About Me

Kyle Smith (Twitter: @rkylesmith) is critic-at-large for National Review, theater critic for The New Criterion and the author of the novels Love Monkey and A Christmas Caroline. Type a title in the box above to locate a review.

Buy Love Monkey for $4! "Hilarious"--Maslin, NY Times. "Exceedingly readable and wickedly funny romantic comedy"--S.F. Chronicle. "Loud and brash, a helluva lot of fun"--Entertainment Weekly. "Engaging romp, laugh-out-loud funny"-CNN. "Shrewd, self-deprecating, oh-so-witty. Smith's ruthless humor knows no bounds"--NPR

Buy A Christmas Caroline for $10! "for those who prefer their sentimentality seasoned with a dash of cynical wit. A quick, enjoyable read...straight out of Devil Wears Prada"--The Wall Street Journal

Rotten Tomatoes
Search Movie/Celeb

Advanced Search
  • Recent Comments

  • Categories

  • « | Home | »

    Get Me a Straitjacket. Disliking “Green Zone” Is Crazy

    By Kyle | March 9, 2010

    It is a bit of a bore when bloggers say that someone who disagrees with them is “frothing at the mouth” or “crazy mad.” It’s a way to say: I don’t have to deal with your arguments because I rule them beyond the bounds of rational discussion. Really, this is rhetorical weak sauce. It would be dismissed at any eighth-grade debate. If Patrick Goldstein wants to refute my arguments, let him. Calling someone as measured as I am “frothing at the mouth” is sophomoric.

    And guess what? I’m right. The movie really is astonishingly anti-American, as you’ll see from reading other (liberal) reviewers who have been admitting that “Green Zone” is biased. And Goldstein’s point that the movie originally portrayed the Judith Miller character as a New York Times scribe — then chickened out and moved her to the Wall Street Journal — kinda proves my point. Hollywood is afraid of annoying the New York Times but not so much the Journal. (As for the legal fig leaf, please. The character is so obviously based on Miller that most of the American reviews I’ve seen have mentioned it. Changing her affiliation doesn’t provide the slightest legal cover in the event of a lawsuit.) Miller has little cause to sue, though, because the movie portrays her (as played by Amy Ryan) as simply a dupe.

    Topics: Blogs, Iraq, Movies, Politics | 90 Comments »

    90 Responses to “Get Me a Straitjacket. Disliking “Green Zone” Is Crazy”

    1. yankeefan Says:
      March 9th, 2010 at 11:28 am

      Kyle: I haven’t yet seen Green Zone so cannot comment on the merits of this particular picture. But let me ask a more fundamental question: So what if a film is anti-American?

      At the risk of hyperbolic comparison, our Cold War adversaries judged art on whether or not it was pro- or anti-Soviet. Our Islamic adversaries surely judge art and images on whether they are anti-Islamic. My point is, shouldn’t we simply judge these films on their artistic merits, not on whether or not they favor or oppose the policies of our government?

    2. Kyle Says:
      March 9th, 2010 at 11:46 am

      My op-ed wasn’t a review, though, was it? (I did hint that the movie is ridiculous in that the warrant officer conducts a one-man internal affairs investigation. I would have written more along those lines in a review). I point out that it’s anti-American and you can do with that what you will.

    3. Christian Toto Says:
      March 9th, 2010 at 12:52 pm

      I’ve emailed back and forth with Patrick G. and he seems like a nice fellow. I kinda suspect he writes about you and Big Hollywood on occasion to get more traffic … to spike the punch, as it were.

      Could be wrong, though…

    4. Patrick Says:
      March 9th, 2010 at 3:14 pm

      Yankeefan – without having seen the Green Zone (and very doubtful I will), I think that if a movie is presuming to make a statement about real life current events, it’s fair to judge it on the merits of the argument it is making. I don’t think Kyle is saying something has to mindlessly endorse the military and government as those propaganda films you mention probably did, but criticism coming in the form of a movie needs to be grounded in something related to real events, and not be, as this sounds like, a paranoid leftist fantasy.

    5. TruthBTold Says:
      March 9th, 2010 at 3:42 pm

      No one I know of is calling for the movie not to have been made or shown. There is nothing wrong with stating that a movie portrays American leaders and military as the bad guys as part of a review and allowing people to make the decision for themselves whether to spend their money and time seeing it. That a movie is anti american in it’s portrayal of events is just a fact and is a big part of the storyline. It can’t just be ignored.

    6. blackhawk12151 Says:
      March 9th, 2010 at 4:22 pm

      I still think Greengrass, leftist stooge or not, needs to be recognized for the staggering directorial advances he has made. For example, instead of using crew members, he places the cameras in those things they use to mix paint at Home Depot. Also, instead of going through the time and effort it takes to choreograph action scenes he just throws all the footage together in edit and calls it a night. This also relieves the audience of the ability to know what is going on in a scene, allowing us to just sit back and passively absorb the seizure inducing assault on our senses.

      The man is a visionary indeed.

    7. Patrick. Says:
      March 10th, 2010 at 1:40 am

      I obviously haven’t seen “Green Zone,” but let me pose a question that may seem wildly preposterous to you: Why can’t a film be anti-American? Do we really live in a world where criticizing our own values and society is irreparable treason?

    8. Hunter Tremayne Says:
      March 10th, 2010 at 4:42 am

      No, we don’t, thank God.

      I must say that it is nice to finally have an American movie with Americans as the antagonists. after Hollywood has spend more than two decades making Brits the bad guys. It took a New Zealander, Peter Jackson, to give us traditional English values, albeit disguised as fantasy, in the Lord of the Rings pictures.

