Friday, August 05, 2005

Over There

I watch very little TV and I haven't seen Steven Bochco's show, Over There at all, but I've been reading posts about it on various blogs. From Totalitarian Democracy I linked to Faces from the Front: American Marines in Iraq for a fascinating, informative critique of the show. Not only does JD Johannes explain in detail how and where the shows writers and producers screwed up in their alleged efforts to make it "real", he explains the reality of our soldiers in Iraq.
FX's new drama OVER THERE about an Army unit in Iraq is well produced and visually arresting but takes a sharp left turn from reality.

After watching the Pilot episode of 'Over There,' I conclude that the only thing they got right were the uniforms which, right down to the black socks used to cover goggles, were spot on.

Unfortunately, the costume designer is the only person who seems to have actually studied the war, pictures of the war or video of the war.

As someone who has been over there it was easy to see that if Steven Bochco hired a military consultant, he didn't pay attention to him or, if they did listen to him, that consultant should be fired.

In Bochco's depiction of the war, the tactics are wrong, the dialogue is wrong, the set-ups are wrong and the scenarios are ridiculous.


In the pilot episode of 'Over There,' the heroes of the show, an Army squad/fire team is holding the cordon around a mosque while the brass negotiates with the terrorists inside. The reason for the negotiation is because an Al Jazeera reporter is inside the mosque with the terrorists and is broadcasting live over an Inmarsat system.

The grizzled leader of our heroes, Sgt. 'Scream', complains that they are stuck there holding the cordon so some stupid general 75 miles away can look good on TV. And so the soldiers hunker down for a 36 hour siege while the brass in Baghdad cow-tow to the Mainstream Media and negotiate with the terrorists.

In the real war, the commanders on the ground would have returned fire and shot the building full of holes before anyone watching Al Jazeera on the satellite in Baghdad could figure out what was going on.

In the real war, as evidenced by Fallujah and other cities, the mosque would have been shot up and probably destroyed. The following day, the media would be grilling the generals about how they killed an Al Jazeera reporter and destroyed a mosque. The media would complain loudly, the Arab media would scream bloody murder and the anti-war left would demand that Sgt. 'Scream' and the fire team be investigated for war crimes because they killed terrorists who were offering to surrender.

That is what would happen in the real war.
The whole post is well worth reading and there's a link to some short videos from Iraq.

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