This film will appeal to people who hold Bush responsible for everything from masterminding 9/11 to their grandmother's halitosis. It offers up a neat, easy explanation for why we did not find WMDs in Iraq. If only reality were so simple.
For the rest of us, this is another in a long line of movies that lectures the American public about the Iraq war. The checklist is all there. Gentle Iraqis being harassed and arrested for no reason. Check. Torture of an innocent person. Check. Menacing dogs and black hoods. Check. Chaos and deprivation in Baghdad after the invasion. Check. The feeling that Iraq was better off before the war. Check.
There is no mention in this film whatsoever of 9/11. Nor of Saddam's refusal to let international inspectors do their jobs and look for WMDs in the months leading up to the war. Nor of the atrocities and horrors that Saddam and his Baathist buddies visited on the country. One suspects the script was written back before the election, when the eventual stability of Iraq was stil in doubt. There are all sorts of lines about democracy-building or peace in Iraq that don't seem as ironic as they were probably intended, now that the country has stabilized.
Real history is just so messy.
It's no secret that there were mistakes leading up to the war and in the execution of the war. The shame in this movie, however, is the fantasmic rewriting of history that will lodge in some willing brains as evidence that a conspiracy occurred.
I'm off to buy stock in tin foil.
I dunno. Maybe it's not all that bad. The trailer, after all, shows at least one enjoyable scene, in which Matt Damon goes down in the dirt after a palm-heel strike from one of the Harry Potter actors. Skip to the 30 second mark of this trailer for your moment of zen:
Also, there's a longer version of this awesome scene out there somewhere, I found it yesterday when I was thinking about blogging it, but I can't seem to find it anymore. If one of you readers with better google-fu than I can find it, please let me know.