Mad Mel On Iraq: "What's human sacrifice if not sending guys off to Iraq for no reason?"

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mel gibson.jpg

Mel Gibson is priming the publicity pump for his upcoming flick, Apocalypto, which is pulling rough-cut rave reviews from various folks. ""The precursors to a civilization that's going under are always the same, time and time again," Gibson said, linking his 15-century period piece to the present day. "I don't mean to be a doomsday guy, but the Mayan calendar does end in 2012, boys and girls." And the Gallipoli star had this to say about the current troubles in Iraq: "What's human sacrifice if not sending guys off to Iraq for no reason?" More here.

NEXT: You Just Keep on Pushing My Troops Over the Borderline

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  1. You know, I think he’d become relatively sane again if he’d shave the beard. Look crazy, act crazy.

  2. At first I thought that was a picture of Saddam Hussein.

  3. God, he does look crazy in that picture. This dovetails nicely into his anti-Semetism. If the Jews are the source of evil in the world, then it makes sense that Iraq was wrong because those evil 5th collumn neocon Jews got us into this war to serve Israel’s purposes. It is just same crap different verse.

  4. I’m starting to think that Mel is actually going crazy. Slowly but inexorably loosing touch with reality. Genuine bug-nutty.

  5. Thoreeau is that Huissain or maybe Charlie Manson? It could be either.

  6. Thoreeau is that Huissain or maybe Charlie Manson? It could be either.

    Has anybody verified that they aren’t some cloning experiment gone horribly awry?

  7. “What’s human sacrifice if not sending guys off to Iraq for no reason?”

    Mel’s turned into Ayn Rand? (This was her precise critique of the Vietnam War.)

  8. 2012! 2012!

    even mel’s got the mckenna bug!

  9. the Mayan calendar does end in 2012

    Nope. The Mayan calendar recycles. But thanks for playing, Mel!

  10. At first I thought that was a picture of Saddam Hussein.

    I had the same thought. But then I remembered that Saddam had never shown such a crazed, wild-eyed look before.

    Btw, Gibson isn’t alone among action stars-turned-directors filming epics about doomed civilizations. Believe it or not, Vin Diesel’s currently at work on a

  11. At first I thought that was a picture of Saddam Hussein.

    I had the same thought. But then I remembered that Saddam had never shown such a crazed, wild-eyed look before.

    Btw, Gibson isn’t alone among action stars-turned-directors filming epics about doomed civilizations. Believe it or not, Vin Diesel’s currently at work on a movie about Hannibal. And like Gibson, he plans on having the dialogue done in the original languages of his characters.

  12. from a marketing perspective, mel’s barking up the wrong tree, being critical of the iraq war and bush. the red states were what made the passion of the christ such a big hit. this new film doesn’t have as big a hook to general audiences as that one did so even if that drunk anti-semitic insident this summer hadn’t happened i don’t think it would do as well. on the other hand if that’s what he believes more power to him for not being part of the simple red state/blue state crap. i love people who aren’t only one thing but this probably won’t help if he wants people to back him now at his most vunerable and also go see his movie he probably needs to appeal to a big base cause the anti-war left in general i think doesn’t like him.

  13. You guys will enjoy the following. Apologies if this has already done the rounds in America. It’s some rather amusing baseball commentary concerning mel and jewish ball players:

    http://alanlaz.blogspot.com/2006/08/we-got-2-jews.html

  14. Vin Diesel gets a free pass for any craziness since he got Dame Judi Dench to play D&D on the set of Chronicles of Riddick.

  15. I’m starting to think that Mel is actually going crazy. Slowly but inexorably loosing touch with reality. Genuine bug-nutty.

    Life imitates Southpark.

  16. I watched as much as I could stand of Kill Bill II (which was not bloody much) the other night; I am beginning to think that all those people who say Hollywood is nothing more than a gigantic insane asylum, and that everybody in the entertainment biz is totally detached from reality, are correct. In retrospect, KBII reminds me of another notorious Hollywood ego-masturbation piece, Going South.

  17. i love ego fests. the brown bunny is a great film.

