Fantasy isn’t just for domestic consumption. Berman visited a military training facility at Fort Polk, La., known as The Box. The Box is a simulated Iraq, set on 100,000 acres, populated with Arabic-speaking Iraqi employees. The facility has 18 mock villages populated by 1,000 role-players who simulate Iraqi civilians and insurgents.
Many of the simulated Iraqis are, in fact, Iraqi immigrants. Berman explains that play-acting as insurgents can be a full-time job. You don’t have be an immigrant or an Arabic speaker to play a role in the Fort Polk drama. Plenty of Anglophone locals consider it their patriotic duty to simulate terrorists to educate the troops about the real Iraq.
from: Nina Berman “Homeland” review/interview by Lindsay Beyerstein (Alternet)
Welcome to the Iraq training simulation at Fort Polk, where — in a thoroughly obsessive, if totally misbegotten notion about authenticity — it completely matters to American national security whether exactly six, rather than eight, as opposed to ten goats should be let loose to roam around.
“Yes We Can” still play?
More Homeland at The BAG
Buy the book (with “Bushland” afterward by Michael Shaw/BNN)
(images © Nina Berman)