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Monday, January 23, 2006

TomDispatch - Tomdispatch: John Brown on the War on Terror as an Indian War

In the 1940s and 1950s, when the generation of men now ruling over us were growing up, boys could disappear into a form of war play -- barely noticed by adults and hardly recorded anywhere -- that was already perhaps a couple of hundred years old. In this kind of play, there was no need to enact the complicated present by recreating a junior version of an anxiety-ridden Cold War garrison state (though you could purchase your own H2O Missile, a water-powered toy "ICBM" in imitation of the sort just then being prepared by adults to pulverize the planet). For children in those years, there was still a sacramental, triumphalist version of American history, a spectacle of slaughter in which they invariably fell before our guns. This spectacle could be experienced in any movie theater, and then played out in backyards and on floors with toy six guns (or sticks) or little toy bluecoats, Indians, and cowboys, or green, inch-high plastic sets of World War II soldiers. As play, for those who grew up in that time, it was sunshine itself, pure pleasure. The Western (as well as its modern successor, the war film) was on screen everywhere then.
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