  18. Apparently Mel hasn’t heard it just turned 5767. As the saying goes, “Shofar, sho good.”

  19. You’ve got to hand it to him mind, that is a sweet beard. It takes OUTRAGEOUS facial hair skills to grow a bad-boy like that.

  20. You’ve got to hand it to him mind, that is a sweet beard. It takes OUTRAGEOUS facial hair skills to grow a bad-boy like that.

  21. The ZZ Top/Mullah Omar look doesn’t work on anyone.

    I’m kind of liking the guy the more detached from reality he gets. Plus, he pisses everyone off. Hollyweird liberal types, fundies, Bush cultists (same thing).

  22. “What’s human sacrifice if not sending guys off to Iraq for no reason?”

    Putting “Lethal Weapon IV” on you Netflix queue?

  23. Mark VIII,

    I was watching that game. I just about fell off the couch.

  24. “The Mayan calendar recycles.”

    I hear the next one has pictures from “Love Is…”

  25. Look at that photo!

    …He should do a film on Rasputin and play the role himself. …in Russian and French.

    Gosh, I hope Apocalypto doesn’t suck.

  26. Eric II,

    That’s very interesting about the Hannibal movie.

    One of the ideas I’ve been disappointed not to see anyone pay attention to is the parallel between the Carthaginians invasion of Italy, and 9/11. Particularly the role that invasion played in Rome’s transformation from a Republic to an Empire.

  27. I like Vin because he plays D&D. I liked Chronicles of Riddick because it was pretty much like some kind of fantasy nerd’s dream movie, although Vin is a rather large and muscular fantasy nerd, so that makes him even cooler.

    Mel Gibson does seem to be a total nutter. I saw the baba wawa interview with him, and he totally came across as loopy.

  28. joe, that’s be a stretch. Rome and Carthage were both major powers, and the invasion of Italy only happened because Carthage had already lost a war to the Romans. Hannibal defeated Roman armies left and right a number of times and tried to get the supposedly oppressed “allies” to join him, with limited success (they’d “join” if he were actually in striking distance of their city, then they’d go back to quietly supporting Rome). That seems very different in character to what we’re facing with al Qaeda.

    Also, I think the empirification of Rome happened much later. Not that I don’t think the wars with Carthage didn’t plant some seeds of later empire, they probably did. But it was more than 100 years before all the real crap hit the fan, with Marius, then Sulla, then Caesar et al. The biggest problem was the wealth Rome sucked out of the conquered or otherwise acquired provinces, and the increasing loyalty the legions had to their generals. That, combined with the resulting attack upon and breakdown of the checks and balances of the Roman constitution ushered in the Principate, in my opinion.

    There almost certainly is an object lesson between Rome’s expansion and eventual turn from a republic (not that it was one in the modern sense, I hasten to add) to an empire and the current and near-term situations in the U.S. . .I just think the Punic Wars are a bad example. To me, they’re more akin to the Cold War, with more killing.

    Hannibal, Napolean, Lee, Rommel–history’s favorite losing generals.

  29. “Hannibal, Napolean, Lee, Rommel–history’s favorite losing generals”

    Yeah Scorpio Afrancanus, Wellington, Grant and Montgomery never get a break despite winnig wars for their country. When it comes to generals history loves a looser.

    Pro, I think the the vastness of the empire as much as anything did in the Republic. It is one thing to have a Republic in those days when you were a city or a small nation, but to rule most of the known world with a Republic back then was pretty much impossible. It was either keept he Republic or loose the empire.

  30. John! I’m shocked, shocked I tell you. The appropriate American response to “Rommel” is, of course, Patton. In fact, that’s also the appropriate British response 🙂

    One thing about all of my “loser” generals–they all had interesting ideas and lives aside from their military prowess, and they all won over and over again for extended periods of time. And if you look at the careers of Hannibal and Napolean, either could’ve stopped at the height of his success and changed world history dramatically. But hubris and at? work for non-Greeks, too 🙂

  31. Pro,

    History is always in love with the “might have been”. All of those guys were close but not quite at complete victory. As much as I like to dis on the Brits, fair is fair, Mongomery beat the hell out of Rommel before the U.S. showed up in Africa and Rommel killed himself before the battle of Normandy was over.