      By the way, for a truly entertaining anti-American movie, check out Martin McDonagh’s “In Bruges” which spends almost the entire movie gleefully attacking Americans and American culture.

    9. Weir Says:
      March 10th, 2010 at 7:10 am

      And the Irish, and the Belgians, and Canadians too.

      But McDonagh isn’t making an argument. Greengrass is.

      If Greengrass had written an op-ed, for example, he’d have had to stick to the facts. But he’s made an op-movie, instead. He’s attacking real people and an actual war, but making up the facts to suit him.

    10. Kevin W. Says:
      March 10th, 2010 at 9:36 am

      Kyle did not call for a boycott of the film in the op-ed piece (although he expressed the temptation elsewhere). There is nothing wrong with pointing out the fact that the movie is anti-American, even in a review. People should be alerted to portrayals that might offend their sensibilities, especially when those portrayals are gratuitous. An animal rights activist might not want to see a film with brutal depictions of dogfighting, for instance. But “The Green Zone” goes too far in being provocative. I believe it is wrong for filmmakers to fictionalize recent events in this way, creating a conspiracy-theory-minded alternative reality (although, of course, it is within their rights to do so). As I said elsewhere on this site, it’s like releasing “JFK” in, say, 1966. Is it legal? Constitutionally protected? Absolutely. Is it right? Helpful to our national discourse? Absolutely not.

    11. Pete Says:
      March 10th, 2010 at 10:44 am


      So you would be in favor of a documentary style movie showing that despite the growing consensus that the WH claims about WMD in Iraq were at best exaggerated at worst false, that the WH decided to invade anyway? Hopefully such a film would faithfully recreate all the times WH officials in 2002 and 2003 made public statements implying that Iraq had some involvement in 9/11. If the film was long enough, maybe they could recreate the documented incident where KSM was waterboarded 183 times in one month with the objective being getting him to confess to an Al-Queda/Saddam alliance.

      My guess is that if an Iraq movie had nothing but documented truth in it, you guys still would call it anti-American, because at the end of the day, you still won’t admit that you were duped and that the invasion was launched for phony reasons.

    12. Pete Says:
      March 10th, 2010 at 10:45 am

      Hopefully, a future Iraq film will also show a scene where Budget Office Director Mitch Daniels testified under oath that the Iraq War would cost only $60 billion. He was only off by about a trillion dollars or so.

    13. kishke Says:
      March 10th, 2010 at 11:14 am

      As I believe I once said here, I thought In Bruges was quite funny. A very good movie. I wasn’t offended by the jabs at Americans, though I thought they harped on it a bit too much.

      maybe they could recreate the documented incident where KSM was waterboarded 183 times in one month

      I’d pay good money to see KSM waterboarded 183 times.

    14. Kyle Says:
      March 10th, 2010 at 1:43 pm

      “In the Loop” was much funnier about Americans than “In Bruges.”

    15. Pete Says:
      March 10th, 2010 at 1:44 pm


      Way to miss the point. Several intelligence officials went on record stating that the excessive waterboarding of KSM in the month before the Iraq invasion was directed in order to coerce a confession of an “alliance” between Al-Queda and Iraq.

      Leaving aside the Rubber Hose stuff, the purpose of interrogating a suspect is to find out what they know and determine if it’s useful intelligence. It appears the interrogators of KSM were just trying to get him to say what they wanted him to say, not necessarily what was actually true. This sort of approach to interrogation is exactly how the VC got prisoners like McCain to “confess” to non-existent crimes.

    16. kishke Says:
      March 10th, 2010 at 2:32 pm

      No Pete, way for you to miss the point, which is that I don’t give two hoots what they did to KSM. They could shoot the bastard for all I care.

    17. kishke Says:
      March 10th, 2010 at 2:33 pm

      Kyle, I haven’t seen In the Loop, but In Bruges was funny in other ways too.

    18. Pete Says:
      March 10th, 2010 at 2:44 pm

      Kishke…so it doesn’t concern you that he was waterboarded in order to reverse engineer evidence of the non-existent link between Al Queda and Iraq as a means of rationalizing an invasion?

      If you give the government the power to obtain false confessions by any means necessary, you can’t exactly put that genie back in the bottle. It is irrelevant that KSM is a monster who deserves his fate for 9/11. Who would be the next group of people that such “interrogation” powers would be directed against?

    19. kishke Says:
      March 10th, 2010 at 4:19 pm

      Pete, I am allergic to conspiracy theories.

    20. Pete Says:
      March 10th, 2010 at 4:33 pm

      It’s not a conspiracy theory. People have gone on the record about being pressed by the WH to get KSM to confess to an alliance with Iraq. I’m sorry, but there was some reverse engineering going on. Probably doesn’t matter, becuase the rationale for the invasion has changed so many times, I doubt anyone really knows why we piled in.

      Either way, justifying torture because the people being tortured are really bad is a real slippery slope. Mark Shea (no left winger here), has eloquently written about this for a while now.

    21. kishke Says:
      March 10th, 2010 at 5:39 pm

      a) I don’t consider waterboarding torture. b) Even real torture of people like KSM can perhaps be justified if it would save innocent lives, as in the ticking bomb scenario.

    22. Kevin W. Says:
      March 11th, 2010 at 9:58 am

      Pete, “People have gone on the record”! Well, there you go; I can’t refute that conclusive proof! Like so many others, you claim that the Bush administration mendaciously tied Saddam to 9/11, but no one can ever produce any quote to that effect. It is a collective fantasy. As to the rationale (actually, rationales) for the Iraq invasion, rather than parroting the lines that the left and the media have spoon-fed you, why not go back to primary sources? Read Bush’s speech to the UN which cites about three dozen reasons, one of which was human rights for Iraqis. And another thing: Squirting water up someone’s nose is not torture.

