Thursday, July 31, 2008

armies clash by night: some war films end in sight

build me a ladder of logic up to the sky, a string of carefully constructed proofs that creatively illumine the uncertain state of this world and that beyond. that's my charge to any issue-oriented documentary; do that and i'll happily climb the rungs of your rhetoric. i am so charmed by logic that if a filmmaker sugercoats truth or skillfully twists on-screen action away from one view or another, i'm likely to miss it, likely to fall into the rational trap of the film's narrative.

all that to say, although i can't be sure of the objectivity of
no end in sight, the movie makes me angry, angry that the occupation of iraq was undertaken in a fog of idiocy. no end convincingly argues that our leaders had access to effective means of avoiding a full-scale insurgence but they chose to plug their ears, close their eyes, and clash by night.

still, i don't know where to go from there. i obediently followed
no end's story arc, and just as the title might suggest, it left me without a conclusion, without some sense of what to do next. this frustration is complicated by the increasing optimism of the war in iraq. no end leaves us in 2007, when things were still going horribly wrong, but now in 2008 the latest AP reports suggest that there may in fact be an end in sight. and so, while no end may be a fine piece of cinematic rhetoric, i seriously question it's timelessness and application for the world today.


and here's another rhetorical success. this film (not a documentary) successfully demonstrates the injustice of "stop-loss," the US military's doctrine of reinstating soldiers after their tours of duty have already been completed, that is, sending them back to iraq against their will. i might gripe that some of the film's characters behaved incongruously to their personalities or life scenarios, and that the film may have went a little overboard in some places, but like
no end in sight, stop-loss is a likely candidate to make you mad. oh, and get these guys some prazosin!


Emily B. Hager said...


where did you hear about prazosin?
Trying to find out more about it.


andrew said...

I work with researchers at the University of Washington and Seattle Veteran's Hospital. That is, I edit their manuscripts, and I share an office with a social worker who works with PTSD veterans.

Here's a brief summary of what I know:

1. Prazosin was used a few decades ago to lower blood pressure. It's safe, it's FDA-approved, and it has very few side effects.

2. It wasn't very effective at lowering blood pressure, so doctors stopped prescribing it, and the copyright ran out; now the pills are generic rather than brand-name (or something like). This means that prazosin is very, very cheap--maybe a dime a pill.

3. The researchers I've worked with have shown that prazosin relieves nightmares/terrors that are associated with PTSD almost 90% of the time. Veterans and researchers swear by it. These studies are regional studies; now we're working on national studies.

When I go to work next week, I'll find out more information about where you can go online for more info or you can talk to for more info. If you know someone with PTSD, my impression is that prazosin could really help them.


hager said...


This is a crazy coincidence. I was out in Seattle last November, I think we may even have met. I know the research team you mentioned well. This is my email address:

Send me an email and I will explain.