Archive for January 27th, 2008

McCain and Rambo:”Bomb,bomb, bomb Iran.”

January 27, 2008

Does the world need another Rambo movie?

Apparently it does. He’s back. The violent thug who became a metaphor for mindless violence has yet another film which will appeal to the terminally adolescent and the inevitably frustrated.

Stallone has a lot to answer for. Screen life is very persuasive. The arts in themselves create a culture. Look at the damage Leon Uris did to Middle East peace with his bogus 50 million look at the middle east. Then there was the movie (1960) which has framed the whole discussion. Diaspora Jewry which has never visited the “Holy land” still thinks that Israel is pristine. The Occupation and its interminable oppression.  Back to Stallone.

Rambo was coterminous with the ugly Reagan Revolution (”America is back” and causing havoc everywhere) and American exceptionalism. But there were still a hand full of vets left behind in Vietnam which Rambo had to get. Never mind the million plus Vietnamese who paid the price for American hubris. Go get ‘em Rambo.Reagan of course paved the way for Bush and the Iraq War.

No surprise that Stallone is supporting the neanderthal John McCain as described by journalist Johann Hari:

McCain is third-generation navy royalty, raised from a young age to be a senior figure in the Armed Forces, like his father and grandfather before him. He was sent to one of the most elite boarding schools in America, then to a naval academy where he ranked 894th out of 899 students in ability. He used nepotism to get ahead: when he was rejected by the National War College, he used his father’s contacts with the Secretary of the Navy to make them reconsider. He then swiftly married the heiress to a multi-million dollar fortune.

Right up to his twenties, he remained a strikingly violent man, “ready to fight at the drop of a hat”, according to his biographer Robert Timberg. This rage seems to be at the core of his personality: describing his own childhood, McCain has written: “At the smallest provocation I would go off into a mad frenzy, and then suddenly crash to the floor unconscious. When I got angry I held my breath until I blacked out.”

But he claims he was transformed by his experiences in Vietnam – a war he still defends as “noble” and “winnable”, if only it had been fought harder. (More than three million Vietnamese died; how much harder could it be?) His plane was shot down on a bombing raid over Hanoi, and he was captured and tortured for five years. To this day, he cannot lift his arms high enough to comb his own hair.

On his release, he used his wife’s fortune to run to as a Republican senator. He was a standard-issue Reaganite corporate Republican – until the Keating Five corruption scandal consumed him. In 1987, it was revealed that McCain, along with four other senators, had taken huge campaign donations from a fraudster called Charles Keating. In return they pressured government regulators not to look too hard into Keating’s affairs, allowing him to commit even more fraud. McCain later admitted: “I did it for no other reason than I valued [Keating’s] support.”

McCain took the only course that could possibly preserve his reputation: he turned the scandal into a debate about the political system, rather than his own personal corruption. He said it showed how “we need to drive the special interests out of Washington”, and became a high-profile campaigner for campaign finance reform. But privately, his behaviour hasn’t changed much. For example, in 2000 he lobbied federal regulators hard on behalf of a major campaign contributor, Paxson Communications, in an act the regulators spluttered was “highly unusual”. He has never won an election without outspending his opponent.

But McCain has distinguished himself most as an über-hawk on foreign policy. To give a brief smorgasbord of his views: at a recent rally, he sang “Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran,” to the tune of the Beach Boys’ “Barbara Ann”. He says North Korea should be threatened with “extinction”.

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