Rockmond Dunbar’s C-Note gets to the essence of The Ground Truth in a recent episode of Prison Break. On the phone to his wife, who questions whether her husband was ever in the military, the former army man bitterly replies, “I served my country and my country served me up.” Patricia Foulkrod’s documentary is barely a work of art, visually unseemly and struggling for a significant through line, but as a polemic it has the urgency of stray sniper fire. Which is to say the film is dangerous, but to whom? Foulkrod doesn’t settle for the shrill guttersnipping of Michael Moore, going beyond how the military callously seduces poor and minority people with romantic visions of war, countering the twisted neocon pathology of the White House that the costs of war—like the coffins of our dead soldiers—don’t exist if we cannot see them. She accomplishes this through stinging interviews from our maimed soldiers, who reveal how our military camps have essentially become breeding grounds for war criminals. It is there that racism is used to dehumanize the enemy and soldier alike, the nonexistent links between Iraq and 9/11 are used to fuel animosity, and violence against innocent people is encouraged by commanding officers. But the worst of it is that when our soldiers return to this country plagued with post-traumatic syndrome, they are disregarded by the very machine that created them. Foulkrod rarely stays on point but reveals, with arms flailing, that the military’s abuse of our soldiers constitutes a colossal and irresponsible failure of compassion.
Since 2001, we've brought you uncompromising, candid takes on the world of film, music, television, video games, theater, and more. Independently owned and operated publications like Slant have been hit hard in recent years, but we’re committed to keeping our content free and accessible—meaning no paywalls or fees.
If you like what we do, please consider subscribing to our Patreon or making a donation.