October 23, 2004

Stolen Honor

Roger Simon reviews Stolen Honor.

The movie consists of interviews with now gray or graying men who were incarcerated and tortured in the Hanoi Hilton during the Vietnam War. Their stories are juxtaposed with the testimony of John Kerry at the Winter Soldier hearings. Despite the quality of the filmmaking, and my poor viewing conditions, I was deeply disturbed while watching this. It is not a "filmic" experience in the traditional sense. While viewing this movie, I imagine most of my generation find themselves reviewing themselves and their actions at the time rather than the film. I am far from resolving my view of Vietnam, although I still tend to think it was the wrong war. But the behavior of some factions of the antiwar side, factions which I fully supported then, were clearly out of line and as reprehensible as the war they wished to protest and central among those was Winter Soldier.

Some reviewers, like the NYT's Alessandra Stanley, made light of the testimony of John Kerry before those hearings as something we heave "heard before" and therefore of little importance, preferring to focus on the unresolved pain of the former prisoners. But the fact that we have heard at least some of Kerry's testimony before is beside the point. The testimony has never been explained. Kerry lied about his fellow soldiers in a serious and, it seems evident, conscious manner, going so far as to say they cut off peoples' ears, raped and pillaged like Genghis Khan. Even given the passions of the time, this defamation is hard to explain. No wonder the Democratic Party wants us to look away. I wanted to look away. It is hard to conceive someone of so little moral compass is going to lead us in a time of war. Still, I suppose I could forgive Kerry if he had apologized for this in full as the recklessness of youth. But until now he hasn't. The Democratic Party knows this too. That's why they also want us to look away. It is over thirty years ago and therefore, they wish us to believe, beyond the statute of electoral limitations. No it's not.

Wall Street Journal has more on the extraordinary pressure placed on Sinclair to pull this documentary.

Posted by Kate at October 23, 2004 10:59 AM

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Tracked on October 23, 2004 12:23 PM