By Craig McKee
I can see it now: Robert De Niro as Osama bin Laden, George Clooney, Matt Damon, and Brad Pitt as the handsome and fearless Navy SEALS, and Morgan Freeman as the “president.” Or Denzel Washington…
Okay, I might have the casting wrong, but the upcoming film Kill bin Laden by Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker) is certain to be fascinating – and fictional. It will take its place alongside United 93 and World Trade Center – a sort of trilogy of 9/11 propaganda.
The bin Laden chase pic will portray the heroic efforts of the CIA, Pentagon, and president(s) to find bin Laden. There will be some bureaucratic bungling (there has to be some criticism for the account to seem objective), but there will be no hint that the powers that be didn’t want bin Laden caught at all. Or that he was already long dead.
There will be heart-stopping suspense during the heroic midnight raid, along with the courageous decisions to kill bin Laden and dump the body at sea. In the end it will be the good country, with all its lovable imperfections, killing the evil mastermind and preserving democracy. The idea that the whole raid was a piece of theatre and that bin Laden wasn’t even there won’t be considered.
I know, the bin Laden film hasn’t even been shot yet, but with the enthusiastic support of the Obama White House, there is little doubt that the finished product will be pure Hollywood: The Bourne Identity meets Independence Day meets Day of the Jackal.
I can’t help wondering how the film will – or won’t – handle these questions:
- What was bin Laden’s role as a CIA asset, and why was he visited in the American Hospital in Dubai by the local CIA station chief just two months before 9/11?
- Why did FBI leadership block agents from capturing bin Laden?
- Why did the FBI say they had “no hard evidence” against him?
- Why didn’t the U.S. provide proof of bin Laden’s guilt to the Taliban, which had agreed to turn him over?
- How did an obviously fake confession video (complete with a bin Laden double) become accepted as proof of bin Laden’s guilt?
- Why didn’t the U.S. capture bin Laden so they could gain intelligence about future terrorist plans and details about the al-Qaeda organization?
- Why did they really bury his body at sea?
- What does the 10th anniversary of 9/11 have to do with the timing of the raid?
- What’s the significance of the film’s release date being just a month before the 2012 federal election?
The interesting thing is that Bigelow says the film was in the works for years, long before his “execution.” I can’t help wondering what kind of a film they would have made with no conclusion already provided for them.
As for the timing of the film’s release, I believe this amounts to a phoney controversy that will help distract all of us from the real unanswered questions. It assumes that the film will help Obama, which in turn assumes the validity of the official stories of 9/11 and the bin Laden raid.
Bigelow has denied being given access to classified materials relating to the raid on May 1, although the New York Times has reported that she has top level access to information about the planning and execution of the raid. Just a read of the recent New Yorker article about the behind the scenes execution of the raid confirms that incredible access can be granted when a sympathetic treatment is assured.
What is virtually certain is that the Bigelow film will be sympathetic to the U.S. government and that it will reinforce the bin Laden and 9/11 cover stories. If anyone has any doubt about the cozy relationship between Hollywood and the U.S. military and intelligence services, they won’t after this film comes out.
Hollywood makes two things better than anyone: entertainment and propaganda. And we’ll be getting a liberal dose of both in Kill Bin Laden. Too bad we’re going to get so little truth.