Oliver Stone, Peter Kuznick Blast Emperor Obama in USA Today!

I've yet to sit down and watch the Showtime series Oliver Stone's Untold History of the United States, but this op-ed by the director of some great and some awful movies and his co-author Peter Kuznick sure makes me want to check it out.

Snippets from USA Today:

While following through on some key promises, such as withdrawing U.S. forces from Iraq, Obama has often simultaneously deepened his commitment to the empire. In some cases, he pursued his promises, proposing to close Guantanamo and launching a plan to give terrorist "detainees" civilian trials, and then quickly backed away as his political foes attacked....

Pushed by his handpicked advisers, including Hillary Clinton and Republican holdover Robert Gates, and generals David Petraeus and Stanley McChrystal, he tripled the number of U.S. troops [in Afghanistan]. By 2011, the United States was spending $110 billion on military operations. Even as the president announced a slight acceleration of the planned 2014 pullout, it is unclear what long-term impact Obama's Afghan "surge" will have.

Elsewhere, Obama quickly became the world's leading drone warrior, employing more predator drones in his first nine-and-a-half months in office than Bush had in the previous three years. The results are mixed. He managed to decapitate much of al-Qaeda's leadership, but these attacks fueled jihadist recruitment....

Obama claimed the right to murder, without judicial review, anyone he deemed a threat to U.S. interests, making him judge, jury and executioner, and far exceeding Bush's surveillance without judicial review (which also seems to have expanded under Obama). He personally selected the individuals to be targeted who were put on "kill lists." Before 9/11, the U.S. had condemned targeted assassinations. Now, they are Obama's signature foreign policy initiative, one that many other nations have prepared to emulate.

And there's this: "Often, Obama's efforts to expand America's imperial role are obscured by Republican demands that he go further." They got that right.

Read the whole thing here.

There's no question that Oliver Stone has a strange, if not thoroughly cracked view of reality (go here to read former Reason staffer Michael Moynihan's criticism of Untold History).

His willingness to pal around uncritically with dictators such as Castro and Chavez is revolting, as was his apparently sympathetc but clearly simple-minded description of the 9/11 attacks as a "revolt" and a "rebellion." Yet whether it's his willingness to push pot legalization or the current USA Today op-ed, the guy is willing to make his views known even (especially?) if they make many of his fans uncomfortable. I'll take that anyday over mealy-mouthed auteurs who can never quite put their genius out into a scrum where it might be dinged up.

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  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Strange that he didn't write this before November 6.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    Yeah, but like Nick said, most of his fellow cultists aren't writing it now. Or even thinking it.

    Also, like it would matter, since anyone swayed by an Oliver Stone op-ed has a Democratic party staffer casting their vote for them anyway.

  • Paul.||

    Would it have mattered?

    Oliver Stone wrote:

    In some cases, he pursued his promises, proposing to close Guantanamo and launching a plan to give terrorist "detainees" civilian trials, and then quickly backed away as his political foes attacked....

    Subtext: Obama is good and pure, but the Republicans made him go astray.

    Pushed by his handpicked advisers, including Hillary Clinton and Republican holdover Robert Gates

    We never liked Hillary Clinton, because she was an insider. But Obama is pure outside. A simple community organizer from Aurora, Il.

    Elsewhere, Obama quickly became the world's leading drone warrior, employing more predator drones in his first nine-and-a-half months in office than Bush had in the previous three years. The results are mixed. He managed to decapitate much of al-Qaeda's leadership, but these attacks fueled jihadist recruitment....

    I'm not comfortable with the Drone Strikes, because my hippie liberal sensibilities tell me I'm supposed to be uncomfortable. But hey, results are mixed, and he did decapitate Al Qaeda! So they worked. And if it works... although they did fuel jihadist recruitment... won't comment on that.

    The only unqualified negative he pens about Obama is the kill list in the last paragraph.

    So... while I'm intrigued that he wrote anything negative about Messiah, I'm not reeling backwards.

    I thought what John Cusack said was much more direct and to the point... and unqualified criticism.

  • Dzimas||

    Well, Obama's attempt to close Gitmo were thwarted by Congress as a whole. I believe the vote was 93-7 in the Senate against closure. As it was, Obama managed to get many European countries to take the former detainees, as they were not being repatriated back into their home countries. Of the 100+ remaining, plans to put them in federal penitentiaries in the US were also thwarted by Congress. I find it ironic that it takes a Congressional mandate to overturn what was an executive order by Bush.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    Oliver Stone's best movie? JFK.
    Oliver Stone's worst movie? World Trade Center. I mean, seriously, you have a topic to espouse your nutty, lefty conspiracy theories and you decide to play the movie straight?!

  • Whiterun Guard||

    I think someone is forgetting The Doors and Alexander!

