I am getting sick of Hollywood leftists changing stories to make America look bad. This script, written by Brian Helgeland, is based on Rajiv Chandresekaran’s nonfiction book about the ineptitude of the U.S. action in Iraq. Unfortunately, Helgeland converts ineptitude into intentional misrepresentation of the presence of WMDs by the Bush Administration, represented by Clark Poundstone (Greg Kinnear), who is just evil.
Most fair observers can agree that the U.S. was inept (not just the Republican Bush Administration, but all the Democratic supporters of the action too, and it was a vast majority of them), but to make a major movie that is based on malfeasance instead of misfeasance is just beyond the pale, although it fits into Hollywood star Matt Damon’s left-wing views. What’s really sad here is that a very good movie could have been made attacking what should be attacked: how the U.S. entered and conducted the war.
Chief Miller (Damon) is in Iraq in 2003 to find weapons of mass destruction, but every time he goes where they are supposed to be, they aren’t. Naturally as the movie progresses, Miller becomes more and more disillusioned and he finds that the U.S. has intentionally manufactured the WMD story out of whole cloth just to get into the war.
It’s too bad that the movie chose to take such a partisan view of things, because few doubt that the American government mishandled the situation. While we’re at it, the only modern presidents I can remember that started major wars are both named Bush. Maybe the incursion by Bush I was justified since Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait and Saudi Arabia was probably next. But there was little justification for Bush II to start a major war. Both were major departures from American precedent.
General Douglas MacArthur is famous for warning against engaging in a land war in Asia against the Chinese. But engaging in a war against Muslims in the Middle East was of equal folly. This movie wouldn’t have lost any of its verisimilitude if it had just followed Hanlon’s Razor, which states, “Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.” The premise of the movie is that those who got us into this mess did without a firm belief that there were WMDs, a position that, so far, has no basis in fact.
The Americans had the best of all worlds in the Middle East. The minority Sunnis controlled Iraq, and the majority Shiites controlled Iran. They have hated each other for more than a millennium. So what did we do? We gave control of Iraq to Shiites! Ill-advised, yes; deliberately fraudulent, no.
Interesting, however, is that Helgeland and Paul Greengrass, a director who seems to be unable to make an unentertaining movie, never once mention Islam. For someone to make a movie about the Iraq war and not even mention Islam is as irresponsible as making a movie like this and basing it on an indefensible main premise.
Even so, the enormously talented Greengrass uses hand-held cameras (Barry Ackroyd) and terrific music (John Powell) to keep the action moving non-stop. If you can ignore the political bias, it’s an entertaining film. But that’s tough to do.