remember when the iraq war first ended? i’m not talking about the 90’s. i’m talking about fighter jet suits and mission accomplished banners. i’m talking about spring of 2003.
then it turned out the war wasn’t over. five years later, the war still isn’t over. five years. just like that bowie song.
but, for the next few paragraphs, i want to go back to that spring 2003 right after we thought the war was over but it turned out it had just begun. the real war. urban guerrilla warfare. imagine you’re working high up in the defense department or the pentagon or something. what do you do? watch a movie, obviously. but which movie?
and they did. in real life. in fact, the pentagon made up a flier for it’s special screening of the battle of algiers:
How to win a battle against terrorism and lose the war of ideas. … Children shoot soldiers at point blank range. Women plant bombs in cafes. Soon the entire Arab population builds to a mad fervor. Sound familiar? The French have a plan. It succeeds tactically, but fails strategically. To understand why, come to a rare showing of this film.
i also attended a special screening of the battle of algiers — movie night, july 9 2008 (which was wednesday night at my house; movie night is sometimes called big wednesday since it’s on wednesday, but, technically, big wednesday is actually the name of an earlier version of movie night named after the best surf movie ever made). but i think, even given our diverse locations and times, the pentagon and i watched the movie for somewhat the same reason: an interest in terrorism.
(i know worry, given how easy it is for the government to spy on me (thanks a lot, obama), that expressing an interest in terrorism coupled with the general cynicism of america that seems to be seeping out of every sentence that i write, which could be seen as anti-americanism, may cause me problems. paranoid, i know. but i’m talking about terrorism and anti-americanism? i’m guessing that those are two of the first words they look for while they’re out there scanning all our digital communications. i realize i’m being paranoid, but that fisa bill is bullshit.)