Sunday, July 25, 2021

Just Let the Militias Have Iraq

 Well dearest motherfuckers, I had published my doubts, but it  appears that Old Man Biden is prepared to finally end our twenty year clusterfuck in Afghanistan by the end of summer after all. Well, sort of. Like any American peace deal, this one comes with a few bullet hole shaped asterisks. While "Combat" troops are set to fuck off by the end of August, the US still intends to keep a sizable contingent of heavily armed Americans at its 36 acre Branch Davidian style compound in Kabul along with Satan knows how many CIA agents. Biden is also maintaining colossal fleets in the Persian Gulf to keep up America's air war on peasant goat farmers with so called over-the-horizon capability.

So peace may be a strong word for a weak gesture, but it's still more than I had hoped for from a century long chickenhawk like Joe. And despite the incessant sob stories coming out of the mainstream media, who will have you and anyone unfortunate enough to listen believe that imperial conquest is the key to feminism in savage brown countries, there appears to finally be something of a bipartisan consensus that Afghanistan has been a gigantic waste of time and resources. Which frankly begs the question, what the fuck are we still doing in Iraq?

Out of the two flagship wars on terror, Iraq was always the more obvious mistake. At least Afghanistan had actually hosted the fuckers responsible for 9/11, even if they were more than willing to hand them over before we started shooting. The Iraq War had been precipitated on such obvious lies that I was able to expose them on my PC at 15 in between lesbian porno binges. There were no weapons of mass destruction. Saddam fucking hated al-Qaeda more than we did. And yet we're still there. Biden can call them advisors all he wants but some 2,500 troops are still in Babylon, ready to die for some hopped up neocon conspiracy to control the world's oil supply.

There are currently two predominant excuses for our continued presence in hell and if taken together they are almost comically oxymoronic. Americans must occupy Iraqi soil to finish off what's left of ISIS and contain the apparently Iranian backed Shiite militias who whooped their ass into submission. It was dangerous extremists like Kataib Hezbollah who helped the evil Iranians crush the Islamic State after the American trained quislings in the Iraqi Army literally turned tail and ran for the hills. What's left of ISIS is hanging on by a thread and America is engaged in a heated tit for tat bombing campaign with the only people capable of finishing them off. Mind you that neither one of these "threats" to Walmart and apple pie would even fucking exist if it wasn't for the forty years of incessant warfare made possible by US tax dollars.

Most people suffer beneath the hefty delusion that America's current campaign in Iraq began in 2003, but the reality is it really began in 1980 when the dovish Jimmy Carter gave then ally Saddam Hussein the green light to invade Iran and it never really stopped from there. Iraq invaded Iran in 1980 for a number of reasons, the biggest one being that Saddam fucking wanted to. America supported and funded this insane crusade for greater Babylon because the Iranians had done the unforgivable and went and had a popular revolution against one of our bloodthirsty puppets. But America wasn't content to simply fuel Saddam's conquest. We secretly and often illegally armed both sides of the Iran-Iraq War in a cynical attempt to weaken both nations. The end result was an 8 year death match of Byzantine-esque proportions. There was trench warfare, tank battles, human wave attacks, and chemical warfare. By the time the shit show was finished over 500,000 people lay dead and America had lost interest in keeping our old buddy Saddam around anymore.

The first Persian Gulf War was essentially a trap. During the failed Iraqi conquest of Iran, Bagdad's alleged allies in Kuwait had begun siphoning off oil from a hotly contested border region. The cash strapped Iraqis, who had never really recognized Kuwait's independence from their territory to begin with, took the Bush Sr. regime at their word when they repeatedly expressed little interest in the outcome of such a conflict, and launched another invasion. Only this time the Americans changed changed their tune the moment Saddam crossed the border. After thwarting several peace attempts from the understandably confused Iraqi strongman, America launched one of the most disproportionately heinous military campaigns in modern history. As Jean Baudrillard famously observed, it could hardly even be described as a war. It was more like a CNN infomercial for Boeing with war crimes.

