Monthly Archives: March 2015

“A Problem from Hell”: Genocide .. and Palestine

Samatna Power - March 2015

Samantha Power – March 2015

Samantha Power was born in Dublin. According to hear-say she was at Mount Anville Convent School in Dalkey before moving to America with her parents at the age of 9. Perhaps best known for resigning from Obama’s election campaign team after calling Hilary Clinton a “monster” in 2008, she’s also the author of a book called A Problem from Hell: America in the Age of Genocide (2002) – and today she’s US Ambassador to the United Nations (UN) with a special brief for ethnic minorities around the world.

A little earlier this month she addressed the EU Parliament and asked European governments to spend more on defense to match the American investment, warning that the number of missions world-wide that call for a military response is growing not diminishing. Meanwhile Britain’s defense spending is set to fall again – though not as low as other European members who have failed to reach their 2% undertaking. All of this re-opens the debate about Western intervention in troubled regions of the world – a subject on which there is more dissension, if possible, than on austerity at home. Continue reading

“Fury” : The American Tank War in Germany

Along with other traces of “Band of Brothers” realism Brad Pitt’s new film “Fury” contains a fairly lengthy sequence in which a charming young German woman supplies the cub-soldier who figures implicitly as the narrator (and sole survivor) with his first experience of physical love in circumstances which strictly correspond to forced sex, or even rape. For better or worse, Die kleine Fraulein dies prettily in an ensuing bombardment thus leaving the sensitive GI with an embittered soul – or is it a dose of Machiellian realism? – and turns him into an efficient tank-corp killer primed for hands-on lesson doled out by a avuncular Brad in out of the no-quarter-given episodes of the film when die-hard Nazi prisoners get their come-uppance.

"Fury" - Inside Germany in a Sherman Tank

“Fury” – Inside Germany in a Sherman Tank

The story melds Sergeant York, Platoon and just about everything else in cinema history in which individual fortitude in American uniforms wins the day over villainous enemies. A special twist is, Brad speaks German and so mediates all the exchanges with the enemy – both the ladies and the SS “pigs” whom he is so adept at liquidating – and whose kinship to the former remains fuzzily uncertain. (Part of the ‘play’ here is about good Germans and bad Germans, and then American Germans as purgers of German badness with presumed benefits for the Angela Merkels of our world.) Continue reading