If I may respond to the previous post regarding the supposed bias of this program, I would like to respectfully disagree. As someone who considers themselves a progressive, and proudly to the left of the political spectrum, I saw only an hour long documentary of nine soldiers last November in Iraq. The questions I found myself asking after watching, where ones of what we can learn from this in the future- Must we search for democracy and peace with violence?
What we must accept now though, is that we have a duty to the Iraqi people- regardless of the reasons for invasion. That being said- I agree that those justifications must be remembered and discussed, though even now they are largely forgotten. They must be remembered with not only every soldier, or American that dies- but also those of Iraqis, innocents and the helpless.
A Company of Soldiers did not strike me as attempting to justify or debunk the reasons for war. Instead, it made me wonder how best to keep those young men safe, and how best to rebuild what we can of Iraq-- as those are our now our moral obligations. Lastly, I wonder if there is a better way- and if ever we may find it.
I was in Al Anbar, Iraq with the 3d ACR. I was hesitant to watch this documentary because most of the work I have seen sense being home doesn’t seem to catch the slightest bit of emotion and confusion that exists everyday in Iraq. I feel “A Company of Soldiers” has come the closest. A job well done!
What a raw, wrenching look at the realities of war, instead of the sanitized version from Fox News.
I regret that the brutal slaughter of a dog by an American doctor became sort of a focal point, almost eclipsing the loss of the soldiers and civilians. This was perhaps partly because of our affection for animals, who ask nothing more of us than to be cared for, and partly because the sick episode was caught on tape, showing the dog posed no danger, yet was killed so callously, and clearly died a painful death.
The sight and sound of the dog yelping and writhing in pain, then dying as nobody did anything to help, will stay with me for a long time. The other soldiers disgustedly shaking their heads over the incident just made it that much more painful.
Having said that, I still support our people over there, and I hope they all come home soon, healthy and well. God Bless.
The brave men shown in this program should only be asked to risk their lives when it is absolutely necessary. Going after those responsible for 9/11 in Afghanistan was necessary. The Iraq war was not.
I thank these soldiers for their service and hope they can all come home soon.
This was an amazing program! After reading all the comments of other viewers, it seems some have forgotten that all our military are volunteers.
They serve by choice and enlisted knowing what dangers they might face and all are willing to lay their lives on the line for the freedom of others. My son is currently in Iraq serving in the Air Force. My pride in him and in all our service members is without bounds. Thank you!
Your dipiction of War, the US Army, and the eternal bond of brotherhood was superb.
As a former Airman in the US Air Force; I always snickered to the quality of life a solider undertakes in the Army, yet after watching this episode of Frontline, I stand corrected. I have developed a deep rooted admiration and thankfulness for the quality of life they have given my new family, at the expense of thiers. I can only say to the men and women serving in Iraq and Afhganistan...Thank you and God speed; for it would be an honor to serve in the United States Army, and support the cause.
The shooting of the dog was one of the most painful and senseless things I've ever seen on video and reflects the collateral damage that can turn the populace against a well-meaning occupational force. I clicked on a link from one of the co-producers and found this quote enlightening:
The worst outrage I saw in a month of combat was a dog gratuitously shot by the unit's doctor. Like the medic in Catch-22 who hated flying but wanted to receive his flight pay, this former paediatrician from the Deep South seemed to venture out only on missions where the security level was high and the combat risk low. He carried a shotgun - a weapon of little use in modern combat but one offering excellent opportunities for posing. Most of the soldiers loathed him.
The full article can be found at this link: http://www.newstatesman.com/World/200501310013
I think the scariest thing about the quote is that this doctor is a pediatrician.
Mountain View, CA
From June '03 through July '04 I lived in Camp Falcon (later named Camp Ferrin-Huggins), assigned to the 168th MP BN. The 1/8 CAV soldiers came as we were concluding our tour of duty in Baghdad, overlapping our stay by several months. Not only did I know many of those whose story you told, I wrie as an eyewitness to the motives, conviction and courage of the soldiers prominently featured in the Frontline presentation. I was powerfully engaged by the vivid, authentic, unvarnished portrayal of their lives, especially their grief when Babbitt was killed. Thank You.
I am also affected by some of the many remarks that have been posted to this site. I do not discern, from either the remarks or from the presentation's point of view, a sense that the United States is really at war. I feel that present comforts of life here may well have overtaken and displaced the sense of threat widely felt and expressed after 9-11, which was a triggering event resulting in our presence in Iraq. Viewers observed intense, regionally confined combat, but the presentation fell short of communicating the fact that the United States is at war, war with real, global implications.
Is the conflict in Iraq but a responsive scene, the opening act, in the greater drama of the war against western civilization, its values and attainments? If so, we shouldn't take too much comfort here in the cocooned security of our momentary circumstance. Thank you, again, for the honest portrayal of a soldier's life in Iraq and for the provocations to reflect upon our time and place in the world.
