Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
December 2, 2008

Homeland: Lambs Eat Oats and Does Eat Oats and Little Goats Eat K-Rations



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)

Purchase affordable prints through 20 x 200: 9/11/02 or G.I. Goat

(images © Nina Berman)

About the Photographer

Nina Berman

Nina Berman is a documentary photographer with a primary interest in the American political and social landscape. She is the author of two monographs, "Purple Hearts – Back from Iraq" and "Homeland," both examining war and militarism. Her work has been recognized with awards in art and journalism from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the World Press Photo Foundation, the Open Society Institute Documentary Fund and Hasselblad, among others. She has participated in more than 90 solo and group exhibitions, including the Whitney Museum 2010 Biennial, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Portland Art Museum, and Dublin Contemporary. Her work has been featured on CBS, CNN, PBS, ABC, BBC and reviewed in the New York Times, Aperture, Art in America, TIME, and the New Yorker. She is a member of NOOR photo collective and is an Associate Professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She lives in New York City. See more of Nina's work for Reading The Pictures here.

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