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December 22, 2005

More Munich Trashing

I think my wait-and-see attitude was wrong:

Spielberg’s Palestinian terrorists have deals with CIA officials in which they are paid not to harm American diplomats. Real-life Palestinians in 1973 beat to death U.S. diplomats, like Cleo Noel and George Curtis Moore in the Sudan, with Yasser Arafat personally giving the orders. (They were tortured to death and beaten so badly, authorities could not tell which of the two was black and which was white.)

Spielberg’s Palestinian terrorists have cute, young, innocent, piano-playing daughters who will be fatherless. But he never shows the cute, young daughters of the Israeli athletes who were made fatherless – and whose fathers, unlike the Palestinian terrorists, were innocent victims with no choice in the matter.

Spielberg’s Mossad agents say bigoted things like, “The only blood that matters to me is Jewish blood,” and go around killing innocent people at whim. The real-life Mossad agents who hunted the Munich terrorists went to great pains to avoid killing innocents (whether or not they were Jewish), a reason it took so many years and financial resources to get all but one of them. (Jamil Al-Gashey lives safely under the protection of the terror-state Syria.) In real-life, they killed only one innocent man whom they mistakenly believed to be a terrorist – a Moroccan waiter in Norway – for which those Mossad agents responsible were tried, convicted, and imprisoned, something that does not happen in the Spielberg version of events.

One of Hollywood's biggest problems with respect to the War on Terror isn't their leftist politics per se. It's that they feel, as an artistic, aesthetic matter, every film must be an anti-war film.

Even Saving Private Ryan, intended by Spielberg as a tribute to the men who fought for freedom during World War II, was, implicitly and unavoidably, at heart an anti-war film. Spielberg said as much.

Bruce Willis' underated Tears of the Sun was likewise intended by Willis to show the courage of Navy SEALs, but still, the film had a decidely anti-war bent. It was the rescue of innocents that made the mission worthwhile, not the practice of warfare against savage enemies itself.

The enemy in war, as Denzel Washington declared in Crimson Tide, is war itself. (Yes, he was speaking of "war in the nuclear age," but close enough.) This mentality is fine for popcorn pictures like the James Bond franchise. And it's actually a fair truism as far as most war and most violence goes.

But what happens when an enemy is so malicious and monstrous that that this ambivalence towards the use of force becomes, well, idiotic? That's where Hollywood loses its bearings, and that's why, as regards the War on Terror, it's perpetually stuck on stupid. The paradigm that serves it well in 90% of its products just is inapplicable here, and they can't seem to make themselves realize that.

One can understand moral ambivalence as regards Vietnam, Korea, World War One, and even the Revolutionary War. But World War II? And the current war, in which we're fighting moral monsters whose tactics would make Hitler himself cringe?

The term "good war" is not an oxymoron. It's simply a rarity, a historical exception to a general rule. It's too bad that genuinely creative and gifted folks in Hollywood don't have the capacity to recognize that nuance.


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posted by Ace at 02:26 PM

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