  32. Pro Libertate,

    My point was not to compare the War on Terror to the Punic Wars, but to compare the effect of the Punic War on Rome’s political culture to the effect of the War on Terror (and its awful beginning) on our own political culture.

    “Also, I think the empirification of Rome happened much later. Not that I don’t think the wars with Carthage didn’t plant some seeds of later empire, they probably did.”

    Societies change faster these days. Also, I find it entirely plausible that the changes we’ve seen since 9/11 could be looked back on merely as “seeds” for much bigger changes that happen later. Setting the table, as it were.

    And I don’t think you can so easily dismiss the trauma of Canae (sp?) on the Roman psyche, and the desire to fight them in Tunisia so we don’t have to fight them in Turino, as motivators for the “defenseive aggression” that characterized Rome’s expansion.

    John, “It was either keept he Republic or loose the empire.” That’s what I fear.

  33. joe, fair enough. I was objecting more to the immediate analogy, less to the general point. There’s no doubt that a country that was partially modeled on the Roman Republic should pay close attention to any factors that led to the fall of that Republic. . .and to the rise of the Empire.

    To be honest, what I’ve been most concerned about is the possibility that later on, we might decide to actually keep the territory that we conquer. Another 9/11 could lead us to take that next step. Whatever mess we’ve got in Iraq, I don’t think we’ve moved up to the level of making an American province out of it. But I can’t say that such a result isn’t possible there or elsewhere in our future. If carried too far, the preemptive war doctrine currently in vogue could lead to an empire of sorts. And we might face the same fate domestically that Rome did if we go that direction. The one big problem with expansion is the power it can place in the hands of the military and in provincial governments.

  34. Joe,

    I guess we need to give Texas back the Mexicans then. Other than Guam and Puerto Rico, please list all of America’s imperial holdings. Or is that some sort of closely held secret up at Haliburton.

  35. John,

    Please list all of Rome’s imperial holdings five years after the battle of Canae.

  36. So far, John, we’re up to Afghanistan and Iraq.

    But to answer you both, the conquest and occupation of foreign territories is just the half of the problem. The United States has certainly gone over seas, fought wars, and come home before. What’s I’m concerned about is the development of an imperialist political culture here at home, complete with an imperial Commander in Chief, the treatment of political opposition as treason, the militarization of our culture, and the acceptance of wartime emergency powers as the normal state of affairs.

    Rome didn’t set out to conquer the world in the early days. It had one enemy after another that it had to defeat for its own defense, and then stayed on after victory to prevent the enemy from regaining its foothold. This brought them into contact with new enemies, on their new, expanded borders. Et cetera.

    The characterization of empire as being an enterpirse necessarily driven by greed for plunder, land, and subjects is mostly Marxist claptrap; most empire-building is about establishing ever-more-distance defenses, and pre-empting the other guys’ imperialist designs.

  37. joe,

    Obviously, as someone who calls himself, “Pro Libertate”, I share your concerns about anything that would lead to an authoritarian government and a loss of our liberties. I don’t think we’re heading that direction at full speed, but it’s not a possibility that I can completely discount, either. Honestly, maybe the problems with the occupation have been a good thing in this regard. The conquest of Iraq was pretty easy and painless for us. If the occupation had been a cakewalk, too, I’d be worried that such adventures would be embarked upon more in the future. As it is, we’re learning the lesson again that sticking around without an amazingly compelling reason isn’t a good idea.

    Of course, it’s not only our foreign interventions that are dangerous. We have plenty of domestic issues that could result in a far more authoritarian society, too. The War on Drugs is one example.

    America will, inevitably, fall. The question is how and when. I hope it’s a long time from now, of course. My gut feeling is that we’re much less likely to become militarily expansionistic as long as we’re an economic superpower. If we start to really lose our economic advantages, however, maybe we’ll use our military might to regain our preeminence.

  38. he just needs a swastika between his brows to pull off charlie manson.

  39. “The characterization of empire as being an enterpirse necessarily driven by greed for plunder, land, and subjects is mostly Marxist claptrap; most empire-building is about establishing ever-more-distance defenses, and pre-empting the other guys’ imperialist designs.” – joe

    joe? Is that really you?!? Wow, you sound like me! No wonder your wife gives you so much guff for the military history books lying around.

