I watched the MSNBC documentary Hubris last night, and it sounded like the fourth Remember the Maine movie. Worse, now they’re trying to make another one. (More)
MSNBC didn’t schedule their excellent documentary Hubris: The Selling of the Iraq War with Squirrel Standard Time in mind, but I stayed up to watch it anyway. So the Remember the Maine movies may have happened in my dreams. But here’s how I remember them:
Remember the Maine – In the original movie, the dastardly King Espana hatched a plot to attack the USS Maine in Havana harbor. Or at least that was the story as told by William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer, who were competing to sell newspapers in New York City. Most U.S. leaders knew the explosion that sank the Maine was an accident, and later investigation determined that gases in the coal bunkers ignited. But the newspapers hyped the attack story and, to the stirring strains of “When Johnny Comes Marching Home,” the U.S. went off to war and won a quick, decisive victory … if you ignore the three-year Philippine-American War that followed, as most history books do.
Remember the Maine 2: Remember the Dominoes – The sequel begins in the Gulf of Tonkin, as two dastardly North Vietnamese torpedo boats hurl dominoes at the USS Maddox. Struck on the shoulder by a double-six, the captain of the Maddox fires back and, though he would later say “For all I know, the Navy was shooting at whales out there,” President Lyndon Johnson asked Congress for the authority to retaliate and, again, U.S. troops headed off to war, forcing John Wayne to make a movie about it.
Remember the Maine 3: Remember With a Fury – The third movie opened with a dastardly attempt to build an airport on the island of Grenada. A leftist government had recently taken power on the island, and as the airport project drew assistance from Cuba, Angola, and other communist nations – and seeking to distract the public from a catastrophic foreign policy failure in Lebanon – President Ronald Reagan declared that the airport would be a Soviet-Cuban airbase from which to attack the U.S. and ordered our troops off to war in Operation URGENT FURY. Yes, really. The invasion of a nation whose military strength was roughly the same as the population of Ault, Colorado was so successful that Clint Eastwood made a movie about it.
Remember the Maine 4: Remember With Hubris – This was the movie that ran last night. If you missed it, you can watch each segment here. You probably know the general plot, though. Dastardly Saddam Hussein planned the 9/11 attack from his Iraqi nuclear weapons laboratory, where he twisted his moustache around aluminum tubes while baking yellow cake amidst peals of maniacal laughter. Or at least that was the gist of the story heard by Americans, from President George W. Bush and his neoconservative henchmen. Yet again, U.S. troops went off to war, to the tune of stirring anthems like “I Raq and Roll.”
And now they’re working Remember the Maine 5: Remember With a Vengeance. It’s the same story, told by the same people, but set in Iran. The plot is just as thin. For example, one tale features “analysis” that purports to show Iran helped North Korea’s missile test last week. Uh huh. Fact is, the people who want this war have wanted war with Iran since 1980.
We can’t change history, but we can at least learn from it. Otherwise we’ll keep making the same movie, again and again.
Good day and good nuts.