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Moriarty's review of THREE KINGS, btw... He LOVES it!!!

Published at: June 8, 1999, 11:57 p.m. CST by staff

Here's Moriarty and his look at THREE KINGS, what he calls an early favorite for a top ten of the year spot. Of course he's beyond actually calling it 'one of the top ten of the year' Because... like all good film reviewers... he realizes that... if (as we all hope) the year becomes a thing of legend... that this merely wonderful movie may in fact be an eleven.... or who knows... upon repeat viewings it could be in his five. Whatever the case may be.... Moriarty seems to have adored it, but I'll let him tell you that... himself...

Hey, Head Geek...

"Moriarty" here.

Since I've now seen every film that any studio is releasing this summer (well, almost... but it sure feels like it), I'm already turning my attention to the fall. There's a lot of films I've been dying to see that they teased heavily at ShoWest this year, and of them, THREE KINGS would have to place near the very top of my list.

My wait is over, thanks to Joe Farrell and his many fine assistants. Tonight, Joe looked me in the eye and had a nice, chatty conversation with me as we were waiting to go in. I was right there near the front of the line, minding my own business, when he actually started talking to me. Delightful. Nice to see you, sir. He even told me to "enjoy the film" as I went in.

Well, Joe, I did. In fact, I'm going to call THREE KINGS as one of the early contenders for my 10 Best of '99 list. I can't imagine I'll see any film that offers a better blend of action, drama, political material, and dark, dark, dark comedy. If I do, then this is going to be one of the best film years we've had. Right now, though, David O. Russell and Warner Bros. have every reason to believe that they own the weekend of October 9, which is when I think the film is slated to open.

The film starts abruptly as a single title card lets us know where and when we are. "March 1991 -- The War Has Just Ended." Just like that, we're following Mark Wahlberg through the desert. He stops when he spots an Iraqi on top of a sand dune. He calls back to his platoon, "Are we shooting?" At first, no one seems to understand his question. He points out that the Iraqi has a gun, which gets everyone's attention. Once it's determined that, yes, they are shooting, that's what Mark does. He pops the guy. As everyone congratulates him on finally seeing a little action, and as photos are popped of soldiers posing with the body, we see the opening title.

Welcome to the first movie that truly nails America on the Gulf War.

Now, I don't know about a lot of our readers, but I remember the climate around the Gulf War vividly. It was terrifying to those of us in our early 20s because it was the first hot conflict to pop up that was sold as having real potential. When I say "sold," I'm being specific with my word choice, too, since this was also the first war to be pre-packaged for television. CNN had a great logo and theme song for the war, and their coverage was polished, making instant celebrities out of reporters. We all watched, and I did as much reading as I could about the causes of the thing. I started reading out of fear. What if this thing drags on? What if there's a draft? But the more I read, the more I realized that we were seeing an economic skirmish, a pissing match over oil. Saddam Hussein was a paper dictator, an easy figure to use to rile up Americans. The "war" was nothing more than an exercise in thuggery, exactly the kind of conflict that we would be involved in by a criminal like George Bush. It was immoral and disgusting.

And no one said a word.

I have spent much of this decade marvelling at how completely we seem to have absorbed this event and justified it in our heads. I'm astounded at how I still hear people talk about it like we did something or accomplished some great goal. And when COURAGE UNDER FIRE came out, I thought the film had some strong performances and tried to explore ethical issues, even as it dodged the most important issue of all -- should we have been there?

I never in a million years would have guessed that a film starring George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, and Ice Cube would turn out to be the first serious, sober look at the ethics of that conflict. I never would have guessed that Warner Bros., a company that is in bed with the man who most benefitted from the Gulf War (Ted Turner), would release such a film. And I never would have believed it possible that David O. Russell, who has given us small, carefully studied character comedies (SPANKING THE MONKEY and the brilliant FLIRTING WITH DISASTER) up till now would have pulled off the first great war comedy since Altman's M*A*S*H.

The premise of the film that I was told sold it short. I heard that the film was about three soldiers who find a treasure map on a dead Iraqi who then set out to retrieve Saddam's gold from a hidden bunker. The trailer at ShoWest made me think it would be a hard edged action comedy. Instead, there's a film here of considerable weight and conscience, one that has far more on its mind than mere entertainment.

Don't get me wrong, though. The film is wildly entertaining. The cast is wonderful, with the core group of soldiers played by Clooney, Wahlberg, Cube, and music video director Spike Jonze. Each of these actors does standout work, and together they are marvelous to behold. There's an easy chemistry on display here, and no one does anything that would make them stand out as a movie star. Instead, their work supports each other and lets the script stand front and center, which is a wonderful thing. This film is smart, and manages to accomplish major tonal shifts effortlessly. I kept waiting for Russell to fumble. Sure, he knows character, but can he direct action? Okay, he can handle action, but how is he with emotional drama? Okay, he can do that, too. Damn... this guy is truly gifted.

There's some sensational work from the supporting cast as well, but I am afraid I don't know several of the actors' names. The lead Iraqi rebel in particular deserves high praise, as does Wahlberg's interrogator from late in the film. These two men give a human face to the Iraqi people that we haven't seen in American films yet. The film starts off with characters trading lines about "dune coons" and "towelheads" and "camel jockeys" and "sand niggers," and there's an attitude in all the major characters of detachment. They don't want to help anyone. They just want some damn gold. But their transition to seeing the people around them as human is believable, and I think many of the people in the audience made the same journey. Understanding the emotions of the people in Iraq is made simple in one brilliant scene involving Wahlberg and his interrogator. I won't ruin it for you, but I do want to make special note of it. It's writing and directing and performing like this that makes going to movies worthwhile and even occasionally important.

The print we saw tonight was beyond rough. It almost felt like it was held together with scotch tape on every splice. I'm confident we were the first test audience to see the film. One of the things that was obviously still in the rough editing stages was the level of violence in the film. I know Hollywood is under fire for this now, so I'd like to address Warner directly on this issue. This is the kind of violence that everyone recognizes as responsible. There's a sequence that explores the real dangers of being shot and another involving a central character who catches a bullet in the chest. Both of those scenes are more startlingly graphic than we're used to in studio films, but I would implore you to leave them intact. This film illustrates just how much a single gunshot or a single bomb dropped can do to a family, a community, a country. This is the kind of imagery that will teach people something about reality. This isn't MATRIX, with 234,000,000,000 gunshots being fired in a scene for no reason other than entertainment. This is important.

I could probably run on for another forty paragraphs about this film, but I won't. Hopefully I'll be able to talk to Russell about this film further before it comes out and share those conversations with you. Even if that doesn't happen, though, make note of that title -- THREE KINGS. It's a powerhouse.

"Moriarty" out.