After 40 days and 177 million pounds of munitions, the modern metropolitan state of Iraq had been reduced to a pre-industrial hellhole. We bombed literally anything that moved and quite a few things that didn't; hospitals, schools, power plants, oil fields, chemical weapons facilities, nuclear centrifuges, highways of retreating troops, highways of retreating civilians... We obliterated a civilian bunker, killing 1,500, mostly women and children. We demolished the nation's power grid and sewage system, leaving their population to rot in a flood of their own filth. Over 200,000 people died as a result of the war alone, 60% of them were children. The news media celebrated the massacre like the Fourth of July, oohing and aweing over the advanced technology that went into destroying a nation. During their brief occupation of Kuwait, Iraqi soldiers had discovered a memo from Kuwaiti intelligence revealing a conspiracy by Kuwait and the United States to goad Iraq into an invasion in order to cut the nation down to a size that the two parties could split and fit in their wallets.

But the Persian Gulf War didn't end in 1991. It continued without mercy through out the Clinton years with a crippling embargo that's been described quite accurately by resigning UN officials as genocidal. Anywhere between 500,000 and 1.5 million Iraqi civilians died from starvation and medical neglect, all with the intention of torturing the populace into overthrowing a dictator we had armed and empowered for years. When revolts did finally come from Shiites and Kurds, America left them to be slaughtered after promising our support. When asked if all this carnage was worth it, Secretary of State Madeline Albright shrugged. Every time Clinton was caught porking another intern, he dropped a few more bombs on the defenseless country to distract the pyromaniacs at CNN. The road to a second Iraq war was paved by Democrats in the form of a bill that essentially declared war on what was left of the crippled fiefdom of Saddam Hussein. By the time Bush Jr. showed up, the gun was already loaded. He just had to wait until September for his excuse to pull the trigger. 

After the easily preventable attacks on 9/11, everyone was too pissed and stupid to care who we invaded. After putting on a half-hearted show in Afghanistan, Dubya quickly lost interest in catching Bin Laden and shifted gears to finishing off Saddam. The results were catastrophic for pretty much everybody but Iran who came to Iraq's rescue after the fruit of the surge ripened into ISIS and this is what our troops remain to fight; an Axis of Resistance to the horrors made possible by decades of American meddling. America likes to talk big on democracy in far flung places. Yet even Iraq's own American cobbled democracy voted unanimously in parliament to kick us out of their country in 2020. Even the people we put in charge have clearly had enough of our bullshit, so why don't we cut the name games and just get the fuck out.

I for one say we just let the militias have Iraq. They've done a better job governing it than we ever did. The truth is America doesn't give a flying fuck about democracy. We never bothered promoting it in the liberated monarchy of Kuwait for Allah's sake, and even if we did, that still wouldn't make it right for Iraq. The current government in Bagdad is as corrupt as its ever been because the Iraqi people didn't choose it. Just like Saddam, it was forced down their throats by certain enlightened white people convinced that the Westphalian nation state is the solution for savages everywhere. This system isn't indigenous to the Gulf. The militias that formed in the vacuum of its repeated failures are. In many ways they resemble the armed nomadic tribes who ruled these deserts long before we fucked them up. The last thing America needs to do is go to war with them. They might be the best hope that god forsaken place has left.

Peace, Love, & Empathy- Nicky/CH

Soundtrack; songs that influenced this post

*  Never Let Me Down Again by Depeche Mode

*  War Pigs by Black Sabbath

*  Brando by Lucy Dacus

*  Run for the Hills by Iron Maiden

*  Gigantic by the Pixies

*  Mountain Song by Jane's Addiction

*  Rocket by Smashing Pumpkins

*  Sex Bomb by Flipper

*  Its No Good by Depeche Mode

Sunday, July 18, 2021

The Brightside of Crimewaves

 Tuning into the evening news has begun to take on all the charming qualities of a seventies Scorsese flick. Some nights I have to wipe the blood from the screen. From coast to coast, from sea to rising sea, the mean streets of America are being rocked by a crime wave the likes of which we've never seen. After a thirty year drop in violent crime, 2020 has seen the biggest single year jump in homicides since they began recording such grim statistics in the 1960's, with a 25% rise in a single year. And 2021 has all the makings of a Charles Bronson sequel.

