Dispatch from the Razor's Edge, the Blog of Michael Stephen Fuchs
2008.04.15 : Young Americans
"Prepare To Have Your Opinion Of This War Changed Forever"

Forty-two year old Pat Dollard is hurtling through the air in the exploding Iraqi night. An IED has just blown up at the back bumper of a Humvee he's riding in – killing the Marine sitting next to him, and sending him shooting 30 feet out of the vehicle, with a broken leg and shrapnel wounds. A mere few months earlier, he was a hotshot film agent with a house in the Hollywood hills, an H2, and a 7-figure income. Now, he's given it all it up – somehow getting himself embedded with a Marine unit in one of the most dangerous parts of Iraq, toting a handheld camera, going out on patrols – and becoming increasingly committed to telling the story of these unbelievably cool young men and women, and the mission they are fulfilling. And you really do get a very different version of the story – as Pat put it, CNN correspondents tend to send dispatches from the safety of hotels in Baghdad, the smoke from recent explosions pluming in the background. He was in the explosions.

Despite being blown up, Pat ultimately spent seven months in theatre and shot over 600 hours of footage. The result is going to be the documentary Young Americans, which (I think) is being picked up by Tony and Ridley Scott, and which promises to be the antidote to the tsunami of liberal Hollywood anti-war films (such as Redacted, In the Valley of Elah, Stop-Loss, Lions for Lambs – with more coming) and which Americans are staying home from in droves. (Liberal Hollywood line: Americans are sick of the war and don't want to think about it. More likely: Americans don't like to see their best and bravest depicted as killers and deserters in order to suit the left-leaning entertainment industry's sacred political narrative.) It should be out as an eight-part miniseries on Showtime this spring – and it promises to "change your view of this war forever."

In the meantime, Pat has made about an hour's worth of footage available on his site. Since I know you're a very busy person, I've undertaken to edit it down further into just a few of the very best snippets (which was a fun technical project for me – haven't edited digital video in about ten years), below. If you want to see more of the video, it's available here. If you want to read the amazing piece Pat wrote detailing his experiences, it's available here. And if you want to read some testimonials about Pat – including some sharp commentary on the mainstream media – by the Marines Pat met and immortalized, it's here (scroll about halfway down).

"If Someone Helps Us, We're Not Just Going To Leave Them Stranded . . . But They're Scared for Their Lives"

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"I Want to Help My Country. If The Iraqis Will Not Help Their Country, Who Will?" – "These People Are Living People Just Like In America – You Want To Do What You Can To Help Them"

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"His Exact Words Were: 'Coalition Forces Are More Iraqi Than Some Of Their Own People'"

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Opening Credits (Warning: Hardcore)

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"At Home All You've Got to Worry About is Slow Speed From Internet Traffic, Here You've Got to Worry About Mortars"

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"You've Been Blown Up, Too?" – "Yeah, A Couple Of Times"

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"The Frag Impact Got Him In The Leg And In The Arm" – "How'd That Feel?" – "Not Too Good"

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"A Firefight's Not Really My Idea Of Fun" – "Getting Shot At Sucks" – "Not A Cool Thing To Be Involved In"

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Go to AnySoldier.com Go to SoldiersAngels.com Go to WoundedWarriorProject.com

  humour     iraq     the military     video  
close photo of Michael Stephen Fuchs

Fuchs is the author of the novels The Manuscript and Pandora's Sisters, both published worldwide by Macmillan in hardback, paperback and all e-book formats (and in translation); the D-Boys series of high-tech, high-concept, spec-ops military adventure novels – D-Boys, Counter-Assault, and Close Quarters Battle (coming in 2016); and is co-author, with Glynn James, of the bestselling Arisen series of special-operations military ZA novels. The second nicest thing anyone has ever said about his work was: "Fuchs seems to operate on the narrative principle of 'when in doubt put in a firefight'." (Kirkus Reviews, more here.)

Fuchs was born in New York; schooled in Virginia (UVa); and later emigrated to the San Francisco Bay Area, where he lived through the dot-com boom. Subsequently he decamped for an extended period of tramping before finally rocking up in London, where he now makes his home. He does a lot of travel blogging, most recently of some very  long  walks around the British Isles. He's been writing and developing for the web since 1994 and shows no particularly hopeful signs of stopping.

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