Readers Talkback

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  • June 9, 1999, 12:57 a.m. CST

    Am i first?

    by OB1Kenobi

    Well, whether or not I am first, this movie sounds cool, ever since i heard that ice cube, wahlberg, and clooney in a movie together it felt wierd but i knew it would be cool

  • June 9, 1999, 1:15 a.m. CST

    Oh please let me 5th or *gasp* even 4th!!!

    by ?GR

    I've been looking forward to this movie for awhile now, almost as long as Mort up there. I read an early script and it floored me (almost as much as The Thin Red Line's script), and hopefully it will turn out as much as the written piece (unlike TRL). I still think Clooney has great potential as well as Wahlberg, and I am still looking forward to this movie even if I'm unfamiliar with Jonzes' acting abilities (LOVE his video work though). Thanks for the info Mort and Harry!

  • June 9, 1999, 1:56 a.m. CST

    by SFW

    ...I think a great point was made in the review about the Matrix (a movie I did enjoy btw) and it's gazillion bullets. It's funny how the MPAA considers twenty-thousand bullets flying through the air (towards anybody and everybody) less violent than one bullet to the chest and the subsequent blood that would pour out. Oh, I see, it's more damaging for people to see somebody get shot and bleed than it is to see somebody get shot at twenty-thousand twenty thousand times, get hit once, cover the wound with their hand and fall down. Yeah, that's much healthier.

  • June 9, 1999, 2:03 a.m. CST

    censors

    by SFW

    ...I think a great point was made in the review about the Matrix (a movie I did enjoy btw) and it's gazillion bullets. It's funny how the MPAA considers twenty-thousand bullets flying through the air (towards anybody and everybody) less violent than one bullet to the chest and the subsequent blood that would pour out. Oh, I see, it's more damaging for people to see somebody get shot and bleed than it is to see somebody get shot at twenty-thousand twenty thousand times, get hit once, cover the wound with their hand and fall down! Yeah, that's much healthier. Censorship is the problem. The V-chip is evil, plain and simple. I find it deeply shameful that it was developed at the University I'll probably attend. I also find it interesting how America is so happy to trample the first amendment willy nilly but God forbid you mention the idea of gun control! No! Not the second amendment! Take away the first one first! It's first so it makes sense!....but that's another discussion (although I will quickly add I do believe people should have the right to own a gun [despite the fact that the ideal is horribly antiquated] but I would never in my life advise a person to go pick one up...I'm sorry but guns aren't necessary...pacifism people, it works...Americans seem to be more afraid of people without guns)....

  • June 9, 1999, 2:52 a.m. CST

    The Gulf between reality and fantasy

    by firbolg

    At last! Sounds like a decent movie about one of the great formative battles of The New World Order. The Gulf War was all about OIL. Never forget that! It had nothing to do with natural justice or opressing a vile Mastermind. If that was the case, then good ol' USA would need to go bomb the shit out of Kumait, Saudi and Turkey, whose Human Rights records suck as a matter of record. Of course, I can see the suits taking the machete to this movie, rendering it as meaningful as one of those "live from the bomber" home movies". I hope it emerges with the fundementaly ridiculous face of the Gulf War intact, replete with CNN WAR LIVE!!, the fact that it was the only remaining Superpower and its allies against a single crackpot dictator, and that at the end of the day, HE WAS LEFT IN POWER, to act as a surrougate Red Manace. But above all I hope its about the poor schmozes who ended up in a desert, killing each other for some gas.

  • June 9, 1999, 5:16 a.m. CST

    Time To Move This One From My Periphery

    by mrbeaks

    Thanks, Moriarty..... now, to procure a test screening pass (I hope they'll test it here in NYC.) This sounds like it could be the most impressive stylistic leap for a director since Sam Raimi delivered A SIMPLE PLAN. The one thing I'm worried about, though, is the dark comedic element. As we all know, most moviegoers aren't too keen on having their laughs served black, which causes me to wonder if Moriarty's adoration of THREE KINGS was a minority opinion. Did the rest of the audience seem to enjoy this film? I'm only asking because I don't want to see O. Russell's work butchered.

  • June 9, 1999, 7 a.m. CST

    this film sounds gooooooooodd!!..

    by letseatcheese

    Oh wow!! I'm so excited about seeing this film. It sounds fantastic. I told people George Clooney would prove himself, and I think with Out Of Sight, and by the sounds of it, this, he may well have done that......Anyone know the UK release date?? I can't wait!! Clooney in a army uniform for more than 30 seconds. WOOHOO!!!!

  • June 9, 1999, 7:05 a.m. CST

    The New World Disorder

    by creamy goodness

    I am definitely looking forward to this movie! It's a rare piece of celluloid that takes America to task for its so-called successes. As powerful as Saving Private Ryan was (at least the openeing scene), I think it fell flat morally and politically (it ended up justifying the horror of the Normandy landing scene). I think movies find it easier to take America to task about Viet Nam because everyone recognizes that it was a collosal failure. But to criticize us in WWI or II (Thin Red Line excepted) or the Gulf War is usually verboten. Kudos to the director. This movie comes at a critical time, because contrary to what you might hear on the news, the Gulf War is not over. Nearly every day since December 1998, US and British (the only remaining coalition forces that will intervene) warplanes have flown missions over Iraq. While we have been blowing up buses and hospitals in Yugoslavia, our brave soldiers also obliterated a shepherd community (killing several people and dozens of sheep) in northern Iraq - get this - because the pilot mistook it for a missile silo! This comedy or horrors must be exposed and that is why I think this movie looks to be an important statement. (I won't get into the horror of the economic sanctions - which have killed close to 2 million people in Iraq - since its a bit off subject... email me if you want to talk about it.) To get a bit back on the subject... I am so excited that someone is finally raising a contrary opinion in the mainstream media. In my political activities when I went to school in Virginia, I met a Gulf War veteran, the first one I had ever met. He was African American, and had joined the military because there just wasn't much of another option, job-wise. During the Gulf War, he was shocked at the insane anti-arab racism of several of his platoon-mates, some of whom were black as well. And he told stories of the war (he did see much "action") and of seeing Iraqi troops surrender, sometimes being shot at initially (and killed or wounded unnecesarily) and sometimes just walking up to the Americans unarmed, shaking hands with them, and basically agreeing to surrender and be POWs. When it was over, he got out as soon as physically possible because he saw the reality of the US at war - he compared it to Hitler's Blitzkrieg style: fast and excessively brutal. He tried school for a bit, and couldn't really afford it. So he ended up and the shipyards in Hampton Roads, building the ships used in the war (irony #1) where his mother and father had both worked. Today, he's on strike against the shipbuilding companies, as they're trying to force through a wage cut and layoffs. I lost touch with this guy when I moved, but I hear that some of the trade unionists there have made a wonderful connection: some are comparing the corporations attacks on them "a declaration of war" which they are determined to stop. ... I think there's another movie in there somewhere... - CG

  • June 9, 1999, 7:17 a.m. CST

    Politics

    by Hokie

    Why don't you keep yours to yourself. Even if that war was only about oil, was it criminal to prevent a very bad man (that "paper" dictator has killed a lot of people, just ask the Kurds) from controlling a very large portion of the worlds oil supply (he was going into Saudi Arabia next).

