Thursday, December 26, 2002

Salman Rushdie has been to the movies, & he suggests in the Washington Post that there's an important lesson to be learned by observing the moral differences between The Two Towers & Gangs of New York (via OxBlog).

"The films have opened at a time when all of us are trying to come to grips with the fact of an impending, controversial war, and many people, on both sides of the argument, are taking the absolutist line.... Oddly, opponents of the proposed American attack on Iraq often look like mirror-images of what they hate. According to these opponents, Western as well as Islamic, the United States is the tyrant, the Dark Lord, and all its purposes are vile.

"The truth looks more confused, more amorally Scorsesean. Saddam Hussein is a murderous despot, but the present U.S. administration's assaults on fundamental freedoms call into question its right to be called freedom lovers. The overthrow of the present Iraqi leadership may be desirable, but many of the scenarios for the aftermath of that overthrow are undesirable, to say the least. America may be in less danger from Iraq than its leaders claim, and the war on Hussein may have more to do with breaking U.S. dependence on Saudi oil than anyone cares to discuss. Yet it is possible that this flawed war may end up creating a better Iraq for most Iraqis than could be achieved by any other means."

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