  • BakedPenguin||

    Alexander was utter shit. How you make someone that interesting the subject of a movie that boring is beyond comprehension.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I'd like to see a decent movie on either the period before Alexander or after, which are also interesting times. Really, there's a great case to be made that Philip was the real genius who made Alexander's conquests possible.

    And the blow up after Alexander's death was nice and crazy.

  • ||

    No, a sicom. Phillip & Alexander - they're the original odd couple!

  • Pro Libertate||

    Sicom? Do you mean chi-com?

  • ||

    Dammit, stop being so glib.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Glib-com?

  • pmains||

    I didn't see Alexander (or any other Stone film that I can recall), but what was wrong with The Doors? Too long? Bad story arc?

  • Pro Libertate||

    JFK? I thought it was a load of crap.

    Platoon and Salvador were decent, but, overall, I think he's pretty overrated.

  • ||

    Uh...Natural Born Killers, anyone?

  • Zeb||

    I saw that one in the theatre while on acid, so it is burned into my brain in some pretty weird ways. Still like it quite a bit.

  • Cytotoxic||

    I've never seen NBK. Should I?

  • Brett L||

    As an example of early 90s ridiculous ultraviolence, it ranks up there with Tarantino flics of the same era, although different in style. See it once.

  • ||

    You do realize Tarantino wrote it, right? And it has Val Kilmer as Elvis. AS ELVIS.

  • ||

    What a shame that Tarantino didn't get to direct his early scripts. Do you realize how much better True Romance would have been?

  • Pro Libertate||

    Bleah.

  • Paul.||

    Uh...Natural Born Killers, anyone?

    I've never walked out of a movie. That was the closest I'd ever come.

  • Gray Ghost||

    I actually have walked out of that one. Don't normally walk out of movies, and haven't since, though I did not bother returning to the theater after a fire alarm in the middle of Iron Man 2.

    Like Platoon, though I suspect it was only due to Dale Dye's consulting work. I've not seen WTC, so like Caleb above, it's really funny to me that he of all people chose to play it straight

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "I did not bother returning to the theater after a fire alarm in the middle of Iron Man 2."

    So someone *did* shout fire in a crowded theater?

  • Gray Ghost||

    I think the alarm went off for some other technical reason. It was a shitty theater, so that's not surprising. Plus it took about an hour to resolve and we just said, "Mickey Rourke just bull-whipped an F1 car?! Screw this movie."

    But yeah, I never saw the joke of it until you just pointed it out.

  • ||

    I've yet to sit down and watch the Showtime series Oliver Stone's Untold History of the United States...

    Don't bother. Got halfway through one episode and had to turn it off.

  • Ryan60657||

    Untold History is 5% interesting, 95% unwatchable.

  • Paul.||

    So it remains 95% untold. Interesting.

  • Dzimas||

    I thought it was very watchable, just not all that accurate in its portrayal. Stone is polemicist, not a historian.

  • Tim||

    "Before 9/11, the U.S. had condemned targeted assassinations. Now, they are Obama's signature foreign policy initiative, one that many other nations have prepared to emulate."

    Yes, and watch the strange fruit this will bear in the years ahead.

  • SugarFree||

    Blowback isn't real and never, ever happens Tim. Don't be a cosmotarian doofus.

  • Cytotoxic||

    but these attacks fueled jihadist recruitment...

    I'm still waiting for this to happen.

  • SugarFree||

    Yes, because the little kids burying IEDs were jihadists before they were even born. Because there were thousands and thousands of AQ members only pretending to not care about America and suddenly revealing themselves after a wedding or a funereal gets droned.

  • Cytotoxic||

    I'm pretty sure this has more to do with Maddrassa indoctrination. These people think the vaccines are actually being administered by Jews to sterilize. Not that I expect you to care.

    Because there were thousands and thousands of AQ members only pretending to not care about America

    What?

  • John||

    I don't think pushing pot legalization makes any of his fans uncomfortable. They all just tell themselves that Stone just doesn't understand, Obama would legalize pot if only those damned Republicans would let him. You give these people way too much credit Nick.

    And for the record, as laudable as being pro pot is, it does not make up for apologizing for murderous dictators. Sorry Nick. Stone is an immoral crap weasel. Even crap weasels are not wrong about everything.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    Nick calls him out on all of that in the article.

    But the fact remains that Stone is virtually the ONLY high profile leftist saying ANYTHING about Obama being Bush 3.0.

  • John||

    That is pretty faint praise. And ten to one he still voted for Obama. So who cares that he didn't like doing it?

  • Whiterun Guard||

    Who cares who he voted for, he was never going to vote for a non statist, just like 99% of the electorate.

    And of course it's faint praise, that's all he deserves. It's not about praising him, it's about saying that his fellow cultists are even bigger scumbags than he is.

    Which I guess is pretty obvious and pointless, but it's kind of fun.

  • Zeb||

    Speaking against him makes a whole lot more difference that voting against him would have. I'm not saying that Stone is not a crap-weasel, but at least he is not full on party-line as so many on the left seem to be these days.

  • Paul.||

    But the fact remains that Stone is virtually the ONLY high profile leftist saying ANYTHING about Obama being Bush 3.0.

    Slow down, see my response to Tulpa above.

    It's a pretty qualified criticism of Obama, with a lot of "Republicans' fault" implied.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    But the fact remains that Stone is virtually the ONLY high profile leftist saying ANYTHING about Obama being Bush 3.0.

    Uh, Glenn Greenwald? Perhaps he doesn't fall under the rubric of high profile, but then you're just saying that famous people who don't have a clue about foreign policy or politics aren't saying anything bad about Obama, and I wouldn't expect them too.

  • Dzimas||

    There are many on the left that feel that Obama has shifted far enough from the Bush doctrine, but then what does one do in this situation. The worst thing you can do is beat a retreat like Nixon did in Vietnam. You have to go out looking like a winner, even if there is nothing to brag about in either Iraq or Afghanistan, so we see managed withdrawal and the appearance of leaving stable governments behind.

    The fact of the matter is that Obama managed these two wars quite well. They ceased to be front page news and the focus shifted onto other issues, until the Republicans stormed the House, inventing a debt ceiling crisis and grinding legislation to a halt. The amazing part is that for all their talk of budget cuts, they still wanted these wars to continue, and were perfectly willing to budget them indefinitely.

    Obama was damned if he did, damned if he didn't. There was no way to avoid the shadow of the Bush administration in his first term. I have more hope for his second term.

  • Dzimas||

    that should be hasn't shifted far enough from the Bush Doctrine.

  • ||

    I have to agree with John on this. Just because I happen to agree with Stone on a couple of issues, doesn't mean he's not a complete nut, unworthy of praise.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    I'm not saying give the guy an award, but he's the only leftist speaking out about shit that other leftists should be speaking out about.

    And he's batshit insane.

    Put those together and it's a bit...well, not scary since it was completely predictable, but it's something.

  • Kuze||

    After reading Moynihan's review of Stone's Showtime "documentary" series I feel safe not watching it and knowing it's as retarded as it looks.

  • ||

    I turned it on, not realizing it was Stone, thinking it was a legitimate documentary. In a few short minutes my wife was giving me shit for yelling at the TEEVEE. A click of the info button revealed my error.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    By 2011, the United States was spending $110 billion on military operations.

    Can you say, "Peace dividend"?

  • John||

    Think of all of the crooked green energy schemes we could fund with that money.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    Why with $10B we could fund almost two weeks worth of clean, efficient power to an average sized American city.

  • John||

    And some former Obama administration official or their spouse will be able to finally get that big paying post government job and buy that house in Potomac and afford that tuition to send their kids to Holton Arms and the Landon school.

    Why can't you people ever think of the former administration officials? They have families to feed to.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    To what are they going to feed their families!?

    As if I didn't have enough to worry about.

  • Julant||

    Really? St Albans isn't the "It" private school for DC rugrats anymore, now that Chelsea Clinton defiled the place?

  • ||

    Unfortunately, TEAM BLUE will just dismiss Stone as a crank (with pretty good reason) and ignore the valid criticisms he puts forward. Yay for partisanship!

  • John||

    Obama would do the right thing Episiarch. But he can't because the evil Republicans would kill him politically. And that would keep him from acting on really important things like birth control and funding for the NEA.

    Why can't you understand that?

  • Brendan||

    That's my favorite of all the excuses put forward by team blue; that Obama really really wants to do all those good things but he can't because the Republicans will call him bad names and stuff.

    We should all be so glad that we didn't get a Republican, and instead got a Democrat who is afraid of upsetting them.

  • John||

    I love that. And then in the next breath they will tell you that he can't compromise on the budget because Republicans are crazy and will destroy him no matter what he does.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Bleah.

    I'll second that.

  • Paul.||

    Third!

  • Deputy Van Halen||

    Stone deserves to be shunned from decent society for JFK. William Garrison's lunacy makes a 9/11 Truther seem measured and reasonable. That he was portrayed as anything other than that is an abomination.

  • Dzimas||

    Nice to see someone else is following the series. I was a bit surprised that Stone would reserve his most biting criticism for Obama in the final episode, spending more than half of the time on his administration, while treating Bush as little more than a pretext.

    It seems this is largely due to the disillusionment Stone and Kuznick have with Obama, feeling he sold out his vision when he refused to take public money in the general election, and relying on Wall Street to broker his victory. How else to explain all those "Rubinites" in his cabinet?

    But, Stone blurs so many lines between the two administrations, notably over the TARP program, which originated under Bush, and was the brainchild of Bernanke and Paulson. Nary a mention of these two.

    You can check out my comments of the episodes @ http://am-perspectives.blogspot.com/ if you are interested.

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