    23. Hunter Tremayne Says:
      March 11th, 2010 at 10:06 am

      “Squirting water up someone’s nose is not torture.”

      That depends if it’s Angelina Jolie or Dick Cheney who is doing the squirting.

    24. Kevin W. Says:
      March 11th, 2010 at 10:41 am

      Also, Pete, your statement about “the growing consensus that the WH claims about WMD in Iraq were at best exaggerated at worst false” is especially rich. It must be fun to alter historical facts to fit one’s political worldview. You should recall (but you obviously don’t) that the actual consensus–among each one of the world’s major intelligence agencies, and members of Congress from both parties–was that Iraq posed a threat with regard to WMD. And after all, it was the Clinton administration that made regime change in Iraq official US policy. So I guess Bill was in on the conspiracy, too?

    25. Pete Says:
      March 11th, 2010 at 11:06 am

      Well, then, in 7 years in Iraq we ought to have been able to find all those canisters of chemical weapons we were told were there. We didn’t find anything, now why exactly is that?

      You see, no conservatives talk about the WMD rationale anymore. They talk about what a bad guy Saddam was as being the reason for the invasion.

      BTW, remember when Budget Director Mitch Daniels testified that the war would only cost $60 billion and would be paid for with Iraqi oil money? How did that work out?

      I’m sorry, but at the end of the day the United States was never under threat from Iraq. We invaded because the previous President was too bored with finding the real culprits of 9/11 in Afghanistan and he also needed to work through his daddy issues.

    26. Pete Says:
      March 11th, 2010 at 11:08 am

      21. Kriske

      The “ticking time bomb” scenario is a canard. In the five or so years since the torture debate started, the goalposts have been moved so much that many conservatives advocating torturing ANY torture suspect picked up in the name of the “ticking time bomb”. Again, the point of torture isn’t to gain actionable intelligence, it’s about getting the person being tortured to confess to what you want him to confess to.

      Then again, I guess Jesus spoke extensively about torturing people being ok as long as the reason was really good. Yet conservatives have the stones to accuse liberals of moral relativism.

    27. kishke Says:
      March 11th, 2010 at 11:56 am

      Pete, stop babbling. You say people went on the record saying that they “reverse-engineered” KSM’s testimony. Show the cites. Let’s have the links.

    28. Pete Says:
      March 11th, 2010 at 2:07 pm

      • Interrogators resorted to ‘enhanced techniques’ after ‘pressure’ to find Iraq/Al Qaeda link.
      “’While we were there [at Guantanamo] a large part of the time we were focused on trying to establish a link between al Qaida and Iraq and we were not successful in establishing a link between al Qaida and Iraq,’ [BCST psychologist Maj. Paul] Burney told staff of the Army Inspector General. ‘The more frustrated people got in not being able to establish that link . . . there was more and more pressure to resort to measures that might produce more immediate results.’” [McClatchy on Senate Armed Services Report, 4/21/09]

      Ok. Now it’s your turn to find me a picture of our soldiers with a cache of WMD they discovered in Iraq.

    29. ern Says:
      March 11th, 2010 at 2:16 pm

      You’re wasting your time, kishke. Pete won’t reproduce what he says is there because it doesn’t exist. Most likely, he read an “article ” (probably a blog post on a lefty website) that said the quotes existed, and they quote another website as a source … ad nauseum. It’s all rumor and innuendo. As someone who was on the fence about the war at the time, and very critical of the reasons given, I can tell you that the Bush administration was very clear in its arguments, and linking Iraq to 9/11 was not one of them. As for the WMD, though, the Bush administration admitted (perhaps a little prematurely) that they were wrong about that. The other few dozen rationales? Well, they were pretty much all correct.

      I’d ignore Pete, though. He’s got that tone that says he’s unwilling to listen to any evidence that doesn’t already confirm what he believes. He’s here to get a self-esteem high, not debate.

      But if Pete is listening: Waterboarding isn’t torture, and it isn’t designed to get confessions. They ask, during interrogation, questions they already know the answers to, but which the terrorist doesn’t know we know the answers to. When it’s clear he’s beginning to cooperate (ie., answering questions correctly), then they start asking questions we *don’t* know the answer to. It’s not rocket science. No one was pressuring KSM to confess to anything. And, as it turns out, we got gobs of actionable intelligence from KSM. Reams full of it.

    30. ern Says:
      March 11th, 2010 at 2:16 pm

      Oh, wow. Pete answered while I was typing and did EXACTLY what I predicted. ThinkProgress, that bastion of fair reporting. Amusing.

    31. MCGIRGV Says:
      March 11th, 2010 at 2:41 pm

      Matt Damon is little commie!

    32. kishke Says:
      March 11th, 2010 at 3:38 pm

      Pete, where does that quote say that “KSM was waterboarded 183 times in one month with the objective being getting him to confess to an Al-Queda/Saddam alliance?” Nowhere.

      But I did find this:

      “There were two reasons why these interrogations were so persistent, and why extreme methods were used,” the former senior intelligence official said on condition of anonymity because of the issue’s sensitivity.

      “The main one is that everyone was worried about some kind of follow-up attack (after 9/11). But for most of 2002 and into 2003, Cheney and Rumsfeld, especially, were also demanding proof of the links between al Qaida and Iraq that (former Iraqi exile leader Ahmed) Chalabi and others had told them were there.”

