×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

The Price of Military Tech Assistance In Movies

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the as-american-as-propaganda-pie dept.

Movies 212

derekmead writes "Last week at Camp David, President Obama met up with fellow NATO leaders to discuss the road ahead in Afghanistan. Although no one there used the language of defeat, the implicit message was clear: the war has gone nowhere in the past few years and it's time to start packing up. Meanwhile, what raked in $25.5 million at the box office? Battleship. And who provided director Peter Berg with the war technology that beats the aliens? The U.S. military. He's not the only one: the past few years have seen an explosion of high-profile cooperation between the armed forces and the movie industry. If the most powerful armed force in history isn't winning in reality, it certainly is on the big screen. And like so many problematic aspects of late capitalism, the military-Hollywood complex has a grimly understandable logic."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

212 comments

jump: Afghanistan - Battleship? (0)

neurocutie (677249) | about 2 years ago | (#40082839)

I guess neither is going particularly well... maybe they should have sent Tony Stark to mop up the Taliban since he didn't finish that job...

Re:jump: Afghanistan - Battleship? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40083123)

I can't wait to hear conservatives blast the military for wasting taxpayer money on subsidizing Hollywood. They'll be demanding cuts for the military I'm sure.

Re:jump: Afghanistan - Battleship? (5, Interesting)

Required Snark (1702878) | about 2 years ago | (#40083295)

In the first Iron Man film, Tony Stark is in a village in the Middle East and he kills a bunch of "bad guys" who are mixed in with a bunch of innocent civilians. He trivially distinguishes between his targets and the rest of the population.

This is bullshit. In real drone strikes, there is no guarantee that only "terrorists" are the victims. All the press reporting in the US takes the military at their word, and casualties are never identified as "collateral damage", i.e. innocent bystanders.

It's a real war, and there are always non-combatants who are killed and injured. Pretending this never happens may be good to keep support up at home, but it is a damned lie. Honesty is a better policy in the long run.

One of the reasons that Pakistan is not letting NATO resupply convoys go through it's territory is because of the toll taken by drone strikes. It is a huge issue with the Pakistan population. By not admitting to any civilian casualties in the US press, there can be no meaningful debate about how our policy is effecting US standing in the Middle East.

Personally, I think that the Pakistan government is not worth spit as an ally, and they are directly supporting our enemies. We would be better off if we cut most military aid because of their backstabbing behavior. Even so, the practical, ethical and political effects of our use of drones should be much more publicly debated, rather then being swept under the rub by what is effectively military propaganda.

Re:jump: Afghanistan - Battleship? (1)

Pumpkin Tuna (1033058) | about 2 years ago | (#40083489)

I think that scene in Iron Man was using a bit of satire to make exactly the point you are trying to get across. It was so over the top as to be an obvious fantasy.

Re:jump: Afghanistan - Battleship? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40083773)

You may be right. However, the more important issues are how the larger audience interprets it and how it affects their perceptions of reality. Satire is a dangerous tool when used on the uncritical.

Re:jump: Afghanistan - Battleship? (1)

cowboy76Spain (815442) | about 2 years ago | (#40084449)

This is bullshit. In real drone strikes, there is no guarantee that only "terrorists" are the victims. All the press reporting in the US takes the military at their word, and casualties are never identified as "collateral damage", i.e. innocent bystanders.

Obviously you are not a politician. Just say that everyone killed by a drone is a terrorist because, obviously, if they were not they would not have been killed by a drone...

Illegal???? (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40082849)

Matthew Alford, film researcher and author of Reel Power: Hollywood Cinema and American Supremacy, is even harsher in his critique. “The Pentagon has a manual. Basically, it will only provide full cooperation to propaganda pieces,” he said in an interview.

Is this against the law?

Re:Illegal???? (5, Insightful)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | about 2 years ago | (#40082875)

Matthew Alford, film researcher and author of Reel Power: Hollywood Cinema and American Supremacy, is even harsher in his critique. âoeThe Pentagon has a manual. Basically, it will only provide full cooperation to propaganda pieces,â he said in an interview.

Is this against the law?

Against the law? If anything it should be the law. Why should the military spend its time and money on projects which aren't relevant to recruitment or combat/training?

Re:Illegal???? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40082895)

The idea is that it (anything generating enthusiasm, sympathy, etc., for the US military) IS relevant to recruitment. The movie is a feature-length recruiting ad, afterall...

Re:Illegal???? (5, Insightful)

Viceice (462967) | about 2 years ago | (#40083011)

It IS relevant to recruitment. It basically started with Top Gun in the 80's years ago when they realised the idealised portrayal of going to war led to a sharp increase in recruitment.

It was so successful that recruiters even had booths set up outside the cinema to catch these people.

http://articles.latimes.com/1986-07-05/entertainment/ca-20403_1_top-gun [latimes.com]

Re:Illegal???? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40083071)

It's worth noting that homosexual agenda recruiters also set up booths outside the cinema to catch men who had questions about their sexuality after that shirtless Tom Cruise volleyball scene.

Re:Illegal???? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40083337)

It IS relevant to recruitment. It basically started with Top Gun in the 80's years ago when they realised the idealised portrayal of going to war led to a sharp increase in recruitment.

