The Gulf: America Abroad: Resisting the Gangbusters Option

Resisting the Gangbusters Option

In the late 1930s, millions of Americans tuned their radio dials one evening a week to the latest adventure of Gang Busters. Each episode opened with a cacophony of sound effects -- marching feet, a burst of machine-gun fire, sirens wailing. The din itself told a story: the mobilization of the forces of good against those of evil; a climactic conflict; finally, the removal of the dead and wounded. Then a stentorian voice blared an all-points bulletin: "Calling the G-men! Calling all Americans to war on the underworld!"

Each installment was a morality play. Villains got what they deserved; violence in...

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