  • June 9, 1999, 7:20 a.m. CST

    Sounds good, must see the trailor

    by Mike D

    I liked Russell's FLIRTING WITH DISASTER. Clooney is always better than decent, and Ice Cube has always been underrated. I give or take Marky Mark (when's he gonna learn that to be a decent actor, ya gotta shake that Brooklyn accent in at least ONE of your films). The only question mark here seems to be the script. But I guess that's always a question mark. I look forward to the trailor.

  • June 9, 1999, 7:27 a.m. CST

    Politics

    by quiscustodiet

    There has to be politics in a film like this otherwise, from what the review says, there is no character arc. As far as Hussein being a butcher, yes, he is, but the US has supported dictators that were worse (Papa Doc, and the dictator in Nicaragua (pardon my lack of memory, I can't remember his name)) in the past when it served their need, so the war in Kuwait was about oil and nothing else. Hell, they didn't even finish their mission if the idea was to stop Hussein!

  • June 9, 1999, 8:18 a.m. CST

    FLIRTING WITH DISASTER RULES

    by JaneDoe33

    Even though nobody's heard of it, FLIRTING WITH DISASTER was one of the best acted, best written comedies I've ever seen. Russell is "the shit".

  • June 9, 1999, 8:40 a.m. CST

    Re: Politics

    by creamy goodness

    It's kind of hard to keep my politics to myself when the topic of conversation is political (war and imperialism). I've come to realize that a damn good proportion of everything is political. Even your Kurd comment has a political debate in there. If you sympathize with them in Iraq (as I do as well), do you also sympathize with them in Turkey (which is a US ally and a NATO member)? This opens up the question of US foreign policy, its consistancy, and its motivations doesn't it? Very political issues. Ignoring those questions is political too (insofar as it gives the silent go-ahead to the US, whatever its motives). So sure I could leave my politics out. So could Moriarty. But our views and reviews would consist of half-grunts and guttural noises: "Ung. Movie gud. Grabblgagh." For that matter, Russell could keep his views to himself, and Spielberg, and Lucas, and Charlie Chaplin, too. I prefer discussion. -CG

  • June 9, 1999, 10:09 a.m. CST

    Moriarty! Rethink your Gulf War comments... please?

    by AttorneyFrog

    Hey there Moriarty: I know you pride yourself on being a crusty...er, "edgy" reviewer, and I do appreciate your point of view re: movies, but rehashing the old rhetoric that the Gulf War was an economic war "all about oil?" Come on. If that were truly the case, then we are all in trouble, as Iraq STILL can't sell oil (and they were a much bigger producer than tiny Kuwait), due to sanctions; and Kuwait was knocked out of oil production for over two years, due to the fires. When I worked at the State Department as a FSO (Foreign Service Officer), it was drilled into our heads as a diplomatic tenet that the main goal of the U.N. was to prevent future world wars, and the main way of doing so was to end colonialism and respect boundaries of current nations. So when a nation like Iraq suddenly "annexes" Kuwait, saying it was a former colony of theirs, it put everyone on guard -- including those that had the MOST to gain, economically, from a ban on Iraqi/Kuwaiti oil, like Saudi Arabia (the major producer in the area). Please remember that it was EVERY country with member status in the U.N., save two (China and Yemen) that voted that military action against Iraq was appropriate, and necessary. Regarding your comments on the violence in the movie, I have to disclose at this point that I am a Time-Warner Shareholder (owner of Warner Bros. films and CNN). I attended the recent shareholder's meeting at the Warner Bros. studio, (Ted Turner was there), and many questions regarding violence in movies, tv shows, records, produced by Time/Warner came up. Chairman/CEO Levitt didn't back down. He said that many times, violence was necessary (and he mentioned Saving Private Ryan) to tell a story, and he said that after Littleton, although they are "reviewing" content on a case by case basis, he was not about to constrict artistic content across the board. So I doubt that the film's violence will be edited out, as your review suggests... but who knows. Since we're on the subject... one final comment on CNN -- so what if they benefitted from the war? Are you about to suggest that instead of oil, now the war was about Ted Turner's ratings? At least they were brave enough to move forward with cameras and reporters, while the other networks were stuck in studioland. Bravo to them, since they have changed the face of network news. Plus, when TimeWarner bought out Turner, Turner gave his 1 BILLION dollar gift to the United Nation's Children's Fund. Bravo for him. Checking out, Attorney Frog in LA

  • June 9, 1999, 10:20 a.m. CST

    Moriarty

    by Milamber

    This comment is purely with regards to Moriarty's opening statements about the ethics of the Gulf War, and how ther was finally a movie that portrayed our actions in the Gulf acurately. Though I usually enjoy Moriarty's reviews he has got me quite riled up this time since I am quite confident he has absolutely nothing to back up his accusations. To show this I shall ask Moriarty a series of questions. One. Why do you see our protecting Kuwait from a dictator (paper or not) as wrong, even it was to protect our interests? We were still protecting a country who was unable to protect iteself from a tyrant. The people of Kuwait, if you had done any studying were incredibly grateful for what we did for them. Actually I will just ask one final question to underscore the stupidity of your remarks. How in the name of all that's holy do you know what really went on in the Gulf War with regards to how our troops acted, and how do you know that the writer of this story knew how our troops acted?? It's Hollywood!! It's all bullshit!! That is why we love it. Sorry to go off on you Moriarty, but if there is one thing I can't stand it's right-wing or left-wing people speaking out against something that they don't have a full grasp of.

  • June 9, 1999, 10:46 a.m. CST

    Guns and oil

    by tdibble

    While this is *not* the place any sane person would go for in-depth poliical discussion, there are a few misconceptions which have been bandied about, so in the interest of an "educated citizenry", let me correct you where you are all wrong :-> ---------------------------------- First, as has finally been pointed out, no matter how many times you repeat the trite mantra that the Gulf War was about oil, it was not. The oil comes into play, yes, but that was not the primary focus of the war. As has been pointed out, if oil had been the sole purpose of the war, we would have gone about things quite differently (Saddam had been an ally of the US for some time in the Iraq/Iran conflict, and our oil-buying relations with them had seen little to no trouble; so what if one of our friendly oil suppliers now has more oil to supply us with?) Was it all about creating a new enemy for the freedom-loving world to unite against? If you like conspiracy theories and believe that the entire UN (minus two votes) was in on this little plan, sure, why not? Of course, you could make this same claim about Hitler, Stalin, and Khomeni, and you wouldn't even have to explain away that pesky little fact that so many world leaders agreed on it. So, hey, if you want to believe these things, go ahead, no skin off my back. But if you want to be *educated* or form some sort of *intelligent* debate, you must take the first step: THINK! ---------------------------------- Second, I don't understand this automatic revulsion people expect from the accusation that the war was about oil. Even if such accusations were true, what difference does it make? Oil is a very important thing in the world today, as much as land, or food, have been in the past. What's the difference? Aside from the rabid pacifists who believe no war is ever justified (I disagree, but won't get into that argument here), why would someone even bring up the accusation? I mean, what makes fighting for oil any less righteous or dignified than the entire history of wars, from the Revolutionary War to the Civil War, the Spanish-American War to the world wars. What makes Kuwait less honorable a place to defend than the Alamo or Paris? ---------------------------------- Just some things to think about. The movie sounds good, and even important as Yet Another Examination of Character Development During War.