It was so successful that recruiters even had booths set up outside the cinema to catch these people.

http://articles.latimes.com/1986-07-05/entertainment/ca-20403_1_top-gun [latimes.com]

I think you missed his point. He was saying that it would be wasteful to cooperate and support something that would not be relevant. Accordingly they only support positive messages because those are relevant and helpful whereas negative messages are neither.

Re:Illegal???? (3, Interesting)

Fulminata (999320) | about 2 years ago | (#40084497)

The irony is that it doesn't take an idealized portrayal to increase recruitment. Full Metal Jacket may or may not be considered an "anti-war" film, but it's certainly not idealized. Yet, I've seen Marines cite it as an influence on their decision to join the Corps.

As François Truffaut said, "there is no such thing as an anti-war movie because it will invariably look exciting up on screen."

Re:Illegal???? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40083039)

Perhaps because the military isn't a business, or at least it shouldn't be treated as such?

Re:Illegal???? (3, Insightful)

RightwingNutjob (1302813) | about 2 years ago | (#40083057)

Few of the geek persuasion have any qualms about movies and TV that hype science fiction and inspire kids to go into engineering, or better yet: Big Science, which has a 10-11 figure budget in the US, even though a sizeable portion of that research spending is either pie-in-the-sky, impractical, or an employment plan for academic or government scientists. I make a good living that way, and I certainly don't have a problem with it.

How, then, do you rationally have a problem with the military industrial complex having a light propaganda apparatus? Don't give me any crap about air raiding villages and killing civilians. Iraq and Afghanistan are brush fires compared to Vietnam, Korea, and WW2 in terms of casualties on both sides. More people die on the highways in the US each year than have died or been injured in combat in both wars, and the "collateral damage" isn't too far beyond that number either.

Re:Illegal???? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40083115)

So, anything that doesn't kill 30,000 people is OK? That's an interesting metric.

Some other bits:
- We get have an opinion on how our tax dollars are spent. That's called being a citizen.
- Civilian deaths in Iraq are likely greater than 100K, so something is off with your math.

Re:Illegal???? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40083117)

Have more Iraqis died on the roads? I think not. But they aren't Americans so they don't count as human right?

People who have a problem with the military-industrial complex typically don't think like you. The don't call it collateral damage. They call it killing of civilians. And they don't make bullshit comparisons to traffic statistics.

Re:Illegal???? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40083303)

Few of the geek persuasion have any qualms about movies and TV that hype science fiction and inspire kids to go into engineering

And why would they? Scientists and engineers do interesting and useful things. Spending money to kill each other is far less interesting and useful.

Re:Illegal???? (2)

RightwingNutjob (1302813) | about 2 years ago | (#40083395)

Spending money to intimidate everyone else against trying to kill you, so you can do interesting and useful things, however, is an entirely reasonable and proper thing to do. And I don't mean going on fishing expeditions to Iraq and bloodying noses in other places. I mean having a military industrial complex big enough and sufficiently effective (note I did not say efficient) to make any serious attack on us sound very much like a losing proposition.

Re:Illegal???? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40083421)

Spending money to intimidate everyone else against trying to kill you

Stop being so paranoid. We don't even have to spend half of what we do now in order to maintain a decent military, and not everyone is out to get us. Well, at least not as long as we mind our own damn business. Most of the time.

Re:Illegal???? (5, Informative)

c0mpliant (1516433) | about 2 years ago | (#40084587)

Just a suggestion, but stop fucking up peoples shit around the world and people wont have a grudge against you and you wont have to intimidate people.

Contrary to popular opinion in the US, the reason for extremists from the middle east and areas of asia isn't because "they hate freedom", its because US foreign policy over the past 70 years has been screwing over whole populations of people in order to have 'friendly governments' available to them. If these governments were not willing to do anything the US wanted, a new government was installed by any means necessary. Generally speaking, if you surpress a population for that length of time, you'll have a backlash. I don't know if your politicians are either grossly ignorant of these basic facts or they are simply misleading the population, but the US isn't known around the world for freedom and democracy, they are known for oppression and tyranny. So tell me, if you knew a country known for oppression and tyranny, what would you do? Oh yeah, we've already seen that, you'd bomb the fuck out of them, be damned how many civilians you kill until "democrats" crawl out of the rubble and promise to be good little boys and girls. I swear, how people don't see the cause and effect in all this is beyond me...

Re:Illegal???? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40083369)

More people die on the highways in the US each year than have died or been injured in combat in both wars, and the "collateral damage" isn't too far beyond that number either.

So the more people die in accidents in a country the more murders that country is allowed to commit? In other words what you're saying is that if the roads in Nazi Germany were more dangerous that'd make the Holocaust ok. That is not how it works. If I kicked you in the balls and explained it's fine because that happens to people everyday would you accept the excuse or try to beat me up for kicking you in the balls?

(Accidental) Road deaths in the US: ~30k/year
Civilians murdered in Iraq: >100k (total)
So you're wrong. More people died in the Iraq war (which, by the way, would be very easy to prevent by not invading it) than die per year in road accidents in the US (road accidents are only preventable to a degree (unless you don't use roads, obviously)).

Re:Illegal???? (5, Funny)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | about 2 years ago | (#40083831)

In other words what you're saying is that if the roads in Nazi Germany were more dangerous that'd make the Holocaust ok.

