Green Imagination

Your Blog for Sharing Green Ideas.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


That's what they call marines in the movie of the same title. Being an another activist, I'm always trying to understand what it is about war that attracts people. What is it in soldiers that makes them want to kill?

In Jarhead, it's sex. The movie makes a deep visual and psychological connection between killing and sex. With not just the absence of sex but also with the threat of cheating spouses and girlfriends looming over the characters, killing is a substitute, a surrogate for sex for soldiers in war. The irony encountered by Swofford, the main character, and his colleagues is that they never get to kill anyone. Instead, they only see the results of bombings...charred Iraqi remains (the movie takes place during the first Gulf War). In fact, Swofford only sees two actual, live soldiers throughout the film.

These soldiers are driven to madness with the desire to kill, with the semi-sexual tension often frequently bubbling over into the soldier's cohesion as a military unit. Yet, their lack of military encounters is strongly reminiscent of Baudrillard's writings on Desert Storm (Unfortunately, the book is still packed--I just moved a few months ago--and I'm too lazy too look it up online). In "The Reality Gulf," Baudrillard contends that the first Gulf war could have been entirely faked (and likely was).

So, how do we take the sex out of war? I don't mean taking the sexy out of it; I think there's been enough books and movies made on that theme. But how do we take the sex out of killing? Are sex and death, and therefore killing, inextricably linked?