Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A Soldier's Peace

From Marshall Thompson's Web site for "A Soldier's Peace" --

From August 2005 through August 2006, Sgt. Marshall Thompson wasn't much different from any other American soldier serving in Iraq. What Thompson saw during his year in Iraq as a military journalist changed him forever. By the time Thompson returned home from his tour of duty, Thompson had interviewed thousands of fellow soldiers ranging from privates to generals and he returned home with a startling realization...the war in Iraq was and is an unjust war.

It was a simple realization and yet one that caused Thompson to take an abrupt detour from the military life he'd been living...a life that had included stints in Kosovo, Macedonia and Korea.

Before you start thinking that "A Soldier's Peace," the documentary based upon his life once he returned home from Iraq, is just another story about some commie pinko peacenick I urge you to think again.

Marshall Thompson isn't from a military family, but he had no hesitation about joining the military. He contemplated the Marines and the Army Infantry, before finding out that the Army would offer him the chance to practice his love of journalism. Like many other Americans who were enraged after 9/11, Thompson joined the military with the desire to serve his country and right the wrongs that had been committed that day. Thompson doesn't really qualify as a pacifist, though he can't deny that his experiences in Iraq have given him considerable doubts about the usefulness of war.

Thompson, like many Americans, has simply come to realize that American actions in Iraq began without just cause and continue without just cause and, even worse, to the detriment of the nation we are supposedly helping and to the families of thousands of soldiers killed or permanently disabled by U.S. military actions.

Before his tour of duty in Iraq was finished, Thompson had realized the truth. While it certainly presented him with a moral and ethical dilemma, Thompson still cherished the opportunity to tell the stories of the military's men and women. What he couldn't do any longer, however, was fulfill his responsibilities in creating public relations materials designed to put a positive spin on military actions.

Thompson spoke to his wife Kristen, at home with his two-year-old daughter Eliza, and shared his revelations. Kristen, a lifelong democrat long opposed to the Iraqi war listened and supported her husband as he processed through what would have to happen next.

His tour of duty over, Thompson returned home to a hero's welcome and, much to the dismay of many in his conservative Utah community, immediately began speaking out about this unjust war.

"A Soldier's Peace" is a documentary created by Thompson and his wife, with support from other family members, about what Thompson did upon his return home.

What did Thompson do? He decided to tackle the subject on his homefront, Utah, a notoriously conservative state that until recently polled 20% higher than most other parts of the country in their support of President Bush and U.S. military actions in Iraq. Thompson decided that the best way to get his message out would be to, quite literally, walk 500 miles across Utah with a message of peace, love and understanding.

Sgt. Marshall Thompson became a peace activist.

"A Soldier's Peace" follows Thompson's 28-day journey, one day for each 100 American soldiers killed in Iraq at the point of Thompson's walk, and the people who joined him, opposed him, supported him, guided him and challenged him along the way.

The trailer we saw in class is here: A Soldier's Peace.

1 comment:

  1. I finally got a chance to watch this movie. I loved it! I cannot imagine Marshall making this sort of video without negative feedback, it is simply human nature, but I don't understand how there were so many that object to his peaceful expression. He is a soldier who had actually seen the war in a different perspective than almost all of us, he printed actual stories the military actually censored. Isn't this the guy we should be listening to? The media is so skewed it is scary. Marshall did mention to our class that he was surprised at those who joined him. They must have been too scared in such a conservative society to express their opinions and see that others agreed with them. This isn't even an issue about conservative vs. liberal, it is an issue about what information we are receiving, and if it is the right information.