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June 5, 2007

The BAG’s Nominee For This Month’s War Infotainment Award


Okay, I’ve got my nominee for this month’s War Infotainment Award!  And the honor goes to: The National Geographic Channel for the web promo: Inside The Green Berets

In retrospect, how fortuitous this film crew almost got blown to bits in Afghanistan or there wouldn’t have been anything substantive enough to wrap this Hollywood-style Afghanistan embed experience around.  Otherwise, we might never have had:

…this sexy video game-like promo with the depiction of  nomads in turbans and the band of brothers, complete with stars-and-stripes, humvees, loads of barbed wire, and the requisite explosion when "SOMETHING GOES TERRIBLY WRONG!"

… the opportunity to learn about this production at NYTimes.com alongside an article titled: 14 More American Servicemen Are Killed in Iraq, Most of Them by Makeshift Bombs.  (Sorry if the colorful, half-column multimedia ad with the inset video, above, is not still running.)

… the chance to watch an actual director interview in which the man takes up 2/3 of the feature detailing how this video is about Afghanistan and our courageous troops there, and not about him, his crew and the explosion; not about him, his crew and the explosion; not about him, his crew and the explosion.

… the ability to learn more about the program’s web sponsors, including Military.com (with a link to a Military.com Entertainment page featuring "Shock and Awe" videos).

I mean, with a war this entertaining, what’s left to say but …  Dare to explore!

(video: nationalgeographic.com)

  • lytom

    Please remind me why is the US there?
    How is this occupation different than Russian was before?
    How has this “put democracy on map in Afghanistan?”
    Isn’t it always like this: “SOMETHING GOES TERRIBLY WRONG!”?

  • Asta

    We went to Afghanistan under the guise of finding Osama Ben Laden, which we failed to do.
    The only difference I can think of between the Soviet occupation and ours is that I don’t remember stories about Afghani suicide bombings during the Russian invasion. However, it bankrupted the Soviet Union, and our occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq is bankrupting us.
    It hasn’t put democracy on the map in Afghanistan. The Taliban are back, opium production has reached a new high, and women are treated like animals.
    And yeah, you’re right, Lytom, it’s always “Something goes terribly wrong” over and over and over.

  • frances

    Now thats what I call Orwellian. Might as well make a buck and entertain the folks back home.
    How sad.

  • frijole

    Just a thought… (or 2)
    I saw this little writeup yesterday, kind of glossed over it, saw the notes about how the producer was all gung ho, and so on ..
    I had no desire to hunt down the video and watch it, but lo and behold, while channel surfing last night (waiting for the daily show to come on), I came across the last 45 mins of this film.
    I didn’t see too much of the pump up of “the bomb” or “our crew” in what I was watching, and I was oddly interested in the story of the GIs. A bunch of green berets in Afganistan, and how they were using their wits to stay alive. The leader of the group was like 30. wtf?
    I disagreed with the hand-outs they were giving (radios tuned to the us backed stations), but they were at least trying to set up a relationship with the kids. It’s kind of scary to see that the taliban is indeed back in force, and they are getting more and more sneaky.
    For instance: the Spec ops guys were eavesdropping the taliban radio comms. Good stuff, right? they would slow down and look when they heard they were spotted on the radio, and it even led them to finding one of the radio spotters.
    After seeing the end of the video, I’m almost convinced the taliban were intentionally letting them eavesdrop to lull them into a false sense of security.
    I dunno, for as much as the director and crew were glorified in teh run up to the video, I actually learned quite a bit from just listening and watching these young guys operate.
    Funny how drug money can infiltrate and over-run common sense.

  • southy

    what do we expect from The (anything but) News Corporation. and the WSJ may just follow along down the memory hole soon enough.

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