"When you think about it, World War II was far from black and white. Sure, the German and Japanese militarists were evil, but Britain and the United States did terrible things too. They killed hundreds of thousands of German and Japanese civilians, and they allied themselves with the Soviet Union, which was every bit as awful as the Axis. The outcome was ambiguous because, although Germany and Japan were defeated, the Iron Curtain descended from Eastern Europe to North Korea.
Yet for 60 years, Hollywood has had no problem making movies that depict World War II as a struggle of good versus evil. Rightly so. Because for all the Allies’ faults, they were the good guys.
For some reason, Hollywood can’t take an equally clear-eyed view of the war on terrorism. The current conflict, pitting the forces of freedom against those of Islamo-fascism, is every bit as clear cut as World War II. Yet fashionable filmmakers insist on painting both sides in shades of gray, as if Israeli secret agents or American soldiers were comparable to Al Qaeda killers.
Writer/director Stephen Gaghan claims that he heard "Syriana" used in "think tanks in Washington" to refer to a "redrawing of the boundaries in the Middle East." I work in a think tank with a large D.C. office, and I’ve never heard that term. Neither have Middle East experts I consulted.
To the extent that "Syriana" has any message, it seems to be that greedy oil companies, corrupt politicians and malevolent CIA big shots are the bad guys in the Middle East. Two of the most positive characters are a Hezbollah kingpin ...and a Pakistani laborer who is driven to become a suicide bomber...
"Munich" is a more compelling film but just as specious morally. It tells the story of a Mossad hit team sent to avenge the murders of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Summer Olympics by eliminating 11 Palestinian terrorists. … [One] team member says: "All this blood comes back to us." … The implication is that if the Israelis weren’t killing PLO operatives, they would stop killing Jews.
[Spielberg told Time magazine]: "A response to a response doesn’t really solve anything. … The only thing that’s going to solve this is … a lot of sitting down and talking until you’re blue in the gills."
Where has Spielberg been for the last 15 years? Israel tried his "blue in the gills" approach in the 1990s, but the Oslo process only led to greater bloodshed. Israel defeated the second intifada not by chatting with terrorists but by fighting them. " Munich" depicts assassinations as pointless. In reality, Israel’s policy of targeted killings has dramatically reduced the threat from Hamas and other extremist groups.
The lesson of World War II still stands: Civilized countries must use violence to defeat barbarians. Why is that so hard for Hollywood to understand?"
Retired from the US Air Force after more than 20 years of service. Now working as a contractor for various government agencies.