1:04 PM, Jan 27, 2015 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
Last week, I wrote about how the professional left was attacking Clint Eastwood's new biopic about Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle. American Sniper is almost exclusively about the struggles and heroism of one remarkable man who fought in the Iraq war, but the film's critics can't seem to forgive the fact a film was made about the war on terror that mostly eschewed politics and didn't go out of its way to attack Bush-Cheney and/or denounce American imperialism. The film is now a bona fide phenomenon. After having the largest opening weekend for a January film ever, "[the film's second weekend] $64.6 million tally is off just 28 percent from the movie's opening frame, which is the best second weekend hold ever for a movie that opened above $80 million," according to BoxOfficeMojo.com.
As such, the attacks on the film just keep coming. Over the weekend, Bill Maher called Kyle a "psychopath" on his HBO show, which prompted this response from Howard Dean: "There’s a lot of anger in this country, and the people who go see this movie are people who are very angry,” Dean said. “... I bet you if you looked at a cross-section of the Tea Party and the people who go to see this movie, there’s a lot of intersection.” Actor Gary Sinise posted this public response to Dean:
To Howard Dean,
I saw American Sniper and would not consider myself to be an angry person. You certainly have a right to make stupid blanket statements, suggesting that all people who see this film are angry, but how is that helpful sir? Do you also suggest that everyone at Warner Brothers is angry because they released the film? That Clint Eastwood, Jason Hall, Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller and the rest of the cast and crew are angry because they made the film? Chris Kyle's story deserved to be told. It tells a story of the stress that multiple deployments have on one military family, a family representative of thousands of military families. It helps to communicate the toll that the war on terror has taken on our defenders. Defenders and families who need our support. I will admit that perhaps somewhere among the masses of people who are going to see the film there may be a few that might have some anger or have been angry at some point in their lives, but, with all due respect, what the hell are you talking about?
And of course, Noam Chomsky denounced the film even as he admitted he hadn't seen it. "Now, that [American Sniper] mentality helps explain why it’s so easy to ignore what is most clearly the most extreme terrorist campaign of modern history, if not ever—Obama’s global assassination campaign," Chomsky said. This is a drearily predictable response coming from Chomsky -- left-wing stenographers who dutifully recording his hatred of America are the equivalent of transportation reporters who cover every plane that lands safely. However, it's notable considering that a lot of the criticism centers on director Clint Eastwood's supposed reputation as a Hollywood right-winger. While Eastwood did speak at the 2012 GOP convention, he's something of an unscrutable libertarian and, ironically enough, has described his personal politics as a "fusion of Milton Friedman and Noam Chomsky."
If American Sniper has a long healthy run at the box office, and it appears it will, the attacks on the American Sniper are unlikely to abate and may even continue to pique interest in the film. So far, American Sniper is proving to be the rare culture war skirmish that the left on the losing side of.
10:03 AM, Aug 11, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Can the United States maintain a "limited" military force in Iraq to stop the Islamist militants targeting ethnic minorities in that country? At Politico, Philip Ewing notes how difficult that strategy may be for President Barack Obama:
1:21 PM, Apr 25, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Walter B. Jones, the longtime Republican congressman from North Carolina, is facing a tough primary challenge. Jones has made his anti-war stance central to his political identity, and Peter Hamby of CNN reports on how Jones is being challenged on his position on Iraq and Afghanistan:
The anti-war Republican may be getting a primary challenge.3:52 PM, May 1, 2013 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Rep. Walter B. Jones of North Carolina occupies a strange place on the spectrum of American politics. An 18-year House veteran from the conservative coast, Jones is a pro-life former Democrat, raised Baptist but a Catholic convert. The 70-year-old Republican’s biggest claim to fame may have come in 2003 when France decided not to participate in the American-led coalition invading Iraq. In a moment of patriotic pique, Jones, following the lead of a diner in his district, directed the House cafeterias to rename French fries as “freedom fries.”
Kurdistan prospers, even as pressure from Baghdad grows Mar 4, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 24 • By DAVID DEVOSS
Two years after the self-immolation of a street vendor protesting police corruption in Tunisia, the promise of the Arab Spring remains unrealized. Instead of ushering in an era of stable self-determination, much of the Middle East remains in disarray. Syria is in flames, Egypt almost ungovernable. Libyan terrorists responsible for the Benghazi massacre are still at large, and Tunisia soon could have its second government in as many years.
9:30 AM, Dec 19, 2011 • By FREDERICK W. KAGAN and KIMBERLY KAGAN
We interrupt President Obama’s celebration of keeping a campaign promise to bring you news from Iraq, where a political crisis has been unfolding since just hours after Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta departed on Thursday.
11:00 AM, Dec 16, 2011 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
...I highly recommend starting with this Vanity Fair piece where Hitchens confronts the consequences of his support for the Iraq War, and in the process pens a moving tribute to a fallen soldier:
It continues...1:39 PM, Mar 29, 2010 • By JAMIE FLY
Even though Iraqis turned out in droves to vote in parliamentary elections, and even though the Obama administration prepares to withdraw the last combat forces from Iraq this summer, opponents of the Iraq war amazingly continue to propagate the myth that the Bush administration led the country to war based on fabricated intelligence. Over at Politics Daily, Pete Wehner has written a detailed rebuttal of this argument as part of an exchange with David Corn.
What will he do if the going gets tough?12:13 PM, Mar 11, 2010 • By JAMIE FLY
As Iraqi election officials tally the votes from Sunday’s parliamentary elections, the Obama administration faces some difficult choices in the weeks and months ahead. Despite the apparent success of the election and the limited violence associated with it, there is the potential for uncertainty in the coming months as Iraqi parties wrangle for control of a new governing coalition.
5:20 PM, Mar 2, 2010 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
So says Newsweek:
Bush's rhetoric about democracy came to sound as bitterly ironic as his pumped-up appearance on an aircraft carrier a few months earlier, in front of an enormous banner that declared MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. And yet it has to be said and it should be understood—now, almost seven hellish years later—that something that looks mighty like democracy is emerging in Iraq. And while it may not be a beacon of inspiration to the region, it most certainly is a watershed event that could come to represent a whole new era in the history of the massively undemocratic Middle East.
The elections to be held in Iraq on March 7 feature 6,100 parliamentary candidates from all of the country's major sects and many different parties. They have wildly conflicting interests and ambitions. Yet in the past couple of years, these politicians have come to see themselves as part of the same club, where hardball political debate has supplanted civil war and legislation is hammered out, however slowly and painfully, through compromises—not dictatorial decrees or, for that matter, the executive fiats of U.S. occupiers. Although protected, encouraged, and sometimes tutored by Washington, Iraq's political class is now shaping its own system—what Gen. David Petraeus calls "Iraqracy." With luck, the politics will bolster the institutions through which true democracy thrives.
In case you missed it, veteran David Bellavia recently wrote a moving piece on the fight for Iraq and democracy.
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