Perpetuating war by exalting its sacrifices

Currently many world leaders are in Europe commemorating the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. This remarkable scene from the anti-war satire The Americanization of Emily (1964), set during World War II, just prior to the D-Day invasion, has James Garner warning of the dangers of glorifying war to the mother of Julie Andrews, who has lost her husband, father, and brother to the war.

That speech was written by screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky. I wonder if mainstream film companies would allow such a scene these days.


  1. Rob Grigjanis says

    Mano, have you read Chris Hedges’ War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning? I haven’t, but it’s on my list, and I’ve heard Hedges speak many times, including about this book. A powerful voice.

  2. says

    I refuse to have anything to do with anything D-Day. It’s not as bad in Canada as the US, but we have our own glorification of war and the armed forces up here too and while I still see WW2 as a just war on our side I don’t want to participate in anything that paints war as the best we can be.

    While happily Canada avoided getting mixed up in Bush’s illegal war in Iraq, we did get embroiled in Afghanistan and I remember people saying “you can be against the war but still support the troops” and by “support the troops” they clearly meant don’t say anything against the war.

  3. Venkataraman Amarnath says

    As usual the decisive Battle of Stalingrad and the sacrifice of more than one million Russians are conveniently forgotten.
    Although not a war movie, Ballad of a Soldier set at that time is my favorite movie.

  4. Jazzlet says

    Paul Durant, yes it is nice to see Joyce Grenfell in a serious role.

    Venkataraman Amarnath have a look at Steve Bell’s cartoon in the Guardian, he hasn’t forgotten.

  5. Rob Grigjanis says

    Tabby Lavalamp @4:

    by “support the troops” they clearly meant don’t say anything against the war.

    Yeah, that bullshit has bothered me for decades. My usual response is my own version of “support the troops”:

    Don’t send them to war unless it is absolutely necessary.
    If they must be sent, give them everything they need to do the job.
    Take care of them when they come back, and their families if they don’t come back.

    Venkataraman Amarnath @5: I thought Enemy at the Gates was quite good.

  6. 12 says

    In Canada the the public was very cold on the Afghanistan war at the outset, and the government of the day managed to keep us out of the Iraq war. We’ve been getting blasted with a unrelenting stream of brainless jingoism ever since. When I was growing up Remembrance (Armistice) Day was a very somber and reflective occasion, much in the spirit of the above clip. Watching my country’s attitudes steadily retrograding in the face of the propaganda machine has been heartbreaking.

  7. antaresrichard says

    I realize I’m in a small minority, but I never understood the ennoblement of one of humankind’s most ignoble activities. And yes, I recognize the irony of my avatar.

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