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Thursday, December 27, 2012


The jingoistic Kathryn Bigelow

Many commentators, foremost among them the brilliant Glenn Greenwald (and here), have taken director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal to task for the homage to torture called "Zero Dark Thirty." But many of them seem surprised.

Having seen Bigelow and Boal's first award-winning film, "The Hurt Locker," only recently, I wasn't. That film too was an exercise in propaganda. All of the killing of innocents was done by the "bad guys," never by the noble American soldiers. In one scene, someone watches the bomb disposal expert from a distance, holding what may (or may not) be a camera, looking very suspicious. In real life, the American soldiers would have almost certainly shot him, but not in Hurt Locker. In another, someone with a cell phone is spotted watching the bomb disposers, and in fact triggers the bomb. Needless to say, the soldiers in the film didn't shoot him either. And we also have the noble American soldier repeatedly risking his own life to disarm bombs and save Iraqi civilians. If I'm remembering correctly, and I think I am, there isn't a single instance of improper behavior from the American soldiers, except when they fight among themselves.

Whether it's propaganda extolling the U.S. military or propaganda extolling torture and the CIA, Bigelow and Boal seem to be up to the job.

Thursday, December 06, 2012


U.S.: "Don't emulate us, Syria!"

The U.S. government is now vociferously warning Syria not to use chemical weapons. The U.S. government! That would be the same country that firebombed 67 Japanese cities, killing hundreds of thousands of people and destroying 50-90% of each of the cities. Were they dropping matches from the air? No, they were dropping Napalm bombs, a chemical weapon.

That would also be the country that in addition to continuing to use Napalm in its war against the people of Vietnam, carpetbombed that country with Agent Orange, another chemical weapon that killed or maimed an estimated 400,000 Vietnamese and caused an estimated 500,000 birth defects.

That would also be the country that covered Iraq with depleted Uranium, still another chemical weapon that has caused huge numbers of cancers and birth defects in that country.

And finally, that country, the one who is warning Syria about the dire consequences of using chemical weapons (and claiming they are preparing to do so, while maintaining that their "evidence" cannot be revealed), is the same country that said and did nothing when its ally Israel used white phosphorous bombs against Gaza in 2009.

The U.S. government warning against the use of chemical weapons? That's rich.

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