Monday, October 20, 2008

Body of Lies

We saw "Body of Lies" starring Russell Crowe and Leonardo DiCaprio. Both men are gifted actors and usually headline thought provoking movies. "Body of Lies" is so thought provoking that I am still mulling it over today.

DiCaprio plays Ferris, a CIA operative who is sent to Jordan to track a high ranking terrorist. Crowe is a CIA chief based at Langley who is in charge of Middle Eastern affairs. The movie is intense, fast paced, and violent. It is also an insight into a part of the world I do not profess to understand. After watching this movie I am even more disquieted about the region than before.

"Body of Lies" underscores the violence in the region, the lack of trust between not only the US and Muslims but the lack of trust between Muslims. Lives are not sacred, human sacrifices are used for gain, torture acceptable -- by both Americans and Muslims. What the movie shows is that in the Middle East the veneer of civility and sophistication covers primal behaviors and cruelties by both West and Middle East.

Do I think the US presence in Iraq has lessoned terrorism? No. Do I think a surge in Afghanastan will lesson terrorism? No. What I think might lessen terrorism is our finding alternative fuel sources so we can wave goodbye to the oil sheiks, leave the Middle East to their own fighting, and concentrate on doing non-violent good deeds. I am tired of us spending time in a land of nations who have been fighting amongst themselves longer than anyone can remember.

Do history teachers spend more time teaching US students about the Middle East than they did during my school days? Why do we as Americans understand so little about a part of the world that impacts us so greatly? Because of our dependence on oil we are intricately tied to the Middle East yet we know so little about the culture. But,like many Americans I try not to give much thought to the Middle East, and this movie brought those thoughts to the forefront in a movie screen large way, and I can't get them out of my thoughts. Which is probably where they should remain.

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