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Welcome to the SuckNarrating the American Soldier's Experience in Iraq$
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Stacey Peebles

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801449468

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801449468.001.0001

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Lines of Sight

Lines of Sight

Watching War in Jarhead and My War: Killing Time in Iraq

Chapter:
(p.23) 1 Lines of Sight
Source:
Welcome to the Suck
Author(s):

Stacey Peebles

Publisher:
Cornell University Press
DOI:10.7591/cornell/9780801449468.003.0002

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.

Keywords:   memoirs, Anthony Swofford, Colby Buzzell, Iraq War, Gulf War, American soldiers, media, agency, war

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