Film--Aftermath: The Remnants of War
Filmed on location in Russia, France, Bosnia and Vietnam, Aftermath: The Remnants of War features personal accounts of individuals involved in the cleanup of war: de-miners who risk their lives on a daily basis; psychologists working with distraught soldiers in Bosnia; a treasure hunter turned archeologist in Stalingrad and scientists and doctors struggling with the contamination of dioxin used during the Vietnam War. The discussion after the film centered on the landmine issue. Though policy has yet to be set in a war in Iraq, Pentagon officials have said that U.S. forces "might deny access to [a chemical weapons site] by using self-destructing small mines. The United States has stockpiled approximately 90,000 landmines in surrounding areas. According to Bobby Muller, the Government Accounting Organization (GAO) “released a report that said that not only did the use of these landmines in the first Gulf War have absolutely no negative consequences for Iraqi forces, they impeded and constrained the mobility of our own forces. So the use of landmines by the United States in Gulf War I was totally counterproductive to our military engagement.” Muller is President of the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation. After serving as a Marine Lieutenant in Vietnam, Mr. Muller founded Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) in 1978 and Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation (VVAF) in 1980. In 1991, Muller co-founded the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, which received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997. In his opinion, “[These weapons] can not be relied upon by field commanders with enough competence to self-destruct that they will use our forces on a counter attack or moving through a contaminated area.”
“The reason they don’t take them off the table in the United States…is because they are extremely useful. They don’t sleep, they don’t need food, they don’t need a medic ever. I know why they're are effective," Donovan Webster said, “and there is a world full of one-legged people to prove they are effective. One-legged people who had nothing to do with any of these conflicts.”
The film explored the human dimension of conflict, in which the majority of the victims are now civilian. “The overwhelming number of landmine victims in the world are not military people, they’re civilians, they’re innocent people after conflicts most of the time. There are 100 million landmines buried in countries around the world; 90 % of the people blown-up by this indiscriminate weapon are civilian,” Muller said.
Aftermath: the Remnants of War is based on the Lionel Gelber Prize winning book by Webster.
Anita Sharma, 202-691-4083