Recently IEP founder and Chairman Steve Killelea met with former soldier and filmmaker Joe Mery about war, peace and Joe’s short film ‘The Children’s Crusade.’

On Joe’s service as a marine: 

‘I was a senior in high school when 9/11 happened and I walked out of school and joined the marine corps… I was deployed to Falluja Iraq…right in heart of the Sunni triangle and it was ugly, it was war. Violence and death every day, every day.’

On how Joe’s service has affected him:

‘I’ve seen what war does to people. It brings the animal out of you. Our ancestors, when they had to be violent, they were violent and when you activate that part of you, it doesn’t just go away, it becomes part of who you are…. When I went over there I kept thinking: I’d made a terrible mistake. All of us went over there thinking, in our hearts, that we were making the world a better place and here we are now.’

On the ‘enemy’ in Iraq:

‘People ask me: ‘are you mad at the people you fought and the people who killed your friends?’ and I’m not. Because I imagine someone coming in to Texas with their gun and tanks and new ideas and it would be an absolute catastrophe for anyone who attempted something like that.’

On the path to modern war:

‘The way we can do these things is to dehumanise people. If 9/11 had been conducted by a bunch of white supremacists in Munich, do you think we would have shock and awed Germany? I don’t think so. I think racism plays a big part.’

On creating his short film, ‘The Children’s Crusade’:

‘It was tough writing out this stuff, sharing these experiences. It’s very difficult, but it heals and it brings meaning to experience.’

On why Joe made The Children’s Crusade?

‘Hopefully someone will say; ‘you know what it’s not worth it. I don’t want to do that’ and God willing someone will watch this film and think twice about going to war.’

On his future plans:

‘My dream is to make the ‘Platoon’ and the ‘Full Metal Jacket’ of my generation.’

Watch Joe’s film ‘The Children’s Crusade’ here (WARNING: violent content).



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