What is state failure? See my conceptualisation of state failure on the right flank below.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

"They are the Yusufzai! They are our allies!"

Do yourself a favour and watch Spies Like Us, if you haven't yet seen it. The above quote is from the movie. For reasons unknown to myself I'm only blogging about it now, even though I saw this film back during the mid-1990s for the first time and yesterday for the hundredth time. A seemingly bland but in fact smart comedy - a funny black operation comedy. Lots of cameo appearances by good directors. In its plot everything may seem misrepresented if you don't look below the comical surface to see that in the end there's not really that much misrepresentation going on. (Just as you expect from a satyrical movie.)
For just one example of the kind of misrepresentation you should expect, you'll see things like a devoutly dedicated CIA agent reciting Kennedy's words "ask not what your country can do for you..." to "God Save the Queen" played in the background (the film's own score is also excellent, by the way).
Sure, the logistics of travelling from Kohistan (shot in Morocco in actuality) to Tajikistan are a little more complicated than what the film suggests. But a 1985 movie which made the joke that the Soviets would lose Eastern Europe because they were not submerged enough in American pop culture, and one that made a mockery of the idea that all ISI-managed Afghan "freedom fighters" (like, in one scene of the movie a Yusufzai khan's militia) were America's, let alone Americans', friends, deserves esteem.
(Pic source) Austin Millbarge (Dan Aykroyd) and Emmett Fitz-Hume (Chevy Chase) as intelligence assets in Pashtunistan in the Afghan-Pakistani borderland:

1 comment:

Jeff Kouba said...

Heh. My favorite bit is when they cheerfully say "We're Americans!", and in the very next scene, they're all tied up.