Naturally, the partisan elites are tripping over their limp dicks looking for a convenient scapegoat to blame so there home team of feckless plutocrats can score points over the bodies. The Democrats, led aimlessly to brunch by Geritol poster boy Joe Biden and his graycare handlers, are making a big to-do out of blaming this all on America's toxic love affair with the Second Amendment. Meanwhile, their doppelgangers in the GOP are having a field day blaming the whole bloodbath on Black Lives Matter and the evils of moderate police reform. If you've figured out already that I think they're both full of shit then give yourself a prize and make it something sexy.

While it's true that more Americans than ever before happen to be packing heat during an explosion of gun violence, American gun ownership continued to rise precipitously through out those thirty years between 1990 and 2020 when crime dropped like two eagles making love. This includes periods of time both before and after the Assault Weapons Ban with seemingly zero meaningful fluctuation. Liberals love to blame violence on guns but the truth is it makes about as much sense as blaming burglary on crowbars. It's a red herring for people who lack the will and/or intelligence to ask why people are actually pulling the fucking trigger? What is it about the last two years that pushed America from armed to armed and dangerous?

Never missing an opportunity to out-stupid their rivals, Republicans and their frothing flunkies on cable news want to blame this whole damn thing on us not being nice enough to the cops. As silly as this sounds, I do believe they are accidentally in the right neighborhood in that I suspect that last summer's uprisings and this years rise in crime share the same energy, but if anything the police have brought this upon themselves and the rest of us by behaving like the criminals they statistically fail to catch. Furthermore, defunding the police has largely become an empty campaign catch phrase for glad handing progressives. The few cities that have actually gone through with such reforms have watered them down to the point of fecklessness, and many of the most violent cities in the country like Detroit and Memphis haven't passed any at all. America's police are just a bunch of tax addicted crybabies hooked on playing the victim card like every other garden variety psychopath, and the right are more than happy to hand the sniveling creeps a microphone.

So if not gun rights or police reform then what is the real reason for America's frightening new craze of street violence? Where is the scapegoat? And here I come with the harsh truth again. There is none. Crime experts still can't even come up with an explanation for the thirty year drop we saw before this spike. All the statistics are notoriously fickle, especially when you consider that the primary sources for them are organized crime outfits like the FBI and your local police department. People have blamed everything from abortion to Krampus for the peace wave and now that the party is over, they're left chasing their tails to explain why it ended. The truth is, I can't tell you why Americans are killing each other like it's 1979 again. I can only give you the theory of one mad recluse with too much time on her hands.

The last big crime wave this country saw in the 70's and 80's came on the heals of the epic fail of the 1960's, when America's faith in it's own institutions was at an all time low. After My Lai, Watergate, the Pentagon Papers, and one too many dead Kennedys to chock up to cruel coincidence, American's on both the left and the right were set adrift on a sea of nihilism and trampled faith. With Cointelpro, the FBI had effectively murdered the Civil Rights Movement in it's tracks as it was finally hitting it's revolutionary stride and the gorey spectacle of the Vietnam War had ended as anticlimactically as it had begun, with little recognition of failure and Hueys being pushed into the South China Sea. The government, the press, and even many of the renegades who defied them had all been exposed as corrupt and cowardly failures. The illusion of power those institutions had long held was shattered along with the economy, so the everyday losers of the lumpenproletariat lashed out in ways both big and small without having anymore idea why than the elitist experts who studied them.

This twenty year violent hangover caused by the failures of liberal democracy only ended with the economic boom of the Clinton years, which we all now know was little more than a clever illusion built on a series of fickle bubbles inflated by neoliberal scam artists like Alan Greenspan. The rabble was kept in line for a while even after the Great Recession with the empty handed promises of Barack Obama and the bombastic hot air of Donald Trump. But these desperate illusions along with any illusion of our government being in control of anything but the media were all shattered by their inability to prevent an easily containable pandemic and the subsequent police state overreach of the lockdowns which sent our Peter Pan economy to hell in a handbasket where it probably belongs.

