This piece was written for Truthout.org.
I. Echoes From the Past and Future
The images look familiar, even comforting in a way, steeped in the heroic black-and-white tints of classic movies and World War II newsreels. Unshaven, wisecracking G.I.s slogging gamely through urb an combat. Tanks crawling over broken walls, past burned-out buildings. Quick cut to the skies: lumbering bombers releasing their payloads over sprawling cities, while fighters dart in and out around them and black clouds of ack-ack explode with sudden menace. A brief sweep of the enemy dead, frozen in their final agonies across a churned-up field. Then a long line of refugees, plodding along the edge of a highway while American troop trucks, jeeps, and half-tracks roar past them in the opposite direction.
But there's something slightly wrong, something askew in the pictures. The shop signs in that ruined city â€“ they're all in English. The road signs in that shot of the highway are in Spanish. And those refugees aren't white German burghers or French villagers; they'reâ€¦brown, like Mexicans, maybe. And look, the fighters swooping in to strafe our bombers â€“ they've got maple leafs painted on their fuselages. And there, amongst the enemy dead, a corpse still clutching his battalion's flag: a Union Jack.
This is the kind of cognitive dissonance evoked by a new screenplay from renowned director Alex Cox: "Our War Against Canada." The British-born Cox â€“ long resident in the United States â€“ is planning a three-part, 90-minute documentary on the all-too-true story of serious American plans to wage war against Canada, Mexico and Great Britain in the years before World War II. These detailed schemes are filled with "echoes from the future," in Pasternak's apt phrase: eerie prefigurements and deep-rooted patterns that have been played out â€“ in reality, not just on paper â€“ over and over down through the decades, and now confront us once again, most starkly and horribly, in Iraq. Add a comment