Missing from Hurt Locker Shout-Outs: Iraqis?

05/08/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Barry Yourgrau Author of Mess: One Man's Struggle to Clean Up His House and His Act

In accepting the Best Original Screenplay for Hurt Locker last night, Mark Boal said:

"I would also like to thank and dedicate this to the troops, the 115,000 who are still in Iraq, the 120,000 in Afghanistan and the more than 30,000 wounded and 4,000 who have not made it home."

In accepting the Best Director Award for Hurt Locker last night, Kathryn Bigelow said:

"And I'd just like to dedicate this to the women and men in the military who risk their lives on a daily basis in Iraq and Afghanistan and around the world. And may they come home safe."

Indeed. A novelist friend of mine who was in Iraq in 2008 reported how surprised and grateful American soldiers were to have anyone interested that they in fact existed, out there in the foreign dust.

But not to carp: Can somebody explain why, in accepting awards for a film about the dangers, pressures and horrors of soldiers in Iraq, not a word was expressed about, um, Iraqis? After all, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have been killed, hundreds of thousands wounded and maimed, millions homeless, all thanks directly and indirectly to what Mark Boals referred to as an "unpopular" war fought largely by American soldiers.

"Unpopular." And here I thought the proper term was "illegal" or "criminal" or "based on lies and deliberate distortions and carried through with catastrophically willful lack of planning and calamitous excesses of mismanagement, incompetence, and ideological bias."

But this isn't a film about "the Iraq war," that it? It's focused narrowly on the existential travails of a certain group of soldiers in a hostile environment? I wonder what Iraqis say about such conceptual divisions.

Didn't Iraqis just vote, this weekend of the Oscars? Lining up for that oh-so precious gift of democracy despite genuine bombs going off around them.

Say, maybe there's another Oscar-winning movie in that. At least worth a shout-out , somehow, from the Kodak Theatre stage? Would have been a nice touch, I'd have thought. Along with best wishes for safety all round. Under the continuing cirumstances.