Olivier Assayas's film on the aftermath of May 1968 is infantile ultra-leftism
JOE GLENTON explains his need to respond to a world that is unsustainably divided
ENO's production of La Boheme is a triumph,
Much of The Untold War explores the battle between, as author Nancy Sherman puts it, "conscience and obedience" - battles which most of us civvies are only party to in dramatic cases such as those of refusenik Joe Glenton, but which are often raging in the minds of most soldiers.
Sherman cleverly mixes an impressive range of war literature and ancient philosophy with her own fascinating interviews with trainee, serving and returning soldiers.
Through her, we meet Vietnam vet Bob Steck, who feels, in his own words, "tainted" and "contaminated" for having been a part of that war.
Steck felt let down by his elders who served in World War II for not having revealed the full horrors of war to the next generation, vowed "not to let people forget" again, and now watches in anguish as another generation has become tainted by invasion and occupation.
We also meet Dereck Vines, former sergeant in Iraq, who would never have considered refusing the mission yet whose traumatic experiences are compounded by the overwhelming sense of having been "suckered" into the war.
We hear from Hank McQueen, whose own disillusionment came earlier - in 1964, when President Johnson used an alleged attack on a US destroyer near the Gulf of Tonkin as a pretext to escalate the war in Vietnam.
Having been aboard the ship that was allegedly attacked, Hank knew better than most that the whole story was a fabrication and he turned to drink as a way of overcoming his disillusion with a profession that he had always believed was based on the highest moral virtues.
We are also given an insight into the mental problems, the "self-persecution and fragmentation," as Sherman puts it, that can result from participation in war. The story of William Quinn reveals an interrogator who has not resorted to torture yet who nonetheless feels guilt for exploiting the trust of his captives.
Quinn's case is directly contrasted with that of retired intelligence officer Longworth, whose lack of remorse for his role in real, bona fide physical torture is justified on the grounds that, in his own words, he "let others do it," while he merely asked the questions.
"What is striking," notes Sherman with characteristic understatement, "is the absence of morality in his reflections on day-to-day work."
Longworth is the exception. It is clear that most do reflect on their work and actual refuseniks like Glenton represent a tiny proportion of those who do battle with their consciences over their participation in imperial wars.
One might wish that Tony Blair, and all those MPs who voted for war, experience even one-tenth of the soul searching undertaken by so many of those they sent to kill and be killed. Given Blair's utterly shameless, broken-record "defence" of "what he believed at the time" this is probably a forlorn hope.
So perhaps we should hope that they one day experience even one-tenth of the trauma. If they did, they would never start a war again.