Lines of Sight
Lines of Sight
Watching War in Jarhead and My War: Killing Time in Iraq
This chapter presents a reading of Jarhead by Anthony Swofford, a 2003 memoir of the Gulf War and My War: Killing Time in Iraq by Colby Buzzell, a 2005 memoir of the Iraq War. Both are compelling texts in part because they show the relationship between the contemporary experience of war and the changing technologies of representation. Even in the Vietnam War, the main source of communication available to soldiers was through writing letters and the military could censor those. The second connection they had with the outside world came from movies viewed communally. But since the 1990s the increasing accessibility of media such as video and digital texts has greatly affected soldiers' expectations of and reactions to combat. This can also be seen in the way that a noncombatant readership encounters Swofford’s and Buzzell’s representations of that experience. These lines of sight, all targeting the spectacle of war, reveal the contemporary intersections among war, media, and agency.
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