I watched the Alex Cox film Searchers 2.0 last night. The film observes the Hollywood obsession with the revenge fantasy. People are attracted to films that show revenge to be a pleasurable, righteous, almost noble approach to solving an injustice. It’s great in the terms of an excuse for a load of special effects, but, in reality of course, revenge plots go wrong, are tragic and just mess everything up. This has been portrayed, for millennia, as tragic for both parties in many plays and stories, from Shakespeare, to some of the better movies. This is as it should be, as Alex Cox argues.
So we watch Clint Eastwood. We watch Rambo. We think we have our fiction firmly separated from fact. But then we have the post 911 situation. Retribution, revenge, in all it’s bloody disgusting glory.
We somehow think a jaunt into the desert will be a glorious journey of convoys with dust rising behind them. Slo’mos of soldiers throwing themselves over sand dunes, gallantly shooting down Taliban fighters. Odear. Look at Iraq, or Afghanistan. Hardly any causalities on our side, but millions of civilians killed.
Look, before you start throwing bricks through my window and tell me I’m supporting Terrorism, or think I’m about to convert to Islam, let me tell you this. I would stop a terrorist plot if I uncovered one. I would report it to the police like anyone else. If I had a chance to talk to a bitter member of Al Qaeda, grieving over the numerous civilian causalities in his country, then I would try and talk him out of taking revenge.
But what on earth do we think is going to happen when a rather shabby war is started, in the name of revenge for 911, and other bombings, like the London bombings ? Again, I really do defend the right of a country to defend itself. But that defence is endlessly stated to be for “stopping Terrorism”. I can’t think of any War that has stopped Terrorism in the entire recorded history of this Planet !
It is revenge isn’t it ? You see ?
Maybe if more people could admit the carnal emotions and motivations involved in the so called “WOT” then maybe we could move on. Maybe we could really stop Terrorism and take an intelligent approach to the whole thing, because at the moment. It is not, come on admit it.
Again, I support the Soldiers fighting out there. Their sacrifice is not in vain, although I sometimes wonder if it’s really necessary. I talked to a local Taxi driver here who had fought out in Iraq. He told me that it is not a popular War among the troops. But troops have to follow orders.
What orders are WE following ?