  • June 9, 1999, 10:49 a.m. CST

    I hope all you people

    by -Z-

    that are dissing Moriarty and his take on the Gulf War are in support of the current action in Kosovo. Because if you are not you are FUCKING HYPOCRITES. The Gulf War was a joke, and while I did not go, I have family in Saudi, and two of my best friends DID go. It was a sham and a hoax and a play on the feelings and sentiments of the American people. I didn't see an international uproar when American troops invaded Panama in 90 and ousted Noriega. WTF is the difference? Yes we didn't "annex" it per se. That is not the current trend of imperialism. We left a puppet government (one loyal to the US) in charge (as well as a number of troops) and left. Hussein just hasn't caught on to the trend. New imperialism is not about annexing small countries, it's about making them politically, economically and socially dependant on us. Don't believe me? Study our involvement in Latin American countries. And to the moron who made the comment about Iraq no longer producing oil: what do you think the whole plan was? Our forces economically castrated the country so that we could A:have a greater military foothold in the Middle East and B: send a message to other Arab countries that we mean to protect our oil investment. Now if you think that is right and natural to protect our economic interests over seas by using military force, fine. But nothing infuriates me more then seeing a spade and not calling it.

  • June 9, 1999, 11:02 a.m. CST

    Guns and oil #2

    by tdibble

    Forgot one thing ... For an intelligent collection of ideas on the subject (with a decidedly pacifist stance), you might want to check out Roger Waters' Amused to Death, circa 1992 ... Good album ...

  • June 9, 1999, 11:07 a.m. CST

    Who's the moron?

    by AttorneyFrog

    Hey pal, I am the "moron" that made the intelligent point about Iraq's oil not being sold in the economic market for the past 8 + years. Your conspiracy theories do not fly with the real world. Where do you get authority for your statement that "the plan" was to not have Iraq sell oil? Which administration's plan? I can tell you from working at the State Department and overseas for 6 years, there is no such "plan". And your points about Kosovo (which I do support, but for entirely different reasons), and Latin America, prove that you didn't read a thing I said... again, the UN is big -- no, HUGE on protecting international borders and preventing annexation/colonialization of another country. This has to do with the legacy of Hitler's strategy in WW II, and not much else. That is why you don't see a huge UN vote against the U.S. when we "involve" ourselves short term in another country -- because we are not threatening another country's sovereignity re: existence and borders. A HUGE difference. Next time you feel like calling someone with a doctorate degree a "moron", calm down, take a deep breath, read a history book or two, and then remember that this is a film post board. Thanks, Attorney Rob

  • June 9, 1999, 11:36 a.m. CST

    Attorney

    by Rocqueja

    Because the UN is a puppet of the wealthy countries. As Robin Williams once said, it's like a traffic cop on valium, telling people "stop or I'll say stop again." I'm sick of people saying that there was a legit reason to be in Kuwait, if it was for oil, then admit it was for oil, if it was to free an oppressed people, where the hell were they when Papa Doc was in power? Why did they send the Contras into Nicaragua to reinstate a fascist government? Hiding behind the facade of freedom is such a load of crap when you consider the history of the military of the United States. You have made some points, and one or two valid ones, but don't tell that the war in the gulf was only about liberating an oppressed people, it was about oil, it was about having an enemy in a depressed economy, and if they freed a few Kuwaitis along the way so be it. As far as conspiracy theories go, I find it hard to believe that you believe everything the government tells you because they are the governement, because I cannot believe an intelligent person is that gullible!

  • June 9, 1999, 11:57 a.m. CST

    Moriarty

    by Sakla

    I really dislike Moriarty's film reviews. Wait, that's not fair. I love Moriarty's column -- I can't really accept them as film reviews -- and find it to be very entertaining. His black and white absolutes with out any back up really gets my dander up. I gotta admit, I appreciate that his having such a sizeable forum to spew his rants gets me so crazy and that there are people out there who think this is accurate "reviewing." Don't change a thing Moriarty. You're too good at making very little sense. As a result, you got me coming back for more. But, I'll wait for Robogeek to give an actual review of the film. He seems to know what he's talking about.

  • June 9, 1999, 11:59 a.m. CST

    hahaha

    by -Z-

    "we "involve" ourselves short term in another country -- because we are not threatening another country's sovereignity re: existence and borders. A HUGE difference" Really what is the difference, Mr, PHD between subjugating a country economically and socially and "threatening their existence and borders" ? I'm serious. The UN is HUGE on protecting little countries borders hahaha I can't believe you said that. I got one word for you: LEBANON. What a maroon. The UN does what we say. If the US decided to withdraw from the UN it would collapse into chaos. Why do you think we have been able to time after time go against what the majority of countries have voted for and do our own thing. Conspiracy theories my ass. I hope this film brings people to talk about the war. And I hope it lives up to what Moriarty has said about it.

  • June 9, 1999, 12:06 p.m. CST

    Rocqueja

    by tdibble

    You addressed yourself to AttorneyFrog, but you brought up what I had written a few times, so allow me to respond. ---------------------------------- First, you said "I'm sick of people saying that there was a legit reason to be in Kuwait, if it was for oil, then admit it was for oil". I couldn't quite grok this, but my guess is that you're saying that somebody said that the war was not about oil, then admit that it was for oil. In my post I said that it was not wholly about oil, or even primarily about oil, based *SOLELY ON THE APPROACH AND INEVITABLE OUTCOMES*. Remember that later. Then, and I knew this would confuse some readers, I said that *even if it had been* about oil, there's nothing wrong with that. Both statements are true, and consistent. I am sorry you are sick of people being truthful and consistent. ---------------------------------- Next, you continued: "where the hell were they when Papa Doc was in power? Why did they send the Contras into Nicaragua to reinstate a fascist government? Hiding behind the facade of freedom is such a load of crap when you consider the history of the military of the United States." First, we're talking about multiple different administrations here, with different world-views, and so, yes, you will see different types of decisions being made, concerning what it is worth getting involved in and how to get involved. Papa Doc reigned in Haiti from 1957 until his death in 1971. As bad as he was, he was an immense improvement over the conditions Haiti had known for the previous 200 years, and past attempts at the US "stepping in" to correct things were not warmly recieved by the people. In short, you're talking about a completely different situation, a completely different time, with about as little to do with Kuwait and Iraq as is humanly possible. ---------------------------------- Then you said: "it was about oil, it was about having an enemy in a depressed economy, and if they freed a few Kuwaitis along the way so be it." Well, good thing you know the rationalizations of everyone involved! The fact is, the effort was not conducted in a manner consistent with the goal of protecting an oil supply. Having the US military in that region is *not* a benefit to the US. It costs billions of dollars to keep our forces there. Each one of those "smart bombs" cost about ten million dollars to produce (a very rough average). If anyone is being "economically depressed" by this state of affairs, the US is! However, the benefits are there, which is what keeps everyone in the game. The area is a much more stable place than it was in 1990. This benefits the world, not just the US, and the US is footing the bill. ---------------------------------- Finally, you wrote: "As far as conspiracy theories go, I find it hard to believe that you believe everything the government tells you because they are the governement, because I cannot believe an intelligent person is that gullible!" Well, I'm the only one who mentioned conspiracy theories, so I guess that was aimed at me. However, you will note that nowhere in any of my reasoning have I said I believe *anything*, much less *everything* the government tells me just because they are telling me this. You will see, if you look again, that my conclusions are based on extrinsic analysis of the situation, and, yes, some of them fall in line with what the US government has been saying all along. Some does not.

