Review: I have some problems with this film. But, it also serves a useful purpose, and exposes more first hand testimony about the U.S. gulags. For that it may be quite useful to a lot of people.
The film firmly establishes that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and their lawyers are war criminals who should be arrested and tried. That’s the good part. I already knew that of course.
The bad part is that this is a partisan piece and partially a whitewash concerning American aggression in general and the role of the Democratic Party in war crimes. By trying to tie everything to only the Bush gang, a large piece of the puzzle is missing.
In Sherry Jones’ film, we are to believe that the CIA discovered torture in the 1960s, where it lay dormant until 9/11 suddenly allowed Bush and company to revive it. This is nonsense on its face. The CIA has always embraced torture and has written “manuals” on how to practice it. The CIA exports this knowledge to client regimes who practice it around the world.
An investigative journalist who wanted to present an honest case would know that and include it.
The film also takes a few minutes to mention “extraordinary rendition”, the practice of kidnapping “suspects” and flying them off to terror regimes for torture by proxy. Only the rendition of certain people is worthy of comment however. No mention of renditions under Bill Clinton and now under Barack Obama makes it to the airwaves (note: the film was originally released in October 2008 on the eve of the election, and so prior to Obama’s sanctioning of torture by proxy).
Long time career criminal Richard Armitage is presented as a moral leader who opposed torture. Similarly, Colin Powell is given the kid-gloves treatment, although he is long known for his covering up of the My Lai massacre and his involvement in Iran/Contra.
The net-effect of presenting hard core repeat offender felons as your star witnesses is to diminish their other crimes. The totality of US criminal aggression is ignored in favor of a few useful soundbites.
The film does some insidious war propaganda, though I doubt the filmmaker understands this, or intended it as such.
Repeatedly using the phrase “the war on terror” without the quotations, and accepting this farcical Big Lie as reality without investigation. It should be noted that the Obama regime recently dropped this term officially.
The most deceitful and damaging thing the film does, however, is to never challenge the legality of the wars of aggression themselves.
Bush’s rationales for both invading Afghanistan and Iraq are presented without a challenge from any critic. The wars themselves are the “supreme international crimes” and contain within these crimes the entirety of war crimes, including torture. That’s quite an omission.
Calling out the criminal wars of aggression would, of course, indict numerous Democratic Party war criminals alongside Bush and his cronies. And that’s not permitted in a partisan piece about torture.
Even one of the congressional votes that is included in the film never discloses that the congress was controlled by the Democrats at the time it granted the Bush regime “immunity” from prosecution for torture and other war crimes. That’s complicity.
The official Big Lie about the 9/11 attacks is also presented uncritically, right at the beginning of the film. No hint that intelligence agencies were tied to some of the presumed “hijackers” and that numerous anomalies that helped the attacks to proceed were documented. Investigations into people like Zacharias Moussaoui were inexplicably given a roadblock before the attacks.
Money transfers apparently linked the hijackers to the US “ally, the government of Pakistan. These questions were hushed up. This is not surprising since Bush himself is exposed during the attacks as reading about a goat instead of defending the nation from the 9/11 attacks as they occurred. His refusal to act as “Commander in Chief” appears to have given “aid and comfort” to the attackers at the crucial moment.
U.S. Relies More on Aid of Allies in Terror Cases
The New York Times
By ERIC SCHMITT and MARK MAZZETTI
Published: May 23, 2009
Obama’s War on Terror May Resemble Bush’s in Some Areas
The New York Times
By CHARLIE SAVAGE
Published: February 17, 2009