People are pissed off and hopeless. Their own figure heads behave like feral children with chainsaws so why shouldn't they? At the risk of being burned at the stake for heresy, believe it or not, this may not be the worst development in recent history. America really is a fucked up place and this turmoil proves that at least America's vital signs are working. With multiple new cold wars and a climate holocaust on the horizon, I would be more concerned if Americans remained docile, well behaved, sheep like they were in the Clinton and Bush years. Crime is not an aberration but a reflection of society, and to me, this crime wave shows that America's mask of sanity has cracked and at least the poorest American's are sharp enough to realize it. Their instincts are completely natural. Their actions just need to be directed away from each other and towards the state that has failed them.

This is how a crisis becomes an opportunity. After all, what is a criminal but a revolutionary with a lack of direction? Fred Hampton had the right idea before he was wacked for his wokeness. He realized that in the 60's urban jungle of South Chicago, street gangs held the highest potential to be their neighborhood's answer to the Vietcong. This is why our government had to kill him. When the derelicts of this sinking ship we call a country finally realize that we have the crew outnumbered and stop slitting each other's throats, then this shitshow called empire is officially over with enough time to reach the lifeboats. God help me, but I'm rooting for the criminals.

Peace, Love, & Empathy- Nicky/CH

Soundtrack; songs that influenced this post

*  Mr. Brightside by the Killers

*  Wild One by Iggy Pop

*  Tommy Gun by the Clash

*  Gimme Shelter by the Rolling Stones

*  Suffragette City by David Bowie

*  Police Truck by Dead Kennedys

*  Get Your Gunn by Marilyn Manson

*  Saints by the Breeders

*  London Calling by the Clash'

*  Hug From a Dinosaur by Torres

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Malicious Aid: The Real Root Cause of the Border Crisis

 Contrary to the gospel of Joy Reid, you really don't have to be a right wing dick to acknowledge that there is a crisis at the border anymore than you need to be a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. Wave after wave of desperate people are braving the unforgiving desert sun just for the opportunity to be policed and warehoused like cattle by the brave men and women of America's border gestapo. Thousands every day. Over a million since October alone. I don't give a fuck how woke you are, this shit isn't normal.

While I remain a diehard open borders purist through and through, that is not what motivated me to write this piece. The borders and the dueling cartels that militarize them may be the source of much of the immediate misery of your average migrant but that still doesn't address why they come and why, in spite of our nation's casual bipartisan cruelty, they continue to come. What makes people so desperate that they're willing to send their own children into the arms of heavily armed thugs just to get them away from their homeland?

On a superficial level this is the product of two presidents; the openly xenophobic Donald Trump and the quietly xenophobic Joe Biden. When Trump lost to a progressive talking Joe Biden, whispering sweet nothings into the Hispanic vote's ears, the quasi-biennial immigrant caravans swelled to unprecedented numbers with people desperate to take a new kinder president at his word. Big mistake. President Biden may read cue cards like a squishy progressive but he runs his borders like Trump. The result is hungry people being beckoned by strangers with candy only to be kidnapped and Shanghaied to some floral decorated concentration camp up river. In practice, the Biden policy is far crueler than Trump's. But this still doesn't tell us why they come and why they keep coming.

The root causes, that cackling cop Kamala Harris calls them. Our Vice President has gone on record fingering everything from food insecurity to climate change as the true culprit but she's still yet to point her boney little finger at the bloody elephant in the mirror. The root cause of nearly all mass migration worldwide is and always has been imperialism. These people are running for their lives from the hellholes that our conquistador foreign policy has turned their countries into, and in few places on the map is this more true than the infamous Northern Triangle of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, who's open veins bleed refugees like  busted pipes. America has been tormenting these desperate places going back to the 19th Century, but it was during the Cold War, under the mania of anti-communism, that we truly kicked the cruelty into second gear.

