Opening this weekend, director Paul Greengrass (United 93) gives us Green Zone starring Matt Damon. In what plays like a dramatization of an extended edition of NBC Universal’s Hardball on MSNBC, with host Chris Matthews harping about the U.S. military intervention in Iraq, NBC Universal’s Green Zone takes the same non-controversial position, namely, that the initial motive for taking down Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship, to eliminate so-called weapons of mass destruction (WMD), was a bust. By now, everyone knows that. It’s a narrow perspective, too narrow for what the subject deserves (Greengrass had the same problem in his morally agnostic United 93), but this picture works as a straightforward fable about the Bush administration’s incompetence in waging war against America’s religious fascist enemies. Opening and closing with the chaos that was (and continues to be) Iraq, in an aimless, selfless military incursion which has killed thousands of Americans and accomplished nothing in our self-interest, the film features Damon as a lone soldier who eventually refuses to just follow orders. Steadying his trademark jerky camera only slightly, Greengrass depicts Baghdad’s green zone as a hedonistic haven for beer-guzzling slobs sending men off to die for no legitimate reason, stocked with ladies in bikinis and a press corps willing to go along with the government’s line of the day, usually spun by Greg Kinnear’s sniveling Bushie who could easily be one of today’s sniveling Obamatrons spewing about Iraq, Afghanistan, or, for that matter, Obama’s scheme to seize control of the medical profession and health insurance industry. Sneering Kinnear even looks and sounds like White House propaganda meister Robert Gibbs. With Amy Ryan as a Wall Street Journal toady for the U.S. government, who begins to question what she’s done (better late than never), and Kinnear dispatching teams to throw rogue Damon off the trail proving that the emperor has no WMDs (and worse than that no purpose), the character to watch is a courageous individualist named Freddy (Khalid Abdalla in an excellent performance). In two words, “for me,” Freddy declares the proper moral imperative for an act of military self-defense, yet, as Green Zone capably illustrates, nobody’s listening to Freddy until it’s too late. “We won,” someone asserts as a fact, after George W. Bush’s infamous Mission: Accomplished banner is seen flapping in the wind. No, we did not, we have not, and we will not, because winning by the anti-American standards set by Bush/Obama is impossible. Worse, as Green Zone amply shows with looters, snipers, and deposed generals, we have abandoned the idea that, in the aftermath of the 9/11 attack and the rising religious fascism of nuclearized Iran, it is urgently necessary to achieve total victory over our enemies, not coddle civilians, appease Islamism, and cater to those who seek to destroy us. If nothing else, Green Zone gives us a man who rejects the status quo and acts to slow, if not stop, the self-sacrifice in Iraq.
I can’t bring myself to see the usual glut of Oscar’s lousy, gloomy Best Picture contenders. One unfortunate exception is Up in the Air, another boring movie about traditionalism by way of monotonous speeches about nothing urging us to be mediocre and conservative. Consciously or not, that is the common theme of today’s most sought-after young filmmakers, such as Judd Apatow (Knocked Up, Superbad), Todd Phillips (Old School, The Hangover), and Up in the Air‘s director Jason Reitman (Juno, Thank You for Smoking), who generally make bland or putrid movies that exist to preach tradition for the sake of tradition. Toss Up in the Air into that category; it is as bereft of meaning as its title and that is exactly its point.
Garry Marshall’s formulaic love letter to Los Angeles, Valentine’s Day, is silly, predictable mush. In other words, it is a welcome escape from the trash. With an all-star cast, fun, catchy songs, and stories that relate to everyone in vignettes strung together by dual romances (Ashton Kutcher/Jessica Alba and Jennifer Garner/Patrick Dempsey), Valentine’s Day happily celebrates being in love with life; work, husbands, wives, lovers, children, pets, sunny days, bright flowers, and the movies. Kutcher steals every scene in this extended version of ABC’s TV series Love American Style, which Mr. Marshall occasionally wrote. Go see it, cringe at the bad jokes and casting (Julia Roberts as a soldier is ridiculous), and have a good time. Bring a loved one.
Opening this weekend: Disney’s Alice in Wonderland, which I was not looking forward to seeing (I’m not an admirer of director Tim Burton’s movies). I was pleasantly surprised. Read my review here.