  • June 9, 1999, 12:28 p.m. CST

    Anyone seen the new STAR WARS movie?

    by JaneDoe33

    It's supposed to be alright.

  • June 9, 1999, 12:51 p.m. CST

    Re: Has anyone seen the new StarWars movie?

    by jjames

    I was going to jump into this discussion on the Gulf War swinging, but seeing the above post made me laugh. I calmed down and remembered that this is a movie forum. Politics can destroy a discussion very quickly.

  • June 9, 1999, 12:55 p.m. CST

    attorney toady

    by creamy goodness

    "It's nice to talk about freedom and all, but Kuwait's hardly a democracy. We need the oil." Now I don't happen to have the book in front of me that has this quote, so it may not be exactly word for word, but this quote is from GEORGE BUSH! How do you like that Mr. Im-so-fucking-smart-because-I-have-a-PhD-and-therefore-believe-everything-Im-told. Any Bush administration official with half a brain cell (rare, I admit), admitted that the war was about oil. It's how they justified NOT intervening in other places. The thing is, it's kind of hard to give a stirring speech about how your sons have to die, along with hundreds of thousands of others, and a nation needs to be bombed back into the stone age, so that American oil companies can keep making profits. And by the way, I really hate it when some stuffed shirt shite uses the word "pal" condescendingly. It's like some goddamn cop using the word "boy." Oh yea, to make this relate to the movie in some way: Do you gun-suckling jackasses who object to Moriarty's views really think that if he was a prowar, flag waving Archie Bunker type he would like the movie as much? Holy shit! I'm having an anyeurism, the thought hurts so much! I will probably love this movie. You diaper-heads probably won't like it as much as me or Moriarty or my wife or most of my friends (who tend to look at things more critically than, "Well it must be OK because George Bush AND Helmut Kohl AND John Major think its OK."). I also like movies about unions and strikes and rebellions and movies exposing corporate greed and carelessness. "Roger and Me" and "Matewan" and are wonderful films to me. I bet that some of you "just don't get it," or outright hate them. Fine, but don't complain about people bringing their lefty union politics up in a discussion about, say, "Norma Rae." Kudos to Moriarty for not hiding his views for fear of rocking the consensus boat. Anyone wanting to see the human face of our intervention there should go to www.nonviolence.org/vitw. I'm not a member of this pacifist group, but their site brought me to tears when I first saw it. Now it just makes me angrier and angrier that this stuff can happen. And angry that overeducated piss-heads take offense when anyone objects to this kind of slaughter, or (gasp!) is even critical of US foreign policy. -CG

  • June 9, 1999, 1:56 p.m. CST

    Hmm.

    by GodBear

    You found HIS statements condescending? Interesting.

  • June 9, 1999, 2:03 p.m. CST

    condescending

    by creamy goodness

    I wasn't condescending. I was insulting. ;) -CG

  • June 9, 1999, 2:03 p.m. CST

    War

    by TVGuy

    War is a dirty, horrific and sometimes necessary action. I believe in the Just War Theory and I believe that the Gulf War was just. The US pursued this war to protect our vital interests. If that means we fought for oil, well then I guess we did. Oil keeps food on the table and power on in the hospitals. War is not glorious. That is just a lie told to and by soldiers to deal with the horror. The anti-arab racism is another coping behavior. We do not have any vital interests in Kosovo that I can see, so I guess this is an unjust war. International diplomacy is full of grey areas and the US does what it does to protect it's citizens. One last point, we supported the Contras to hold back the tide of communism in the Americas. Once the Contras won, they held open and fair elections. Everyone agrees that these elections were not corrupt. The Contras won overwhelmingly. My point is that often, when protecting the interests of the US, we are also promoting Justice.

  • June 9, 1999, 2:03 p.m. CST

    More quotes from George Bush...

    by Slugworth

    "I like big butts and I can not lie" ======= "I once got busy in a burgerking bathroom" ======= "I need fifty dollars to make you hollar. I get PAID to do the wildthing." ======= Do you know who said these things? GEORGE BUSH, thats who. Of course I don't have sources for my quotes....

  • June 9, 1999, 2:48 p.m. CST

    I saw it, and it was good.

    by Darth Siskel

    Three Kings was GREAT! I give it one evil Sith thumb up. There are some truely brilliant moments in this movie. YODA!!

  • June 9, 1999, 2:58 p.m. CST

    Paper Dictators

    by Maul99

    I guess we've pinpointed Moriarty as a flaming liberal. If George Bush is a criminal, what does that make Bill Clinton? If Saddam Hussein is a paper dictator, then what does that make Milosevic? Should we have let Saddam take over a sovereign nation? Should we let him experiment on his own people with chemical and biological weapons? Should we let him exterminate the Kurdish people?

  • June 9, 1999, 3:12 p.m. CST

    Iraq etc.

    by Alessan

    Moriarity - As a guy who found himself at the age of 16 cowering in a closet with a gas mask on his face while Scuds roared over my house - I beg to differ with you. You got to remember that your country is just about the only one around which sometimes, ocaasionally dies the right thing. Often the right thing for the wrong reason, or just scewing up, but still the right thing. If the gulf war was 90% self interest and 10% ideals - well, thats 10% more than most other countries would think of doing. Also, remember this - any man who rules a country without a due democratic process is a criminal of the lowest order. And corrupt cops don't make innocent crooks.

  • June 9, 1999, 3:45 p.m. CST

    Hold on a second

    by AttorneyFrog

    Hey there... I certainly didn't mean to be at all condescending. It is interesting that some of you picked on me as having a "Ph.D" or related mindset, when all I defended was having a doctorate degree and being called a moron. That's it. My comments are based not only on my experience, but upon logic. If the U.S. is ALL about using military to protect oil, then why didn't we bomb Iran? Their conduct against the U.S. oil interests was much more direct, plus the CIA factbook shows that Iran produces 173% as much oil as Iraq, and many more times that as Kuwait. And we still don't have control over that oil, since we have sanctioned them as we have Iraq. Also, recall that it was (and still is) the sanctions that prohibits Iraq from selling oil, not the military action. The sanctions preceded the military action by over a year. We need to bomb every member state of OPEC (since the U.S. is not, and has never been a member), which produces 80% of the world's oil, then. And we should have bombed Saudi Arabia, which hosted U.S. troops, since they are the world's number one oil producer, and despite repeated requests by the U.S., have neither instituted a democracy, allowed the U.S. to have any control over oil production there, or ever asked for U.S. aid. Rob

  • June 9, 1999, 4:18 p.m. CST

    Re: George Bush quotes

    by JaneDoe33

    I cannot provide any additional George Bush quotes. But he is the man credited with popularizing the term "raise the roof". And for that, I think we all owe him a debt of gratitude.

