Night & Day Archives » Night & Day

Medina Wasl, USA

The ultimate war game


Somewhere in the Mojave Desert sits the city of Medina Wasl. The population — a few hundred people at most — worships at the Shia mosque and prepares for the big social event, the wedding of the mayor. Medina Wasl is also beleaguered by ambushes, snipers and improvised explosive devices, as Iraqi insurgents attempt to throw the city into chaos. Fortunately, a U.S. Army battalion is there to keep the city safe — and the whole thing is a sham anyway. This "virtual Iraq" is a billion-dollar war game, a training ground built by the Army to prepare American soldiers for the real thing. Many of the "citizens" are actual Iraqi refugees who volunteer to role-play in three-week sessions. The soldiers know it's fake, but still, something between fact and fiction exists in Medina Wasl. Documentary filmmakers Tony Gerber and Jesse Moss spent a three-week shift out there capturing the strangeness, the fear and the reality of the unreality for their movie, Full Battle Rattle. Can Medina Wasl be saved? If it can't, does that mean Iraq is destined to fall? Full Battle Rattle screens at 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Sunday (October 23, 24 and 26) at the Moore Auditorium (470 East Lockwood Avenue; 314-968-7487 or Tickets are $5 to $6.
Thu., Oct. 23; Fri., Oct. 24; Sun., Oct. 26, 2008

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.