The Military Inferiority Complex

The following memo was sent on June 29, 1993, from Army spokesman Lieutenant Mitchell E. Marovitz to Philip Strub, the Pentagon's chief liaison to the film industry. The Pentagon regularly requests script changes in films that depict the military, in exchange for free access to military technologies and bases. The memo was released by Strub to Georgetown University Library.

Memorandum for Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, Public Affairs

Subject: Army Position on Department of Defense Support to Forrest Gump

1. The Office of the Chief of Public Affairs has reviewed the most recent screenplay for the feature motion picture Forrest Gump. In its current form, the Department of the Army cannot recommend approval of this project.
2. Department of the Army concerns follow:
a. Harsh language is in evidence throughout the script.
b. The depiction of the military in the 1960s is inaccurate, stereotypical, and implausible.
c. The generalized impression that the Army of the 1960s was staffed by the guileless, or soldiers of minimal intelligence, is neither accurate nor beneficial to the Army. I cannot substantiate the notion that the Army ever attempted "an experiment to put together a group of dumbos and halfwits who wouldn't question orders."
d. The improbable behavior of uniformed personnel and the portrayal of active and ex-service members is dyslogistic. The "mooning" of a president by a uniformed soldier is not acceptable cinematic license.

(found in: Harper's Magazine, November 2001)

31. Januar 2002

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