A documentary that follows the journey of Viet Nam veterans back to Viet Nam in an attempt to reconnect with their one time enemies.
So often the perception of men and women who fight in our country's armed forces revolves around their willingness to sacrifice their own lives so those back home don't have to. A more profound statement about their dedication to their country is their willingness to kill so we don't have to. Only by detaching themselves from principles they worked their entire lives to develop can they reach their objectives as soldiers.
Lt Col.Dave Grossman, author of On Killing, would say that peer influence plays a major part in overpowering the individual's inherent compassionate nature. Noam Chomsky, author of Hegemony or Survival, would make the argument that globalization has fostered such behavior, allowing America to justify it's own actions of transgression against a faceless, "bad guy". And Joseph Campbell, author of The Power of Myth, would credit mythology as being a key influence in creating the mindset of a soldier by relating mortal sacrifice to heroism and grandeur.
Peer influence, globalization and mythology all factor into the physical and moral sacrifices made by a soldier. Unfortunately they do not often translate into catharsis once the battle fields have been cleared of smoke and casualties.
This project will document a soldier's search for peace as they build bridges of humanity to their former enemies, illustrating the bonds that exist between them, even during battle.
Col Etherson will take a geographic and emotional journey back to Vietnam to find, exhume and return the body of the soldier he was ordered to bury. General Moore, the most decorated officer in all of Vietnam, has revisited his old battlegrounds numerous times. However in his more recent trips to Vietnam he came bearing friendship instead of arms. General Moore now enjoys the benefits of a mutual respect and friendship with Vietnamese General An, the very man whose mission it was to kill Moore and his platoon. The actions of these soldiers who have lived knee deep in war could be a new model of compassion that may be the lynch pin toward a better understanding of humanity.
The Dali Lama has an interesting take on the mentality of America. He has said that in America we build the prisons before we have prisoners. We anticipate the problem rather than dealing with it and before long it becomes an epidemic. The dehumanization of our neighbors is now an epidemic and it is my hope that these stories will not just heal the wounds of this problem but prevent them from leaving a mark on future generations.
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