      So, contrary to your assertion, the “people who have gone on record” say that the primary purpose of waterboarding was not to find evidence of an Iraq/Al Quaeda link. Rather, it was to forestall new attacks. Looking for the link was secondary. What’s more, it was based on information they received from “Chalabi and others,” so they had reason to believe the link was there. I see nothing wrong with what was done.

    33. Pete Says:
      March 11th, 2010 at 3:42 pm


      I know we got so much intelligence from KSM, intelligence so good that it enabled us to travel back in time and stop a plot to hit LAX that had in fact already been called off a year before KSM was captured. Not that didn’t somehow inspire the torture apologists to claim credit for “stopping” it.

      If waterboarding isn’t torture, and if waterboarding is so effective, then should local police forces also be able to use it while investigating domestic crimes? Seriously, just where do you draw the line with the methods and times you do this? Mark Shea (NO right winger he, has written extensively about this slippery slope)

      As for the shifting rationales, I wouldn’t dismiss that so glibly. The whole point of the invasion was to stop Iraq from using the WMD, or at least that’s how it was sold during the UN speech Powell gave and during the Constitutionally-dubious debate for the Use of Force that really should have been a Formal Declaration of War. So when the WMD turn out not to exist, the best you can do is say “well..yeah…but we sure had good reasons”.

      At the end of the day, we had no real reason to invade. We diverted troops, resources, and focus away from Afghanistan, away from hunting down the REAL culprits of 9/11 in a quixotic quest for a President to show his Daddy how tough he was. Good thing for everyone that we didn’t bother to come up with a way to pay for this war, instead choosing to borrow a trillion dollars plus to finance it.

    34. Cpm Says:
      March 11th, 2010 at 3:44 pm

      Calling the movie anti-American is just a factual description. Whether or not the consumer chooses to support the anti-American project with their dollars is where the value judgement comes in. Your choice.

    35. Frank Lee Says:
      March 11th, 2010 at 4:07 pm

      I don’t care if it’s a piece of film making genius, if it blatantly tries to lie about the war and pass that off as historical accuracy, then I hope it bombs big time. I do think we should judge films based on their attempt to propagandize history. Not doing so would be akin to looking at the prewar Nazi films about the evil of Jews on their artistic merits and not on their blatant lies.

    36. kishke Says:
      March 11th, 2010 at 4:29 pm

      If the slope is so slippery, why haven’t we slipped down it in the 7-8 years that waterboarding has been going on?

      I’ve never heard of Mark Shea, but first you say he’s not a left-winger, and now you say he’s not a right-winger. Make up your mind.

      And let me remind you. The fact that someone has written extensively about something, or that someone else has gone on record about it, does not make it true.

      The whole point of the invasion was to stop Iraq from using the WMD,

      You’re falsifying the record. WMDs were one of many reasons.

    37. kishke Says:
      March 11th, 2010 at 4:30 pm

      Again, the point of torture isn’t to gain actionable intelligence, it’s about getting the person being tortured to confess to what you want him to confess to.

      Again, the people you yourself cited agreed that the main purpose of waterboarding (which is not torture) was to gain actionable intelligence. The quote is above.

    38. kishke Says:
      March 11th, 2010 at 4:31 pm

      Actually, the quote will soon appear above. It’s “awaiting moderation.”

    39. rocinante Says:
      March 11th, 2010 at 4:41 pm

      I’m surprised ya’ll are letting the “Saddam was never a threat to the U.S.” assertion go unchallenged.

      We hear “the sanctions were working”; they were up to a point and, I might add, at a terrible cost to Iraqis (for which the West in general and the U.S. in particular are also blamed).

      But the sanctions regime was *failing*; Saddam was doing a huge business in “Food-for-Oil” and nations like Russia and France were increasingly impatient to lift the sanctions so that Iraq could pay its’ debts.

      Once the sanctions went, there would be little to prevent the Ba’athist regime from rearming and restarting its’ WMD programs. A re-armed and WMD capable Iraq *would* be a threat to the U.S., on multiple levels.

    40. JohnFNWayne Says:
      March 11th, 2010 at 6:18 pm

      One point of contention often ignored – Iraq was going to fall apart whether we invaded or not, it was a matter of time. That’s the assertion of a lot of people, and not just on the right. Going in wasn’t a matter of if as much when …

    41. JohnFNWayne Says:
      March 11th, 2010 at 6:19 pm

      One point of contention often ignored – Iraq was going to fall apart whether Saddam was in charge or not, and it was rather inevitable. This was argued by many, and not just on the right. Military intervention wasn’t a question of if as so much when …

    42. spongeworthy Says:
      March 11th, 2010 at 6:46 pm

      This fellow Pete will leave here with his argument in little discredited pieces but he’ll go on peddling the same shopworn garbage we’ve been hearing for 7 years now.

      Give it a rest–no one’s buying.

    43. H. Felton Says:
      March 11th, 2010 at 7:38 pm

      Pete, it’s been reported for several years in European publications that British, French and Belgian Intelligence Services, among others, were convinced that Saddam had WMD at his disposal. Tony Blair repeated that when he testified publicly at the recent British investigation of their involvement in Iraq during his years as PM. And, of course, the CIA informed Pres. Bush of the same. That conviction wasn’t a figment of Dick Cheney’s and Karl Rove’s imaginations, as leftists would have us believe.
      As for why no canisters have been found, it’s entirelty possible that materials were transported to Syria and hidden there. We owe the Israelis a great debt of gratitude for destroying Syria’s nascent nuclear capabilities. Assad’s regime (and his father’s) have been truly evil and I’d be surprised if they didn’t cooperate with Saddam to the fullest extent possible.

