Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Mel Gibson's at it again.

Another Jesus movie? No. Building another conservative Catholic church? No.
Anti-semitism? No.

The filmmaker and actor, fiercely criticized for his anti-Semitic outburst when he was arrested for drunk driving last July, showed the as-yet unfinished movie [Apocalypto] on Friday, first at a casino and at Cameron University in Oklahoma, where he arrived in wig and disguise, according to The Associated Press. Then he moved on to the Fantastic Fest film festival in Austin, Tex., where he compared the American troop deployment in Iraq to the kind of human sacrifice depicted in his film, about ancient Mayans, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Mr. Gibson’s antiwar remarks immediately raised a red flag for conservative fans of his “The Passion of the Christ.”

In a phone interview today, the conservative radio talk show host and columnist Michael Medved said: “If these antiwar comments are the beginning of an ill-considered, organized campaign to get back into the good graces of the Hollywood establishment that gave him the Oscar for ‘Braveheart,’ so he can show he’s not different from them and march arm-in-arm with Sean Penn and Susan Sarandon, there will be a great deal of disgust from the people who have enjoyed Mel’s movies in the past.”

Anti-semitism is OK. But you can't question the Dear Leader's War of Civilizations in Iraq, because Iraq, as the President has abundantly made clear, is The Central Front on The War On Terror.

Problem for conservatives is, if they knew anything about the Internets and Google, they'd know Gibson's lack of enthusiasm for the war in Iraq goes back at least two years. So his remarks are neither new nor apparently designed to pacify his liberal Hollywood friends.

Speaking of Iraq, and World War VII or whatever conservatives are calling it these days, have you noticed that NOW that the war is proving to be an unmitigated disaster both militarily as well as politically, the war and the administration's most fevered apologists are suddenly claiming that well, maybe Iraq isn't all that important anyway, despite the President's earlier claims that the war in Iraq is the central front of the war on terrorism:

He has described Iraq as the "central front" in the war against terrorists, noting frequently how Osama bin Laden has urged his followers to go to Iraq to fight the Americans.

Here's Intellegence Chief John Negroponte yesterday:

The conclusion of U.S. intelligence analysts that the Iraq war has increased the threat from terrorism is only "a fraction of judgments" in a newly disclosed National Intelligence Estimate, Director of National Intelligence John D. Negroponte said yesterday.

And here's Pat Roberts, the administration's lapdog chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee:

Sen Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), chairman of the Intelligence Committee, joined in the call to declassify the new NIE. He said the administration should do so, so "the American people can see the material for themselves and come to their own conclusions," adding: "There is a false impression that the NIE focuses solely on Iraq and terrorism. That is not true. This NIE examines global terrorism in its totality."

So, even though Iraq is the "central front" in the war on terrorism, the war in Iraq is really just a small piece of the NIE.

Meanwhile, another neo-con, Robert Kagan has a different spin:

For instance, what specifically does it mean to say that the Iraq war has worsened the "terrorism threat"? Presumably, the NIE's authors would admit that this is speculation rather than a statement of fact, since the facts suggest otherwise. Before the Iraq war, the United States suffered a series of terrorist attacks: the bombing and destruction of two American embassies in East Africa in 1998, the terrorist attack on the USS Cole in 2000, and the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Since the Iraq war started, there have not been any successful terrorist attacks against the United States [emphasis mine, although there have been successful attacks against other war participants like Spain and Great Britain, so maybe that's what the report's authors are alluding to, Bob. And there was that much balleyhood incident, again in Great Britain, involving the alleged plot to detonate a bomb or bombs on airliners bound for the U.S. by bringing bomb ingredients on to the planes separately, in liquid containers, a threat which has resulted in a very well publicized series of measures--now modified--designed to eliminate the potential for liquids to be brought onto planes, Bob.]. That doesn't mean the threat has diminished because of the Iraq war, but it does place the burden of proof on those who argue that it has increased.

So, war apologists like Kagan are NOW saying, well, you can't really say Iraq has made things worse because you can't quantify "worseness".

Well, Bob, the problem of terrorism, as the President and his allies unceasingly reminded us before the Iraqi invasion, was not just the terrorists themselves, but the states that either directly sponsored terrorist attacks, or were so weak or negligent that the states provided a defacto "safe haven" for terrorist organizations, i.e. "failed states". What we have in the case of Iraq, Bob, is the second of these. Iraq is a failed state. The only safe part of it, relatively speaking, is the Green Zone, a tiny, concrete-enclosed island in Baghdad inhabited by U.S. Personnel and what exists of Iraq's elected government.

The parts of the country that are somewhat functioning, like the Kurdish section in the north, are indicative of the country's other problem: the likelihood Iraq will ultimately desolve into three or more independent regions. This wouldn't be a problem in many areas of the world provided the autonomous entities were not organized along ethnic or religious lines, or in regions of the world where vital natural resources were not at stake. As you can probably surmise, Bob, neither of these conditions exists in Iraq. Its ethnic and religious divisions, not to mention its large reserves of oil, sort of guarantee that none of these groups are prepared to live in peaceful cohabitation, all the while allowing the U.S. and the west unfettered access to its oil.

So, Bob, these are the conditions the liberal, know-nothing, intelligence authors of the report are probably alluding to when they suggest Iraq has worsened the terrorism threat.

As Peter Bergen--someone who actually knows something about the region and about Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden in particular--has said:

What we have done in Iraq is what bin Laden could not have hoped for in his wildest dreams: We invaded an oil-rich Muslim nation in the heart of the Middle East, the very type of imperial adventure that bin Laden has long predicted was the United States' long-term goal in the region. We deposed the secular socialist Saddam, whom bin Laden has long despised, ignited Sunni and Shia fundamentalist fervor in Iraq, and have now provoked a "defensive" jihad that has galvanized jihad-minded Muslims around the world. It's hard to imagine a set of policies better designed to sabotage the war on terrorism.

No comments: