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Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Since 9/11, one third of Hollywood film productions have been war movies. "Hollywood stars and scriptwriters are rushing to bolster the new message of patriotism, conferring with the CIA and brainstorming with the military about possible real-life terrorist attacks. The Sum of All Fears directed by Phil Alden Robinson, depicting the scenario of a nuclear war, received the endorsement and support of both the Pentagon and the CIA.” (Chossudovsky online) This film's portrayal of the CIA as being a great protector of America was extremely inconsistent with the actualities of the time: that the CIA was, and is, in a lot of administrative trouble which has led to significant mistakes, the largest one being the events of September 11, 2001.

The military began its new marketing campaign by using the attacks of 9/11 to back it up. The bad guy this time is mysterious, but defined as the 'Terrorist', usually Arab, and for better or for worse America is now a nation at fighting a war against terrorism, and there's no end in sight. To gain public support for the war effort, the Pentagon has looked to Hollywood. They want current war films to encourage audiences to believe in the idea of a strong, righteous defense against a violent enemy. What is important to note is the idea of a preemptive attack being a reasonable form of defense in some of these films, reflective of the philosophy of the current administration. The enemy in current Hollywood war films is never humanized, taking us back to the days of the Production Code, where the distinction between good and evil was always obvious.

As time continues and history is made, it will inevitably be reflected in the art and media that is produced. Some parties, such as the Pentagon, will use this reflection to suit their own agendas. Propaganda is the manipulation of information and nowhere is this more apparent than in Hollywood’s representation of the military. It seems that in the post 9/11 Hollywood, films which criticize the military and American policy in general are becoming scarce. In the 50's, people were afraid of being labeled as 'communist'. Today the fear of being labeled 'unpatriotic' reigns supreme.