Bedtime story, from Papa Bush to his young 'uns: Once upon a time, a long time from now, there was a United Earth. A New World Order of peace, prosperity, and freedom. Everyone was clean and pretty and healthy. Good genes, all around. Black people too. And the streets were clean, and the environment, and the trains ran on time. Then one day, bad monsters attacked Earth, because the monsters were evil and ugly, and looked like giant bugs (because they were giant bugs), and they hated anybody lucky enough to have so much peace, prosperity, and freedom, and who were so good-looking.
But luckily for the happy people of Earth, their world government had the bestest military in the universe, with lots of gnarly weapons and way cool uniforms. So everyone enlisted like crazy to fight the ultimate war between good and evil. The politicos and top brass called it the Bug War — but for the young recruits, it was the kick-ass adventure of a lifetime!
The bugs never had a chance. The end.
No, not a bedtime story, but Paul Verhoeven's Starship Troopers, a dead-on satire of post-9/11 war hysteria - astonishing, because it was released in 1997!
The film's satire was originally aimed at its source material: Robert Heinlein's 1959 novel, Starship Troopers (condemned by some critics upon publication as "fascistic"). But like humor-impaired Trekies, many Heinlein fans remained clueless and unamused. They complained that the film had replaced Heinlein's socio-political military philosophy with mindless bug battles. Few realized the joke was on them. Verhoeven didn't so much ignore Heinlein's philosophizing as lampoon it.
Heinlein's novel paints a future Earth in which everyone enjoys equal rights and liberties - except to vote and hold office, which are reserved only to those who complete military service. Enlistment is voluntary and non-discriminatory; any sex, any age. Blue-haired grannies can sign up, but no special treatment. Many softies die in the sadistically brutal boot camps. (However, you can quit any time, without reprisal.) Another rule: everyone fights; cooks, supply clerks, nurses, medics, privates, and generals. No paper-pushers or desk-warmers in Heinlein's military.
Verhoeven's Starship Troopers parodies Heinlein's romanticized military culture by trivializing and sanitizing war. Soldiers are sexy and clean even after battle, ready to party hardy. Ready to die. Dina Meyer's deathbed speech satirizes an old war film cliché; while reaffirming her love for her main squeeze, she nobly adds that she has "no regrets" about her sacrifice.