    44. Pete Says:
      March 11th, 2010 at 7:54 pm

      Again, where were the WMD? Just how exactly did Bush get it so wrong when he authorized the invasion?

    45. Nick Says:
      March 11th, 2010 at 8:14 pm

      Pete: are you really that obtuse? Your (disingenuous) question has been answered for years now. Saddam himself admitted to playing up his WMD program to keep the Iranians guessing, as he didn’t really think we’d have the stones to invade. Saddam’s own generals were convinced he had WMD, and even asked to use them as we approached Baghdad, only to be told “Sorry, youse guys are SOL.” Also, FYI- I was attached to the Iraq Survey Group (the real one, not Matt Damon’s fake one) during OIF II, ’04 to ’05, when the results of the search were revealed.

    46. Nick Says:
      March 11th, 2010 at 8:17 pm

      BTW, Pete, here’s a question for you: why would the Bush administration “knowingly lie or exaggerate WMD claims” and then spend time, money, and military/civilian resources looking for something they supposedly knew didn’t exist? And why then publish a factual account of the lack of WMD, “proving” they were liars? Why not go the whole 9 yards and plant WMD?

    47. kishke Says:
      March 11th, 2010 at 8:56 pm

      Just how exactly did Bush get it so wrong when he authorized the invasion?

      Duh. He trusted his intelligence service, as well as that of the British. Convenient as it may be for you to forget this, everyone at the time believed there were WMDs. Not that the existence of WMDs was the only reason for war. Far from it.

    48. rtl Says:
      March 11th, 2010 at 9:03 pm

      Pete, again WMD wasn’t the sole reason for the invasion. Nor was it only the Bush WH that claimed they were in Iraq. Why is that so hard for you to get?

    49. Soylent Majority Says:
      March 11th, 2010 at 9:40 pm

      His next film is based on Soetoro’s birth in Kenya, his education as a mooslim, his indoctrination as a hard core gramsci marxist, and his installation as the Manchurian president that will destroy what’s left of this country and its culture. Ebert give it a peremptory thumbs down.

    50. Freedom Fighter Says:
      March 11th, 2010 at 9:54 pm

      Our intelligence services have the right to waterboard, or even torture if necessary, non-US citizens for the purpose of saving American lives or property. Non-US citizens are not protected under the US Constitution, and terrorists or suspected terrorists (who are not US citizens) should be afforded no rights, not even basic human rights. I hope that people like “Pete” are never left in charge of defending our Nation. Protecting our Country from terrorism is an ugly business, no doubt, but well within our rights. No moral justification is necessary. Protecting the US and her citizens is the highest calling a man can take on. God bless our Military and our intelligence services. Thank God they have the stones that most people do not.

      P.S. “Green Zone” should be boycotted by anyone who loves our Country. I truly suspect the allegiance of any thinking person who watches this liberal fantasy.

    51. geoff milke Says:
      March 11th, 2010 at 10:13 pm

      Pete…nothing you think is the “truth” is true. You probably know that already. For instance, I’m sure you know that the 183 “times” KSM was waterboarded means that the water was poured on his cloth covered face 183 times and not that he was waterboarded 183 times. Waterboarding is meant to fool a person into thinking they are being drowned. To do that water must be poured on their face many times while they hold their breath and attempt to blow the water out their nostrils.

      Your “truths” about WMD and Bush “alluding” to a connection between Saddam and al Qeada and 9/11 are just as false. And I’m sure you know they are.

      In the real world that would make you a liar. In the world of BDS sufferers it makes you a Patriot.

    52. JD Says:
      March 11th, 2010 at 10:41 pm

      Don’t let this ignorant little troll get away with that “no WMD” lie, either. We may not have found stockpiles, but we did find enriched uranium, cyclosarin, and warheads buried to prevent discovery by UN inspectors. Saddam obviously had something to hide and was still in possession of materials banned by UN sanctions. Not to mention the 6500 chemical weapons Hans Blix reported were still unaccounted for. Oh, and don’t forget the $10 million missile deal Saddam was negotiating with North Korea that most likely only fell through because of the threat of US invasion.

    53. Northstar Says:
      March 12th, 2010 at 1:45 am

      As Roger Ebert makes clear in his review in the first few sentences The Green Zone has the premise of Bush lied us into war over WMD.
      The left love to repeat this in any way they can but it remains detailed and true that Saddam did have WMD. What they found after telegraphing for four months they were coming the left refused to ‘classify’ as wmd, though when it suits their scenarios to bash Republicans and President Bush, even a little packet of suspicious white powder can be tweaked into a definition of wmd. What is real is that one of the top Generals in the Republican Guard got out of Iraq and told the world that they did have WMD.(conveniently ignored by the left) Most of it was moved before the invasion. He detailed that what they moved to Syria and Lybia was stored in 737s buried in the ground.( One of the main reasons Khaffadi knew that President Bush was talking to HIM when he said: “ IF you have WMD or other weapons you had better fess up and give up or we are coming for you , too!”- And immediately put hands in the air-spilled the beans and told us where all of ‘HIS’ weapons were. ) What our troops DID find in Iraq was enough to indict a watercress sandwich! Over 25,000 suicide vests loaded with explosives. ( Anybody see The Hurt Locker?: That one movie makes clear that car bombs, roadside bombs, IED’s and people strapped with enough explosives to blow whole villages to Kingdom Come ARE Weapons of Mass Destruction.) Saddam used other methods, also detailed, documented and irrefutable to gas to death whole villages of HIS OWN PEOPLE. ( Chemical Ali)The Kurds after the Gulf War were systematically killed off to the tune of millions. Salman Pak was used to train terrorists. Al Queda? Taliban? Does it matter?? Just with what we have been able to determine since the invasion it is clear that those who attacked us were intimately involved with both Saddam and OBL and others in a global network.
      Why not make movies out of the outstanding achievement of our military in Iraq and in Afghanistan. Let us not forget that our troops did in record time what NATO either could not or would not do to maintain in Afghanistan and NOW we are back there having to do it all over again. And succeeding even with the nonsense of having to prosecute the war with idiotic and life threatening ‘political correctness’.

