Victor Davis Hanson isn’t happy:
The theme of the movie — when George Clooney was not dodging a bankrupt media or Saddam’s poison gas mortars — was that we had left brave Shiites hanging to be butchered by Saddam’s henchmen, and apparently were unwilling to do the right thing and remove a murderous dictator and try to help the people of Iraq. The only common denominator between not doing enough in Three Kings and doing too much in Redacted, Syriana, Rendition, etc. …seems to have been that whatever the U.S. did was always wrong — whether too little or too much.
Seeing as how neither Syriana nor Rendition depict Iraq in any way, and nobody involved in the production of Three Kings was involved in Redacted I find the hypocrisy charge here a bit difficult to grasp. If it were actually the case that Syriana was a film about the US “doing too much” to remove Saddam Hussein from power, then Hanson would be on firmer ground, but it very clearly isn’t. That said, even if Syriana were about what VDH seems to think it’s about, the point would be that the common thread is a lack of genuine concern for the welfare of the Iraqi people. During the first Gulf War that lack of concern manifested itself in things like encouraging the Shiites to rise up against Saddam and then agreeing to let Saddam crush their rebellion. In the case of the second war we can see evidence of lack of concern in everything from the failure to do population security from the outset, the military’s lack of quantitative metrics of how many civilian casualties are inflicted by combat operations, our horrible handling of the refugee situation, and now our government’s apparent determination to ignore the stated views of all the major Iraqi political factions on the propriety of an open-ended American military presence.