As he believes that Iraq is the most important issue in the United States today and as he observed on the news, Iraq is only portrayed through press conferences and bombings, he decided that the story of all the characters of this war should be told on a day by day basis, directly from the field. Through out our evaluation of Mike Shiley's documentary we will keep in mind the first question that we asked ourselves: Why is it important to describe today's situation in Iraq
Mike Shiley can be described as a "regular guy". He does not have any specific training of war journalism even if he admits that he always wanted to be a war correspondent. At the beginning of the movie, he gives us his reason to go to Iraq, a simple reason: see by himself what is really going on over there. He will start his journey from Amman, Jordan in a convey heading towards Baghdad where he will meet his Iraqi guide, Heider. Through Shiley's lens, we will then discover everyday life in Baghdad. The suicide bombing, the black market where you can find everything from drugs to weapons - for 25$ at the local gun market, you can buy a rocket propelled grenade launcher - and above all the state of a destroyed city and its civilians. Nevertheless, Shiley's journey doe not end in Baghdad. He explores the Sunni triangle, the northern Kurdish region and the Shiite-controlled South giving us details of the actions taken day by day to rebuild Iraq. We are exposed, for example, to a group of Iraqi workers cleaning landmines, risking their lives every minute, for a $10 per day wage. The movie is a considerable sum of details which present us the clear statement that nothing is black or white. A dictatorship has been destroyed but democracy opened the door to other abuses such as pornography. These details and the way Shiley presents them allow us to make our own opinion of the situation in Iraq.
Shiley's approach to the war is very simple but it does not lack of efficiency. How would we see the war, what would we think if we were directly on the field The documentary is shown through his point of view, while filming with his digital camera, but clearly this method is used for us to understand that we could be in his shoes confronted with the same issues. When he rushes to the scene of the car bomb in the beginning of the movie, he makes a terrible mistake. He is told that the strategy of suicide bombers is usually to detonate a second bomb after people gathered around the scene of the first bombing. Maureen Leary describes Shiley's journey in Iraq in her article from thedailypage.com1 as "a war documentary of exceptional humanity". As she states, we can consider that Shiley achieved this goal through his lack of training as a war correspondent linked to his absence of political agenda. He does not travel with all the "barrier of security that surrounds most western journalists". Again, we are shown the point of view of a regular person facing the consequences of a terrible war but not being biased as it is not his fight. In the same article Leary explains that Shiley wanted to becom a soldier after the attack on the World Trade Center and that the film is an attempt to live this life. He is therefore authorized to operate the biggest gun on the Abrams tank during a mission: "Operation Harras and Intimidate". Soldiers fire in a village where there are suspected to be insurgents to