[Marxism] Full Battle Rattle

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Jul 8 13:50:29 MDT 2008

It’s too bad that Jean Baudrillard died since he would have had a field 
day with “Full Battle Rattle”, a documentary about a billion-dollar 
simulation of Iraqi villages constructed by the U.S. military to train 
its occupying forces at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin in 
the Mojave Desert. The movie premieres at Film Forum in New York 
tomorrow and can best be described as unintentional satire.

In 1991 Baudrillard described the first Gulf War as existing more as 
media images (simulacra) than as actual combat. Simulacra would just 
about sum up the subject of Tony Gerber and Jesse Moss’s movie whose 
poster advertises it as “Fake Town, Real War”.

Gerber and Moss made the wise decision not to editorialize but to allow 
the events to unfold in classic cinéma vérité fashion. After convincing 
the military that they were serious film-makers and not bomb-throwing 
anarchists, the two directors were allowed to film inside Medina Wasl, 
one of the fake villages constructed by the army. Along with the other 
villages, it has a staff of Iraqi émigrés who seem motivated by a 
mixture of pro-American zeal and a desire for a quick buck. In other 
words, they are like their opportunist countrymen who have no problems 
working for the occupying forces. Other than the fact that they speak 
Arabic and once lived in Iraq, they are much more like average 
Americans. For example, the “Deputy Mayor” of Medina Wasl has a regular 
job as a liquor store clerk and two young women dressed in caftans and 
head covering would appear more comfortable in designer jeans.

full: http://louisproyect.wordpress.com/2008/07/08/full-battle-rattle/

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