The 90’s, episode 308: The Anti-War Tapes

Part of the Global Perspectives on War and Peace Collection. Episode 308 of the award winning series, The 90's. This episode is called "THE (ANTI)-WAR TAPES" and features the following segments:

00:39Copy video clip URL Cold open in which the Edwin Starr song, “War,” plays as a soldier points out a bullet hole in a helmet, then throws it into a creek.

01:55Copy video clip URL “Piece of Mind” by Atriom Productions. Videomakers travel across the country attempting to capture the opinions of the nation as the U.N. deadline for Saddam Hussein to withdraw from Kuwait approaches. In San Francisco: “They [Congress] will delay allowing Bush to go to war”…”It’s time for every able-bodied citizen to fight”. In Reno: “I’ve killed. I’ve killed in ‘Nam…I saw no use in it…According to the military, you’re expendable”. In Salt Lake City: “I don’t think we needed it. We just didn’t need it [she cries]…The oil companies are the only ones who are going to profit. Are you going to profit?” In Wyoming: “Maybe it’s time to show the rest of the world what we’ve got and what we can do.” In Chicago: “I don’t trust the government. George Bush is a CIA man. Why should I believe what he tells me?” In D.C.: “This propaganda machine in the U.S. is equal to that in Iraq” …”George Bush has put me in the position that what I believe is considered out of the realm of possibility.”

10:45Copy video clip URL “Inside Iraq” by John Alpert, Maryann DeLeo. Prior to the ground campaign in Iraq in early February 1991, John Alpert and Maryann DeLeo were the only American television crew in Iraq other than CNN. This footage was smuggled out of Iraq and not screened by Iraqi censors. The president of NBC would not allow it to be shown and declared that Alpert, a reporter who had a 14-year history with NBC news, would not have his tapes on NBC again. This airing represents its national broadcast debut. The footage reveals the effects of the war on the civilian population. We see demolished homes and businesses, casualties, injuries, pain, and outrage.

16:53Copy video clip URL “War Essay” by Andrew Jones. An impressionistic view of war shot in Iraq and Jordan shortly after the end of the air and land war. We see images of demonstrations, the dead and wounded, the mourning, and the outraged.

22:41Copy video clip URL “Trident Submarine Demonstration” by Jay April. In 1979, protesters demonstrate against the maiden launch of a Trident Nuclear Submarine, confronting those attending the gala event. When asked why we need this type of weapon, a woman attending the launch replies, “What do we need it for? To scare everybody else!” The videomaker responds, “What if it’s used?” and hears, “So what?”

24:38Copy video clip URL “Dr. Blase Bonpane” by Nancy Cain and Jody Procter. Dr. Blase Bonpane, organizer for peace, comments: “Those who revere the past never repeat the past…People come along like the Bush-Baker twins. There is no reverence for the past. There is a profound ignorance…Empire never learns…Because you work from power, you cannot learn…”

26:37Copy video clip URL “Straight Talk” by Robbie Leppzer. A documentary about Vietnam Veterans who are trying to counteract glamorous images of war put out by the military. This group goes to high schools in Massachusetts and tells true war stories of horror and suffering to the segment of the population most actively recruited by the military. “The military is not restricted by the truth and we are.” Al Miller: “I’m often at tears or close to tears when I talk about these things, and that’s not part of the masculine myth, is it? Rambo don’t do that shit. But it’s okay with who I am and who I want to be.” Thom Masterson: “History is not about the great leaders. It’s about the little people who suffer the consequences. Something has to be done to counter that image of war being something that’s a glorious endeavor. It’s not. It’s just a waste.”

34:48Copy video clip URL “Ecofeminist” by Eddie Becker. At an antiwar demonstration in Washington D.C. on January 19,1991, a woman says: “Patriarchal state male-identified systems of ruling are constantly at war. That’s their basis. They’re violence prone. That’s why we have to more towards women-oriented, women-identified ways of dealing with people. Men are violence prone. Not inherently, but that’s the way it is now. They cannot stop fighting. That’s the way they resolve their conflicts and that is out of date. It’s passé. It’s gotta go.”

