Re: Courage Under [Friendly] Fire

Maggie Jaffe (
Fri, 26 Jul 1996 10:00:13 -0400

Dear Sixties People:

I was out of town, so I missed much of what Ben Friedlander wrote about the
normalization of friendly fire in *Courage Under Fire.* I did see the
movie with two high school friends with that in mind. Afterwards, I
presented Ben's argument, although not as succinctly, I'm afraid. My
friends were exasperated with me for finding "politics in everything." My
friends, like the majority of Americans, view movies as entertainment
rather than ideologically. I never even got a chance to explain further
why *Courage* disturbed me, friendly fire aside.

Unlike the Vietnam War-era movie which presented the cruel or incompetent
LT, *Courage's* fearless leader is very much in keeping with the 90s since
she is a woman who is betrayed by her own men. The real enemy in *Courage*
is not the Iraqis, who are largely invisible, nor President Bush, who
cynically forced through this war for his own interests and those of his
oil-rich cronies. Rather, *Courage Under Fire* depicts warfare as gender
warfare; therefore, it is not obliged to interrogate this particular war.
This is not to say that I don't recognize the deep resentment that many
male soldiers feel toward women in the military.

During the Persian Gulf war itself, several women I marched with chanted
"down with testosterone wars," which was rather annoying, since at the same
time NOW was calling for women in combat positions. My own thoughts are
that while I certainly support the right of women and gays to serve in the
military, their presence will not fundamentally change the fact that with
the notable exception of World War Two, US warfare is uniformly
imperialistic and economically self-serving.