Wait... did you just invoke Godwin's Law AND make a car analogy in the same post? Is this a definition of a perfect /. post???

Re:Illegal???? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40084379)

Not too far beyond?

Over 100,000 dead civilians in Iraq.
Over 100,000 dead civilians in Afghanistan too.

Yeah, not a big tragedy I guess.

Re:Illegal???? (4, Insightful)

thereitis (2355426) | about 2 years ago | (#40083075)

Yes, I don't see any problem with their script requirements. Why should the American military help someone portray them in a light that they don't want to be portrayed? I would think that goes for any person or entity.

Re:Illegal???? (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40084365)

When your government can choose to treat people who support it differently than those who don't, then you live in a tyranny.

If you make a propaganda film, the US government will give use taxpayer money to help you. If you make a film that tries to be truthful and doesn't shy away from showing the ugly side of war, the US government won't spend a dollar to help you even though you pay your taxes just as well.

I understand why the government doesn't want to fund something that criticizes it. It's a logical stance for the government to take. However, that doesn't mean the government should be allowed to take that stance.
The money and time that the government spends to support art should be carefully supervised by an independent body. The government should be expected to spend such money fairly and not to discriminate against artists based on whether they support or oppose government decisions and policy.

I would go as far as to say this is an attack on free speech. Tax money is here for the public to benefit, it's not for the exclusive use of the Private Fan Club of Government Supporters. Here, you have the government not simply taking sides on a topic, but actually supporting one side against the other.
Maybe if we were talking about the government refusing to support movies that spread lies about the military or the war it would be acceptable. But here, a movie that portrays the truth will be denied government help when other movies get it. The guy even admits to it - he says he's biased and pretty much says that the only movies that stand a chance at getting government help are basically propaganda films.

I don't know about you, but this reminds me of Nazi Germany where criticism of the government was suppressed. Of course the Nazis went much further than simply denying help to opponents: they actually jailed and executed dissenters, which is far far worse. But the principle is the same: the government treating people differently and unequally based on their political opinions.

Again: you support the war and make a propaganda movie: you get a lot of help ,much of it funded from taxes.
You make a movie that tries to be truthful and depict the bad things in war and the military: no help for you.

Re:Illegal???? (2)

indy (23876) | about 2 years ago | (#40084455)

Why should the military only act in its own interest? It should act in the interest of the people it serves and who pay for it.

Re:Illegal???? (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 2 years ago | (#40082891)

"The Pentagon has a manual. Basically, it will only provide full cooperation to propaganda pieces"

It might be interesting as a producer / director to "play" the military by promising a "propaganda piece" and delivering something else after "full cooperation" and the cost associated with it is delivered...

Re:Illegal???? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40082937)

That sounds like a good way to make sure nobody does business with your studio ever again. And good luck getting anyone else to pay for your next project.

Seriously, why would anyone expect the military to lend their time and considerable expertise to some kind of Michael Moore trash-piece?

Re:Illegal???? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40083119)

Aha truth = trash piece eh? I love how Americans cant stand the truths Moore tells them, instead as usual playing the man not the ball.

Re:Illegal???? (1)

modecx (130548) | about 2 years ago | (#40083221)

You basically just described the Village's People's music video for In the Navy. The ad campaign was apparently canceled sometime after the completion of filming but before the project went live. I'd guess the out of touch higher-ups were informed the Village People had a very strong gay following despite their mainstream popularity of the time. The Navy plotted another course.

Who wound NOT promote themselves? (2, Interesting)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 2 years ago | (#40083089)

To me it's silly to stray anywhere away from the very basic fact - any organization will be happy to contribute resources to efforts that make it look good.

Call it propaganda if you like, but it's really not that - it's common sense. True propaganda comes if the organization builds its own media (which the military does to some extent but they did not make Batlleship).

What An Awful Summary (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40082877)

Do editors here do any proofreading at all, whatsoever? Irrelevant statements, useless commentary, and almost no coherant point of the headline.

No wonder people are leaving this site in droves. Slashdot = the myspace of tech sites.

Re:What An Awful Summary (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40082999)

PS: I am an anal retentive english teacher who spends your tax money sitting on my ass whining about a blog page instead of doing my job. Then I bitch and wine how "the children" diverse me getting a raise every quarter for the rest of my life, though I never produce any results.

All because I got a Associates of the arts on well-fare money.

Thanks

Re:What An Awful Summary (1)

Ghaoth (1196241) | about 2 years ago | (#40083397)

You are an ENGLISH teacher and don't know the difference between "wine" and "whine"? Have a wine and stop whining.

Re:What An Awful Summary (5, Insightful)

causality (777677) | about 2 years ago | (#40083047)

Do editors here do any proofreading at all, whatsoever? Irrelevant statements, useless commentary, and almost no coherant point of the headline.

No wonder people are leaving this site in droves. Slashdot = the myspace of tech sites.

Oh I do agree with you and I've been here for years, long since before registering my account (I had another account prior to it, and prior to that I lurked).

I come here because I can directly contact individuals who can reason and think critically. I can also directly contact petty spiteful people who are easily revealed to be what they are. Both are good when handled correctly. I also come here because I can listen, read, and learn from people who have knowledge that I do not. I find that if I am at least slightly thoughtful and write well, I am modded up; if I am not, someone will speak up and tell me precisely where I failed. Both are good when handled correctly.