35:29Copy video clip URL “Dear President Bush” by Herman J. Engel. A video letter sent to President George Bush in October 1990 by Alex Molnar, whose son was sent to serve in the Persian Gulf. “I kissed my son goodbye today”…”Where were you when Iraq was poisoning its own people with poisonous gas?”…”Is the American way of life, which you say my son is risking his life for, the right of all Americans to consume 25-30% of the Earth’s oil?”…”If, as I fear, you eventually order American forces to attack Iraq, it is God who will have to forgive you. I will not.” Christopher Molnar returned to the United States safely in March 1991. He has two years left to serve.

40:19Copy video clip URL “Post No Bills” by Clay Walker and Marianne Dissard. A guerrilla poster brigade plasters Washington D.C. with posters depicting Dan Quayle coming out of George Bush’s head like a tumor. The text says, “Plan Ahead” in scrunched up letters. The piece opens with the audio of a classic Dan Quayle quote, “What a waste it is to lose one’s mind or not to have a mind is being very wasteful.”

42:34Copy video clip URL “Ernesto Cardenal” by Nancy Cain, Jody Procter. Nicaraguan poet Ernesto Cardenal comments: “The president of the United States is not only the president of the United States, but he’s king of the United States, emperor, which means he also governs countries outside of his own nation.”

43:00Copy video clip URL Excerpt from the documentary “Wintersoldier” by 20-20 Production (Home Video). A Vietnam veteran speaks candidly about his experience in the war. “They dehumanize you so much that the enemy is no longer a human being who has a wife and a child. He just becomes the enemy…When it comes right down to it, it’s not a man, it’s a target…I had to justify it some way because I was doing it. Then all of a sudden I realized, ‘No, there is no justification.’ What I’ve done is wrong, and I have to admit what I’ve done is wrong, and I have to tell other people before they make the same mistakes that I did.”

44:33Copy video clip URL “War Essay” by Andrew Jones. Roving correspondent Andrew Jones recounts his first war experience, which occurred at the Burma – Thailand border while following revolutionaries fighting for democracy.

50:53Copy video clip URL More from “Dr. Blase Bonpane.” “We have to deal with the ideology of militarianism… If it’s militarist, it’s anti-democratic. You have heard the President and the people who are with him speak of ‘kicking ass.’ This is hardly a democratic metaphor. I think they’d be happy to kick anybody’s ass as long as they disagreed with them.”

52:01Copy video clip URL “Rosa Guillen” by Karen Ranucci. In Lima, Peru, Rosa Guillen says, “As feminists and Latin Americans, we are very afraid of the possibilities of war. We worry about people’s lives. As Latin Americans, we are afraid of this triumph of war. We never agreed with Kuwait’s invasion. The response of the United States with such forceful war is an answer that does not fit into a civilized world.”

53:15Copy video clip URL “Third World USA” by Tony Avalos for Gulf Crisis TV Project. This film depicts the U.S. inner-city environment as comparable to that of a Third World country. A girl in New York’s East Village fetches water for her family from a hydrant.

54:33Copy video clip URL “Allen Ginsberg” by John Schwartz. Poet Allen Ginsberg says, “What have we done and how are we going to make up for it? Hasn’t this been the end of the American century? Hasn’t this been the termination of the great experiment of American democracy? Hasn’t this been the flowering of Eisenhower’s prophecy that we should beware of the military industrial complex? Now it’s the military petrochemical atomic energy complex and it’s almost unbeatable.”

56:22Copy video clip URL End credits.



  1. Tony Avalos says:

    I made the video that appears at minute 53:15, Third World USA. I’m surprised I wasn’t credited since The 90’s obtained my permission and paid the license to use it. Anyway, I shot it on Super 8 film in an actual homeless area in the East Village in New York City on 7th Street, right behind the building where I lived on Avenue D. The girl that appears on the video was a Salvadoran orphan who lived with her grandfather on the streets selling anything in a flea market. Her name was Lila and she was 11 years old at the time. I never saw her again after this, although I looked for her everywhere. The video originally appeared on the Gulf Crisis TV Project and won many awards.

    • Sara says:

      Hi Tony-

      Sorry for this. We obviously can’t change how the tape aired 21 years ago, but we added your name to the credits in our database and in the description. We also added your recollections to the “staff comments” section–we love to hear more from film/videomakers, people in the tapes, or others with firsthand knowledge. It really brings the tapes to life and describes them in a way our catalogers can’t.


      Media Burn Archive

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