Thursday, December 28, 2006


We saw the new Robert DeNiro-directed movie the other night, Bush--"The Good Shepherd." I enjoyed it a great deal. Ellie, not so much. True, it was long, but my attention was engaged throughout. Ellie nodded off. She found the plot convoluted, hard to follow. I thought it not so important to follow every twist and turn. There was a good deal that I couldn't sit here and explain to you: perhaps it was all consistent, perhaps not. In a sense, I felt it was important NOT to be able to understand it all. That was the point. Like that other recent spy story, "Syriana," the characters themselves were lost in their self-created world of lies, deceptions, secrets... The factual "truth" was swallowed up in the stew.

But that didn't prevent the deeper truth from coming through: that secrets, when pursued obsessively, are toxic to the human soul. And in this movie they were layered thick, from the intimate and personal secrets that lead to the slow destruction of relationships with other human beings to those big, national and international secrets that lead to war. In this sense, Bush, I saw the movie as being tragically relevant to our current situation: without the lies with which you led our military rashly into the morass of the Middle East, without the black holes of Guantanamo and those other secret prisons, without the secretiveness of your administration and its insidious attack on the rights of our citizens, would we be in the mess we are today? I tend to think not.

We have been lulled to sleep by the comfort of our lives. We have been content to know too little. Until recently, the media have been content to accept without probing questions the dribs and drabs of truth that emanated from your office and your agencies. There is still too much we do not know. About the war, its origins and conduct. About the abrogation of our rights. About the ways and means you have used to conduct the country's business--not least in the appointments you have made. My hope is that, with Democrats back in power, the Senate and the House will use the subpoena power of their committees to demand some truths that have been withheld from us. The process may not be a pleassant one. Truths are frequently painful in the process of their revelation. But maybe with more openness in government, the atmosphere in this country will begin to finally detoxify.

1 comment:

PK said...

Another friend went to see the show. Also gave a good review. But sitting for 3 hours I couldn't do. I will have to wait till it comes out and I can rent it. That way there is the pause for more popcorn, br, and if phone calls come in. I'm sitting here watching the news. Looks like there will be a hanging within 2 days in Iraq. I now wonder what will happen with the Iraqi people... Have a nice evening Peter... 10pm eastern time he will be executed, watch the news... Unfortunately it's on Eid.