The mockudrama "Battle for Haditha" is going to be making its US premeire in May. As part of the publicity blitz for the fictionalized version of the incident at Haditha, Eliot Ruiz, who portrays Cpl. Ramirez (aka Staff Sgt Frank Wuterich) is making the rounds in his hometown of Philly. It's disgusting that a worthless piece of fiction is presented as a "docudrama" of the events on November 19, 2005. But what is worse is former Marines portraying those whose honor and service were forever tarnished in the Murtha-inspired witch-hunt.
When I first heard about Nick's film I wasn't sure what to think of it. I didn't want to be in a film that would give the Corps a bad name; I was so proud to be a part of that organisation. So I called the guys who I had been serving with in Iraq and I asked them what they thought, and they were like, 'What, you kidding? You'd better do it.'
We improvised half the damned movie. Nick would just stand back and say, 'This is the scene, do what you would do', and so we acted out what we had been trained to do as Marines: shoot, clear out a room, go through the motions.
Ruiz found it relatively easy to step into the shoes of one of the Marines involved in the Haditha killings; for a relative newcomer to acting, his performance is exceptional. "Obviously, what my character did was totally wrong," says Ruiz, "but I can see the type of situation that would lead someone to do that, especially considering that he had never been in combat before. How could you not expect a kid to lose it like that?"
Relatively easy to step into the shoes of Staff Sgt Wuterich. Ruiz isn't worthy to shine Wuterich's boots much less portray him in a movie.
Ruiz can bleat his excuses for acting in a movie that depicts his "brothers" as cold-blood killers hopped up on caffeine and heavy metal but "just putting it out there" doesn't cut it in the real world. While the 8 Marines charged in the Haditha incident were fighting for their reputations and lives in a military court, Ruiz and his acting comrades were improvising actions and dialogue that amount to nothing more than slander. The movie was filmed prior to the completion of the first Article 32 hearing so there was no review of the facts in the cases before presenting this atrocity of a movie to the public.
Ruiz has his own problem with credibility...
Ruiz was part of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, but he wasn't there for long. On April 14, 2003, as he and fellow Marines were preparing for a mission to rescue American POWs, an Iraqi vehicle ran a checkpoint he was guarding and wrapped barbed wire around his leg, nearly ripping it apart.
Elliott, who was wounded in the Iraq liberation just moment before his unit made the daring rescue, has briefly returned to his North Philly neighborhood to speak with students at area high schools and to promote his new movie, "Battle For Haditha."
Only problem is, Shoshana Johnson and the other US POWs were rescued on April 13, 2003. According to Ruiz' timeline, he and his fellow Marines were preparing to rescue POWs that were already rescued.
In April 13, 2003, after subsequent house raids conducted by U.S. Marines of the 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division in the city of Samarra, Johnson was rescued along with six other prisoners of war. They were welcomed as heroes in the United States on April 16 with a cheering crowd of over 3,000 people. The U.S. Army recognized them for courage, valor, and service with several awards.
And he has not always been so supportive of the Marines that he trashes in his acting debut...
Lillian Willoughby, a Deptford Quaker who will turn 90 in January, went to jail Wednesday to protest the war in Iraq. A young Marine from North Philadelphia came to speak with Willoughby. "I wanted to thank her for resisting this war," said Lance Cpl. Elliot Ruiz, 19, who spent 5 1/2 months in Iraq before he was wounded when a car ran a checkpoint he was guarding near Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's hometown. "It tore the back of my leg open," said Ruiz, who had two decks of campaign ribbons, including a Purple Heart, on the chest of his blue, full dress uniform.
The movie may be an attempt to convey the reality of being in the middle of the war than the truth but tell that to the 8 Marines and their families. Tell that to those that have mortgaged their homes and their lives to defend themselves from false charges while a hack movie director uses questionable sources as a basis for his movie.
But honestly I don't really care what anyone else thinks of the film apart from the guys I was serving with. I look up to them as other people look up to celebrities, because day to day, they're out there risking their lives. When they come to see a screening on the East Coast, I want to dedicate the film to them.
How about dedicating the movie to the heroes that you took a dump on in your attempt to gather your 15 minutes?
The only other reaction we've had has been the blogs, and that's just a bunch of people who don't really know what is going on. I'm pretty sure that, when they see it, their opinions will change."
Mr. Ruiz - I will put my knowledge of the events of Haditha in November 2005 up against yours any day of the week.
As far as opinions changing, dream on. No one with an ounce of moral integrity would contribute their hard earned money to a movie devoted to perpetuation of a complete and total lie.
Other sources used for this post:
This Is London
Philly Actor Stars in Controversial Iraq Film
Fighting a War - In Real Life and On Film
The Observer - Guardian
The Hollywood Reporter
To see my debunking of the movie, Battle for Haditha - click here.
UPDATE: I just popped over to Mr. Ruiz's My Space Page. This guy is nothing more than a punk with delusions of grandeur. What a crock - all that moral pontificating yet his blog is full of comments using the "n" word and other vulgarities. Enjoy your 15 minutes Ruiz. Your legacy will pale in comparison to that of the Marines you slandered to promote your line of hip-hop clothing.