The leftward and other blatherings of Span (now with Snaps!)

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Freedom and Democracy and all that Good Stuff

So I'm now about a quarter of the way through series 2 of Battlestar Galactica and I can't stop thinking about Iraq when I watch it.
Possibly I'm reading too much into all this, and no doubt someone has written about this long before I*, but it seems that the BSG writers aren't that keen on Iraq and they are getting some subtle digs in.

There was the Gideon incident, where a group of troops opened fire on civillians, killing several. It put me in mind of situations early in the Iraq War (Take 2) when young soldiers, in their first combat situation, were surrounded by locals who were just as frightened as they were. Stones would be thrown by confused Iraqis and eventually one or more soldiers would feel threatened and take refuge in the gun in their hands. Death and injury was the inevitable result. In a later episode of series 2 one of these shooters decides his commanding officer must pay for the bad call he made by sending the troops to Gideon. I wonder if that has happened at all in real life?

Then there was the embedding of Deena, the journalist played by Lucy Lawless. An anti-authority sceptic produced a doco sympathetic to the Galactica's crew. We kind of wanted her to, as the viewers, because we like them ourselves, and the fact that she's actually a cylon throws a spanner in the analysis of her motivation, but on the face of it, it's an example of those watching (for us all) being captured by those they watch. That criticism could certainly be levelled at many of the journalists close to the action in Iraq.

The way that the fleet begins to breakdown when the two central power figures (President Roslyn and Commander Adama) are taken out of play could be interpreted as a criticism of the way the American Government has worked until recently - George W Bush has been effectively all powerful with a friendly Senate and Congress (no longer thankfully) and when the leader makes bad decisions there are few checks and balances to even things out. A military command structure does not seem to allow the level of "full and frank" advice (i.e. criticism in a safe environment) that civillian does, and it shows when Tigh declares martial law.

When Crashdown is shot in the back, on Kobol, Baltar explains it by saying "he gave his life in the finest tradition of the service." Perhaps the BSG writers are sneakily saying that US soldiers in Iraq are effectively being taken down from behind by their own leadership?

Or maybe I'm just not getting enough sleep?

* I'm not going to go out there looking for BSG info again after I accidentally found out some stuff I didn't want to know last time. Or at least not until I've caught up with the rest of the world.


David said...

You're only 1/4 through season 2 and you're already reminded of Iraq? Your head is going to full-on explode with season 3. :-)

Span said...

Quite possible. If I suddenly stop blogging then you shall know the cause!

I'm already losing a lot of sleep due to watching too much BSG and not being able to turn my brain off when it's bedtime. That and my childhood cylon-fear returning. Those centurions are so creepy.

Trouble said...

You're going to so love the strike in the fuel refinery.

I saw Baltar's lovely half-truth as more of a general war reference. The episode title (Fragged) is taken from Vietnam slang - there were at least 230 recorded cases of commanding officers catching some deliberate friendly fire, according to wiki.