The Greatest Lesson | New Times Broward-Palm Beach

The Greatest Lesson

I just watched the entire Obsession propaganda movie about "radical Islam" -- and it was an even more rotten and vile piece of garbage than I expected. The makers of this tripe are just as radical as anyone who ever strapped on a suicide vest; they're just doing their damage with images and words rather than swords and schrapnel.

The distribution of this misleading and dangerous piece of tripe by mainstream American newspapers is a journalistic sin, plain and simple. The American press has a responsibility not to mindlessly spread dangerous and radical propaganda. It failed mightily in this case.

What's wrong with the movie? Start with the title. "Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West." What is the "West"? Who is the "West"? Is anyone really insane enough to want to wage war with a direction?

Of course not. It's just one example of the movie's glaring and false generalities, which is always a staple of effective propaganda. And this film is full of them. It purposefully lumps all Middle Eastern opposition of Israel and the United States into a homogenous mass of zealots. And they hate us for only one reason: Their religion tells them to.

This, of course, isn't true, but the film's producers actually have the audacity to tell viewers not to try find the real reasons. Why? Because it is "distracting the population from the real source of the problem which is an ideology that wants to destroy the West." That quote comes from Itamar Marcus, an Israeli counterterrorism analyst who, like most of the people who contribute to the film, is a lot more extremist than expert.

A good deal of the film is devoted to that monumental red herring: Comparing the terroristic threat to the Nazis and this struggle to World War II. You know, the one where Bush is FDR and Blair was Churchill. World war ... get it? This film is designed to spur Americans into supporting more military action in the Middle East, which is precisely the worst course of action possible, as indicated by the debacle in Iraq, which was entirely predictable.

Yes, the bad Muslims are following evil religion that is dedicated to the destruction of the West. That's all you need to know, folks.

If you never listen to anything else that comes from this blog, listen to this:

War always boils down to haves and have-nots, and the pursuit of finding out which is which.

Write it down and depend on it. Never forget it and don't let anyone ever persuade you otherwise.

I learned this lesson not only from history but also from war fighters and survivors I've met. In fact, an Israeli national, a somewhat thuggish and thoroughly brilliant fellow who was involved in various international intrigues, supplied the first part of the quote verbatim. Interviews with former IRA members and former Contras helped flesh it out.

The truth is that people won't fight and kill each other because of some abstract idea in their heads like religion. Religion is only a very powerful fuel for the fire. It elevates the greed and venality underlying every war to something holy and helps inspire men to willingly die for it.

In the Middle East you have two central conflicts, one involving Israel and Palestine and another that does indeed stretch across the entire region but is centered in Saudi Arabia. The first involves land, the second oil. Those that have each, the other wants. It's that simple -- all the rest is just window dressing.