It is the users who make this site what it is. It is not the editors. They are not worthy to be called "editors" because they cannot even handle automated spell-checkers, let alone true proofreading. They would not last one day working for a tabloid -- they would be fired for incompetence and underwhelming performance. This site succeeds in spite of their stumbling, comic, pathetic attempt to master their native language.

I could personally do a much, MUCH better job than a dozen of them. I could do that with no serious effort. In this job market, I am hardly alone in that sense. I wonder if they appreciate the cushy job they can so thoroughly fail to do day after day with no serious consequence? I mean their idea of a "job consequence" is using their infinite mod points to down-mod posts that criticize them too heavily. It's a coin toss whether or not this one gets their attention, for they may be asleep at the wheel.

If they think I speak falsely, I hereby invite them to post with their own accounts and confront me, like men. I will have a multitude of previous examples to justify my position. They aren't going to say a damned thing against me because they know this is easy to find.

Re:What An Awful Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40083209)

Yet with the editors running more and more fearmongering bullshit and stupid flamebait (it used to be at least decent flamebait with some substance) the audience too has shifted from a good mix of differing opinions to paranoid libertarians and fanboys pretending to be shills. When interesting links stop appearing completely I too will be gone.

Re:What An Awful Summary (3, Interesting)

causality (777677) | about 2 years ago | (#40083311)

Yet with the editors running more and more fearmongering bullshit and stupid flamebait (it used to be at least decent flamebait with some substance) the audience too has shifted from a good mix of differing opinions to paranoid libertarians and fanboys pretending to be shills. When interesting links stop appearing completely I too will be gone.

You're aware of the problem and by articulating your view in a thoughtful way, you are participating in the solution. That's why I come here.

In a way, I disagree with the pessimism you show. Yet I am not in conflict with you. I just don't feel that way myself but I see how someone could. It's other than bickering because I don't need you to be wrong.

That's also why I come here. That's what will make me look elsewhere if it should relocate. Too many places are too polar and unreasonable.

Re:What An Awful Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40084513)

I'm pondering a /. culture restart as a sub-reddit. But how does one go about getting people interested in the idea without drawing the people who are just there for the marshmellows?

Re:What An Awful Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40084387)

And the address of your successful (and perfectly edited and proofread) tech website would be...? I'll give you that it must be easy to do seeing as you have enough free time to come and whinge here.

Re:What An Awful Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40083569)

Agreed - and I'm ready to check out. Where to?

For a while, I've worried about asking this, but upon thinking it through, it shouldn't be problematic. The "paranoid libertarians and fanbois..." likely wouldn't want to visit a place that attracts people who were drawn to this site for what it used to be.

So I ask again, with some desperation in my voice... where to?

Re:What An Awful Summary (1)

sco08y (615665) | about 2 years ago | (#40083947)

Do editors here do any proofreading at all, whatsoever? Irrelevant statements, useless commentary, and almost no coherant point of the headline.

No wonder people are leaving this site in droves. Slashdot = the myspace of tech sites.

Hey now, it takes real editorial genius to come up with the "from foo department" jokes.

Re:What An Awful Summary (2)

b4dc0d3r (1268512) | about 2 years ago | (#40084193)

No, they don't. The summary posted looks to be a copy and paste job, as you can see by the "derekmead writes" intro and the blockquote around it. So derekmead is to blame for the terrible summary. The choice to post it we can blame on Soulskill, but I would not call Soulskill an editor. The opposite, actually, a non-editor.

I try to save the "editorializing" complaints for the stuff after the quoted material, when the non-editor decides to add their opinions to the submission.

Abbot and Costello? (5, Informative)

mykepredko (40154) | about 2 years ago | (#40082881)

Skipping over the editorializing in the summary, I would like to point out that the Military using Hollywood for promotion is not a recent occurence.

It should be noted that Abbot and Costello's "Buck Privates" was used to help spur enlistment.

As was "The Green Berets".

As was "Top Gun".

As was a number of other films (these three jump out at me as being some of the best examples).

myke

Re:Abbot and Costello? (3, Informative)

Tanktalus (794810) | about 2 years ago | (#40082949)

Heck, I read all about this YEARS ago in that trusty old reference, The Bathroom Reader. Not sure which edition - I have probably about ten of them. :-)

Re:Abbot and Costello? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40083073)

Yeah, it's called propaganda and it has been going on since, well, pretty much forever.

Re:Abbot and Costello? (3, Interesting)

westlake (615356) | about 2 years ago | (#40083103)

Skipping over the editorializing in the summary, I would like to point out that the Military using Hollywood for promotion is not a recent occurence.

It dates back to the very beginning of motion ptctures:

[in 1899] the limitations of film equipment prevented the filming of actual battles, so Edison offered reenactments of the fighting made for the most part in New Jersey using National Guard troops. Film reenactments such as "Shooting Captured Insurgents " showed Spanish soldiers killing Cuban prisoners, while "U.S. Infantry Supported by Rough Riders at El Caney" and "Skirmish of Rough Riders" offered patriotic glimpses of the popular Rough Riders fighting.

