Are antiwar, Hollywood leftists congenitally incapable of patriotism for their own country? Hey, far be it from me to make any unfair, sweeping generalizations, but take as just one example well-known director Brian De Palma. He has recently made a movie about American soldiers and the war in Iraq that has reportedly stunned viewers at the world-renowned Venice Film Festival â€” and by â€œstunnedâ€ I donâ€™t mean dazzled with positive images.
The film is called â€œRedacted.â€ And would you care to guess as to the specific nature of the subject matter? An American atrocity in Iraq, of course! What else would it be about? American soldiers building roads, schools and hospitals, fighting murderous terrorists and insurgents, and just generally trying to help Iraq become a free and decent country?
Please. Brian De Palma fancies himself a towering artist and iconoclast. He doesnâ€™t make movies to buck up what he might consider to be the pitiful fantasies of all those hoodwinked saps who still believe America is some kind of big deal and a force for good in the world.
Instead, he has made a movie that speaks truth to power, in this case presenting the United States military forces as a pack of sadistic misfits who are too antisocial and thickheaded to get decent jobs in the private sector. (Or, as Senator John F. Kerry so eloquently put it, they didnâ€™t do their homework and ended up in Iraq.)
Getting down to specifics, â€œRedactedâ€ is about the real-life rape and killing of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl by U.S. soldiers who also murdered the girlâ€™s family. Regarding the war in Iraq, it is said to be â€œa harrowing indictment of the conflict and spares the audience no brutality to get its message across.”
And what exactly is its message? Hereâ€™s what De Palma told reporters after the Venice screening of the movie: â€œThe movie is an attempt to bring the reality of what is happening in Iraq to the American people. The pictures are what will stop the war. One only hopes that these images will get the public incensed enough to motivate their Congressmen to vote against this war.â€
Case closed. No, not on the supposed wrongness of the war. On the fact that â€œRedactedâ€ is a propaganda film, pure and simple, as spelled out by De Palmaâ€™s own words. It takes an aberrant incident and presents it as if itâ€™s a routine event under a brutal American occupation, all for the purpose of inflaming the public in the hope that they will demand an end to the war. Why would De Palma do such a thing? Because like all antiwar leftists, he suffers from extreme moral confusion and doesnâ€™t understand which side is good and which side is bad in this conflict in Iraq.
Antiwar reasoning leans toward the childishly simplistic and boils down to something along the lines of the following: Before the U.S. invasion, Iraq was a stable and sovereign country that was basically minding its own business and not bothering anyone. Since the invasion itâ€™s been a chaotic mess where thousands of innocent citizens have been slaughtered, all because of the American presence which antagonizes the insurgents and terrorists, and also because of kill-crazy GIâ€™s like the ones depicted in â€œRedacted.â€
Okay, there is a tiny grain of truth to the first part in that Iraq was relatively stable before the invasion, thanks to Saddamâ€™s iron-fisted rule. But that doesnâ€™t mean it was a nice place to live before America intervened. It was stable only in the sense that it wasnâ€™t outwardly chaotic, but as everyone on the planet knows, far more people were killed by Saddam than have been killed since and if he had been left in power, the killing would have continued.
Sure, under Saddam bombs werenâ€™t going off everyday in markets and elsewhere. But what kind of quality of life was it for the average Iraqi knowing that he or any of his loved ones could have been plucked off the street or out of their homes at any instant, on any pretext, and subjected to some of the most depraved brutality human minds have ever conceived? Rape rooms, people dropped into shredding machines, children tortured in front of their parents, people fed to wild animals. It was a nightmare regime of the first order and had exactly zero chance of becoming any better, especially since Saddamâ€™s psycho sons would probably have taken over after papa was finished doing his damage.
But the great Hollywood artistes werenâ€™t much interested in any of that. Back then, when Saddam was still in power, the motto might as well have been, â€œWhat happens in Baghdad stays in Baghdad.â€ Saddam could have filled up mass graves with innocent Iraqis until doomsday and it would never have so much as entered the conversation during anyoneâ€™s power lunch at Spago.
Only after America intervened were consciences suddenly pricked and artistic sensibilities stirred â€” but, as usual, for the wrong reasons. In their moral confusion, and with their deep-seated, psychopathological contempt for their own country, they were angry at Bush and the American military whose goal was to bring liberty and decency to Iraq and â€” hopefully â€” eventually to the rest of the Middle East.
Now, De Palma, in his moral confusion, wants America out of Iraq immediately. And what would he say to the Iraqis who would be left to the tender mercies of al Qaeda and the various insurgents? Good luck, see ya later, sayonara.
By the way, have you heard about one of al Qaedaâ€™s new techniques for bringing people into submission? This would make a great Brian De Palma-style, blood-spattered movie scene. What they do is, they get someone and they take a piano wire and they literally rip the personâ€™s face off with it, preferably in front of his family and anybody else they want to intimidate. But Iâ€™m guessing that sort of thing got left out of â€œRedacted.â€
Either De Palma and the rest of the get-out-now crowd havenâ€™t completely thought this withdrawal thing through or they naively believe al Qaeda will become Islamic choir boys if America will only leave. But an easy trip down memory lane to the not-so-long-ago time when the Taliban dominated Afghanistan should dispel any such foolish notions. Should. But it wonâ€™t. Not with this crowd.
What De Palma set out to do with this movie is unseemly, un-American and unpatriotic. Yep, thatâ€™s right, Iâ€™m daring to question De Palmaâ€™s patriotism â€” or at least his concept of what patriotism is. When the troops are in harmâ€™s way as they perform a noble mission (helping Iraq make a transition from nightmarish totalitarian regime to a free and decent country), and when a Hollywood hothead tears them down with a scandalously misleading depiction designed to inflame antiwar passions, that fits no familiar concept of patriotism.
The movie will likely bomb (no pun intended) in this country, but will probably do boffo box office in all the usual places around the world where America-haters love to seethe in unison. In the meantime, American soldiers will continue to lay their lives on the line for the betterment of Iraq. With America in Iraq there is at least a chance for the country to improve. If America had never intervened, there would have been no chance whatsoeverÂ and Saddam would still be piling up the corpses in an outwardly appearing â€œstableâ€ country.
It is logically impossible for an American to depict Americans as the bad guys in this conflict and simultaneously be patriotic. Americans who are actually patriotic shouldnâ€™t be subjected to â€œRedacted,â€ which was malevolently concocted and ought to be disrespected, contradicted and counteracted.
Greg Strange provides conservative commentary with plenty of acerbic wit on the people, politics, events and absurdities of our time. See more at his website: http://www.greg-strange.com/. Also, check out his “Religion of Peace” World News Round-up for all the latest Islamic absurdities and tidbits.