but he said that he's seen enough to disagree with its message and with Moore's use of his comments.

"The way they lead into my spot in the movie insinuates that I'm talking bad about the military," Mitchell said.

In the film, images of dead Iraqis precede his clip. Following it are the remarks of another Marine who vows never to return to Iraq.

Sergeant Mitchell's not the only one whose upset about Moore's manipulation of his footage:

The July 15 issue of The Enterprise, a Massachusetts newspaper, reported that Army reservist Peter Damon - also recuperating at Walter Reed after losing parts of both arms in an explosion in Iraq - was "surprised" to learn that an interview he gave to NBC this year is shown in the film.

John Gonsalves, the founder of Homes for Our Troops - a Massachusetts organization that builds homes for disabled soldiers - is constructing a new house for Damon and his wife, with whom he has talked extensively about the film.

"To do a movie that's clearly anti-war and totally against the Bush administration, and to put these guys in it without their knowledge, is morally wrong, and maybe even legally," said Gonsalves.

Source: "Soldiers decry use of footage in '9/11'" Baltimore Sun July 24, 2004.