This chapter focuses on Operation Enduring Freedom: the US-led military action in Afghanistan, undertaken in response to the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the US. The 'war on terror' discourse which developed in the wake of 9/11 was more than just a way of framing the conflict in Afghanistan. Commentators have suggested that it was more like the Cold War framework, in that it purported to explain a host of domestic and international developments, and offered a comprehensive model for making sense of diverse events. Karim H. Karim said that previous US involvement in Afghanistan was 'hardly ever mentioned in the media, which instead presented the US as a savior for the long-suffering Afghans'. The Guardian saw some hope that the future direction of international intervention in Afghanistan might follow a more Blairite 'humanitarian' agenda.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book considers memory as a specific framework for the study of popular film, intervening in growing debates about the status and function of memory in cultural life and discourse. It examines the relationship between official and popular history and the constitution of memory narratives in and around the production and consumption of American cinema. The book explores the political stakes of cinematic discourse in its production of national memory. It also examines the discursive and institutional apparatus that has come to support the memory of Classic Hollywood in British cultural life. The book also considers both the presence of music and colour in nostalgia films of the 1990s and the impact of digital and video technologies on the representational determinants of mediated memory.