‘The Ground Truth’


The newest activist doc from Iraq, joining a deafening yowl of media dissent, Patricia Foulkrod’s The Ground Truth gets its voice entirely from returned combat vets. It begins as a new-millennium Full Metal Jacket, analyzing the conscientious strategy of recruiters, trainers, and upper brass to transform naive and/or jobless American kids into raghead-hating, gun-toting murderers. The details are eye-opening (or ear-opening, in the case of marching songs taught to the new Marines about slaughtering Arab schoolchildren), but soon Foulkrod’s film backs itself into a Support Our Troops corner, elegizing the soldiers, many with missing limbs and almost all with post-traumatic stress, as they recount being indoctrinated, killing civilians (an everyday occurrence), feeling guilt, and suffering at home as the federal military machine reneges on disability checks and services. Iraqis do not figure in, except as bad memories. Claiming “We’re all casualties” seems an act of whiny hubris (for the film, if not the PTSD Marine who said it), because Iraqis, butchered in their homes by the tens of thousands, would surely prefer depression and weeping in their wives’ arms at night to having their families and neighborhoods annihilated.