  • June 9, 1999, 5:12 p.m. CST

    "And no one said a word."

    by Tangent Z

    Good review. But I have to say that many, many said many words against the Gulf War. The media choose not to listen. I spoke in public for the first time and met the late great Prof. Tom Philpot, who worked against the Vietnam and this war and eventually gave in to the despair and killed himself. The keynote speaker was Molly Ivins, who comments on how no one in journalist today has any since of history. There was a rally at the City Colosium with a couple of thousand. There were marches, including a funeral march for both the "enemey" and Allied death. We gathered at the Capitol the night the blitz started and stomped and scream and chanted until the police got our peace marshalls to go outside and circle the building. Then I learned to chant the names of the Goddess by some new pagan friends of mine. I witness the blocking of 10th and Congress and the arrests and the flag burning and the fight that came. After the war, the police made sure that we were away from the cameras at the celebration march and the Governor left the parade before they got to us - her jeep was empty. But our pictures of the dead Iraq babies were there. We said many, many words. Amerika didn't give a fuck. And still doesn't. But we still say the words.

  • June 9, 1999, 5:22 p.m. CST

    American hegemony and international intervention

    by MrNiceGuy

    With this posting, I do not intend to support or refute the specific arguments of previous posters. Let me preface my remarks by saying that the Attorney fellow seems to have the best handle on things. All of the above postings, however, are quite unfocused. There is a simple reality at work here, which must be recognized and accepted by all of you -- and Moriarty especially. Moriarty made a couple remarks which demonstrate genuine political ignorance (which is a shame, by the way, because I otherwise like his columns). Regardless of whether or not the Gulf intervention was principally motivated by economic interests (such as access to oil), it is easily justified on TWO levels. Firstly, the legal side. The Iraqi government committed an act of aggression against the sovereign state of Kuwait. As such, under Chapter VII (I believe -- someone correct if you're CERTAIN I'm mistaken) of the U.N. Charter, Iraq forfeited its own rights as a sovereign state by violating Kuwait's sovereignty, and was subject to a perfectly legal armed intervention. Having established that, it is clear that America's intervention was "right", having fallen squarely within the norms (of state sovereignty) which are the underpinnings of the international system. Secondly, America had a RIGHT and a DUTY to intervene because of the very fact that she has clear economic and strategic interests in the immediate region. To explain: the United States is the global hegemon. As such, she has the ability to back up her interests with military and economic power in every sphere, on every part of the globe. Every region of any strategic or economic significance is an area of interest to the global hegemon -- a role presently filled by the U.S. When her interests are at stake, American policy-makers are thus duty-bound to uphold the national interest and intervene, whether that intervention is covered by a pretext or not. To reiterate, America, as hegemon, has interests everywhere -- so when those interests are challenged, America intervenes because she wants to, and she CAN. So when some truly unknowing person above said that America has no strategic interests in the region, they were dead wrong. America obviously has tremendous strategic (Israel!!) and economic (oil!) interests in the Middle Eastern status quo, and are absolutely justified in defending them. Furthermore, American foreign policy, as the global hegemon, will be inherently contradictory. Trade relations in particular demonstrate this. America controls the WTO. So when a country tries to erect barriers to American goods such as films, Americans scream and those barriers are quickly torn down. At the same time, America uses the WTO to prevent cheap grain from countries such as India from flooding the domestic market. And all of this is "right", under the principles of realistic statecraft. No government should be decried for defending the interests of its people. So when people like Moriarty call George Bush a criminal, the absurdity of their remarks is embarrassing. I suspect that most Americans would feel wronged if they were suddenly denied the tremendous economic benefits associated with global dominance. They would probably develop the same sense of hyper-sensitive, wounded nationalistic pride that plagues the British, who obviously immediately preceded the United States as hegemon. To maintain their dominance, hegemons have to fight wars. That is yet another very simple reality I thrust before all of you. Let me repeat it: hegemons must fight wars -- to secure their interests and maintain their unquestioned dominance. It is clear that Moriarty is simply looking for a Vietnam to whine about, thus fulfilling his parents' liberal legacy. Permit to conclude by apologizing to Moriarty in case I have offended him somehow. The last time I offended a AICN writer it was Robogeek, and he still keeps sending me harassing e-mails.

  • June 9, 1999, 6:21 p.m. CST

    wanna see it just for that first scene

    by Tall_Boy

    whoa, that sounds like that bit at the beginning at least, frickin' rocks. kewl. Marky Mark and George Clooney are actually good actors (no matter how much people rag on them) and I dunno much about Ice Cube, but he seems awright. Hope this one surprises me, (after TPM surprised me, but not in a good way :0( Gawd, I'm so mixed about that movie. One second I love it, another second I'm like "ugh. shoot me." Still, kinda don't want Austin Powers to beat it this weekend. Its fan-loyalty, what can I say. sheesh, got **way** off topic there) anyway, Three Kings, whoa-hoo!

