America’s Assassins Are Terrorists
Mr. & Mrs. Smith, starring Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, is the story about two assassins at the top of their game who were married to each other but didn’t realize that their spouse was an assassin working for the competition. The two met by coincidence on while they were both on assignments in Bogota, Columbia. The government appears to be in a state of chaos. The Columbian authorities are desperately looking for someone. The two end up at the same hotel, both trying not to get caught. The authorities are looking for a single individual. Thinking quickly, the two begin to pretend to be a couple with each other. The authorities leave, and the two super spies start their relationship.
In the next scene, the two are in one of the hotel rooms. Obviously they had sex. Ms. Jolie is still in the bed and Brad Pitt comes through the door with food saying that the hotel has been abandoned by all the employees. The area is obviously in a state of turmoil. And since we know that the two assassins are on assignment, we are left to assume that a government official or someone else of considerable repute has been assassinated. Either one of the professional murderers, or maybe someone else, had actually did something to throw the country into bedlam. In essence, the two were terrorists.
The audience simply accepts the fact that the Smiths are assassins interfering with the happenings of another country. We don’t think much about what the United States does to obstruct what goes on in other governments around the world. If the story of Mr. & Mrs. Smith is any indication, we simply accept our interference as little more than setting the mood of a much more important story.
But now, with the war on terror or whatever euphemism is used to describe our defense of our homeland, it appears that for the past ten years or so the shoe is beginning to slide further and further onto the other foot. People from other parts of the world in countries that once upon a time had no choice but to tolerate or, at best, try to defend itself from America’s interference are now working harder than ever to interfere with America’s happenings.
Since that dreadful day in American history back in September of 2001, there has been a tremendous amount of attention, and for some that attention has been nearly a single minded focus, on keeping American citizens safe from terrorism. Even though the number of acknowledged incidents from foreign operatives impacting the American public is relatively small, many people are obsessed with security. There were the four planes that went down in September 2001. There was the shoe bomber. There was the underwear bomber. No doubt there are other incidents that have not been made public or that have been thwarted through the efforts of our many overlapping security agencies. But the way the public is responding you would think that there was a new act of terrorism killing Americans every single day.
Somebody tries to put his underwear on fire, unsuccessfully I might add, and every public airport in the United States, and a good number of airports elsewhere that are connected to the United States, goes to terror watch ALPHA! Such a high profile response is sure to waste millions of dollars, but it helps to calm people’s fears and helps us all sleep better at night.
One needs not wonder what would be the overall American people’s response to a film showing an act of terrorism successfully destabilizing the American government as a nonchalant sidebar to the real story of how a couple of foreign agents met and developing a romantic relationship. What if somebody portrayed the murder of John F. Kennedy as an act by a couple of foreign assassins who simply packed up their gear and found the nearest Holiday Inn to get their freak on? That might be a hard pill to swallow. The American public doesn’t have the stomach for a thirty second Super Bowl commercial showing rodents being shot out of a cannon.
But we will catch glimpses of America’s acts of terrorism and think nothing of it. Mr. & Mrs. Smith was just one fictional example of America’s trained assassins working in other countries to defend our life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness at the expense of other’s life, liberty, and their ability to pursue happiness. Some others movies are the trilogy featuring the militarily trained assassin Jason Bourne, Predator with the government agent played by Carl Weathers duping Arnold’s crack commando team to help infiltrate a military camp in a foreign country to get counterintelligence, Arnold’s movie Commando, The Long Kiss Goodnight featuring Geena Davis as an assassin suffering from amnesia, Clear and Present Danger where the President played by Donald Moffat authorizes an illegal paramilitary unit in Columbia, another Arnold classic True Lies that starts with him planting bombs at a government function in another country, Syriana with George Clooney trying to destabilize a country the Middle East, Sniper featuring Tom Berenger as a sniper of all things, and the list goes on and on.
But these movies that hint at our national acts of terrorism don’t matter because we know that we are the good guys. We’re the good guys even when we destabilize democracies like Iran in the 1950s in order to plant a dictator willing to be controlled by the American government. A clear indication of how seriously we take our claim of working hard to spread democracy throughout the world.
It is unfortunate, but this war on terror isn’t a relatively recent start. This war on terror didn’t start because of what happened in September of 2001. America has been indulging in acts of terror for decades. We know this, we accept this, and we think nothing of it. But the moment we experience an act of terrorism we are ready to run around in circles and point our guns at any package of liquid containing more than three ounces. This war has been going on way before many of us were even born. It is unfortunate, but it looks like our victims are just beginning to figure out how to strike back. An assassin’s bullet isn’t going to take care of this episode.
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