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John Cusack: Outsourced Warfare Represents a "Radical, Dangerous, Disgusting Ideology"

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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-19-08 06:09 AM
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John Cusack: Outsourced Warfare Represents a "Radical, Dangerous, Disgusting Ideology"
John Cusack: Outsourced Warfare Represents a "Radical, Dangerous, Disgusting Ideology"

By Joshua Holland, AlterNet. Posted May 19, 2008.
An interview with Cusack about his latest film, War Inc., which takes the outsourcing of military operations to the absurd.

Note: A trailer for War, Inc. can be viewed here:

John Cusack's new film, War, Inc., is set in a fictionalized Iraq. It's a funny film. It might have been tough to watch if it weren't, given the level of destruction that five years of occupation have wrought on the real country.

Cusack, along with co-writers Mark Leyner and Jeremy Pikser, offer up a dystopian vision of the future of privatized warfare set in "Turaqistan," a presumably oil-rich country that, if it really existed, would surely be somewhere that most Americans couldn't find on a map.

The film's humor rests on very real and demonstrably disastrous trends in neoconservative foreign policy of recent years -- a lethal war of choice and profit, the dismantling of states and plundering of their resources, a profound cultural insensitivity, lack of accountability and reckless disregard for easily-predicted consequences -- which are then pushed to the absurd.

In Iraq, journalists are embedded with troops and tour Potemkin villages to demonstrate progress; in Turaqistan, they're given virtual-reality tours of combat without leaving the cozy confines of "Emerald City," War, Inc.'s version of Baghdad's Green Zone. In Iraq, contractors like Halliburton have squeezed billions out of the treasury for substandard work that has left the country's infrastructure decimated; Turaqistan is wholly-managed by the Halliburton-esque Tamerlane corporation, and the tanks that patrol the country's burned-out streets are covered with NASCAR-style logos for everything from Popeye's Chicken to Golden Palace online gambling.

Fans of the underground classic Grosse Pointe Blank will find much that is familiar. Cusack plays a conflicted killer -- this time a lethal assassin -- an extreme kind of corporate fixer -- whom Tamarlane dispatches to far-flung locales whenever someone of influence threatens the company's bottom line. The film has the same kind of sardonic and referential humor, and employs the same over-the-top ultra-violence pushed to comic extremes. Joan Cusack, in a role reminiscent of the one she played in Grosse Pointe Blank, again steals the show with her few minutes of screen time.

With sharp writing and strong performances by Marisa Tomei, Hilary Duff and Ben Kingsley, War, Inc. is provocative and satisfying. But it may have failed in one notable regard. Turaqistan, for all its insanity, is not all that much crazier than the reality of post-invasion Iraq; a week after the film arrived at AlterNet's office, and with mortars raining down in Baghdad's heavily-fortified Green Zone, a Los Angeles-based company announced that it's planning to build a Disney-like skateboard- and theme-park in Baghdad. Never mind that most Iraqi kids have never seen a skateboard -- a spokesperson for the company promised that a shipment of free boards would arrive in Iraq before the park's opening.

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MinM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-19-08 08:04 AM
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1. Democracy Now!
had an excellent interview about outsourced warfare with author Tim Shorrock this morning . That should be up this afternoon:
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Donnachaidh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-19-08 08:41 AM
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2. just a wee note -- Dan Ackroyd's character is a FORMER Vice President
and is now the CEO of Tamerlane. And Joan Cusack does some major league scene stealing in this movie.
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grace0418 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-19-08 08:57 AM
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3. I've loved John Cusack since I was a tween. At the time it was for classics (although
silly ones) like Better Off Dead and Sure Thing. Now I see that I had pretty darn good taste. :)
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knitter4democracy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-19-08 04:18 PM
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4. If it's anything like Grosse Pointe Blank, I'm there.
That's one of our favorite movies in this house. Applying it to Iraq makes sense.
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