  • June 9, 1999, 7:53 p.m. CST

    More Gulf War discussion

    by jbreen

    This is going to be long and I must state that I am an avid reader of Chomsky, Pilger and others in regards to the U.S. and their relationship to the Middle East. So... It's funny to think that some commentators here think that there is nothing wrong with the U.S. protecting their oil interests in the Gulf War because they are also helping a 'little' country defend itself against a tyrant. The irony was the opportunism of this 'war'. It is worth recalling Bush's esteem for Marcos, Mobutu, Ceausescu, Suharto and, yes, Saddam Hussein (prior to the Gulf War). It should go without saying that the conflict was neither glorious nor fair (bulldozing thousands of live Iraqi soldiers into trenches was a particularly disgusting lowpoint). Most important, though, in light of the above discussions, is the reasons why the U.S. and their allies participated in this conflict. Firstly the goal of the attack on the civilian society of Iraq was to induce the military to overthrow Saddam. It was important that this was a military takeover as they would be the most likely to wield the "iron fist" in the region, just as Saddam had done with US support before stepping out of line. This was all about maintaining 'stability' in the region, in line with U.S. policy, and their allies in the area (such as six family dictatorships,established by the Anglo-American settlement to manage Gulf oil riches in the interests of the foreign masters, and Turkish President Turgut Ozal who used the opportunity offered by the Gulf crisis to step up attacks on his own Kurdish population, confident that the US media would judiciously refrain from reporting the bombings of Kurdish villages.) Saddam, of course, was not removed and this explains why the U.S. after the Gulf conflict engaged in rhetoric saying that they preferred Saddam to others as he would keep stability in the region. (As an example one BBC investigation found that "several Iraqi generals made contact with the United States to sound out the likely response if they moved against Saddam," but received no support, concluding that "Washington had no interest in supporting revolution; that it would prefer Saddam Hussein to continue in office, rather than see groups of unknown insurgents take power.") Ultimately, then, the real reason for the U.S. involvement wasn't (1) a fear Hitlerite expansionism. Iraq is only a local power, not pre-World War II Germany. Iraq just spent the 1980s failing to conquer Iran despite U.S. support; or (2)to honor Kuwait's national sovereignty. U.S. history is a near continuous chronicle of violating other countries'national sovereignty (for instance, Panama); but to keep Washington, Wall Street, and their allies in charge of setting oil prices and to underline undercut the efficacy of U.S. military interventionism. It was a message to anyone thinking about disobeying U.S. orders. As for Mr. Frog, - sorry, but a Ph.D, hanging with Ted Turner and working a whole 6 years for the State Department hardly puts you in the expert department and privy to the reasoning behind U.S. plans for the Middle East, nor does it make you any less gullible or likely to swallow hook, line and sinker jingoistic rhetoric. It is worth remembering that, according to the Food and Agricultural Organisation and the World Health Organisation, both UN agencies, more than half a million children have died as a direct result of Iraqi aimed sanctions. Other sources put the figure at over a million. Baby food and enriched powdered milk are blockaded, along with vital hospital equipment: stethoscopes, X-ray machines, medical swabs, scanners and water-purifiers. Madeline Albright recently said that she thought this was a price worth paying..

  • June 9, 1999, 9:52 p.m. CST

    jbreen

    by tdibble

    A few comments. ---------------------------------- First: "bulldozing thousands of live Iraqi soldiers into trenches was a particularly disgusting lowpoint": What in the world are you talking about? Sources, please. ---------------------------------- Second: "Saddam, of course, was not removed and this explains why the U.S. after the Gulf conflict engaged in rhetoric saying that they preferred Saddam to others as he would keep stability in the region." Umm, hate to burst your bubble, but that rationale was given many times at the *start* of Desert Shield. I was 17-turning-18 at the time; I paid close attention to the chronology of events. It was made very clear very early that the goal was not to depose Saddam unless we could completely overthrow the military establishment, as none of the likely "replacement leaders" were better than Saddam; most had proven themselves more than willing and eager even to do worse than Saddam had. Thus, an "inside job" was quite clearly out of the question, from day one of Desert Storm. ---------------------------------- Third: "Iraq is only a local power, not pre-World War II Germany. Iraq just spent the 1980s failing to conquer Iran despite U.S. support." Bzzzzt, wrong. Germany was a local power in 1933, barely more than that in 1936. In fact, Germany in 1933 had barely gotten over being whacked forward and back by the first world war. Iraq vs Iran is hardly comparable to Iraq vs the rest of the Middle-East, for both geographical reasons, and for the fact that Iran was backed just as substantially as Iraq by that other 1980's superpower. The end result of the guns and bombs and techonologies filtering into this puppet-war is that the "puppets" became quite strong, militarily. Iraq *was* a threat to the region, as evidenced by the near-instant takeover of Kuwait. ---------------------------------- Fourth: "(2)to honor Kuwait's national sovereignty. U.S. history is a near continuous chronicle of violating other countries'national sovereignty (for instance, Panama);" Okay, you say a "near continuous chronicle" (by which I assume you mean "history" but decided the less-mundane word would impress even if used incorrectly), and then give a single example, 80-some years old by the start of Desert Storm. Post-WWII, please. ---------------------------------- Fifth: "As for Mr. Frog, - sorry, but a Ph.D, hanging with Ted Turner and working a whole 6 years for the State Department hardly puts you in the expert department and privy to the reasoning behind U.S. plans for the Middle East, nor does it make you any less gullible or likely to swallow hook, line and sinker jingoistic rhetoric." I'm not Mr Frog, but let me point out that (1) he never claimed his status, academic or work-related, was any reason to believe him; he mentioned it in response to a person who called him a "moron". Now, I'm not one to swing around academic credentials, and in my experience the doctorate degree doesn't say a whole lot about a person far too often, but I also can not defend the poster who called Mr Frog a "moron" for no reason other than that he disagrees with him. As he said, his conclusions are based on logic and public knowledge, as are mine. Sorry, but I've gotta respect that. IMHO, blindly disbelieving something just because it happens to be the "official line" is just as fool as always believing that "official line". As I've said before, if you want intelligent discussion you've got to cut out the knee-jerks and THINK! ---------------------------------- Finally: "It is worth remembering that, according to the Food and Agricultural Organisation and the World Health Organisation, both UN agencies, more than half a million children have died as a direct result of Iraqi aimed sanctions." And, just how many Kurds died, and how many more would die were Saddam allowed to prevail? Saddam holds the strings, folks. There are consequences for actions, no matter how much Saddam wants to ignore them. That doesn't absolve the rest of the world, and it certainly doesn't absolve the US for having "built" Saddam, but, yes, I agree with Ms Albright: this is a price which must be paid.

  • June 10, 1999, 1:06 a.m. CST

    Once again into the brink..

    by jbreen

    One. Sources for the bulldozing of Iraqi soldiers: Patrick Sloyan, Newsday, Sept 12, 1991; Boston Globe, Sept. 13, 1991 etc. Two. One example of the U.S. interventionism in more recent times is Nicaragua. Not everyone saw the elections as true examples of democracy. For instance, in the Mexican weekly Punto, liberation theologist Miguel Concha wrote that "the objective and subjective elements behind the winning coalition [are...] without any doubt the policy of the U.S. administrations, call them Reagan or Bush,... based on unrestricted and evident contempt for all norms of international law, with military aggression and economic blockade as the most important spearheads during the last decade. This heavily influenced the choice of the majority of Nicaraguans..., people desperately looking for peace, [a vital question] for a people so severely beaten by this whip, for a people which for ten years have seen their children die, after a revolutionary triumph which was seen as the solution to its problems, for a people that has been confronted by a patricidal war, arranged by the blind, stubborn will of the "enemies of humanity" who, insisting on their power, seek to be immortal." There are many other commentaries on the U.S. imposing their will either directly or indirectly on other, less powerful countries. This isn't always an outright military response - it can be economic such as the U.S. response to New Zealand PM Lange and his anti-nuclear stance. Three. Your point is kind of taken re pre WWII Germany. Nonetheless it is important to realise the capabilities inherent in pre-WWII Germany just via geography. To quote Chomsky: "Hitler Germany was one of the world's most advanced and powerful states. Alone, it came close to conquering Europe from England to the Urals, and even with the world's most powerful state joining in, came frighteningly close to holding on to its conquests. Power aside, its crimes were vastly beyond anything attributed to Saddam, a point that should be too obvious to require discussion. Saddam is a monster, doubtless, among a long string of others in the region and elsewhere. Hitler was sui generis, both in deeds and in power. As for power, Saddam's Iraq, even with the support of the West and the USSR, was barely able to come to terms with an Iranian state with its military severely undermined by internal chaos. By now Iraq is far weaker relative to states of the region. As one very knowledgeable Middle East analyst (Charles Glass) has pointed out, the Iraqi military is now reduced to what the British designed it for in the first place almost 80 years ago: to suppress its own population by violence, the usual task of armies in the colonies (many now called "independent"). Furthermore, Iraq is surrounded by hostile regimes, possessing or gaining weapons of mass destruction (Israel, Iran, Turkey, Syria). Even without US-UK force, it poses no significant regional threat, let alone global threat." This is the country playing fumbling mind games with a country which happily demonises them in the absence of a Cold War enemy. How wonderful for you to be able to live with the deaths of a possible million children in order to keep this country under control. I would suggest visiting sites like www.zmag.org to view arguments other than those spat forth by CNN and The Times. As for Mr Frog, your ability to not read between the lines is astounding. Calling someone a 'moron' is hardly vicious, but responding with 'I have a Ph.D' is a way of suggesting you believe that your opinions carry more weight than someone who does not.

