FRONTLINE goes to war in Iraq with a band of California-based National Guard soldiers who call themselves the “Bad Voodoo Platoon” to tell their very personal story in Bad Voodoo’s War.
To record their war, from private reflections to real-time footage of improvised explosive device (IED) attacks on the ground, director Deborah Scranton (The War Tapes) creates a “virtual embed,” supplying cameras to the soldiers of the Bad Voodoo Platoon and working with them to shape an intimate portrait that reveals the hard grind of their war.
Says Scranton: “What compels me is telling a story from the inside out, to crawl inside their world with them to see what it looks like, feels like and smells like. It’s really important to give soldiers the chance to press their own record button on this war.” Through their daily experiences, acting platoon leader Sgt. 1st Class Toby Nunn, originally from British Columbia and the father of three, and Spc.
Jason Shaw, a 23-year-old from Texas, give us a firsthand look at the impact of the U.S. military’s policy of multiple deployments to Iraq and how the Army’s role has changed on the ground. Spc. Shaw is on his third deployment to Iraq. After the invasion in 2003, he was awarded the Silver Star for valor during the battle for the Baghdad airport.
Shaw volunteered for his third tour in Iraq, but is haunted by the loss of so many comrades during his earlier deployments. “I’ve had six of my good friends die,” he explains. “When I lost all of my buddies, I just kind of lost hope. I used to be religious. My last deployment totally made me think otherwise. You know, you pray all the time to keep everybody safe, and then something happens.”
Frontline – Bad Voodoo’s War (Making Off and Interviews):