Foundation Film With Fog of War, Wal-Mart, and The Corporation,
August 11, 2006
This is a foundation film, a foundation for citizens restoring power to the people and removing it from the corporations. Other films that complement this one are the Fog of War (documentary with McNamara), the Wal-Mart video, and “The Corporation” on how corporations use their “legal personality” to keep their managers immune from accountabiity.
High points of this video:
1) General and President Eisenhower's son says on camara that his dad told him he wished we had never invented the nuclear bomb, when Truman used it it made him feel “low.”
2) Growing gap between the elite and the public. Still a general assumption by the public that the govenrment knows more than they do about the reasons for going to war.
3) Too many accept the premise that democracy can be imposed at gunpoint, and do not realize (see my review of book “The End of Faith”) that religious fanatism must be repressed before secular democracy can be adopted.
4) Huge segment on how the draft was our best defense against being manipulated, how the volunteer Army makes it possible for the elite to use the military for the wrong reasons while lying to the public.
5) Good references to how the rest of the world sees us as practicing economic colonialism combined with unilateral militarism.
6) Oil, oil, oil and lies, lies, lies.
7) Elite lesson from Viet-Nam was that death cannot be seen in US living rooms. The embedded media, far from being more useful is being distracted at the tactical level, and kept from focusing on the strategic question of “is this war necessary?”
8) Senator Byrd is featured as the lone adult voice against the war. Congress is widely perceived as having failed in every possible way because it is both beholden to the military-industrial complex and its bribes, and has (see my review of book “The Broken Branch”) abdicated its role as the “first” branch of government and accepted a subordinate role as “footsoldiers of the President.”
9) Perhaps most useful, as more and more voices call for the impeachment of Bush and Cheney, is the clips of the lies told to us on television by Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Rice, interspersed with interviews of military and other intelligence analysts who now can speak of the truth as it was known then. This DVD could be “Exhibit A” in any impeachment trial.
10) Hottest quote: “A terrible thing when Americans can't trust their President….the government exploited (my emotions and trust after 9/11)”.
11) Those interviews believe that we had no exit strategy from Iraq precisely because Cheney and Rumsfeld did not plan to leave, and they cite as proof the fact that 14 permanent installations have been built in Iraq, instead of the reconstruction and stabilization of the civil sector that would normally be the priority in an exit strategy.
This is a compelling objective film. Those who demean it by associating it with the Oliver Stone JFK conspiracy documentary are doing Amazon readers and the DVD a great dis-service.
Jeffersonian Voice of the People–Not Wearing Blinders,
January 23, 2003
Gore Vidal speaks truth bluntly and clearly. He addresses points that need to be addresses by every voter, for the people of America are losing their birthrights–their freedoms, their power over their own fate, their control of the resources of the nation that have been–quite literally–hijacked by a mandarin wealthy elite that would sooner cut deals with terrorists and their oil-field sponsors, than look after the best interests of the American public.Interestingly, this book emphasizes something I had not considered that bears emphasis: although there were numerous intelligence failures in detail, Vidal suggests that the Director of Central Intelligence is correct when he claims that 9-11 was not (at root) an intelligence failure–but then leaves unsaid what Vidal says explicitly: it was a policy failure in that Bush-Cheney decided not to alarm the people and not to share the warning information, in part to avoid turbulence and in part because such an attack would be welcome–as Pearl Harbor was welcome–as a means to remilitarize foreign policy.
Indeed, Vidal focuses relentless on the fact that all of the terrorist planes were allowed to run their course, without being intercepted and shot down by any of the military aircraft in the area. Although it would have taken a “strip alert” aircraft to be really effective, and it may not have been possible to load and launch aircraft on standby status in a hanger, it does appear that both the civilian and military chains of command avoided any active efforts to stop the airplanes from hitting their intended targets.
There are some extraordinary truths in this book that bear public discussion during the forthcoming Presidential campaign. I list just a few:
1) It is the US, in its obsessive anti-communism (perhaps aided by the desire of those in power to accummulate wealth and extend their power) which really kicked off the Cold War and were willing to support any dictator, commit any crime, violate any oath, in pursuit of anti-communism. The number of US attacks within an *undeclared* war status is over 250–and this does not count the secret bombing runs into the Soviet Union in the early years when we were just testing their vulnerability.
2) Japan was trying to sue for peace, and the US not only refused to receive their emissaries, but chose to drop the atomic bombs (two of them) to intimate the Russians rather than finalize the Japanese. He also addresses measures the US undertook to force the Japanese to attack Pearl Harbor.
3) Vidal talks about the number of covert wars that have been fought using taxpayer dollars, but without the knowledge or the approval of the taxpayer-voter. This is really a vital point–the people, and their elected representatives in Congress, have lost both the power of the purse and the power over war.
3) Coming further forward, Vidal addresses some stark truths about the current American condition that include the incredible percentage of the population that is either in prison or on parole; the continuing abuse of black citizens, especially in Florida; the continuing censorship of the media in relation to the interests of its advertisers–to include the deceptive and manipulated findings of the polls sponsored by the media; the erosion of individual rights; and the continuing gutting of the US economy by the combined emphasis on arms sales (including to ourselves) and cheap oil that the elite managers of the commonwealth persist in pursuing.
Vidal ends with two notes: first, that a Constitutional Convention, demanded by the people, would allow a complete overhaul of the system–once “we the people” are assembled, they have all the power and can recast the system as they wish–what an exciting idea; and second, that the logical direction for a free people is toward a Swiss like confederation of cantons or city-states (or, as Joel Garreau suggested, “Nine Nations of North America”).
In my view, Vidal stands alone, with Chomsky, in terms of speaking truth to power. Others, like Joe Nye, Jeffrey Garten, Max Manwaring, and Howard Rheingold dance around the issues of policy, credibility, and survivability in capable ways, but Vidal cuts to the heart of the matter: do the people wish to think for themselves and take back the power, or cower as slaves in the gutter? This is very refreshing reading.
5.0 out of 5 stars You Get the Government You Deserve…., May 28, 2002
This book should be read in conjunction with Greg Palast's The Best Democracy Money Can Buy Vidal's book should be subtitled “you get the government you deserve.”
I cannot think of a book that has depressed me more. There are three underlying issues that make this book vitally important to anyone who cares to claim the title of “citizen:”
1) Citizens need to understand what their government is doing in the name of America, to the rest of the world. “Ignorance is not an excuse.” All of the other books I have reviewed (“see more about me” should really say “see my other reviews”) are designed to help citizens evaluate and then vote wisely in relation to how our elected representatives are handling national security affairs–really, really badly.