    54. Michelle Says:
      March 12th, 2010 at 1:51 am

      Pete, you ask how Bush could have gotten it so wrong. You also need to ask how John Kerry, Hil Clinton, Bill Clinton, and MANY others Dems, and other counties got it wrong as well. But Libs are only interested in Bush and not the others. Shameful.

      And please don’t insult us by using Think Progress as a reference for your arguments. They are ultra left wing, so would get what you would expect to get from them.

    55. Hunter Tremayne Says:
      March 12th, 2010 at 4:39 am

      Roger Ebert just gave the movie four stars. Seeing it tonight.

    56. Bill Says:
      March 12th, 2010 at 8:51 am

      Another movie I won’t bother with. I sincerely hope it tanks.

    57. Lil'ol'me Says:
      March 12th, 2010 at 10:15 am

      Hating America is such a boorish fad among “progressives”. I thought that adults didn’t care about fitting in or peer pressure. But then we live in a time almost completely devoid of adults don’t we?

      I actually like this country. I actually think we are the good guys. Does that mean I can’t hang out at the coffee shop anymore? What are all the cool kids saying?

    58. Tom Farber Says:
      March 12th, 2010 at 11:20 am

      We need anti-american films, they make people wake up and realize there are two sides to every coin.

    59. Kevin W. Says:
      March 12th, 2010 at 12:35 pm

      This thread has gotten wildly off-topic, and I have helped in that regard! But one more comment about waterboarding: If you believe it is torture, then the US has tortured thousands of its own military personnel, who have been waterboarded as part of their training. Why are lefties so concerned about KSM and yet unconcerned about those of our own who have received this “torture”? They seem to have woken up to this “outrage” only now that it has been done to people who deserve it (and much worse).

      Back on topic: The shaky camera work alone should doom this picture. People don’t go to the movies to be nauseated, especially when being fed fact and fiction mixed up in a noxious stew.

    60. blackhawk12151 Says:
      March 12th, 2010 at 1:47 pm

      Ebert says “Jump!” and Hunter says “How high?”

      There really is nothing new under the sun.

    61. kishke Says:
      March 12th, 2010 at 2:05 pm

      Roger Ebert just gave the movie four stars.

      Big surprise.

    62. Hunter Tremayne Says:
      March 12th, 2010 at 2:13 pm

      Hey, when the New York Times, the LA Times AND Ebert rave about a movie, it;s probably worth seeing. Besides, Kyle’s own New York Post liked it, too. Kyle automatically disses any movie that criticizes the US military or George Bush, so there’s no point listening to him when it comes to a movie like this.

    63. Kyle Says:
      March 12th, 2010 at 2:49 pm

      I have a baby at home. She cries a lot. Whines. Is frequently irrational. I really enjoy it when she’s quiet. Maybe I should have named her Hunter.

    64. Hunter Tremayne Says:
      March 12th, 2010 at 3:04 pm

      Hey, who’s whining? Not me. I was just stating a fact.

    65. Pete Says:
      March 12th, 2010 at 3:32 pm

      48. The rights in the US Constitution are not exclusive for US Citizens. For instance, if a British national commits a crime like assault on US soil, he is entitled to the exact same due process rights as anyone else. He would be able to get a lawyer, and his case would be heard in open court.

      If one were to take your argument to its logical extreme, then any non-citizen arrested for any crime in the US could simply be thrown in a prison camp without a trial.

    66. blackhawk12151 Says:
      March 12th, 2010 at 3:38 pm


      Assault is different than terrorism. Enemy combatants without uniforms committing acts of war are different than immigrants who get in bar fights.

    67. kishke Says:
      March 12th, 2010 at 3:59 pm

      Pete, foreign combatants fighting out of uniform have no rights. They may be shot out of hand.

    68. Pete Says:
      March 12th, 2010 at 4:16 pm

      64. Well, hell, if that’s the case, then why all energy being expended on the whole “military tribunal” thing?

      Summarily executing prisoners is still a war crime, uniformed or otherwise.

    69. blackhawk12151 Says:
      March 12th, 2010 at 4:20 pm

      According to Article 4 of the Third Geneva Convention of 1949, irregular forces are entitled to prisoner of war status provided that they are commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates, have a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance, carry arms openly and conduct their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war. If they do not do meet all of these, they may be considered “francs-tireurs” (in the original sense of “illegal combatant”) and punished as criminals in a military jurisdiction, which may include summary execution.

      You have two choices Pete. 1) Try to argue that terrorists don’t fit within the exception, or 2) Lobby to have the Geneva Convention amended. Good luck on both fronts.

    70. Pete Says:
      March 12th, 2010 at 4:30 pm

      66. Actually, I have a third choice. The UN Convention Against Torture, which was signed by no other than Ronald Reagan. The convention made no differentiation between uniformed and non-uniformed prisoners. Much of this whole “enemy combatant” discussion was launched because the previous administration tried to do an end around US Law and International Law when it came to Prisoners of War and Due Process.

