The other night, I watched Oliver Stone’s Biopic W. I think I speak for many who have seen the film by noting that Stone’s attempt at showing “both sides” of President George W. Bush seems shockingly diplomatic. Stone doesn’t shrink from presenting the much heralded failures of the man (the shiftlessness of his youth, the blunder in announcing that Saddam Hussein had Weapons of Mass Destruction, etc). But Stone also presents the lighter side-W’s calling to serve God and his dedication to living up to his family legacy.As the credits rolled, I sat stunned and mystified. I grew nauseated. I fought a sudden, profound urge to scrub my eyeballs with lye-covered steel wool. Oliver Stone, thou hath forsaken me.
The flat, lifeless acting and boring script didn’t bring about my alarming reaction. I simply couldn’t stomach any attempt to exonerate a man who deserves nothing but contempt and a reputation as the worst mistake our nation ever made.
The man is a war criminal. A 2006 study by conducted by researchers at the John Hopkins University estimated that more than 600,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed since the invasion in 2002. Wait.did I say “have been killed?” I meant “have been murdered by the actions of our corrupt government.” Of course, good ole W responded by denying the validity of the study.
I’m surprised Christians haven’t railed against the depiction of W as a warrior for God convinced that the Higher Power backed his attack on Iraq. If this depiction is accurate-which I believe it is-that means that W has more in common with Osama Bin Laden than Christ-his presumed hero and source of inspiration. As terrifying and disturbing as the 9/11 attacks were, the amount of civilian deaths pales in comparison to the John Hopkins figures concerning civilian deaths in Iraq.
Still, as the movie also suggests, religious zealotry (smacking with Christian Jihadist implications) was not the only cause for W to declare war on Iraq. Hussein, after all, did try to assassinate W’s father. Should a personal grudge assuage critics of the war? I certainly hope not.
Stone only hints at the theories on W and his cronies wanting to secure the oil fields of Iraq.another grievous oversight. Just last week, a court order forced The Commerce Department to release records indicating that Vice President Dick Cheney met with various oil giants to formulate a plan to steal Iraqi oil. The meetings took place before the 9/11 attacks. Check out the story on BoingBoing.net.
But I digress: back to the movie. Following some bizarre attempt at artistry, Stone glossed over numerous other fun facts about good ole W. Google search images of W attending Senator John McCain’s birthday party while the levy’s broke during the Katrina catastrophe. These two stalwart political icons-the moron and the “maverick”-smiled and sliced birthday cake while we nearly lost one of the oldest cities in our nation.
Instead of reenacting this scene, or Bush sitting silently in a classroom-playing possum, so to speak-when informed about the attacks on September 11, Stone focuses on the behind-the-scenes moments of W’s life and presidency. I had always assumed that W’s administration kept him in a cage and fed him banana peels when he wasn’t appearing at press conferences or delivering speeches.an honest mistake, I suppose.
The point is that I don’t care what went on behind the scenes. I don’t care about the tremendous hangover that led W back to his faith. I don’t care about his Fraternity hazing or his bar-room exploits. I care that he isn’t behind bars. The man has incalculable blood on his hands, and, we, the people-even those of us who didn’t vote for him-share some of the guilt.
Instead of learning the real lesson that the 9/11 attacks clearly provided: hatred and factionalism breed horrors beyond imagination, we beat our collective chest, waved flags, and looked for people to hurt to ease our suffering. Sure, terrorists are bad, but I feel that invading a country for various deceptive and evil reasons would seem pretty terrifying to the civilian populous. Oh, wait, the Iraqi civilians didn’t feel terror, they felt “shock and awe.”
I found a Facebook club the other day entitled “Grateful for President George W. Bush.” Seriously? I considered joining the group and uploading various pictures of atrocities committed in Iraq against civilians. Unfortunately, I couldn’t bear the idea of having the club listed under my name. Oh well. If one of my readers could stomach joining the group and uploading said pictures, I give full blessing. I found some at mindpod.com (don’t go there unless you have a very strong stomach).
By releasing his movie, Stone only reinforced this disturbing forgiveness Americans are showing President George W. Bush. I suggest not watching it, and not honoring the subject. I recommend, instead, watching the David Simon’s HBO miniseries Generation Kill, which provides a sympathetic view of our soldiers (which I tentatively support) and illustrates the incredible loss of civilian life in Iraq.
See you next time.