The Associated Press reports an update from the front:
“The Marjah operation is a major test of a new NATO strategy that stresses protecting civilians over [defeating enemy combatants]…Troops cannot call in airstrikes to clear snipers from buildings if they believe civilians are inside. Troops cannot fire on suspected insurgents unless they are seen carrying a weapon or discarding one.”
And now, with 12 troops reportedly killed in action since the heavily advertised “offensive” began, the Obama administration is refusing to identify casualties by nationality. The degree of self-sacrifice is not nearly enough for the thoroughly corrupt Afghan ruler, who insists on zero civilian deaths. Since Islamic terrorists attacked America on September 11, 2001, it has been our nation’s military policy to put the lives of Others (civilians and enemy combatants, who are often the same) above the lives of Americans; now self-sacrifice is explicit and official policy. This idea, imposed by Barack Obama in Marjah, the first major ground operation since he ordered 30,000 troops to Afghanistan, is an evil policy of national suicide; it dishonors every American, soldier and civilian, and it must not be tolerated by the American public.
While the press fawns over the latest scandal, Democrats scheme to resurrect socialized medicine and sneak to enslave the medical profession, and conservatives whoop themselves into a frenzy over a Christian libertarian who would not lift a weapon against an enemy until after the United States is attacked, the men and women in our Armed Forces at Marjah are being slowly blown to bits, one by one, solider by soldier. Our soliders are dying in Afghanistan so that Others including our enemies may live. With Iran on the verge of being able to wage atomic warfare, we have every reason to believe that we, the people, are next.
President Obama is taking the Bush administration’s foreign policy to the logical next step in Afghanistan. America has issued an explicit announcement of an impending strike, including the exact location of where our troops will be deployed, in an outrageous yet unsurprising act of self-sacrifice. According to Voice of America, and this is being widely reported, the U.S. will attack the Taliban at Marjah in the southern region of Afghanistan, following a public campaign to notify the enemy and civilians of our planned troop positions. The purpose of the announcement, according to commanding General Stanley McChrystal, (acting under the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Afghanistan), is to prevent the loss of civilian life. The general apparently thinks the advance notification will lead to the Taliban abandoning Marjah without resistance. Unless there has been a secret war and the general knows more than he’s saying, this policy is an explicit statement that the lives of our soldiers are of lesser value than the lives of others. Whatever happens at Marjah, the largest combat operation since President Obama ordered 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan in December, the offensive is based on pure altruism, the idea that everyone else whether civilians or enemy combatants, matters but you don’t, and Marjah is pre-set as an elaborate deathtrap for American soldiers. Those of us (including me), who considered supporting candidate Obama because he promised to pull troops out of Iraq and act in America’s self-interest, take note: he is advancing the Bush policy of sacrifice as our national military defense purpose, only without the pretense of actually fighting the enemy.
Not everyone in the military accepts self-sacrifice as his moral purpose. One young soldier, Carl Bjork, who is being persecuted by the Obama administration (he is facing a court-martial for doing his job), is fighting back: visit his family’s Web site, Support Captain Carl Bjork, to learn more about his cause and how to help (hat tip: Dr. John David Lewis). In the meantime, his fellow soldiers are marching into a deathtrap at Marjah…
The government has released a series of aerial photographs of the September 11, 2001, Islamic terrorist attack on America. The photo set, appropriately presented and captioned by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) here, taken from a helicopter by Greg Semendinger of the New York City Police Department (NYPD), was made available to the public following an ABC News Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) filing. The record of this atrocity, currently the worst attack in U.S. history, speaks for itself. Nine years, two counterproductive military incursions, and over 6,000 dead Americans later, America is still at war with states that sponsor Islamic fascism. But we continue to evade that fact and, with religious dictatorship Iran vowing to destroy the West and a national foreign and domestic policy of self-sacrifice, I think we are ominously, rapidly heading toward our nation’s destruction. For more audio-visual records of this historic assault, read my 2006 roundup of recommended DVDs on the subject, or my 2005 article on DVDs with CNN’s coverage, other footage, and the Discovery Channel’s 90-minute chronological recreation of United Air Lines Flight 93, The Flight That Fought Back. Leonard Peikoff named 9/11 Black Tuesday. These photographs, which do not begin to capture the horror of that day, remind us why he is right.
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- Scott Holleran
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