“This video makes it impossible for U.S. citizens to avoid the painful reality that the policies of our government are killing innocents in Iraq. The ugly human toll of the supposedly benign sanctions policy are revealed in Greetings From Missile Street. Anyone who sees Tom Jackson’s work and takes it to heart will have to demand that the U.S. government change its hypocritical policy.”
— Robert Jensen, author,
Writing Dissent: Taking Radical Ideas from the Margins to the Mainstream
“Missile Street”, like all great documentaries, is not a propaganda film. We are simply, or not so simply, there. We are there to see and understand on our own the images and sounds emanating from the high-tech box. The medium is not the message. Jackson narrates the voice-over, but the predominate aural memories are the voices of the American women from Voices in the Wilderness who, while living under sanctions, speak to the camera and describe and reflect on what they see and experience. It is mostly children they see, touch, and experience.
It is the images of the children that we, too, remember. The film displays the unspoken terror of parents who are helpless in the grip of forces so distant, so powerful, and so malevolent…
Greetings From Missile Street has none of the visual terror which succeeds so well in Peter Davis’ documentary of Vietnam, “Hearts and Minds.” Much of the success of Michael Moore’s “Bowling for Columbine” derives from the black humor Moore extracts from the deepest recesses of Freud’s dark, immoral and laughing id. For the viewer of “Missile Street” there is no such relief. Jackson’s work is guerrilla filmmaking. It is clear why he names “Night and Fog,” Alain Resnais’ 1955 eviscerating exploration of guilt and responsibility for Auschwitz, as the greatest of the documentaries. Greetings From Missile Street is a hard film to watch. In a commentary on itself, one of the film’s subtexts is the media and its effect and power. Returning home, I clicked through the TV. It was a very special night. I could have watched the “Victoria’s Secret Special” or the stirring climax of “The Bachelor.” The media is like most everything else. You have to work for what you get. It’s never free. We are all paying a price.
— Charles Robinson, Capital Weekly, December 5, 2002
(Excerpts from a movie review of Greetings From Missile Street)
Greetings From Missile Street is a moving video that puts a human face on the people of Iraq. Tom Jackson shows us in powerful detail the human consequences of the comprehensive sanctions imposed on Iraq in 1990 and the ongoing consequences of the Gulf War. As Greetings From Missile Street shows, the war has not ended, and ordinary Iraqis — not the regime — are paying the price. Jackson also shows us the brave work of activists who are working to expose these important truths and change US and UN policy. Greetings From Missile Street should be widely watched by anyone who wants to get behind the headlines to grasp the reality of the war on Iraq.
— Anthony Arnove is the editor of
Terrorism and War, a new collection of interviews with Howard Zinn, and Iraq Under Siege: The Deadly Impact of Sanctions and War