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Location: St. Louis, Missouri, United States

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Rewritting History and Biased Reviews

Timothy Birdnow

My brother Brian - who is fighting an endless, one man war against one of the most sophomoric and biased rags in the country (the St. Louis Post-Dispatch) patched me in to a tiff with their movie critic about his review of Captain America. I reproduce it here with my own e-mail to Brian (which will get back to Joe Williams) at the end.

Here she blows!

Dear Mr. Williams,

In your column reviewing the new "Captain America" movie you cite the flick as stylish, spectacular, and embodying American values. You hasten to add that the America celebrated in the movie not the flag-waving aggressor that's been masquerading as Uncle Sam for the last decade." What decade are you talking about? Is it , perhaps, the 1960s? Are you talking about Viet Nam? Do you take President Kennedy and his liberal wonderboys to task here? I think not. We know where you're coming from, but, I don't think you were leading any cheers against American "hegomonism" when President Clinton ordered seventy-eight days of bombing in Serbia, either. It depends on who is calling the shots, doesn't it!

With Kindest Regards,
Brian E. Birdnow

Mr. Williams replies:

Hello Brian,

In my adult life I have decried wars of aggression whenever and wherever they have occurred. Were I old enough, I would have marched against the unjust and unprovoked war in Vietnam. Officially, however, and in contrast to Iraq, the U.S. was invited there. In my (considerably educated) opinion, one reason JFK was killed was because he wanted to end the low-level police action in Vietnam. Within days of the assassination, Lyndon Johnson--a Democrat but nobody's idea of a liberal--reversed JFK's draw-down order. He made his corporate backers, such as Brown & Root (a predecessor of Halliburton), rich with defense contracts. As you surely know, under his Republican successor, the mass slaughter of civilians escalated. Henry Kissinger even had to talk him out dropping nuclear weapons on Hanoi.

My nephew served in the conflict in the former Yugoslavia. Fortunately for him and for our other brave soldiers, Pres. Clinton did not spill American blood or establish imperial rule in Yugoslavia. Clinton's successor was not nearly so judicious, sacrificing 4,000 American lives, one trillion American dollars and 100,000 Iraqi civilians to a supposedly honest mistake about WMDs. “Oops” does not suffice, and I will continue to denounce such un-American behavior whenever I review a movie that alludes to the justifications for war.

Best wishes,

Joe Williams

Brian made the following reply:

Hi Joe,

You know, of course, that the low level police action in Viet Nam escalated first under JFK. We had roughly 750 military men on the ground there in 1960. They instructed SVA personnel in counter-insurgency techniques. We had 17, 600 men, mostly combat troops, in South Vietnam in 1963. We also toppled a South Vietnamese leader in October of that year. This was the type of CIA excess that liberals usually decry.

Viet Nam was the liberals war. The Democrats controlled both houses of Congress for the entire Viet Nam era and the same Democrats who engineered the Great Society funded the military intervention in Viet Nam. Kennedy, an avowed liberal, intensified the American commitment in Southeast Asia. His like Rusk, Bundy, McNamara, and his younger brother RFK were all certified liberals. We could talk, too, of liberalism's contributions to peace with regards to Cuba in 1961-63, as well.

Finally, I notice that you mention the Iraq conflict here, but say little about Afghanistan. Is Afghanistan the right war, as our President said in 2008? Were we correct in attempting to apprehend the perpetrators of 9/11 there in 2001? President Obama is guilty of the same shifting explanations and changing rationales for this war as was his GOP predecessor, but I hear no howls of outrage from yourself, and precious little from the PD editorial page.

Best Regards,
Brian Birdnow

And then this reply to Brian - and Joe Williams - from me:

Hi Brian,

I guess Joe Williams, in his "considerably educated opinion" doesn't remember that Johnson was the force behind the Great Society - as liberal a policy inititative as any America has ever seen. I guess he forgot the million plus refugees from North Vietnam in 1956 who fled the South, and I suppose he doesn't remember that we were asked into Vietnam by the South, which was actually the original government under Emperor Bao Dai. We came first as advisors. Kennedy, of course, escalated U.S. involvement, and Johnson brought us directly into the conflict. I suppose Mr. Williams considerably educated memory failed him there.

I wonder how Mr. Williams can back up the statement that Kennedy was killed for not escalating Vietnam. Strange; no mention was ever made of that by Lee Harvey Oswald. I suppose Mr. Williams would launch into some conspiracy theory that about the Military/Industrial complex, the CIA, and Colonel Sanders plotting to kill Kennedy. (Let's face it; that Sanders is EVIL!)

I guess the esteemed Mr. Williams also has considerably educated failure about Saddam Hussein using poison gas on the Kurds, and pretending he still had weapons. I suppose he forgot that every intelligence agency on Earth thought he still had them. I suppose he doesn't know that it should have been possible to find where those weapons were dismantled as easily as where they would be if still in existence. I suppose he doesn't know that we telegraphed the invasion with plenty of time for those weapons to be destroyed or moved. I guess they weren't a threat if you couldn't see them. Like typhoid. Nobody sees typhoid so nobody ever died of it!

I guess bombing from the stratosphere on people who never lifted a finger against US is great if it involves a Democrat President, but is terrible if it involves a Republican and U.S. interests. Oh, and you can call a Democrat a Republican and pretend he is some sort of Tea Party predecessor if you can't justify his actions. It must be an interesting way of life, to be a liberal film critic.

Film critic? I didn't know their job was to make political statements in reviewing films. Gee, I thought they were supposed to, oh, I don't know, talk about the film and not their personal opinions. No wonder the Post-Dispatch and other liberal news outlets are dying.


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