Oliver Stone Joins MoveOn for TV Project Critical of Iraq War

By Randy Hall | July 7, 2008 | 8:23 PM EDT

(CNSNews.com) - Oscar Award-winning filmmaker Oliver Stone and the liberal political group MoveOn.org are joining forces to produce a 30-second television spot that will comprise a video interview of a U.S. soldier or family member "urging for a responsible redeployment of troops in Iraq."

"We have leaders in Washington who say they're 'supporting our troops' - but the people who suffer most from their policies are the troops themselves," said Stone, a Vietnam veteran who received Academy Awards for directing the movies "Platoon" in 1986 and "Born on the Fourth of July" in 1989.

"I decided to participate in this project because, as a veteran, I know that America needs to listen to our servicemen and women," Stone said in a statement Thursday. "They've been there, and they know what's really going on. They need to be part of this debate."

"Stories from veterans and family members have poured in over the past few years, and we wanted to provide a platform where they could speak directly to the American people and policymakers," added Nita Chaudhary, a spokesperson for MoveOn.org.

"The administration tries to call anyone who criticizes their policy in Iraq 'anti-troop,' but these stories show that 'supporting the troops' does not mean supporting an endless war," she said.

As part of the "VideoVets: Bring Our Troops Home" project, two dozen interviews of soldiers and family members filmed by MoveOn volunteers were uploaded on Thursday to a a page on the MoveOn.org website and YouTube, a popular video-sharing website.

"You watch the videos and tell us what you think," the site says. "Then, Academy Award-winning director Oliver Stone will turn it into a TV ad - spreading this message even further."

The project is also being sponsored by VoteVets.org, which describes itself as "a pro-military organization committed to the destruction of terror networks around the world, with force when necessary."

The organization said in the statement that it also "represents the voice of America's 21st century patriots - those who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan" - and "primarily focuses on nonpartisan education and advocacy on behalf of troops, veterans and their families."

In one of the interviews, John Bruhns, a former U.S. Army infantry sergeant and VoteVets.org member, says: "I feel that my patriotism has been used and exploited. I am very proud of my military service, but I'm very disappointed in the civilian leadership and administration for sending us needlessly into combat."

Iraq war veteran Peter Granato, another VoteVets.org member, states in another clip that "if there was a manual written on how not to fight a war, it would be this administration's playbook."

VoteVets.org also sponsors the StopIranWar.com website with Wesley Clark, a former four-star general who was a candidate for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination in 2004.

"Military force against Iran is not the solution now, and if we adopt the right strategy, perhaps it need never be," the site declares, before asking viewers to sign a petition urging President Bush "to work with our allies and use every diplomatic, political and economic option at our disposal to deal with Iran."

Ramona Joyce, media relations manager for the three million-member American Legion, told Cybercast News Service on Thursday that Stone and the groups associated with the project "are free to do whatever they want" in reacting to the war on terror.

However, Joyce asked, "if democracy is the formula for lasting peace in the Middle East, wouldn't it be a shame for us to simply walk away [before it is established in Iraq]? What other option is better for mankind than a government of the people, for the people and by the people?"

"Freedom is not free," Joyce added. "More Iraqis have paid the ultimate sacrifice than anyone in this country."

"Leaving is the easy solution," she said. On the other hand, "staying is a commitment to every GI who has died for a cause greater than self. To simply walk away cheapens the price already paid."

The American Legion will next month participate in the GI Film Festival, the first such event to "exclusively celebrate the successes and sacrifices of the American military through the medium of film."

"From the American Revolution through the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, our men and women in uniform have given life and limb in defense of freedom," festival President Brandon Millett said in a news release Thursday.

"They deserve our respect and our undying gratitude," Millett added. "And that is exactly what we plan to show them this Memorial Day weekend." The festival runs May 26-28 in Washington, D.C.

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