      Believe it or not, I think that a great deal of this discussion about prisoners wouldn’t have been going on all these years if the previous Administration had actually bothered to charge and try the “terrorists” they were keeping locked up. In seven years, a grand total of three military tribunals were convened. Reasonable people might wonder just how interested the previous administration really was in determining guilt or innocence, or were they too busy coming up with legal rationalizations for torture to determine if they were actually holding guilty people.

    71. BlackHawk Is an Idiot Says:
      March 12th, 2010 at 4:34 pm


      Break out the pitchforks, ’cause the idiot-clan is gettin’ riled up, and once they haul themselves from behind a Golden Corral table, they’re gonna get to badmouthin’ people what don’t agree with them, hyuck!

    72. Kyle Says:
      March 12th, 2010 at 4:49 pm

      Pete, the UN Convention Against Torture is not applicable to aliens held at overseas locations.

    73. Pete Says:
      March 12th, 2010 at 5:02 pm

      70. Wrong. The UN Convention against torture specifically prohibits signatories to the treaty from torturing prisoners, period. I suggest you look up what Reagan said about torture when he signed the treaty. He didn’t throw in a “yeah, but” when it came to the topic.

    74. blackhawk12151 Says:
      March 12th, 2010 at 5:14 pm


      Search any of my comments for any indication that I am suggesting suppression of opinion. I never said the film shouldn’t be made, I’m just expressing my opinion that it is a trite, banal, tired retread of the same old antiBush rhetoric we’ve seen on display in dozens of films. That said, I am honored that you are so “wee-weed up” with rage over my points but you should think about a new name. Your entire identity is derivative of someone you disagree with. Come up with something new.

    75. Kyle Says:
      March 12th, 2010 at 5:17 pm

      Pete, not only do you continue to be wrong but there actually was a “Yeah, But.” It’s called the Constitution. Thanks for trying, though.

    76. blackhawk12151 Says:
      March 12th, 2010 at 5:20 pm


      Once again we are in disagreement about whether water-boarding is torture. It is certainly no walk in the park, but we do it to our own troops. Further, I’m not saying we should summarily execute anyone, I’m just saying that if there are a group of enemy combatants who follow no set command structure, target innocent civilians openly, wear no uniforms, don’t display there weapons, and otherwise disregard the rules of law we can take them to Gitmo, water-board them until they evolve gills, and then LEGALLY execute them. We can have debates all day about the wisdom of that method, but it’s not illegal.

    77. Pete Says:
      March 12th, 2010 at 5:20 pm

      Lord, citing Andy McCarthy? McCarthy has led the charge that due process is somehow anti-American.

    78. Pete Says:
      March 12th, 2010 at 5:30 pm

      74. No offense, but what happens if you end up not convicting the suspected terrorist in either a military tribunal or a court of law if you’ve been strapping them down on a board and pouring water down their throat to simulate drowning?

      Two questions, which I will ask politely because you have answered politely.

      1. If waterboarding is both effective and NOT torture, should local police forces be allowed to use it as well?

      2. If you allow a government to use physical coercian as a means of gaining intelligence or securing a confession for a “trial” with a predetermined outcome, just where EXACTLY do you draw the line? How do you prevent such a system from being abused (remember over 100 prisoners died in US custody during these “legal” interrogations).

    79. blackhawk12151 Says:
      March 12th, 2010 at 5:45 pm

      1. No, because while it is not torture it is coercive. I’m not arguing that it is not. It should never be used against people for activities that fall within the common definition of criminal activity. Terrorism is not ordinary criminal activity, and people who defy all laws of war and civilization are not ordinary criminals. Infrared surveillance is effective, and not torture, but it is intrusive and should not be used against suspects outside of the strongest probable cause. You still don’t seem to be acknowledging the difference between terrorism and ordinary criminal activity. If we don’t agree on that, we won’t agree on anything else.

      2. I know you’ll disagree with me, but water-boarding is not designed for coercing confessions. It is designed to make someone compliant with regular interrogation methods. I don’t know where you are getting this “trial with a predetermined outcome” thing. Military Tribunals are not show trials, even though they are more restrictive on suspects rights than regular civilian court.

    80. blackhawk12151 Says:
      March 12th, 2010 at 5:49 pm

      Let me add to number 2. I know you cited the example of KSM and them trying to backwards engineer a confession. Fair enough, if that is true then I would agree that is an inappropriate use of the technique. But the larger point still stands, water-boarding is used primarily to elicit compliance with normal interrogation questioning techniques. And believe it or not, the people we have working in intelligence are pretty smart when they are dealing with people like KSM. They know when people are being evasive and when they are lying. They don’t get enough credit for the work they do in debates like this.

    81. Pete Says:
      March 12th, 2010 at 5:56 pm

      1. So, are you arguing that the difference between wearing a uniform and not wearing one determines if a Prisoner of War is strapped down on a board with water poured down their throat. The really crazy thing is that it is my understanding that POW’s can still be put on trial, but that you can’t physically coerce them to say or do anything. This whole effort to brand the suspected AQ detainees as being superhuman criminals akin to Magneto and the X-Men makes me wonder if performing methods like stress positions and waterboarding were more of a priority than actually determining if they had the right guy.

      2. The “show trials” blast was based on observing the whole Liz Cheney/Andy McCarthy “Al Queda 7” smear. If any lawyer serving as counsel for a detainee can be branded a “terrorist sympathizer”, then how in the hell could you actually hold an objective trial, civilian or military. Do you really think a military lawyer would defend a detainee if they thought Liz Cheney or Bill Kristol would smear them as being an Al Queda sympathizer.

