The Short Life of Jose Antonio Gutierrez | Chicago Reader

The Short Life of Jose Antonio Gutierrez

Gutierrez, the first U.S. soldier to die in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, was killed by friendly fire, though as this moving German video indicates, the word friendly is drenched in irony. His parents fled their Indian village to escape the genocidal massacres of the U.S.-backed Guatemalan army, and Jose wound up at an orphanage in Guatemala City; like many other victims of the long civil war, he illegally crossed the U.S. border, living on the streets of Los Angeles until he enlisted in the marines as a “green-card soldier.” Details of his life are sketchy, which forces documentarian Heidi Specogna to reach too blatantly for its symbolism. But there's no denying the tragedy of a life bracketed by American wars of imperialism. 90 min.

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