Govindini Murty, writing in the New York Daily News, accused Hollywood of adopting an anti-American, anti-military stance in its presentation of the Iraq war to the American people. “Art is best served,” he says, “by an open competition of ideas. when only the anti-war left is allowed to make films in Hollywood and pro-American voices are excluded, the result is movies that are ideologically rigid, morally shallow, and creatively sterile.” He points out that the movie “Rendition” claims the American government allows innocent Muslim civilians to be tortured. Murty asserts the film, “Lions for Lambs,” depicts a venal Republican senator rising the lives of American troops in order to advance his political career. He argues the appearance of anti-war films in the midst of a war is “unprecedented.” Mr. Murty believes there were no anti-Vietnam films while Americans were fighting in Vietnam nor in Korea.
Govindini Murty raises some interesting issues regarding the role of the media during wartime. His entire argument stems from a fundamental belief that presenting American soldiers performing evil deeds or corrupt politicians using the war for political gain is “ant-American.” Isn’t the essence of this nation that we respect the right of dissent, and that by allowing films depicting evil on the part of our fighting men and women, Hollywood is acting in accord with basic American values? Unlike, other nations, the United States of America is willing to present its mistakes as well as its virtues, isn’t that a powerful message for democracy? It is NOT anti-American to portray our mistakes, it is American to do so. Mr. Murty makes note of pictures which present American soldiers torturing Muslim civilians, but, Mr. Murty, the evidence is overwhelming that such actions have ben committed. It is no lie to present such scenes, it is telling the truth and we Americans believe in the truth. It is not lying to present Republican politicians lying to the American people in order to excite them into war, have you forgotten the famous WMD of Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld? How about the Republican smear campaign against a Democratic Senator who lost both arms and legs fighting in Vietnam charging him with being unpatriotic! Hollywood has a moral and political obligation to present the truth.
As far as World War II films go, a careful examination reveals many shades of critical issues being raised. A great film like “A Walk In The Sun” depicts war weary American soldiers making mistakes, the audience wasn’t angry, it knew our fighting men did make mistakes. One difference that Murty does not cite is the reality that during WWII the entire nation was united in support of the war. Due to Bush’s efforts to demonize Democrats, no such attitude has prevailed in the present war. Hollywood does not make anti-war films when the overwhelming majority of American are supporting the war. i am sorry, Mr. Murty,as a film critic you rate an “F.”