John Nolte at Big Hollywood picked up something interesting from a Maureen Dowd column. The Obama administration, it seems, has granted an unusual amount of access to the team behind The Hurt Locker (writer Mark Boal and director Kathryn Bigelow) for an upcoming campaign-season film about the mission to kill Osama bin Laden.
As Nolte point out, the timing of the film’s release has not been missed at the White House. Look for Hollywood to be a willing participant in this elaborate Obama re-election commercial, which is intended to remind voters of an increasingly desperate president’s only shining hour.
In addition to the desperate obvious ‘October surprise’ quality of this stunt, the cynicism revealed by the White House’s active facilitation of this film is breathtaking. It tells us something important about the Obama White House, and its readiness to abandon its most dearly-held beliefs and even its worldview on the alter of political expediency.
On nearly every issue, the president and others from his administration (not to mention the media) lecture us on the need to be sensitive to the feelings and self-image of the Muslim world. This time, however, the White House believes a bounce in the final weeks before the conclusion of a tough re-election campaign is more important than (as the president himself put it, “spiking the football” by antagonistically) reminding the world who was responsible for Bin Laden’s death.
Regardless of the merits or failings of the Obama administration’s concern for the feelings of the Muslim world, cooperating with the filmmakers displays an inconsistency that should not go by unremarked upon. Sometimes this hypersensitivity, when translated into policy, is laughably unserious– like the re-tooling of NASA to “reach out to the Muslim world.” After killing Bin Laden, Obama himself insisted America keep its celebrations subdued and decline to “spike the football,” even going so far as to protect the dignity of the arch-terrorist’s corpse so as not to antagonize the ‘Arab street.’
More insidious, however, is the compromises the Obama administration is willing to make on issues of free expression when criticism of Islam comes into play. A lone man in Florida threatening to burn a koran was enough to to imperil American national security half a world away, both Obama and his chief general said. Obama’s State Department, too, is increasingly embracing the Shariah-adherent definitions of free speech promoted by the Organization of the Islamic Conference— which plans to enforce blasphemy of Islam. Of course, American free speech is circumscribed by the threat actual violence from a Muslim world even its biggest apologists implicitly concede is highly combustible.
If the delicate emotions of the Muslim world– manifested in the degree to which they’re ready to cause violence and mayhem worldwide– are enough to circumscribe the First Amendment of the Constitution, shouldn’t it also discourage a movie about killing a famous Muslim? But alas, not hurting the feelings of Muslims by showing ‘Crusader’ soldiers killing a Mujahid in cold blood (on Pakistan’s Islamic soil) is trumped by the importance of Obama’s reelection.
Last month, a Zogby poll revealed that the antipathy of much of the Muslim world to Barack Obama can be traced to the killing of Bin Laden. As Alana Goodman summarized the report at Commentary, “In all six countries surveyed – Egypt, Morocco, Lebanon, Jordan, the UAE and Saudi Arabia – the majority of respondents said killing bin Laden made them “less favorable toward the U.S.'”
What could possibly “spike the football” any more than a flashy action film, blasted into the homes and theaters of that very same Muslim world, still smarting from Obama’s triumphant dispatch of the world’s most wanted terrorist?
All this fuss and trauma to the Muslim world can be averted with a little tweaking, by making Bin Laden into a villain designated as acceptable in Hollywood, a Serbian terrorist or a anti-government Tea Party type.