      I bet they would if they knew the outcome had been determined. The initial attempts to hold military commissions without allowing an appeal, or allowing heresay evidence, or allowing evidence gleaned under torture makes me suspect that these “military tribunals” are vulnerable to becoming sham trials.

      By the by, if waterboarding isn’t torture, then how is it that a doctor was required to make sure the person “not being tortured” didn’t die during their non-torture?

    82. bob smith Says:
      March 12th, 2010 at 5:58 pm

      Calling the movie anti-American is inaccurate; anti-Iraq War or anti-Bush would be more truthful. But Smith avoids such nuance, as it would get in the way of his rhetorical broadside.

      The film criticizes the actions of some of our leaders (hardly anti-American), NOT the fundamental principles shared by Americans. Smith disingenuously conflates these two in order to take a swipe at the liberals who hurt his feelings by actually questioning American foreign policy.

    83. bob smith Says:
      March 12th, 2010 at 6:04 pm

      Kyle, just to prove that YOU’RE not biased, please refer your readers to some examples of your writings that were critical of Bush, his foreign policy or the Iraq War.

    84. blackhawk12151 Says:
      March 12th, 2010 at 6:25 pm

      Yikes. It is not about them being superhuman. It is about them being a special class of criminal. They aren’t simple thugs out for a quick buck or just an end to boredom. They are trying to bring down the West. They will kill civilians to do so. They think their god commands it. I don’t know any other way to describe my position, but I gotta say the whole superhuman inference is pretty dull. You seem like a smart guy, you can’t possibly think that I was saying they are some kind of mutant supervillains.

      2. Of course the Al-Qaeda & thing is histrionics and hyperbole. I’m not arguing against that, but come on. That is a political tool being used to attack Holder. Their problem is with him not releasing the names (which he subsequently did, I believe) and their goal is to bring him down.

      Pete, I’m in law school, so of course that means I am a punk kid who thinks he knows more about stuff than he really does. I’ll readily admit to that. But I do know about the judicial system, and there is no level, civilian or military, that is impervious to political pressure. Just ask Conrad Black about that. The best we can do is have the best intelligence possible. I am less concerned about what happens at the trial or tribunal or whatever. There is no such thing as a truly fair trial. I am more concerned with getting information from captives so that we don’t have something else happen. If we have to be mean to a few terrorists to do that then fine by me.

      As for the doctor thing that is a precaution. If someone has a weak heart or some other defect then I would assume that could be exacerbated by any kind of stressful activity. Could be water-boarding, could be walking up the stairs. I’m not arguing that water-boarding is fun, or that it is not stressful on the person undergoing it. That is the point. But when viewed in relation to the other far more savage ways humans have treated each other over the years I don’t think it rises to the level of torture.

    85. blackhawk12151 Says:
      March 12th, 2010 at 6:30 pm

      Well Pete I’m awaiting moderation. Its been fun, truly. I actually do have to let the macbook rest and venture out into the light of day, or early evening. But this is definitely the best debate I’ve had on this subject. Thanks for not falling back on the faux self-righteous “We’re no better than the terrorists” banalities that most people do. I agree that torture should never be used, but I just can’t work up sympathy for enemies of civilization like Al-Qaeda and the like.

    86. Pete Says:
      March 12th, 2010 at 6:45 pm

      82. Yeah, it’s been good. I’ll leave you with something to think about.

      Let’s say that the UK becomes really concerned about an IRA attack. They pick up an American citizen they suspect of being a fundraiser/weapons supplier for the IRA. They waterboard the American citizen and then put him on trial in front of a British military tribunal (denying him basic counsel, allowing hearsay, etc.). Do you think that the US reaction would be a) outrage or b) WAY TO GO

      You see, if we get to create new rules based on a state of “war” (no formal Congressional declaration by the by) or a vague talking point like “this isn’t like past wars”, that would mean every other country would get to do it as well.

      No, I’m not saying that “we’re no better than the terrorists”. However, a country like England could use our threshold for interrogation against our citizens for the exact same reasons.

      Just for the sake of this thought exercise, how would you feel about the hypothetical actions by the UK government if it turned out that they picked up and waterboarded the wrong guy?

    87. HawkeyeD Says:
      March 13th, 2010 at 12:52 am

      I’m a vet. I was in Army Intel and later went to law school. I’m a prosecutor now. I can’t imagine anything more pro-American than criticizing government policy, actions or officials. Constructive criticism and active participation in our democratic processes makes this country a great one – not shutting out the words you don’t like to hear.

    88. burn/your/blindfolds Says:
      March 14th, 2010 at 4:54 am

      It is such ignorant jargon to state that if you criticize your government it’s anti-american, what you really mean to say is, if you criticize my point of view..or my political party, I will try to intimidate you by calling you a communist,get off your crapper, and take off the blindfold before wiping, you don’t want to smear that bull all over yourself. No one with a brain falls for those tired old (faux)news talking points. Question your government, every chance you get and keep’em honest! If not we’d still be under British rule.

    89. blackhawk12151 Says:
      March 14th, 2010 at 2:49 pm

      “Question your government, every chance you get and keep’em honest!”

      Unless it’s a democrat, right burn/your/blindfolds?

    90. Alex D Says:
      March 23rd, 2010 at 12:20 am

      whats there to dislike about the movie? I mean it was well done, and sent a strong message; the truth (something you don’t hear very often)