Two Hollywood films that take up the politics of the Iraq war grew out of the conviction that the American public was not getting the full picture of the violence.So why is De Palma America's greatest coward?
Brian De Palma says he wants to stop the war with his film, Redacted by exposing a wider audience to images of horror that he says are not being delivered by the mainstream media.
With Vietnam, "we saw pictures of the destruction and the sorrow of the people who were traumatised. We saw the soldiers ... being brought back in body bags. We see none of that in this war," De Palma told a news conference Friday. One of his previous films, Casualties of War, dealt with the Vietnam war.
The title, Redacted, is a term meaning edited that is often used when sensitive material is expunged, or blacked out, from a document. De Palma's film, inspired by material he found on the Internet, is shot on video to present the film as though it were a series of clips that could be downloaded to your computer.
Inspired by actual events, the movie tells the fictionalised story of a group of young soldiers who rape a 15-year-old Iraqi girl, kill her family and then shoot her.
De Palma said he wanted to examine how the soldiers had gone so wrong. The movie doesn't present the judicial resolution, but it does show one soldier who came forward being treated with hostility by the military, in contrast to the more comfortable interrogations of the two main perpetrators.
In reality, four soldiers have been convicted in the case that inspired the film and handed sentences of up to 110 years in prison. A fifth man, who left the Army before being charged, faces a federal death penalty trial. The case has received wide media coverage.
The filmmakers had to negotiate a "legal minefield" to present real events as fiction, De Palma said, and the film opens with a disclaimer, which is slowly blacked out.
The final scene is a montage of real-life photographs of Iraqi war dead, including maimed and dead women and children, their eyes blacked out on the advice of lawyers because the film used actors and is not a documentary.
"The irony of Redacted is that it was redacted," De Palma said.
Firstly, it takes no courage to have a go at the US or its military, especially if you're part of the anti-war, loopy-left that makes up 99% of Hollywood 'elites'. What would take courage is if De Palma produced a movie showing the good that had occurred in Iraq, in spite of the errors along the way, the progress that the Iraqi people are making and the toll being inflicted upon Al Qaeda and its allies.
The main reason that he is a coward, though, is his presentation of one egregious incident of the war as being typical of the US military in an effort to portray the military as being made up of buffoons and thugs.
If someone made a movie about someone you loved, say your mother or father, who was a good and decent person who spent their life representing high moral values and had many achievements on behalf of their community, focused only on one particular incident in which a youthful transgression was dealt with before a court and used this incident as being typical of that person then you would have to draw the conclusion that the film maker had little regard for the person.
Equally, Brian De Palma clearly has little regard for the United States or its terrific achievements over, especially, the last 100 years.
By making such a film, De Palma demonstrates that he is not only morally bankrupt but also a profound intellectual coward.