The War in Cuba [loc.gov]

Re:Abbot and Costello? (2)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | about 2 years ago | (#40083111)

As was a number of other films (these three jump out at me as being some of the best examples).

John Wayne, Audie Murphy, Ronald Reagan, Major General (Ret.) Jimmy Stewart. Hell...we could probably go back to 1916 and Lon Chaney Sr., in If My Country Should Call.

What a BS submission.

Re:Abbot and Costello? (3, Informative)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | about 2 years ago | (#40084153)

It is interesting to read about some of this stuff, though.

For example, the US Military declined to assist the film Apocalypse Now [imdb.com] , the Philippine government did and they had plenty of old helicopters. The US Air Force did not provide assistance for the film Iron Eagle [imdb.com] because the characters hack into Air Force computers. However, the Israeli Air Force had no problem helping out and they had plenty of F-16s. The US Military would not assist in Independence Day [imdb.com] unless they removed all references to Area 51. [imdb.com] And the US Military was glad to help out with the movie Stripes [imdb.com], much to Ivan Reitman's surprise [imdb.com], because while some characters are buffoons, the lead characters all become successes after joining the Army.

The war went fine...it was the peace that got us (3, Insightful)

mveloso (325617) | about 2 years ago | (#40082885)

The poster is trolling on a lot of levels. Late capitalism?

Anyway, as usual, the war itself went great - it was the peace that was the problem.

Re:The war went fine...it was the peace that got u (2)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about 2 years ago | (#40083201)

Anyway, as usual, the war itself went great - it was the peace that was the problem.

I'm really curious as to how you define the situation in Afghanistan as "peace."

Re:The war went fine...it was the peace that got u (2)

causality (777677) | about 2 years ago | (#40083391)

Anyway, as usual, the war itself went great - it was the peace that was the problem.

I'm really curious as to how you define the situation in Afghanistan as "peace."

It isn't obvious to you?

The way I saw it, he was talking about the reason why the situation in Afghanistan is so violent. If peace is the "problem" the violence is the "solution". That's the problem. In other words, the addictive part of war is that it is so good for the economy and the people who most influence the economy do not personally fight wars

The military-industrial complex needs enemies. If it does not have them, it will demand that they be found. If they cannot be found, they must be manufactured. Above all else it wants to perpetuate its existencen as a system, just as even the lowly virus tries to propagate itself. Indeed, the viruses that failed to propagate are unknown to us today, while the power structures that failed to propagate are unknown as well.

The truly shitty thing is that no one wins. It's a system that long ago assumed a life of its own, like a cancer. The masters and power-brokers who seem to have so much control are much greater slaves to it than those who can see what's wrong with it.

Re:The war went fine...it was the peace that got u (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about 2 years ago | (#40083427)

The way I saw it, he was talking about the reason why the situation in Afghanistan is so violent.

I think you're giving him way too much credit.

Re:The war went fine...it was the peace that got u (1)

ravenshrike (808508) | about 2 years ago | (#40084303)

The proper term would be nation-building. The problem with both Afghanistan and Iraq is that the period after the war was half-assed. Either we should have gone in and wrecked EVERYBODY remotely connected to our enemies in the area, then pulled out, or gone in as we did and then settled down for some SERIOUS nation-building. Which realistically takes a minimum of 20 years and a fuckload more resources than were put into either Afghanistan or Iraq.

Re:The war went fine...it was the peace that got u (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about 2 years ago | (#40084515)

The problem with both Afghanistan and Iraq is that the period after the war was half-assed.

The point is that talking about "after the war" is meaningless in Iraq and (particularly) Afghanistan. The war in Afghanistan is still going on, and the situation in Iraq is best described as a poorly enforced cease-fire.

Wars don't end when people say, "Hooray, the war is over!" They end when large bodies of armed men stop trying to kill each other. That hasn't happened in either place, and it won't for the foreseeable future.

Late Capitalism... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40083497)

"Late Capitalism" -
-Maybe the poster invented some new form of human being that doesn't actually act in his own best interests. He could call him the "New Socialist Man".

  (for any historical illiterates about to comment, the "New Socialist Man" was the name the Soviets constantly bandied about for the bumper crop of super citizens that were going to magically emerge from their slums and gulags sometime during the next 5 year plan.)

Winning? But Battleship did poorly. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40082887)

How can someone write that the military is "winning" by help movies succeed and use the recent disappointment of the movie "Battleship" as a example?

It's been the rule for ages. (1)

Kid Zero (4866) | about 2 years ago | (#40082889)

At least back to WWII, or so. I don't see why the writer is surprised.

Re:It's been the rule for ages. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40082975)

Well, no, it's entirely new and part of Obama's anti-American agenda to reveal all our military secrets.

See the aliens and terrorists are working together, and they now know how we can use WWII battleships to defeat them.

That's why they were decommissioned too.

Haven't you been watching Fox?

capitalism (3, Funny)

epyT-R (613989) | about 2 years ago | (#40082899)

what does this have to do with capitalism? I hate it when people don't have the discipline to leave their own biases out of objective writing formats like summaries.

Re:capitalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40083549)

what does this have to do with capitalism?

