Some 50 days after that tragic day in September, which may come to divide our lives, I feel uncomfortable in speaking openly and honestly about the consequences of and responses to the event. This is an issue where aspects of the truth are evident but nevertheless ignored for reasons which may be politically inept to articulate. Remember the Australian Politician who had to excuse himself after telling us how much the Americans and their policies are disliked?
Where is the press of the “free world” questioning the leaders of the western military campaign about the resulting civilian casualties? What is the logic of the proposition: “the only person responsible for the killing of innocents both here in the U.S. and in Afghanistan is bin-Laden”? (This is a statement from the U.S. President.)
Looking at the terrible events of September 11 most people will sympathise with the tragedy of the American people. The counter-point though will not meet with such universal concordance. Whereas the point raised above is of clear polarities, innocent victim against callous murderer, the Afghanistan operation is not.
Because of ignorant or short-term objectives in the policies of the western powers, the Taliban regime was received by most Afghani people as a preferred option to the ‘freedom-fighters’ of the mujaheddin. These mujaheddin are the same troops described by British journalist Robert Fisk as a “confederacy of warlords, patriots, rapists and torturers”. These days they are known as the Northern Alliance! So the allies of the free world have questionable values and methodology.
A darker and more complex argument may be raised in relation to the legality under International Law of the western actions. A clear case opposing the action on legal grounds is presented by Michael Albert and Stephen R. Shalom in their article Five Arguments Against War
… International law provides a clear recourse in situations of this sort: present the matter to the Security Council, which is empowered under the UN Charter, the fundamental document of contemporary international law, to take appropriate action. The Security Council has met and unanimously denounced the terrorist attacks, passing a strong resolution. But the Security Council resolution did not – despite what Washington might claim – authorize the use of force, and especially not a unilateral use of force …
Respecting the restrictions of space of Senses of Cinema, I must confine my area under discussion. This, after all, is not the plateau for political diatribe. Yet, those two points are delicate and grave enough to qualify my position and raise the Hollywood question. Under the current climate in the U.S. it may be seen as unpatriotic or bad publicity to respond to the campaign in Afghanistan in honesty and in depth. A pamphleteer’s response from Hollywood is not worthy of critical meta-narratives. One hopes and believes than in years to come the Ford Coppollas and the Terrence Malicks will handle the truth. But in the meantime, the truth is the second victim of this action.