Guardian photographer Sean Smith spent two months with U.S. soldiers who were fighting in Sadr City, earlier this year. Among them is 22 year old Sgt. John Aragon from California, who is killed during the span of the filming. They are shown in battle, playing soccer, exchanging graffiti with the Mahdi Army militia on the walls of Sadr City. They are also shown in short interviews, giving their mostly negative views on their deployment. The film’s duration is 16 and one half minutes.
Journeyman Pictures introduces the segment as follows:
Five years on from the American invasion and there’s talk of withdrawal in the air but the Mahdi army are still fighting in Sadr City. We hear from the US soldiers deployed in Iraq, as they speak their minds. “Iraq, they really don’t care about us anymore. They don’t want our help...I believe it’s time to go home. It’s time to stop losing lives, stop wasting money,” says Miller. His feelings seem to reflect the thoughts of his comrades, who are all waiting to be allowed home. “This war is stupid and pointless. This is not our country and not our fight,” claims Specialist Holly. Yet despite the soldiers desire to leave, they must stay. Cooperation between the Americans and Iraqis still has a way to go. The walls that now divide Shia and Sunni districts from each other have helped violence fall dramatically. Yet they have also visualised the city’s divisions and the soldiers know this is one of their legacies. “They will have an American leaving party, ‘lets knock down all the barriers’” says one soldier, “I think we should take all the barriers and turn it into one big skate park.”
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