16 August 2006

Wrong role for Bush in the WTC movie

I recently got to see Oliver Stone's new film World Trade Center.

Overall, I thought it was a very good movie. It was powerful and moving, and the acting was superb. I recommend it highly.

I found myself cringing, however, at one of the movie's few references to George W. Bush. It was an audio clip of Bush talking tough after the 9/11 attacks, promising the American people that he was in control and that justice would be served.

But the Bush we hear in that audio clip is not the real George W. Bush. Instead, it's the coached and choreographed Bush that eventually made his way onto the airwaves. The real Bush hid, frozen and clueless, in an elementary school classroom. The leader of the free world sat idle, looking like a deer in the headlights, knowing that America was under attack.

Of course it would have been inappropriate for Stone to use this movie to highlight Bush's incompetence. But did he really have to waste 15 seconds of footage with what essentially seems like a Republican campaign ad?


Two other minor problems with the movie, while I'm at it:

• The hero figure in the movie was a former Marine, Staff Sergeant Dave Karnes, who found and rescued the two main characters who were trapped under the debris at Ground Zero. A blurb on the screen at the end of the movie indicated that Karnes had re-enlisted after 9/11 and went on to serve two tours of duty in Iraq -- as if Iraq had anything to do with 9/11.

• The movie was preceded by a commercial for the National Guard, which painted a glamorous picture of how a Guardsman's role is to defend our homeland and rescue Americans when disaster (like 9/11) strikes. Sure, that's what the National Guard used to be (and still should be). Times, unfortunately, have changed. But the ad makes no mention whatsoever of how Rumsfeld has redefined the purpose of the National Guard by sending them halfway around the globe to fight in Iraq.

Nonetheless, I think the movie is well worth seeing, if only to once again feel (however briefly) that sense of national and international unity that we all felt in the wake of 9/11.

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