Standard Article

Limited Engagement

The Iraq War on Film

4. 1976 to the Present

4. 1999–Present

  1. Susan L. Carruthers

Published Online: 13 NOV 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9780470671153.wbhaf092

The Wiley-Blackwell History of American Film

The Wiley-Blackwell History of American Film

How to Cite

Carruthers, S. L. 2011. Limited Engagement. The Wiley-Blackwell History of American Film. 4:4:87.

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 13 NOV 2011


Imagine a landscape of desolate streets strewn with vast mounds of garbage and burnt out vehicles. Buildings — an indistinguishable jumble of shops and homes, punctuated by golden-domed mosques and filigreed minarets — are pock-marked by artillery rounds where they haven't been pulverized into rubble. Everything chokes with dust. And everyone is armed — armed with a camera if not also with more lethal weapons. Cell phones serve both to detonate improvised explosive devices and to document the carnage. While “jihadis” film beheadings and suicide bombers record their last messages before martyrdom, American troops engage in their own obsessive digital self-documentation. Flurrying shutters click to produce a gruesome montage of grins, grimaces, tears, blood, corpses, and severed body parts.


  • computer animation;
  • art;
  • science;
  • avant-garde;
  • Disney;
  • Pixar;
  • visual effects;
  • Toy story