March 15, 2006

WE ARE DEVOE:

Best supporting neocon (Max Boot, March 15, 2006, LA Times)

DEAR George Clooney,

[...]

Dare I say it — you're the No. 1 neocon in Never Never Land. [...]

Then there's "The Peacemaker," your terrific 1997 thriller that sought to shake the nation out of its post-Cold War complacency by showing how easily terrorists could smuggle a nuclear bomb into the U.S. Neocons in the 1990s were arguing for a more ruthless anti-terrorist policy. Your character, Lt. Col. Thomas Devoe, didn't let legal niceties stop him from saving New York.

All that is by way of prelude to your 1998 neocon masterpiece, "Three Kings." It showed that the 1991 Gulf War didn't achieve its goals when it left Saddam Hussein in power. Amid frenzied postwar celebrations, your character, Maj. Archie Gates, observes gloomily, "I don't even know what we did here." Neocons like Paul Wolfowitz were saying the same thing; they wanted to oust Hussein from power, not just from Kuwait.

You lead a group of three other soldiers to steal gold taken from Kuwait, but it soon becomes apparent that, despite your crusty exterior, you can't ignore the suffering of Iraqi Shiites who have risen up against Hussein at American instigation, only to be slaughtered. In the movie's pivotal scene, you watch as an Iraqi goon shoots a Shiite woman in the head. The Iraqi officer in charge is willing to let you leave with the loot. "You go now please," he pleads. "I don't think so," you growl. And then you beat up the Baathists on behalf of the Shiites.

The rest of the movie follows your attempts to get a group of 55 Shiites safely across the border to a refugee camp in Iran. Saving them isn't cheap — you lose most of your bullion, one of your soldiers is killed and another is badly wounded — but it's the right thing to do.

The message is clear: The U.S. should pursue its ideals in foreign policy, not simply try to protect its strategic or economic interests. Believe it or not, that is the essence of modern neoconservatism. And that is precisely the policy that President Bush has been following in Iraq, notwithstanding the sniping he's received from you and your friends.


You can't be a successful actor in Hollywood and not make conservative films. But, if you're successful eough someone will let you indulge in your little liberal vanity projects just to keep you happy enough that you'll keep making the real movies, the ones people actually watch.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 15, 2006 4:20 PM
Comments

Three Kings was great.

It was a movie that really made you want to kick Saddam in the groin.

Posted by: Ali Choudhury at March 15, 2006 4:58 PM

Doesn't syriana basically say that the CIA's preference for stability came at the expense of liberty? Wouldn't that also be a neocon point? I did not see it so I'm asking.

Posted by: JAB at March 15, 2006 5:13 PM

JAB: If you read the whole article, Boot makes that exact point as well.

Posted by: b at March 15, 2006 5:24 PM

Right like Neocons actually are that organized in thier thinking. Wasn't Bush against nation-building? Oh wait we went to Iraq to save the Shia? I don't remember that one. I thought it was for the WMD. Or what was it again? For every conservative who agrees with G Clooney I can find you one who doesn't. And I am talking about both sides of Clooney - the occasional liberal and the occasioinal conservative. Its classic for an american who proclaims a hand position ( left or right) to pick an actor to make his point. Actors enormous clout. Putative left or right. But thier real positions are as thin as ... well the whole arguement between left and right.

Who cares what Clooney thinks? Why do people care? This is why I love Paris Hilton. Other celebrities like to make themselves seem substantial. Hilton is saying, "the only reason I'm here is because you care. You care because I am richer, sexying and more popular than you. " She is the only one who actually makes the point.

The rest of them are lieing to themselves and us.

Posted by: exclab at March 15, 2006 5:46 PM

exclab: Uh, dude, Bush isn't a neocon...

Posted by: b at March 15, 2006 6:01 PM

ex: As neoconservatism is a wholly artificial intellectual exercise, it is very well organized. Indeed, it's over organized. Your confusion apparently comes from thinking that W is a neocon. He's not.

We didn't go into Iraq either time to save the Shi'a, but that doesn't mean that betraying the Shi'a was right -- particularly when helping them would have advanced our security.

Nobody thinks we went into Iraq the second time because of WMDs. We just think that WMDs were the one unassailable reason to go in. Ironically, the fact that they weren't there just proves the point.

Posted by: David Cohen at March 15, 2006 6:03 PM

b, I did but missed it. Seemed odd that it wouldn't.

Posted by: JAB at March 15, 2006 6:10 PM

ex,

"Wasn't Bush against nation-building?"
Sure, but that was before 9/11. 9/11 changed a lot of things.

"Who cares what Clooney thinks?" Man, I couldn't agree with you more. Add to George the rest of Hollywood ... including the blowhard Paris Hilton!

Posted by: Genecis at March 15, 2006 6:13 PM

ex:

While we've never met, I doubt that whorebag Paris Hilton is sexier than even you.

Posted by: oj at March 15, 2006 6:21 PM

OJ

That I get. Of course, but it is the impression that is believed that is the substance of PH' success. She became what she seemed and succeeded in one of the most competitive businesses. She was also very honest about her appeal. This is commendable. As for her being a whorebag. That word seems to have a lot meanings, none of them complimentary. I do not know the woman myself but I assume she will share the details of her sex life with me, when that time is appropriate. In short, her sex life is her business not mine.

Q: About neocons: Is Miss Coulter a neo con?

Posted by: exclab at March 15, 2006 6:36 PM

Her sex life is her business, there's nothing admirable about her.

No, Ann Coulter is more of a theocon. She's interested in social issues besides affirmative action and foreign issues beyond those that effect Israel.

Posted by: oj at March 15, 2006 6:59 PM

Guys, Paris Hilton is famous because her sex life was NOT her personal business. Hence "whorebag" seems an entirely appropriate term...

Posted by: b at March 15, 2006 7:14 PM

ex - Arthur Vandenberg was a staunch isolationist. Then Pearl Harbor and WWII changed his mind.

Charles Lindbergh was an isolationist. Events changed his mind.

I wonder what event would change yours if 9/11 wasn't enough?

Posted by: Mikey at March 15, 2006 7:40 PM

Clooney's 30-second boxcar scene at the beginning of "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou" is as close to utterly perfect as a movie can get.

Posted by: Palmcroft at March 15, 2006 7:42 PM

Ann Coulter isn't a theocon - she's a sniper. Her career is spent sending shot after shot downrange.

Entertaining at times, but not someone I want to set policy.

Posted by: Mikey at March 15, 2006 7:42 PM

Great point on "Oh Brother". Wonderful film and soundtrack. Also pretty conservative in my mind.

One of the reasons I started returning to OJ's weblog is that he make the key point that humor and most great stories (films included) are inherrently conservative. Spielberg, Clooney and co. cannot help but advance the ball for the other side.

Posted by: JAB at March 15, 2006 9:01 PM

"Wasn't Bush against nation-building?"

Against nation-building as an end. As a means, well, if the Mideast could be fixed by easy, reliable means, it would have been.

Posted by: Bob Hawkins at March 15, 2006 9:40 PM
« BIOLOGY REPEATS COSMOLOGY: | Main | AND PEOPLE SAY HE'S NOT CONSERVATIVE? (via Rick Turley): »