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The Power of Nightmares

This series is amazing. Click the link to download it (there's a minor flame war going on in comments, because the film is so skeptical of the Bush/Blair terror policies, but the film is truly well made and worth watching).

Part One gives a philosophical background to the main players in the War on Terror: the Bush government and Islamist radicals. It describes the evolution of Islamist and neoconservative philosophy, starting in the post-WWII era. Basically it argues that both schools of thought are reactionary responses to soulless American materialism. The neoconservatives want to give depressed Americans pride in their country (because it defeats evil around the world) to give them something to live for, while the Islamists want to defend the Arab world from the depressing spiritual void that is consumer culture. Lots of stuff about Straussian philosophy and the development of what Jihad means to the most radicalized Jihadis. Part Two is about how both groups believe their ideas are so powerful and successful that they have defeated the Soviet union in Afghanistan in the 80s, and the dissapointment they feel when their ideas about remaking society are rejected in the 90s. Part Three starts with the attacks of September 11, and argues that US and UK politicians have given al Qaeda more credit than is due, because it helps them to project power. Beautifully done; great use of music and archival footage; I learned some history; and if you like the English for their skeptical, slanted news (ie The Economist), you'll love this strongly opinionated documentary.

Unbroadcastable in the US, due to strongly worded statements to the effect that politicians believe that both America's role as a force of Good in the world and God Almighty are myths that it's important for citizens to believe but irrelevant for the elites. Maybe there'll be a theatrical release.


At 8:59 PM, Blogger Miguel said...

BTW, you'll most certainly need a drink to watch the bit about how our prosecutions for terrorist sleeper cells have gone here in the USA.

At 11:27 AM, Blogger Whetam Knauckweirst said...

I live very near Detroit and heard all about the failed Detroit prosecutions in our local as they unravelled. Doesn't anyone care about pursuing credible cases?

When Joe McCarthy, in the 1950s, was on his bogus Communist hunt, he didn't even accidentally turn up a single actual communist. He persecuted innocent people, and muddied the waters to the point where he inadvertantly provided cover for actual Communists. The fedearl government has done the same damned thing with these flimsy cases against "sleeper cells" so far.

What also bothered me about The Power of Nightmares is how CIA torturers surfaced over the last 50 years in the Middle East, seemingly on the spot attempting to arouse as much anti-American sentiment as possible. I mean, what the hell is the tactical point of dousing men in animal fat and then locking them in rooms with dogs trained to attack human beings? Beyond cruely, there is no point. The Good Ole CIA!

At 11:58 AM, Blogger Miguel said...

re: credible cases - especially when we start detaining people with special new powers! It's almost like they're trying to prove the importance of due process.


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