    “America will, inevitably, fall. The question is how and when.” – PL
    Not necessarily. You never know what the future holds. It could be an eternity of peace an prosperity. Granted, I wouldn’t take the odds on that bet, but I also think the odds are better now than ever before in human history.

    “My gut feeling is that we’re much less likely to become militarily expansionistic as long as we’re an economic superpower. If we start to really lose our economic advantages, however, maybe we’ll use our military might to regain our preeminence.” – PL

    I think you may be right about this. It’s a sensible position and one that seems to be supported by history in general. However, in the U.S., both the Great Depression and the repression during ’70s are counter-examples.

  40. “You know, I think he’d become relatively sane again if he’d shave the beard. Look crazy, act crazy.”

    Poor people are crazy, Jack! I’m just eccentric!

  41. Joe unless you are a real moonbat, the last thing the U.S. wanted to do before 9-11 was invade Afghanistan. Jesus Joe a country harbors and supports terrorists and launches an attack that kills 3000 Americans, refuses to turn the terrorists over and the U.S. invades after Security Council approval and the U.S. is an empire for doing so? Is there anything the U.S. can do to defend itself without you calling it an empire? I guess it is our duty to die at the hands of jihadists lest we loose our precious Republic. Further, in both Iraq and Afghanistan we turned over sovereignty to the locals as soon as possible. If the U.S. were an imperial power, there would still be a CPA in Iraq. There is not. In fact, the closest thing to an imperial presence the U.S. has created in the last few years is the virtual protectorate we run over Kosovo and that was done by Clinton. You don’t seem too concerned about that and rightfully so. I have little doubt that if Kosovo had been done by a Republican President you would be screaming empire and if Afghanistan and Iraq had been done by Al Gore you would be a okay with the entire situation.

    There are lots of reasonable objections to the Iraq war and few if any to Afghanistan, but the idea that one of them is that the U.S. in danger of becoming an empire is just loony. When you claim this stuff be careful not to get flees from you fellow traveler, Pat Buchanan who repeats your same lunatic fears in “Republic not an Empire.” You concerns about empire have more to do with your paranoia over Republicans than reality.

  42. “If we start to really lose our economic advantages, however, maybe we’ll use our military might to regain our preeminence.”

    Pro, that is right out of the 19th Century. If military might got you economic power, the Soviet Union would have been a success. Economic success may finance the military, but the military is not going to get you economic success.

  43. Well, John, I might argue that we were a sufficient counterpoise to any Soviet action, but that wasn’t my point. What I meant is that we might seek to extend our power more through military means, if the economic option were no longer working.

    As noted above, such a result is not an inevitable consequence of an economic downturn. However, a prolonged decline could tempt us mightily to blow something up if we lacked other options.

  44. John,

    I don’t think you’ve understood a word I’ve written.

    I supported the Afghan war; it’s what we needed to do. Of course the U.S. didn’t want to invade and occupy Afghanistan before 9/11. That’s the point I’ve been making this whole time – it was an example of “defensive agression.” Our motive was to eliminate a threat to us, not to plunder Afghanistan – just as the Romans destroyed Carthage not to gain its fields (which the sowed with salt), but to prevent that hostile power from ever again attacking their homeland. But that way lies danger, the same danger that republican Rome fell into. I’m not saying we need to ignore the need to protect ourselves; I’m not even saying that we should rule out wars on foreign soil. But we need to be aware of the dangers that even necessary wars (and “wars”) can pose to us, and take those dangers into account as we decide how to do “the necessary.”

    So you can put away your anti-“No War for Oil” talking points, and try to understand the point I’m making.

    “Further, in both Iraq and Afghanistan we turned over sovereignty to the locals as soon as possible.” Many empires have installed and maintained friendly governments after their conquest; that’s really not evidence that we are not behaving as an empire. You don’t seem to understand the difference between “empire” and “colonial power,” and I suggest you learn it, quick.

    Just as with the arguments about torture and military commissions, we need to find ways to defend ourselves and defeat our enemies that are in conformance with our values, and with our system of government, or we risk turning into something that we don’t want to become.