Good question, indeed. Except I'd view it from a different angle; like:
what has the late capitalism (with all the industrial-military complexes) has to do with capitalism?

Re:capitalism (1)

KH2002 (547812) | about 2 years ago | (#40084187)

what does this have to do with capitalism?

Actually, he said "late capitalism," apparently as a Marx-affirming flourish. Problem is, 20 years post-USSR, this comes off more like a Marxist version of the Black Knight from Monty Pythom & The Holy Grail... "It's only a flesh wound!"

Propaganda Wars (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40082913)

You forget that the military is paid by the movie studios for their 'support.' Now, I'll admit I have no idea where that money goes, but it's always a huge propaganda win for the armed forces and usually brings in a bunch of recruits to whichever service was featured in a given film.

Economics of modern war (5, Interesting)

Shavano (2541114) | about 2 years ago | (#40082929)

The USA spends close to a million dollars per soldier per year. The enemy has to spend maybe 5% of that per "enemy combatant" at most. Probably a lot less. To field a force that would be numerically equal to our forces would cost them maybe $50 million. They'd need a lot more than that to defeat us in battles, because our side is better armed. But this is not about battles. There have been very few battles. In this kind of war, the resistance avoids direct confrontations and chooses to strike where and when its forces can do the most damage to the stronger side -- or just make them look ineffective. Most of the American forces are busy trying to protect every place where the enemy might strike. It's extremely inefficient. So the Taliban only needs a small fraction of our forces to keep the Americans busy -- and going broke.

Basically, this kind of war is not winnable in a traditional sense. The resistance can carry on with a small number of soldiers and on a shoestring budget almost indefinitely.

That's not to say that guerilla forces can't be defeated. They can be, if the populace cooperates with the central government to deny them aid, deny them new soldiers and help ferret them out -- and if the resistance doesn't have cooperative govenrments across the border.

That's not the situation in Afghanistan, so it's highly questionable whether we can win at any cost.

Re:Economics of modern war (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40082959)

Boy, it's not like we didn't watch Russia do the exact same thing... *bangs head on table*

Re:Economics of modern war (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 2 years ago | (#40083079)

Perhaps you have overestimated the effect that weapons (esp. Stingers) supplied to Afghan islamists back then had on the balance?

Re:Economics of modern war (2)

Tuidjy (321055) | about 2 years ago | (#40083153)

Actually, the Soviets had it harder. The West was giving the insurgents high tech weaponry, was diplomatically supporting Pakistan in giving the Taliban a safe haven, and was paying for the indoctrination of new fighters.

It was quite reasonable to think that things would be easier without a superpower supporting the enemy. After all, in the beginning, Russia helped a lot.

Re:Economics of modern war (2)

mikael_j (106439) | about 2 years ago | (#40083675)

When the war in Afghanistan was just starting up (this recent one with direct US, NATO and UN involvement) I actually thought "this time it might be winnable". But, I suspect the main problem for us is that we're not willing to go to the same lengths as the soviets were. Sure, some people like to trot out claims of carpet bombing and collateral damage, but the point is that the soviets fought their war in Afghanistan a lot more like a proper war. And did pretty decently considering that they were fighting an enemy which was getting supplied weapons by another superpower.

I suspect what's really needed is a strong military push combined with an equally strong, and immediate, effort to modernize and rebuild the country. Give the population a clear impression of safety, comfort and working infrastructure being something that will arrive with the international forces and the Afghan army. Make them want the taliban gone. From what I've heard that's one of the areas where there have been a lot of screwups (with even ISAF soldiers complaining about how roads that were supposed to be paved months ago still barely qualify as dirt roads on a good day).

Re:Economics of modern war (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40083495)

We could win if we were willing to win at any cost.

What if we were to kill every man of military age in Afghanistan who so much as looked at our soldiers funny, and many who didn't, and then settled millions of young Americans there? It would be pacified and Americanized in less than a generation.

But instead of fighting a war, we're trying to police their country for them. That has never worked and will never work.

So if you can't beat 'em... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40082951)

Jerk off, fantasizing about having beaten... someone... how about aliens trying to invade your old, tired, stupid bored game? (Yes, I know, "bored" because the game is stupid and boring. Not board because they're not really boards, exactly. How good of a movie can you make out of such a pedestrian, archaic time-waster?

Coming, Summer of 2013... Master Mind! A boy discovers he has psychic powers that enable him to deduce the colors of pegs used to secure a vault containing bioweapons materials... Red... red... blue... GREEN!!!

In theaters everywhere... Monopoly... the MOVIE! Staring Sarah Jessica Parker as The Shoe, Oliver Platt as the Top Hat, Danny DeVito as The Iron... and Introducing Seth Macfarlane, as... Brian the Dog... "I can't believe you bought Park Place!!! How are you going to afford it?" "I'll build houses, then hotels!" "But Ben Affleck just bought Boardwalk!" Rated PG-13

"In a world at war... 'Get ready to move! Point cannons east! EAST!!!' ... in a world divided into territories... 'But sir, they have 10 armies!!!' Some men risked everything, for conquest... Risk, the Movie!!! In select theaters, opening July 2nd."

This Summer, take your kids to see Adam Sandler and Jim Carrey in Sorry! Sorry the Movie!

The sad thing is, I can actually see them doing some of these...

