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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 1/28/15

Glorifying the Brutality We Commit in Our Wars

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Dave Lefcourt
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American Sniper - Official Trailer 2 [HD] From director Clint Eastwood comes .American Sniper,. starring Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle, the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history. In theaters Dec...
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Actor Bradley Cooper portraying the role of former Marine sniper Chris Kyle in the film, "American Sniper".

No, I haven't seen "American Sniper", the latest blockbuster movie, nor do I plan to.

Reading Chris Hedges account [1] of the film pretty much confirms what I thought it would be; a glorification of American war making in the form of Marine sniper Chris Kyle played by Bradley Cooper in the title role.

That the film grossed $105.3 million the first weekend of its release is no surprise. Glorification of our wars can be big box office. Then having Cooper playing the lead role of Kyle brought in Hollywood star power which pretty much sealed the deal.

A truthful portrayal of our wars, Jeremy Scahill's "Dirty Wars", a documentary partly filmed in Yemen and shown two years ago was a limited release only in art house theatres-presumably too honest in its depiction for the multi-plexes- that gave movie goers a real look at the agony of survivors of our drone strikes with one father who lost a teenage son in an attack saying he hadn't previously looked at the Americans as an enemy but now he would join the fight against them-a perfect example of how we've created the radical Jihadi's in our mad global war on terror.

However, I did watch an HBO documentary last night called "Night Will Fall", a film made 70 years ago by Alfred Hitchcock and Sydney Bernstein and just discovered by researchers last year.

The film contained raw footage of Nazi death camps in Germany taken by British and American soldiers in April and May 1945 as they liberated the camps. Also included was Soviet film footage taken during the same months as their troops liberated Auschwitz in Poland.

The images of the barely living and the thousands of emaciated bodies of the dead piled together in multiple heaps, was not easy to look at.

Originally, after thousands of reels had been taken and shown to British and American authorities, a joint political decision was made by the two governments. The images were considered too horrific and neither country wanted to admit the survivors. Thus they determined such images brought before the public would elicit sympathy for the survivors and put pressure on their governments to admit them. So the films were mothballed until the present time.

As for the Jewish survivors most chose to go to Palestine-remember Israel didn't exist until 1948-even though they were placed in internment camps administered by the British as the colonial power ruling Palestine.

Beyond the images of countless dead, including the thousands left to starve and suffocate in locked cattle cars by the fleeing Nazi's as the allied forces closed in, was the pictures of nearby German villagers brought into the camps by the British and American troops. They strolled in as if on a guided tour and stood in front of the unspeakable before them yet as the narrator commented, "They didn't care". They were unmoved by the mounds and mounds of naked, dead emaciated bodies before them.

Without a doubt those scenes took me aback.

As I continued to watch the film transfixed, thoughts kept drifting into consciousness as in how could these German villagers living in close proximity of these camps not know what was going on beyond the barbed wire fences. The stench alone emanating from the camps when the wind blew in their direction had to be overpowering and unmistakable.

Somehow it defies credulity for them not to know; they had to be in deep denial. Yet they also had to be in fear acknowledging as such to their neighbors could alert the Gestapo to seize them and their families and toss them into the camps. Maybe they rationalized it was better those dying in the camps weren't themselves. And for those Germans that allowed their selves to be conscious of what was happening, such a truth had to be tearing at them.

Another thought was of Holocaust deniers such as the previous president of Iran, Mahmud Ahmadinejad; would he now recognize how ignorant such a claim was if he saw this documentary. Perhaps not.

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