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The Dust, Violence, and Discord Of War Brought To Life In One Incredible Video
“Confusion Through Sand," an animated short film created by Ornana Films and directed and illustrated by Danny Madden, is so much more than a war story. It's also so much more than than just an animated video. In the nine-minute film, anger, fear and panic coalesce to create something all too rare in portrayals of war: a genuine depiction of feeling.
The idea for the story began to develop when friends of the production team started returning home from tours overseas, and through their experiences, the story emerged. Perhaps its because the story was drawn from so many experiences that the unknown protagonist is so compelling --- it could be anyone in the audience.
“The idea going into it was you can project your own face to it," Madden told the Washington Post's Thomas Gibbons-Neff. “Nothing is concrete about it … hopefully by designing the character like this it would [allow] all people to be in that position a little more viscerally."
After fleeing his attackers, the unnamed main character is spotted by a pair of teenage boys who smile and wave. Even without a single spoken word, it's clear that he has a brief crisis of conscience. Maybe they're spotters? Maybe they'll give him away? Maybe they're innocent kids who will get hurt if they stay near him? All these thoughts go unvoiced, but not unfelt as he levels his rifle at them, finger off the trigger, and scares them away.
The rapid juxtapositions cause the audience's perspective to lurch jarringly, catching a glimpse of the ankles of an unknown soldier walking through dusty and familiar Middle Eastern city streets, then leaping to wide eyes behind goggles as a sand storm blows past.
As Madden explains in a short video about how the animation was made, each panel is hand drawn on recycled paper, all 6,500 pages of it. After each illustration is made, and then gone over again with markers to add color, backlit photos are taken of each individual sheet, bringing the grainy brown hue to life. Considering the size and scope of the project, it's not surprising that it was nearly two years in the making.
“We found pieces of recycled paper that, when you held them up to the light, looked a lot like a sandstorm," said Jim Cumming, a producer with Ornana Films, in a Washington Post interview. “The form fit the story."
Watch the entire film here:
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Tech. Sgt. Cody Smith, an airman with the 26th Special Tactics Squadron, 24th Special Operations Wing at Air Force Special Operations Command, will receive the Silver Star at Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico on Nov. 22, the service announced Monday.
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Former Army 1st Lt. Clint Lorance, whom President Donald Trump recently pardoned of his 2013 murder conviction, claims he was nothing more than a pawn whom generals sacrificed for political expediency.
The infantry officer had been sentenced to 19 years in prison for ordering his soldiers to open fire on three unarmed Afghan men in 2012. Two of the men were killed.
During a Monday interview on Fox & Friends, Lorance accused his superiors of betraying him.
"A service member who knows that their commanders love them will go to the gates of hell for their country and knock them down," Lorance said. "I think that's extremely important. Anybody who is not part of the senior Pentagon brass will tell you the same thing."
"I think folks that start putting stars on their collar — anybody that has got to be confirmed by the Senate for a promotion — they are no longer a soldier, they are a politician," he continued. "And so I think they lose some of their values — and they certainly lose a lot of their respect from their subordinates — when they do what they did to me, which was throw me under the bus."
Fifteen years after the U.S. military toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein, the Army's massive two-volume study of the Iraq War closed with a sobering assessment of the campaign's outcome: With nearly 3,500 U.S. service members killed in action and trillions of dollars spent, "an emboldened and expansionist Iran appears to be the only victor.
Thanks to roughly 700 pages of newly-publicized secret Iranian intelligence cables, we now have a good idea as to why.
BANGKOK (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Mark Esper expressed confidence on Sunday in the U.S. military justice system's ability to hold troops to account, two days after President Donald Trump pardoned two Army officers accused of war crimes in Afghanistan.
Trump also restored the rank of a Navy SEAL platoon commander who was demoted for actions in Iraq.
Asked how he would reassure countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq in the wake of the pardons, Esper said: "We have a very effective military justice system."
"I have great faith in the military justice system," Esper told reporters during a trip to Bangkok, in his first remarks about the issue since Trump issued the pardons.