  • June 10, 1999, 6:55 a.m. CST

    Last Dispatch ...

    by tdibble

    Last one here. ---------------------------------- Concerning the "buldozing of live soldiers into trenches", a little explanation is necessary. First, this is completely unconfirmed, coming from a single source, described in *one* article, and barely mentioned in passing in the Boston Globe and NYTimes. This doesn'tscream reliability to me, especially given the alledgedly widespread orders it is describing. But, we'll give Patrick the benefit of the doubt here. Second, what does his article describe? It says that tanks were fitted with bulldozer fronts to plow through the Iraqi trenches. Yes, if the Iraqis didn't flee the trenches, they'd be buried. Now, I don't know how much you've studied warfare, but you don't mess around with trenches. They are a killing ground, one way or another. If you send soldiers in to "clean them out", your soldiers are at a distinct disadvantage. However, having artillery, tanks, or other heavy machinery "roll over" trenches, thus burying anyone who doesn't flee alive, has been standard procedure since WWII at least. Guys, that's called war. People are going to die, and they're going to die badly. ---------------------------------- What it *sounded* like you were describing was the US army digging a trench, sticking the Iraqis inside, and bulldozing over it. This was not the case. ---------------------------------- Then you talk about Nicaragua, saying "Not everyone saw the elections as true examples of democracy". Well, of course not. First, not everyone is going to agree about anything, but more importantly, very few elections *anywhere* are "true democracy". Especially not the first couple of sets of elections after years of dictatorship and military rule. Regardless, you have a bit of a different definition of what "violating soveriegnty" means than does the UN. The US has not nonconsentually annexed, and has not gained permanent control over previously sovereign countries. Iraq annexed Kuwait. You admit that much of the US's control is economic. This is in no way prohibitted by the UN charter or rules. ---------------------------------- Yes, Hitler and Hussein are on completely different planes of inhumanity; I wouldn't dream of comparing the two. However, the point with the 1933-36 Germany example is that local powers, under the right circumstances, which can be nothing more than apathy, can and do become world powers, especially if their local conquests are allowed to be held. That is the reasoning behind the UN rules on sovereignty. ---------------------------------- Again, you missed my point concerning the Iraq/Iran war: this was a puppet war between the US and the USSR. The fact that Iraq was unable to defeat Iran means nothing, because Iran was backed by the USSR. No, Iraq was not, alone, more powerful than the USSR. That's a no-brainer. But, the aftermath of the puppet war was a preponderance of weaponry in the region, and an imbalance in that most of that weaponry was in the hands of Iraq and Iran. ---------------------------------- Finally, your points are well-taken concerning the current state of Iraq. I have to admit I haven't been following it as closely as I should. But this discussion started with statements about how we never should have waged the war, how Desert Storm was an immoral war and George Bush was a criminal. Now, I'm no Bush fan, but those statements I still say are completely false.

  • June 10, 1999, 5:10 p.m. CST

    My final dispatch!

    by jbreen

    I am sure tdibble and others feel that this forum is probably not the right place to hold this discussion, and it is generous of Mr. Knowles to allow us to do so. So this will be my last dispatch on this topic and the next time I post I hope the subject will be about 'Eyes Wide Shut' or something more filmic. As a kid I was fascinated with the life of T.E. Lawrence (of Arabia). The history of his biographical accounts is long and varied. It may seem surprising that one of the major 'heroic' figures of a war still within living memory should evince so much conflicting reportage. Even singular reports from the same source often contradict and deliberately retract earlier statements they have made concerning his life. But, as tdibble points out, 'not everyone is going to agree about everything'. Perhaps it may be that the Boston Globe and NYTimes coverage of one event was slim because it was considered disrespectful to paint the behaviour of the U.S. military in anything but a favourable light. Perhaps not. Perhaps Bush was a decent man who genuinely liked Marcos and Ceasescu and was unaware of the crimes of the regimes they headed. Then again perhaps he was looking after the best interests of the U.S. and wilfully turning a blind eye. I personally don't think the Gulf War was fought directly over oil (I think it was tdibble who pointed out the reasons for that), nor do I think it was the Iraq invasion of Kuwait, but rather the opportunity for creating a stronger foothold in the area presented itself and the U.S. went for it. On this point I guess tdibble and myself will agree to disagree. As for the previous poster, well, I strongly respect your opinion but even being an active participant doesn't mean that you are aware of the rights and wrong doings of the whole U.S. presence in the Gulf. The fact that the U.S. has acted correctly in some cases regarding war crimes does not mean that they always do so, are aware of all the crimes committed or will not stoop to prosecuting one or two crimes as some kind of war showpony whilst covering up others. I do not know if any of these are the case, I am merely pointing out other possibilites that have occurred throughout history. My point is that what we don't see or hear may be as important as what we do, and what we do see and hear may have multiple meanings. What, for instance, CNN reported may not be as revealing as what they were kept unaware of, deliberately did not report and what they toned down. And then there is always the other side of the story. I suspect that tdibble, frog and others here are like me and have enjoyed the opportunity for a robust debate without recourse to too much mudslinging! It goes to show, much to Harry and Moriarty's pleasure no doubt, that film can inspire passion whether it be politicised or not. 'Three Kings' will be a film to look forward to simply because of talkback like this.

  • Sept. 24, 1999, 8:44 p.m. CST

    Kurds and soveriegnity (however it's friggin spelled)

    by Wyr

    Someone mentioned something like "Should we let Saddam kill the Kurds?" Well, we did. And close to no one the world over cared, and ignored their pleas for help. And about them annexing them, what many don't realize is that there was SOME justification to it, much like there was SOME justification for the communist searching by Macarthur. I'm not quite sure exactly how it was working, but Kuwait was illegally breaking contracts about oil price raising and trading.

  • Aug. 2, 2006, 8:04 a.m. CST

    Kuwait asked for our help, and we answered.

    by Wolfpack