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Envisaging a Just War: Genre and Ideological Manipulation in "Over There"

Marek Paryż, Marzena Sokołowska-Paryż


Pages 41 - 59

DOI https://doi.org/10.33675/AMST/2024/1/6


open-access

This publication is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons License Attribution - NonCommercial - NoDerivatives 4.0.



This article analyzes the American TV series "Over There" (2005) with regard to its ideological manipulations aimed at a moral legitimization of the then-ongoing Iraq War. The film is discussed in the light of its appropriation of Just War Theory, especially its misuses of the principles of “legitimate authority” ("jus ad bellum"), “proportionality of means,” and “necessity” ("jus in bello"). The series’s depiction of the Iraq War as a humanitarian endeavor carried out to safeguard Western values echoes V. S. Naipaul’s concept of “universal civilization.” The article shows how "Over There" inadvertently reveals the ethical and legal ambiguities at the core of Just War Theory whose principles are all too easily prone to deliberate misinterpretation for political purposes.

Key Words: Iraq War; Just War Theory; War on Terror; war film; politics of ­representation; universal civilization

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