The U.S invasion and occupation of Iraq is now 5 years and counting.
More than 4,000 members of the U.S. armed forces have been killed and 29,451 have been wounded.
We are spending more than $10 billion a month on the war.
A new movie, "Stop-Loss" by Kimberly Peirce, whose brother served in Iraq, is a powerful indictment of the continuing U.S. occupation, our treatment of returning vets and the widespread use of "Stop-loss" to supply troops for the occupation and surge.
Over 81,000 Iraqi war veterans have been forced to return to combat under the military's Stop-loss policy, the involuntary extension of a service member's enlistment contract in order to retain them beyond the normal term of service.
Put simply, a veteran's discharge is unilaterally canceled and he or she is sent back to Iraq. Stop-loss is the military's way of continuing to throw troops into the Iraq quagmire even as recruitment declines.
So much for the "volunteer" army!
The irony that an administration that accused opponents of the war of being disloyal to the troops is using these very young men and women, against their will, as cannon fodder is not lost on the film makers or the actors who play the returning combat veterans.
While the Journal Sentinel's movie critic criticized the film as leaving "...something to be desired as art."
The New York Times movie critic, A.O. Scott gave it a very positive review:
..there is a grim, accidental timeliness in the release of “Stop-Loss,” which focuses on the ordeal of American soldiers in and out of combat...Ms. Peirce’s movie...is not only an earnest, issue-driven narrative, but also a feverish entertainment, a passionate, at times overwrought melodrama gaudy with violent actions and emotions....
...its messy, chaotic welter of feeling has a tang of authenticity. Instead of high-minded indignation or sorrow, it runs on earthier fuel: sweat, blood, beer, testosterone, loud music and an ideologically indeterminate, freewheeling sense of rage.
“Stop-Loss” makes no argument beyond the recognition of that fact. It is an imperfect movie — marred, if anything, by its sincere affection and undisciplined compassion — about the imperfect young men who keep returning to a war the rest of us would prefer not to think about.
This is an important and disturbing movie.