The war has gone nowhere (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40082977)

>> the war has gone nowhere

That's because it's a police operation and not a war. Policing a society is a full time job.

Battleship? Can I have my money back (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40082981)

Well if they assisted in Battleship, can I get my money back?

If you haven't seen it, remember the paper and pen game where you draw a battleship on a grid, and choose a square like D5, and the opponent tells you if you've hit his battleship?

Well that's the plot of "Battleship the movie".

No seriously, I'm not kidding, the whole movie they guess squares the aliens might be at and shoot at them, declaring a hit or a miss.

Oh and at the end they have a little tack on scene, the old warship travels at like 300mph, single handedly blows up an antenna and all the aliens and everyone is saved.

Beating aliens without fancy military hardware (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40082987)

The trick, my dear Hollywood movie exec, is to make B movies because that's what "good" (speaking in relative terms) alien invasion movies are all about. I'm not talking about alien abduction or posession movies like The Astronaut's Wife or the original Soviet Solaris movie, which can gain psychological depth, but movies like War of the Worlds or The Darkest Hour, where aliens descend en masse to lay waste to the Earth Lower budgets mean a tighter story and less special effects just because you can afford it.

For example, I almost liked The Darkest Hour until they materialized the seemingly wraith-like eletromagnetic aliens into something Rambo could blast into kingdom come, something that could have possibly become a cult classic turned into, well, a modest box office success (oh, well, maybe the producers wanted to play it safe since a couple of million dollars is still no joke).

Emblematic of problems in late capitalism? Wat (2)

poity (465672) | about 2 years ago | (#40082991)

The author doesn't delve further into this assertion after that intro sentence, I wonder what that's all about? The rest of the article basically "reveals" the shocking truth that the military views media as a way to invest in its image (like every government, company, individual on the planet). It seems like he's grasping for dark villainy, but pulling back fistfuls of grey self-interest.

Yeah, It's Called Propaganda (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40083003)

I believe it's called propaganda when the media, in concert with the government, churns out movie after movie about how amazing the country's military is even though recent military history has consisted of blunder after blunder resulting in us being stuck in a quagmire costing the nation trillions of dollars while doing nothing, during a time of economic crisis.

total war (1)

skydude_20 (307538) | about 2 years ago | (#40083023)

in Hollywood we get to enjoy the perceived benefits of total war, where we throw every weapon possible at the enemy without regard for making a lasting peace. i'm sure if razed Afghanistan with every weapon in our arsenal, we would have 'won' years ago, though people might be upset with the crater we left behind.

Re:total war (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 2 years ago | (#40083087)

The problem with that war is that it never was about razing Afghanistan. Sure, the US military can do it, many times over, but that wasn't the goal. In fact, there wasn't any clear goal at all, other than some vague "war on terror". That kind of war is unwinnable by definition.

The US way of doing things (4, Insightful)

br00tus (528477) | about 2 years ago | (#40083033)

I'm typing this right now, and sending to a web server on the Internet, a computer network which only exists because the US taxpayer financed the Pentagon, who in turn gave the money to military contractors like BBN, SRI and so forth.

That's what it is, and that's how it had to be. It's how Magnitogorsk was built in the USSR, how Volkswagen and the Autobahn were created in Germany, and how things like this happen here in the US and how they had to happen. There's some kind of emperor's new clothes things where people can't say the decades long creation of Internet was financed by the taxpayer via the government. I have heard so many US politicians talk about how the Internet was created by the "free market" (whatever that means), capitalism, private enterprise and so forth and how it shows the innovation that can come from that. Of course, we all know better, or at least those of us old enough to have owned 300 baud modems back in the early 1980s know that.

While we hear from the news commissars and politicians of how broke the US is, with a huge deficit, and how we have to cut back, notice how a massive military bill just sailed through Congress. Americans have to tighten their belt, and go with less garbage pickups, or shorter library hours, and that sort of thing, but there's plenty of money for military bases in Djibouti and Bulgaria and Kyrgyzstan. The US is spending a ton of money to ramp up the US military presence in the Pacific (shades of the late 1930s), on a new class of aircraft carriers and so forth. Meanwhile, all of this heavy duty equipment is completely useless against small cells of anti-imperial Arab nationalists that are willing to go on suicide missions.

Huh? (1)

BLKMGK (34057) | about 2 years ago | (#40083035)

How does a NATO meeting and a war in another country connect exactly with how the military handles movies? Could that have been stretched any further?

I agree (1)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | about 2 years ago | (#40083041)

with the summary in the post, and I for one applaud it. How many times do we see posts about military tools / weapons / toys described without irony or critique - as if such things were normal and "OK"? People then post critiques in the comments, but this is dealing from a position of weakness - the assumption of the summary is the dominant discourse. It is a pleasure to finally see a summary state the obvious. While facts actually don't have a liberal bias, the contradictions of our present situation are such that statements of "fact" regarding the status quo become endorsements of the status quo. It is good to see the opposite for a change. And for those who don't like it, now you know what it feels like to be "on the other side".

Cross The Avengers off the list (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40083063)

I've read somewhere that the military did not cooperate with the production because they found that the heroes were taking too much liberty with their (military) command represented by Nick Fury :

they were pictured too much as independent spirits.