    As you say, the Kosovo War could be an example of nascent imperialism, and I’m glad that the way it was done has helped to stave that off. The mission was authorized and defined in concert with our allies and the U.N. took over responsibility for the administration of the province. Close coordination with, and respect for, international institutions could be one way that we avoid getting sucked into an imperialist situation.

    Asserting that we can’t be an empire because our motivation is to protect ourselves is like saying that chemotherapy can’t harm you because it is being prescribed to fight cancer. Rome was defending itself against a nation that invaded its homeland and slaughtered many thousands of its people, including dozens of its top government officials, when it invaded Tunisia, wiped out Carthage, and asserted its dominance over its territory. Nonetheless, waging that war is often viewed as the first step towards the Roman Empire, and the death of its Republic.

  45. Now, if you wanted to argue that our wars of aggressive defense aren’t like Rome’s in the century after Canae, I’m all ears. If there is some certain something to distinguish them that I’m not aware of, I’d love to hear about it.

    But don’t come back with some lame-ass assertion that our inherent wonderfulness is so pervuasive that it will magically prevent anything we do from going bad.

  46. joe, in the Third Mesopotamian War, the United States won’t salt Baghdad, I’m pretty sure 🙂 In all seriousness, I think the one thing history does give us are warning signs about whether we’re getting too big for our britches. We’re showing some of that–inevitably, I think, given our position in the world–but we’re not showing too much. Maybe things will get worse. Maybe the next president will be the first Martin Sheen president and be batshit insane. Who knows? My greatest fear for this country is a 9/11+ occurring. The inertia from the first attack is not what it was, and another invasion is unlikely.

    Speaking of Mesopotamia, that’s a great name. Yeah, it’s Greek, but that makes it even cooler. The United States of Mesopotamia? The Union of Mesopotamian States that Don’t Like Each Other for Ethnic and Religious Reasons (doesn’t spell anything–I’m leaving work and don’t have time). I’d rebuild the Ishtar Gate and Babylon, too.

  47. Ok, joe, really… What the hell? Just yesterday you were practically howling at the moon and now you’ve gone all “voice of sanity” here. When did you give thoreau permission to start posting as you?

    Good analysis of the Roman Empire, differences between colonial powers and empires, etc.

    I really like this bit: “Asserting that we can’t be an empire because our motivation is to protect ourselves is like saying that chemotherapy can’t harm you because it is being prescribed to fight cancer. Rome was defending itself against a nation that invaded its homeland and slaughtered many thousands of its people, including dozens of its top government officials, when it invaded Tunisia, wiped out Carthage, and asserted its dominance over its territory. Nonetheless, waging that war is often viewed as the first step towards the Roman Empire, and the death of its Republic.”

    It’s a good analogy backed up with facts and takes a “general consensus” view of the history. I think the prof would give you an “A”.

    But here’s the funky thing – it just doesn’t sound like you. You don’t sound like the guy I went round and round about the French surrender during WW2.

    Don’t get me wrong – I’m glad to see this version surface. But it IS a bit weird…

  48. Now, if you wanted to argue that our wars of aggressive defense aren’t like Rome’s in the century after Canae, I’m all ears.

    Rome was aggressively expanding well before Cannae. It was the first Punic war, in which Rome took control of Siciliy (and later Sardinia and Corsica) with its valuable salt trade that brought about Hannibal’s invasion in the first place.

  49. APL,

    Care to compare our position in the world today to, say, 1913?

    Who do you think had the larger regional presence: Rome in the Mediterranean the year before the First Punic War, or America in the Middle East the year before the Shah was toppled?

  50. One distinction is that the U.S. isn’t a colonial empire, it’s more about influence. If there is a sign that the U.S. has empire like symptoms, it’s the bases we keep in over 100 other countries.

  51. I believe that Mel Gibson’s new film “Apocalypto” is intended to bring attention to the Mayan end date of December 21 2012 and what may be in store for us in the not to distant future.
    I found it interesting to read on the web site http://www.december212012.com
    that Mel Gibson has shown and interest in maybe purchasing their domain name to
    help educate the world on coming world events.

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