America’s military industrial complex and multiple presidential administrations have funnelled several generations of soldiers through unwinnable wars from Vietnam to Afghanistan and Iraq seemingly without qualms. What has emerged from these tragedies are thousands of traumatized young Americans bringing home wars and leaving behind millions of innocent civilians killed, wounded and forced to become refugees. But some of these former soldiers also came home with an urgent new perspective to share with their compatriots. That is the case of the two veterans on this week’s “Scheer Intelligence” episode: Oscar-winning film director Oliver Stone and journalist Maj. Danny Sjursen.
Although they served in the U.S. military with very different ranks and decades apart, the two share one important commonality: dissent. Before pursuing a career in film, that ultimately would win him many awards and accolades, despite often tackling controversial topics, Stone worked first on a U.S. Merchant Marine ship in 1966, and later joined the U.S. Army and requested to be sent into combat. Sjursen took another route, becoming a military officer at the prestigious West Point Academy before being sent overseas for several tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and recently retiring after nearly two decades of service.