“Enemy Image” is a history of the American media’s presentation of U. S. wars and the U. S. government and military’s fight to control that presentation, beginning with Vietnam and moving on through the 2003 war in Iraq. While early newsreels, with their patriotic narrative overdubs, presented a polished and sterile image of heroic troops bravely fighting like a well-oiled machine, the relatively unregulated television journalism of the later 1960s showed the common soldier up-close and personal, without the touch-ups of Hollywood. Although the film has a curious lack of mention of the late ’90s war in eastern Europe, it does a good job of comparing the Vietnam era to the much more heavily controlled time from the 1980s to today.
“Everybody just wants to go home and go to school. [...] The whole thing stinks.” – U. S. soldier in Vietnam