29 June 2011

COUNTDOWN TO ZERO - (Dir. Lucy Walker, 2010, US)

The hypocrisy of this widely acclaimed documentary was rather insidious and disconcerting. Dubiously selective in its approach Countdown to Zero is supposed to be a piece of political protest activism but such obvious liberal intentions come undone by the decision to deliver a familiar right wing singling out of Pakistan, Iran and South Korea as the main threats to western civilization. The question of nuclear proliferation and its hawkish focus on so called unstable rogue states like Pakistan and particularly Iran may seem justifiable given their poor human rights record but then why make the decision to glaringly leave out Israel and its nuclear capabilities. Additionally, what of the truth that the US is the only country to have used nuclear weapons in the history of mankind and on a nation which had effectively surrendered. This genocide perpetrated by warmongers in the west against the Japanese people is today simply viewed as somewhat of a necessity in achieving all out victory in crystallizing the supremacy of America’s military power. Crimes against humanity perpetrated by the West are not only overlooked but it is if as they don’t matter when we have nations like Iran and Pakistan to contend with in the quest for American global hegemony. Whilst nuclear weapons still pose a considerable threat to the existence of mankind then why does the documentary choose to celebrate the moves made by America to cut back on its nuclear stockpile when in fact the number of American bases around the world has in fact increased. Surely the proliferation of American bases, the illegal occupation and support of tyrannical regimes and the selling of arms around the world pose more of a threat to world stability than nuclear proliferation?

To make matters worse we have Tony Blair, a war criminal, offering yet again his sycophantic condemnation of Iran as a terror regime obsessed with nuclear capability. Even if this may be true surely we don’t need someone as despicable and disingenuous as Tony Blair to tell us this, do we? What it smacks of is hypocrisy - Blair may be right about nuclear proliferation (any sane person would support a nuclear free world) but when you are one of the political leaders responsible for the deaths of innocent Iraqis (including the genocidal UN sanctions) your position as an authority on world affairs becomes untenable. Mainstream media discourse refers to Blair as a statesman when in fact the terrorism he perpetrated on Iraq and Afghanistan is no different to the fundamentalist terrorists who are ready to wage holy war against the west; what is the difference - the difference is that the terrorism perpetrated by the West is sanitized as defense whilst masquerading disgustingly as liberation. So why leave Israel out of the nuclear question? Mainly because to include Israel and debate its nuclear policy would inevitably undermine the agenda of the documentary which wants us to take away an image of a world in which the west especially America are not in fact really that bad given their secret desires to liberate us all from the religious bogeymen and nuclear Armageddon. The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw awarded the documentary five stars in his review but this is not an act of critical bravery, its indicative of the way many critics operate which is simply to reinforce the dominant point of view and naturalise the status quo which I for one refuse to accept as an absolute. The following links seem to support my position:

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