For Guatemala, the beginning of the end began with an unexpected gasp of hope in the form of a democratically elected reformist president named Jacobo Arbenz. Before Arbenz, Guatemala had essentially been one great big plantation for centuries, with the indigenous Mayan majority toiling like slaves beneath the tutelage of a handful of European blooded dynasties and their corporate masters back on Wall Street. Then Jacobo came along with the wacky idea that at least some of that land should belong to the glorified slaves who worked it. United Fruit couldn't bare such milquetoast communism from a reasonable reformer like Arbenz, so in 1954, they called in the CIA to overthrow his democracy and replace it with a revolving door of fascist juntas. Some of the peasants took to the gun to resist and what resulted was over four decades of brutal civil war, all financed by the US of A.

It didn't take long for this civil war to boil over into one of the worst genocides seen in the Western Hemisphere or anywhere else for that matter during the last century. Those who weren't burned alive by napalm or gassed with DDT were rounded up by death squads armed, trained, and all too often led by American Green Berets, and slaughtered like dogs. Whole villages, whole tribes; obliterated, raped, tortured, dismembered, wiped from this earth by bulldozers and armored vehicles. Body parts lined the country roads, heads were basted on stakes, torsos clogged the waterways. When it was all said and done, over 200,000 people were dead while the rest were left in misery to work themselves to the bone under the same master class the dead dared to demand humanity from.

The bloodbath spilled over into tiny El Salvador during the late seventies. Nearby Nicaragua had shocked the world by overthrowing the heavily US funded Samoza Dynasty and America and its local fascist quislings were terrified that the momentum would spread. In a nation named for Christ, the greatest threat came in the form of rebellious Catholic clergy who took the Bible at its word about feeding the poor. The biggest target by far was the liberation theologist Archbishop and now saint, Oscar Romero, who was assassinated under the orders of American trained Major Roberto D'Aubuisson in 1980. Another civil war erupted not long after with more American lead death squads slaughtering whole villages of the poor, like the 1000 men, women, and children who died at El Mozote in 1981. By the end of the decade, some 80,000 people lay dead, including scores of priests and nuns, more often than not raped, tortured and hacked to death by machetes.

Honduras got off relatively easy but only by comparison. The nation was largely used as a giant training camp for America's Contra mercenaries, who spent the 80's killing over 50,000 Nicaraguans in another savage civil war made possible by American aid. Meanwhile, Honduras was tormented by their own Yanqui doodle death squad in the form of Battalion 316, which did it's best to keep the rabble in line while America busied itself exporting carnage to the nation's neighbors. 

Not much changed for the poor in the Northern Triangle after the civil wars. Corrupt governments continued to serve American corporations and silence anyone who spoke out. Only in Honduras, another moderate populist in the cut of Jacabo Arbenz threatened to buck the trend. Democratically elected president Manuel Zelaya attempted to bring about some relatively tame reforms to compensate the poor but the Obama/Biden Administration would have none of it. They backed a Cold War style coup in 2009 and summarily funded the resulting junta with millions of dollars in US Aid while they went on the warpath murdering hundreds of environmentalists and indigenous activists who dared to take a stand. 

And this, dearest motherfuckers, is Kamala's elusive root cause; US Aid. American dollars that go into propping up the most bloodthirsty and corrupt nations on earth. But Kamala won't touch those purse strings. Even Trump, who made a big show of cutting aid to the Northern Triangle, kept cash flowing to those banana republics through the Pentagon in the name of fighting the war on drugs. Not only is the Biden Administration refusing to acknowledge this root cause of mass migration, they're suggesting they solve the problem by financing it. Of Kamala Harris' proposed $310 million aid package to Guatemala, only about $55 million will go to addressing food insecurity, the rest of that "humanitarian" aid goes to enforcing that nation's corrupt police state with operations like a joint border protection force. Long story short, Joe and Kamala didn't end the border wall, they're just moving it to Mexico's other border while they sell more guns to the monsters who send their own people running for their lives.

