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Cinema's Military Industrial Complex$
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Haidee Wasson and Lee Grieveson

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780520291508

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520291508.001.0001

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Epistemology of the Checkpoint

Epistemology of the Checkpoint

Gillo Pontecorvo’s Battle of Algiers and the Doctrine of Counterinsurgency

Chapter:
(p.157) 9 Epistemology of the Checkpoint
Source:
Cinema's Military Industrial Complex
Author(s):

Vinzenz Hediger

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520291508.003.0009

When the U.S. invaded Iraq, they acted according to their standard doctrine of using overwhelming force to incapacitate and destroy the enemy. Despite their initial success, the U.S. forces quickly lost control and faced an insurgency, a kind of warfare for which they were ill prepared both in terms of doctrine and institutional culture. Lacking an up-to-date counter-insurgency doctrine, in the fall of 2003, the Pentagon turned to Gillo Pontecorvo’s 1966 anticolonial docudrama The Battle of Algiers for instruction. This chapter, by Vinzenz Hediger, traces the role the film played in the elaboration of the COIN doctrine and discusses why, despite the considerable intellectual efforts of the authors of manual FM 3-24, the film’s lessons went largely unheeded by the American military.

Keywords:   Counter-insurgency warfare, military doctrine, Iraq War, military training, institutional culture, educational film

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