was fortunate enough to attend a special screening of a 2004
documentary about the Bush Administration and the path to September 11,
2001. I was able to meet the director and he told his story about the
film. He is a brilliant man who deserves a stronger budget to create
more fascinating films. This one is called "Hijacking Catastrophe:
9/11, Fear, and the Selling of American Empire."
Sut Jhally’s Hijacking Catastrophe: 9/11,
Fear, and the Selling of American Empire, is an interesting and detailed
study about the Bush Administration’s ties to the events of September the 11th.
Before the screening, Jhally explained to the audience that “this is a story
about the Neo-Conservatives of both Bush administrations implanting a plan
before 9/11 to project American power in the world in a strong way. This is not
a 9/11 conspiracy film. I like to deal with reality.” The director manages to
mostly avoid these steps in his film, one that plays like a less satiric Fahrenheit 9/11. They were both released
in 2004 and actually have several of the same George W. Bush speeches on the screen
and both with a scene about the Bush administration thinking our country is
still in a western era.
of the Soviet Empire collapse bringing the idea of equality throughout the more
powerful nations, these right-wing conservatives used this as an opportunity to
increase military American forces. In 1992, Paul Wolfowitz (a radical
conservative in the Bush administration), adopted a plan to “prevent the
re-emergence of a new rival. This is a dominant consideration underlying the
new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any
hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under
consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power. These regions
include Western Europe, East Asia, the territory of the former Soviet Union,
and Southwest Asia.” Wolfowitz is willing to
take military action with or without America’s allies to prevent even
more rivals. The film discusses that in order to rebuild American defenses, it
would take an event like another Pearl Harbor
to let the Bush Administration strategically make their presence in foreign
nations. Well, that came true on September 11, 2001.
9/11, Bush explains that the “false comfort” America once felt before this event
is something we can’t go back to. The media becomes involved to make sure we
are still living in fear of another attack. We see Fox News raising the threat
level for a terrorist attack randomly without any concrete reason. We see Bush
radically telling the public that the terrorists will strike again with the
apparent nuclear weapons they have obtained in the country of Iraq.
inside source from the White House tells the news that Bush kept asking him if Iraq was
involved. It seemed he wanted an excuse to attack a nation his family has had a
grudge against since the Reagan years. What Jhally shows us next is quite
fascinating. In several interviews, we learn that the United States supported Sadam’s regime during
the time of crimes he committed, but once Hussein’s policies went against the
interest of America,
he became an enemy. So in March of 2003, America
with false information from a bad source. What was very peculiar was the way
the pipelines full of oil were strategically near our bases in Iraq. Jhally
shows that the purpose of the wars in Afghanistan
was to solidify American control on the other side of the world.
think what’s interesting is the way Bush handled the media compared to FDR.
After Pearl Harbor, FDR explained to the people that “the only thing you have
to fear is fear itself” where Bush seems to be afraid that America will stop
living in fear of terrorists, therefore he wouldn’t have been able to pass The
Patriot Act as quietly as he did. When it passed, many citizens at the time
were willing to give up certain civil liberties to find those against our
country. Well, who wouldn’t? The message we were getting from the government
was that we were either with their radical ways of running the world, or we
were just as bad as those who flew the planes into the towers.
film relies heavily on the belief of the viewer. If you still love Bush, don’t
bother even reading the title of the film let alone seeing it. The film is very
one-sided. It can be borderline preachy with its PBS like footage of several
children without limbs and without a life to live. I understand the war has
done terrible things and people need to see the reality of war, so the only
problem with this is the placement it takes in the series of the film. It jumps
too fast from the exploitation of fear in media to the sympathy of human
morality. I’m not saying I disagree with the films message because I back its
purpose 100%, but it is common sense to a mature viewer to see the effects of
war without frantically looking for followers of the films cause. I actually
have an easier time re-witnessing footage from 9/11 than war casualties. I
don’t know why, but its how I feel.
not trying to take anything away from Sut Jhally. He is a brilliant storyteller
who has the ability to tell us everything we need to know in only 72 minutes. I
admire the courage he went through to get this on screen. His message at the
end of the picture was to let the people know that if you want your voices as
Patriots to be heard, then stand up to a power that has been spiraling this
country not only into its next possible recession, but a flashback of history
we never want to experience again.