Movies Disfigure Politics: How Vampire Hunters Pursued the War on Terror
So said a pugnacious president, forty-third in the lengthening history of the United States. Literally this was George W. Bush talking about retrograde Iraqis, who were not acquiescing in American rule but assassinating American soldiers instead. Mythically this might sound like Dirty Harry from Clint Eastwood movies, growling at a punk to “Make my day!” But because the president came from Texas, self-consciously mimicked horse operas more than other movies, and sometimes appeared to treat foreign affairs as a streamlined imperialism of cowboys over Indians, the press and the populace have tended to view his administration as a resurrection of the western matinee. The same has held since for foreign policy by so-called neoconservatives, a.k.a. neocons. This is not exactly wrong, but we can do better.