Clint Eastwood’s latest movie, American Sniper, has become the most controversial film being considered for Best Picture at the upcoming Academy Awards ceremonies.
The Oscars telecast is scheduled for February 22.
The film depicts the life of Chris Kyle, who became the deadliest sniper in American history with 160 confirmed kills.
As a Navy SEAL who served four tours of duty in Iraq, he became known as “The Legend” to his fellow soldiers–and as “The Devil” to Iraqi insurgents.
A $20,000 bounty was placed on his head.
The criticism is coming from the Left, and has triggered outrage from the Right. Much of this criticism focuses on the movie’s failure to reveal what led the United States to invade Iraq on March 19, 2003.
A crucial scene in the movie occurs shortly after Kyle (Bradley Cooper) has completed his SEAL training.
He and his wife (Sienna Miller) are watching the collapse of the World Trade Center on TV. Then, suddenly, the film cuts to Iraq, where Kyle is now serving as a sniper.
Critics have charged that this implies a connection between the two events.
In fact, that was precisely what the administration of President George W. Bush wanted Americans to believe: That Saddam Hussein had worked hand-in-hand with Osama bin Laden to plan and execute the catastrophe of September 11, 2001.
So where did this all start? There is actually a dark historical parallel to the events leading up to the Iraq war. A parallel that has its roots in Nazi Germany.
When Germany’s Fuehrer, Adolf Hitler, wanted to invade Poland in 1939, he mounted a sustained propaganda campaign to “justify” his ambitions.
German “newspapers”-–produced by Joseph Goebbels, the club-footed Minister of Propaganda–-carried fictitious stories of how brutal Poles were beating and even murdering their helpless German citizens.
In theaters, German audiences saw phony newsreels showing Poles attacking and raping German women living in Poland.
For a time, Hitler not only deceived the Germans but the world.
Just before German tanks and troops invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, members of Hitler’s dreaded SS secret police rounded up prisoners from German concentration camps.
The inmates were dressed in Polish Army uniforms and driven to a German radio station at Gleiwitz, on the German/Polish border. There they were shot by SS men.
Then Polish-speaking SS men “seized” the station and broadcast to Germany that a Polish invasion of Germany was now under way.
Hitler, addressing Germany’s rubber-stamp parliament, the Reichstag, dramatically asserted: “This night for the first time Polish regular soldiers fired on our territory. Since 5.45 a.m. we have been returning the fire, and from now on bombs will be met by bombs.”
Leaders of Britain and France were taken in by this ruse. They had pledged to go to war if Hitler attacked Poland. But they didn’t want to take on Germany if Poland had been the aggressor.
By the time the truth became known, Poland was securely in German hands.
On August 22, 1939, Hitler had outlined his strategy to a group of high-ranking military officers:
“I shall give a propagandist reason for starting the war. Never mind whether it is plausible or not. The victor will not be asked, later on, whether he told the truth or not. In starting and waging a war, it is not Right that matters, but Victory.”
GEORGE W. BUSH
American President George W. Bush followed a similar strategy while he prepared to invade Iraq: He ordered the topmost members of his administration to convince the American people of the war’s necessity.
Among those members: National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice; Vice President Dick Cheney; Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld; and Secretary of State Colin Powell.
Condaleeza Rice, Dick Cheney, George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld
Among their arguments-–all eventually revealed as lies-–were:
- Iraq’s dictator, Saddam Hussein, had worked hand-in-glove with Osama Bin Laden to plan 9/11.
- Saddam was harboring and supporting Al Qaeda throughout Iraq.
- Saddam, with help from Al Qaeda, was scheming to build a nuclear bomb.
- Iraq possessed huge quantities of chemical/biological weapons, in violation of UN resolutions.
- Saddam was preparing to use those weapons against the United States.
- American Intelligence agencies had determined the precise locations where those weapons were stored.
- The war would be self-financing via the oil revenues that would come from Iraq.
- Invading American forces would be welcomed as liberators.
Hitler intended Poland to be only his first conquest on what became known as “the Eastern Front.” Conquering Poland would place his powerful Wehrmacht on the border of the country that was his ultimate target: The Soviet Union.
GEORGE W. BUSH
Similarly, Vice President Dick Cheney–the “power-behind-the-throne” of the Bush Presidency–had his own ambitions for conquering Iraq.
According to former Bush speechwriter David Frum: Cheney longed for war in Iraq to gain reliable control of that nation’s vital oil resources.
A successful occupation of Iraq would also allow the United States to threaten such bordering Islamic nations as Syria, Iran and even Saudi Arabia.