CH (MAJ) Kevin Wilkinson
When a program can elicit positive reaction from both the pro- and anti- war factions then its done its job. Such reaction is possible when the reporting is truly objective. Your program was able to portray the different elements involved in the war in a way that I have not seen in any other visual media. I was deeply moved, and I feel that I now have a better understanding of the situation facing some Iraq War vets and servicemembers.
As a non-combat veteran of Operation Joint Endeavor (Bosnia 1995-96) I'd like to point out two things. I can tell you that your program really helped to fill in the gaps between what it is like to face a population with only simmering resentment, as opposed to one with overtly hostile elements. In other words, in Bosnia they only looked at you like they wanted to kill you, in Iraq they really do. It is now clear to me what violence can do to an already fragile political situation.
And finally, Bosnia was a NATO mission that drew upon the strength and coördination of troops and logistics from over 26 nations, including a strong partnership between the U.S., Britian, France, and Russia in patroling the country. Only about 35% of the force were American soldiers. I consider this to be an essential element of that operation's relative success. It's obvious from your film that our troops need reinforcements to help them achieve success in their mission. I implore our administration to find them that support, so that we can speed-up their return home.
SAINT LOUIS, MO
I was so moved this eventing after watching your documentery.
I am a 40 year old mother of three. I go on every day with the day to day activities of life. Every night I watch the news and hear the updates regarding the war. I listen to the reports about the loss of life, the bombings, and though I hate to hear it, it all some how becomes so unreal. Its somewhere else, its not my family, It doesn't hit home the way it should. Though I have great respect for the soldiers, hearing the updates has become somehow surreal. It doesn't shock us anymore. It doesn't move us the way it should.
I now feel ashamed. These are men and women fighting for us. Fighting to keep the world my family lives in a safer place. Shame on me that tears don't fall, that thoughts about these human beings aren't in the forefront of my mind.
Thank you for waking me up. Thank you to all the men and women working so hard for me.
Lastly, my deepest sympathy to all the families who have lost a love one.
Good program. I'm a civilian and worked in Iraq last year to reconstruct a power plant in south Baghdad. I had the pleasure to associate with the First Cavalry Division and your program represented their troopers as the brave and dedicated professionals they are. Commanding General Pete Chiarelli, Engineer Brigade Commander Col. Cox and Col. Lanza who was featured on your program took a personal and active interest in the success of our work and provided our reconstruction team with assistance that exceeded our expectations.
May their remaining time in country pass quickly without incident and may God bless and bring them all home safely for they have surely done their duty and earned a well deserved break. Thank you First Team and kudos to Frontline for an excellent program.
What an excellent program. My brother Spc. Taylor Burk was attached with Dogs during the filming of this. he was a medic. I could not watch the whole program because my emotions of my brothers recent death there made it difficult. My only critisim is that you mentioned that several other soldiers from Dog company had passed away since the filming of this yet you never gave them the recognition they truly desevrve. Please keep this in mind for any future films. But it must an honor for those men to let you step in and film them knowing so many of us at home would watch and look at them for some understanding.
Thank you Again,
RIP Taylor Joseph Burk I love you
I would like to first thank the producers of this show for their amazingly clear and to my views accurate portrayal of this war. Also I would like to thank the soldiers in Iraq for their dedication and courage. Spc. Babbit's story was one that I will never be able to forget I have been talking to everyone I can about that. That someone who was mortally wounded and still got up and fought on to protect his friends and allow them to get to safety is, in my mind, the most courageous thing they could ever do and I only hope that when I join the military that I will be woorthy of serving with people like this.
Finally I like to tell the critics of our soldiers, those who would like to criticize our men over there without trying the job themselves ... If they went over there to fight and came back and criticized the way it was done or what was happening I would listen to them but now they are just irrelevant whiners.
Great program. The techno geek portion of your web article [Innovating and Improvising] is interesting. The BOYD cycle is misused by the author. Observe, Orient, Decide, Act faster than your enemy cannot be conducted sitting behind a computer looking at this guys website. Additionally, do we want our doctrine guys focusing on what we are doing in Iraq? This will lead to fighting the proverbial last war. Doctrine guys need to focus their efforts on leveraging joint communities and oga's not going out on 40 patrols.
As a former Brigade commander my opinion is that Maj Michaelis needs to refocus his efforts on finding a computer program that can detonate IED's and not by telling a guy the method of employment.
I was riveted by the program. I was justifiably proud of these young men and the work they are doing. It is so easy to second- guess actions and outcomes. The difficulty is in assessing the correct action at the time when the whole world is passing by in a frenzy.
Thanks to PBS for the braodcast and thanks and prayers for all of our young men and women---- and the Iraqis who working to make a better life for themselves in their brave new world. And it is a new world for them.
New York, NY