Saturday, April 19, 2003

U.S. settling scores, but at what cost?(Jim Dalgleish, Herald Palladium)

Given the time of its creation, the 1972 film "The Godfather" can be seen as a parable about America and the Vietnam War.

In it, we watch the young Michael Corleone go from decorated soldier to ruthless mob boss. By 1972, America's New Frontier had given way to My Lai.

But a major part of the classic film seems to speak eerily to our time, to today's war.

For the stated cause of defending the nation (the family), U.S. troops have been dispatched to Iraq. But can the family be safe, proud and prosperous by taking down one chronic enemy and leave the others standing?

Is it, "Today Iraq, tomorrow Iran and Syria"? Both have been long been identified as state sponsors of terrorism - and are now alleged to be assisting Iraq.

For Michael Corleone, the score-settling ultimately delivered little peace. The film's two sequels have Michael fending off enemies beyond and within.

In the process of destroying enemies, will America anger more friends, create new enemies, further energize the "death to America" crowd and force the alienated into potent alliances?

At the end of "The Godfather, Part III," Michael dies of natural causes - a miraculous passage given his enemies. He was rich and powerful, but he wasn't happy. And he wasn't secure.

I love movie analogies, but Dalgleish fails the main point. The Godfather films were about what people will do to hold onto power. To say that Michael Corleone lives to an old age and dies of natural causes unhappy is supposed to mean what? That Bush will spend the rest of his years regretting his youthful wars? No, Dalgleish makes the mistake that most moral relativists make. They look at the action and see it as good or bad, when they should look at the context.

Bush's war was to protect others. He left himself nothing to feel guilty about. Michael’s regrets came as he killed his own family to hold onto power. Shooting your brother to save your power is different than shooting a rogue who is raping a woman. But in Dalgleish's view all shooting is the same.

Micahael Corleone was more like Saddam Hussein who sacrificed his own family and his own people for the throne. To miss that analogy and compare Corleone to Bush is certainly reaching, if not irresponsible.

No comments:

Post a Comment