Thursday, February 28, 2013

Leggo my Argo

I know the Oscars were on Sunday and it's now Thursday. (Insert pithy insult here relating to my tardiness.) Anyhoo, something has been nagging at me ever since we actually watched most of the telecast because there wasn't anything better on TV.

Being Canadian, this whole Argo phenomenon has really gotten under my skin. Why? Because the involvement of Canadians who basically saved and masterminded the escape of six Americans is played down while an American CIA agent who swoops in over the course of a few days to carry out said escape gets center stage.

Of course. An American couldn't possibly make a film where Canadians come out as the heroes of the day. No, it's always USA to the rescue. The US won that war. Blah, blah, blah. What's funny is that the very beginning of Argo, in an attempt to give us some historical context, explains that the US basically created the dire situation in which its citizens could be taken hostage by helping to depose a democratically elected Iranian leader and replacing him with an autocratic one years earlier.

WTF US of A? Why do you meddle in other people's backyards when you have no business being there? You did the same thing to Chile with Pinochet. Chileans also commemorate a bloody September 11, a coup d'état, backed by the US, which overthrew an elected socialist government and replaced it with a ruthless tyrant. But no one really talks about that.

It's fascinating how Americans will glorify the people who have to go in and clean up the mess they made in the first place. Why doesn't anyone make a film about years of highly questionable American foreign policy, usually based on corporate interests, not humanitarian ones.

I must give kudos to filmmaker Oliver Stone who has put together the series Untold History of the United States detailing "true" American history, starting with the Second World War. America loves to claim it won that war once it joined the Allies, but in reality, as this documentary series tells us, it was the Russians who were instrumental in ensuring the downfall of Hitler's Third Reich by pushing back Nazi troops trying to invade Russia.

The US is like an incredibly annoying, insecure braggart, needing to fudge the facts and inflate the truth to feed its sense of self-importance. I don't deny the US has had many great accomplishments. But it's ok for the rest of us to have some too. Give credit where credit is due, Ben.

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