Scratch (3, Insightful)

Smiddi (1241326) | about 2 years ago | (#40083127)

It is two big American industries scratching each others backs. The average American young kid wont realise this until he gets back from his stint in Iraq, minus a limb.

Summaries (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40083143)

Seriously... what the hell is this crap?

If you want to give us a story about how the military is supplying technical accuracies to Hollywood; that's fine. If you want to supply us a story about how a military that's set up to annihilate a real threat to America, can't defend against guerrilla tactics, that's fine. But this blatant soapboxing and political advocacy isn't why I come to slashdot. I come for news for nerds and other stuff that matters. Yes, I understand that CommanderTaco is gone. I get it. That doesn't mean this place has to degrade into people submitting summaries that are so biased neither MSNBC or Fox news would accept them.

I'm amazed the U.S. Navy supported "Battleship". (3)

Animats (122034) | about 2 years ago | (#40083159)

Clearly, the DoD criteria for military movies don't include the movie making any sense. The U.S. Navy supported "Battleship".

A Navy vs. aliens movie might make sense. "Battleship" isn't it. (It does beat "The Navy vs. the Night Monsters" (1966), but it cost about 100x as much to make.) One based on a board game is an indication that Hollywood really is out of ideas. They've already done all the fairy tales (there are two Snow White movies this year), all the top-tier comic book characters, many of the second-tier comic book characters, and have made sequels to almost everything that ever turned a profit. ("Police Academy 8" is in development.)

Well, what else would they do? (1)

AdamHaun (43173) | about 2 years ago | (#40083279)

I attended a Comic-Con panel last year where some of the military liaisons to Hollywood talked about their jobs. They were pretty open about having criteria for accepting a script. It's not clear to me why anyone would expect them to spend time and money helping filmmakers portray them in an unflattering light. The article does give a couple odd examples of rejected films (Independence Day?), but aside from that seems to make a mountain out of a molehill.

IIRC, the panelists said that the US military doesn't/can't support historical settings, which would limit this issue to movies that comment on current events.

Movie treatment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40083529)

I've just finished and sent them a treatment for a movie where the Pentagon loses their Internet connection due to strike #6 and a joint task-force of generals decide do launch an unauthorized strike against the MPAA and RIAA headquarters. The strike is successful in the sense that the HQs are destroyed in a grandiose 3D spectacle, complete with a cheering angry street mob of "disconnects" equipped with pitchforks, but unbeknownst to them the top henchmen are away on an 'off-site' on the Bahamas.

The movie ends with a grand battle between WiFi-spying surveillance drones equipped with Hellfire missiles, black helicopters with BSA enforcers, squads of fake "home buyers", etc. against the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force.

I'm off, keeping an eye on my mailbox, expecting the approval letter soon!

The movie TANK scared me (1)

Roblimo (357) | about 2 years ago | (#40083581)

I saw the movie TANK -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tank_(film) [wikipedia.org] -- in the on-post movie theater at Ft. Hood, TX, which at the time was home to the world's largest concentration of tanks. And one of the most boring spots on this planet. Watching a theater full of young tank crew guys cheer this movie was a bit scary. How many of them would go back to their units and decide to take out a bar in Killeen (nearby town) where they'd been short-changed or something like that? Or maybe invade Mexico for the hell of it, an idea for which I actually drew up a battle plan and submitted it through the Army Suggestion Program, where it got all the way up to the Post Commander, who thought it was a fine idea and that it sounded like fun but didn't think the Pentagon or White House would approve.

Anyway, you can't really think about the cost of the military working with a film production company as a true cost. Aside from recruiting value, the military does lots of training-type stuff when a unit or ship isn't actively engaged in combat, and what the heck - they might as well make a movie while they're practicing carrier take offs and landings or clandestine insertions or whatever.

 

Re:The movie TANK scared me (1)

Macrat (638047) | about 2 years ago | (#40083677)

I saw the movie TANK -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tank_(film) [wikipedia.org] -- in the on-post movie theater at Ft. Hood, TX, which at the time was home to the world's largest concentration of tanks. And one of the most boring spots on this planet. Watching a theater full of young tank crew guys cheer this movie was a bit scary.

People enjoying a movie about a father rescuing his son from a corrupt sheriff scares you?

No one EVER learns from history... (2)

FlyingGuy (989135) | about 2 years ago | (#40083917)

There are two countries you don't invade:

  • Afghanistan
  • Russia

The Germans, the French, the British, etc. But did the USA learn ANYTHING from this? No. Stupid USA.

Re:No one EVER learns from history... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40084473)

There are two countries you don't invade:

  • Afghanistan
  • Russia

The Germans, the French, the British, etc. But did the USA learn ANYTHING from this? No. Stupid USA.

Vizzini [imdb.com] put more succintly: "never get involved in a land war in Asia."

Stargate and the Air Force (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40083983)

It has been done before. For example Stargate SG1 was supported by the Air Force, and praised for the positive portrayal of the Air Force ("leave no man behind" etc.). This even lead to the lead actor Richard Dean Anderson (MacGyver) to become a honorary Air Force brigadier general. Two Air Force Chiefs of Staff, Generals Michael Ryan and John Jumper also appeared on the show.

Nothing new, move along.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...