The solution here is almost absurdly simple. Cut the motherfucking aid. Send nothing but food and medicine to those gangster states and allow their own people to finish the job they started in the 80's and overthrow the goddamn juntas and their phony neoliberal plutocracies. Even American progressives like to feed into the jingoistic lie that people flock to America from across the globe to eat McDonald's and bask in our Disneyfied benevolence. Bullshit. They came here to hide in the shadows of the conquistadors because they know that it's the only place their bombs wont drop. I'm all for open borders and freedom of movement but lets not fool ourselves into believing that these people wouldn't much rather be overthrowing our puppet regimes back home.

Peace, Love, & Empathy- Nicky/CH

Soundtrack; songs that influenced this post

*  Toyota Man by Neon Indian

*  Lawyers, Guns, & Money by Warren Zevron

*  Johnny & Jonnie by Dark Shadow

*  Corona by the Minutemen

*  Paper Planes by MIA

*  Bulls On Parade by Rage Against the Machine

*  Washington Bullets by the Clash

*  Carpetbaggers by Jenny Lewis & Elvis Costello

Sunday, July 4, 2021

War Movies for Peaceniks

 Well dearest motherfuckers, it's that time of the year again. A time for heat waves, fireworks, hotdogs, and backyard swimming pools. Annoyingly enough, it's also a time for that kneejerk, braindead brand of jingoism that Americans like to call patriotism. A very special genre of collective mental illness that dominates the early days of summer like heatstroke. This sickness comes with many symptoms; teary eyed flag worship, shitty country music songs, the objectification of veterans as mascots for imperialism. But as a reclusive anarchist cinephile, few of these rituals sickens me more than the clogging of cable television with the pornographic mush of Hollywood war cinema. If I have to sit through the deification of an unapologetic psychopath like Chris Kyle one more goddamn time, I swear I'll scale the Superdome with my bare hands and take pot shots at the satellites broadcasting such noxious trash.

All is not lost however, dearest motherfuckers. Luckily the Kali Yuga comes to us during the age of Hulu and Netflix, and there are indeed a fair number of war films that can actually teach us a thing or two about what all this patriotic mania really leads too. So I've compiled another of my famous movie lists, a list of war movies for peaceniks to get freaks like me through the festivities felony free. Like usual, many of these movies don't fit the given genre in the traditional sense, but they are all movies that deal with the specter of warfare in one way, shape, or form.

Apocalypse Now (1979) by Francis Ford Coppola-  The greatest war movie ever shot by an American director only could have escaped Hollywood during the peak of its countercultural identity crisis. No mainstream narrative could ever accurately capture the sheer madness of America's dark imperial disaster in Vietnam, so Francis Ford Coppola had to create an epic art film full of napalm surfing, hallucinogenic massacres, and rogue warlords being worshipped as gods. For me, the defining scene of the whole damn odyssey has to be the unhinged chaos of Do Lung Bridge, where every night a ragtag battalion of mentally cracking GI's destroy what they're stationed to protect in order to defend it from ghost soldiers who may or may not even exist, just to build it back up and start all over again the next morning. I can't think of a better analogy for the absurdity of military occupation. 

Dead Presidents (1995) by the Hughes Brothers-  One of the most underrated movies on the list is naturally one of the few films to accurately capture the relationship of people of color with Vietnam and the American war machine, not just during combat but after too. A few friends from the Bronx are shipped off to Vietnam fresh out of high school only to find a world totally indifferent to their psychic wounds once they return home. Like all too many GI's of the era, they resort to using the skills the government taught them for crime, and like all too many GI's of any era, the results are as tragic as they were inevitable.

Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky & the Media (1992) by Mark Achbar & Peter Wintonick-  I hate the way the motherfucker votes but no modern thinker sums up the complexities of the American propaganda apparatus like Noam Chomsky, and nothing is a better primer for his work than this cult classic documentary which focuses on the theories of Chomsky's 1988 book of the same name. Professor Chomsky calmly and conclusively breaks down for the audience the ways in which the corporate media in a supposedly democratic society can manipulate the public into tacitly consenting to one insane foreign bloodbath after another. Careful attention is particularly given to the media blackout over the genocide in East Timor which America helped its puppet regime in Indonesia to carry out right under the noses of an oblivious American public while the press simultaneously hyped a mirror genocide just to the north in Cambodia. All this and more is made shockingly possible by those fucking heroes in the so called American free press. 

Jacob's Ladder (1990) by Adrian Lyne-  Adrian Lyne's visually spellbinding cult classic about a Vietnam veteran suffering from the hellacious side affects of government experiments with hallucinogenic drugs is made all the more terrifying because it's based in real life history. The CIA and the United States military subjected unknown numbers of unwitting American soldiers to experiments with LSD and even more debilitating superhallucinogens like BZ as part of Project MKUltra, in direct violation of the standards set by the Nuremberg Tribunals against medical experiments on non-consenting subjects. Like Jacob Singer, many of those subjects came home from serving their country only to face a lifetime of debilitating waking nightmares and government stonewalling. When do we honor their sacrifice?

Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972) by Werner Herzog-  The movie that inspired Francis Ford Coppola's direction for Apocalypse Now isn't exactly a movie about warfare so much as it's a movie about the madness of imperial conquest. After venturing into the Amazon rain forest in search of the mythical city of gold, El Dorado, a rogue battalion of conquistadors find themselves in deep over their heads as the unseen natives pick them off one by one with inferior primitive weaponry as their fearless leader, Aguirre, played by the brilliantly gonzo Klaus Kinski, slowly loses his grip on reality. It should be mandatory viewing in every military academy in the country.

Full Metal Jacket (1987) by Stanley Kubrick-  The great Stanley Kubrick's attempt to make a purely philosophical Vietnam War movie is really two films in one and only the first one really shook me. The story of Gunnery Sergeant Hartman and Leonard Lawrence aka Private Pyle is really the story about how abusive institutions like Parris Island break down socially fragile human beings and strip them of their humanity. America's boot camps are essentially sociopath factories, which explains why so many of them have become hives of violence, with our heroes in uniform all too often turning their rifles against themselves and their fellow soldiers.

The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara (2003) by Errol Morris-  The most shockingly revolting thing about this biopic on celebrated war criminal and US Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara is how human the man comes across even while justifying his unforgivable crimes. McNamara's 11 lessons aren't a blueprint for avoiding another Vietnam sized disaster in the Middle East as many liberal commentators contend. It's 11 ways in which a sane human being can rationalize a life devoted to madness. The most eerie of the bunch is lesson number 9; In order to do good, you may have to engage in evil. Stalin couldn't have put it better himself.

Downfall (2004) by Oliver Hirschbiegel-  All empires collapse, but it is very rare to get a birds eye glimpse of the monumental monsters that build them during their painful final hours of power. This is the achievement of Oliver Hirschbiegel's Downfall, a film that painstakingly recreates the final day of the Fuhrerbunker using archival documents and first person accounts. Many critics were upset to see a jarringly human portrait of Adolf Hitler, but that is the most terrifying reality of even the most monstrous imperial tyrants. They really are just human beings. It is the very power they hold that makes them capable of such atrocities. Once stripped of that power, they die naked and alone, just like their victims.

Come and See (1985) by Elem Klimov-  By far the most earth shatteringly devastating portrait of warfare ever committed to film. Come and See genuinely has to be seen to be believed. The story of a teenage Soviet partisan who gets separated from his battalion only to experience the horrors of the Nazi death squads first hand as a civilian feels more like a horror movie than a mainstream war picture. But that is precisely what war is. It is horror and devastation and humanity at its most depraved. It is gang rape committed by cackling soldiers and burning churches full of screaming women and children. There are no heroes or happy endings. What Hollywood has turned war into with its pedantic dreck isn't just offensively inaccurate. It's harmful to society at large. It takes the shock of merciless marvels like Come and See to wake us from this slumber. We can only hope it's not too late.