As screenwriters go, David Koepp is among the best. Not only did he write help write the scripts for two entertaining films in the 1990s, Jurassic Park and Mission: Impossible, but he also wrote two of the smartest films of 2002, Spider-Man and Panic Room). Most recently, he helped write the script for Steven Spielberg‘s remake of War of the Worlds which both Bruce and I thoroughly enjoyed. My blog-league described it as “a good, nail-biting movie that truly captures America after September 11th.”
And yet while the actions of the main characters in the film did seem to, as Bruce put it, “represent an interesting cross-section of Americans in the hours after the Towers fell, Koepp, who helped pen the script, claimed “the Martian attackers in the film represent the American military, while the Americans being slaughtered at random represent Iraqi civilians.” In other words, he suggests that our troops invaded Iraq with the express purpose of killing the Iraqi people. But, he’s not the only Administration critic who misunderstands what we’re doing in Iraq. Hilary Rosen, the former First Lady of the Human Rights Campaign has found “another word for insurgents in Iraq, and thats residents. (via Polipundit).
It seems that instead of describing the situation in Iraq for what it is, these two individuals, like so many other critics of the Administration’s policy there, deliberately misrepresent the situation in order to better criticize the war and attack the president. Mr. Koepp’s words notwithstanding, it’s not the Americans who are targeting Iraqi civilians, but the very “insurgents,” Ms. Rosen thinks represent Iraqi residents. According to the Middle East Times, “on average 33 Iraqis die every day, executed by Iraqis and foreign jihadis and suicide bombers, not by US or British soldiers.” (Emphasis added.)
While Ms. Rosen may see the insurgents as residents of Iraq, “foreign fighters . . . make up a growing percentage of insurgents battling US troops and the country’s fledgling security force.” Non-Iraqi terrorists continue to cross into Iraq from Syria. To be sure, there are Iraqis among the number fighting against Americans and the Iraqi troops loyal to their elected government, but to classify the “insurgents” as residents is misunderstand the “insurgency.”
Like so many critics of our actions in Iraq, Koepp and Rosen have created their own scenario of what is going on there in order to lash out against the war. If the Martians in War of the Worlds represented the Americans in Iraq, then the U.S. occupation would be quite unpopular and Iraqis would be pessimistic about their future. Yet, a poll last year showed that more Iraqis thought the U.S. invasion was right than those who thought it was wrong. Just a few months ago, another poll found that 71% of Iraqis thought things would be better in six months, while 81.4% thought they would get better within a year’s time and nearly 85% thought they would be better in five years time. The same poll found that more than 70% of Iraqis believed the Iraqi Transitional government was “very representative” or “generally representative” of the Iraqi people as a whole. Not only that. The percentage of Iraqis who think Iraq is headed in the right direction has steadily increased since last December.
Last fall, that poll found that only 1.5% of Iraqis thought that the U.S. was most to blame for “the difficult situation in Iraq currently.” Hardly a picture of a nation who thinks American troops in their land are aliens bent on their destruction.
Indeed, a better picture of what Americans are doing in Iraq comes not from the mouths of those who would twist the situation to yield the result they want in order to attack the war, but from the story of an army medic, Stephen Tschiderer, who attended to the wounds of a sniper who moments previously had tried to kill him:
Earlier this summer, Private First Class Stephen Tschiderer – a medic attached to the 101st “Saber” Cavalry Division in Iraq from Mendon, N.Y. – was standing patrol on a street corner in Baghdad when he was hit square in the chest by a sniper’s bullet. The insurgents responsible for the attack were filming the incident as a snuff movie intended to build morale among murderers. Their camera was unsteady, but the recovered footage shows Private Tschiderer collapsing under the force of the bullet, then springing back up, adrenaline surging, his life saved by the protective body armor worn beneath his uniform. His fellow U.S. soldiers returned fire as Private Tschiderer sought cover behind their Humvee. The insurgents were hit and scrambled to get away. They were caught, and Private Tschiderer handcuffed and applied medical treatment to the man who had tried to kill him minutes before.
Our troops rush to save the lives of those who would try to kill them and a Hollywood screenwriter compares them to Martians slaughtering American civilians.
Too many on the left build their case against the war on their deliberate misunderstandings of mission there. Our ambitions there are not imperialist. While not entirely comfortable with foreign troops in their land, the Iraqi people, by and large, support our mission there and are optimistic about their future. With U.S. troops in their land, the Iraqi people have had an opportunity that few outside Israel have had in the Middle East: they have been able to elect their own government.
Our occupation in Iraq has been far from perfect. And there is much to criticize in what we have done there. But, to see it as some have, is to miss the point of what is going on in that land formerly ruled by a murderous tyrant. The “insurgents” are not the equivalent of the American revolutionaries fighting for democracy and freedom against foreign occupation. Many of them are foreigners and all of them are fighting against a freely elected Iraqi government.
Let’s have a good discussion of the war in Iraq, our mission there and the justness of our cause, but let’s see the situation as it is and not twist the facts or heighten the rhetoric in order to better attack the American military and those who command them.
-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com