US band criticise American army’s treatment of own soldiers

Rise Against want to bring discussions on the subject to "rolling boil"

American act Rise Against are set to release a single and video that asks some tough questions of the US army’s own treatment of its soldiers in current conflicts.

The track, ‘Hero Of War’, is based on the true story of one soldier who has served in the recent conflicts in Iraq. The band say it was important to them to focus on issues of “suicide rate of troops, torture, internal sexual abuse.”

The track, released on June 8 in the UK, is set to stir controversy in the US.

‘Hero Of War’ is the story of one soldier, not all soldiers, as he battles not just the war around him, but the war that rages within,” explained frontman Tim McIlrath. “Inspired by true events, we were given the choice to either document the tribulations of these times as they unfold around us, or ignore them. To ignore these problems, in our opinion, is letting down the brave men and women who risk everything.”

He added: “Hero Of War is our attempt to lift the stigma that surrounds everything from the skyrocketing suicide rate of troops, torture, internal sexual abuse, an under-funded VA, and the growing number of military personnel fighting Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as they return home. We hope this song and this video help the simmering dialogue about these problems evolve into a rolling boil.”

The video for the track is posted on the band’s myspace page. Amongst the key scenes are dramatic echoes of Martin Sheen’s meltdown in the 1979 movie ‘Apocalypse Now’, drawing obvious comparisons between the current situation in Iraq and Afghanistan and the US’s previous “war that couldn’t be won” in Vietnam. Following Vietnam questions were also asked of the treatment veterans of the conflict received on their return from battle.

The striking video also shows scenes of torture and water-boarding bringing up the spectre of Baghdad‘s Abu Ghraib prison and also Guantánamo Bay. In the most telling scene, a soldier is left drunk and alone looking like a broken desperate man as he struggles bare-chested down a street back home.

You can see the video here: