The Reddess and I saw World Trade Center tonight. Not a review, but a few observations.
1. To be reminded of the gallantry of the police and fire services in New York that day is to wonder why you wasted your life sitting behind a desk. The story of McLoughlin, Jimeno and their families is hopeful, but what is really hopeful (as the movie makes explicit) is the heroism of hundreds of mostly nameless men and women who gave a damn.
2. I can't believe Oliver Stone made this movie. Arianna Huffington tried to dispel the obvious implications of the film by referring to a sequence in which people around the world see what happened in dismay. I do recall the global horror, but this is one false note in the film. We all know that there was one part of the world that cheered the 9-11 attacks and they are missing from Stone's montage. The absence is so evident - really as to make me wonder whether Stone was trying to make a subtle point and marvel at how Arianna could be that obtuse.
3. What really impressed me was Stone's quite accurate depiction of retired Marine David Karnes. Arianna is right to note he could never be depicted in a movie if he weren't true. But she thinks that Karnes who, after locating the trapped cops, says he's not going into work that morning because it's going to "take some good men to avenge this", is ultimately portrayed as an ironic figure because he goes on to serve two tours in Iraq which has nothing to do with the carnage we see in the movie. (She recognizes others may seem him as iconic; I do.)
4. As to Arianna's point about the unrelatedness of Iraq and 9-11, this has always struck me as willfully reductionist and singleminded. In the immediate aftermath of 9-11, I had a conversation with local Democrat attorney Matt Flynn. I don't agree much with Matt, but he said something insightful that day. Osama bin Laden, he said, was almost a metaphor. Kill him and there would be hundreds more crawling out of the desert. What is really ironic about the left's take on Iraq (it was about WMDs; Saddam had nothing to do with terror), is that old simple-minded George W. Bush grasped that. Although we mostly refuse to say so, the enemy here is not some discrete force called "terrorists", but an Islamic fascist movement that consists of discrete manifestations such as al Qaeda, Hamas and Hezbollah. Sometimes they work together and sometimes they don't. Sometimes they are supported by opportunistic secular Baathists - as Saddam did and as Syria is now doing in Lebanon. Eliminating them means eliminating the movement within Islam (present in the mideast and, sadly, now in much of Europe)that hates and seeks to overthrow western culture and modernity.
5. The movie brings tears (again people leave a movie in utter silence), but like United 93, it provokes anger. I could not help to think that civilian deaths in Lebanon provoke anger as well. War is an awful thing and the way in which modern warfare too often involves noncombatants is a tragedy. But to respond to that with an assumption of moral equivalence is just to ensure that it will continue. The "cycle of violence" idea is a real one and sometimes the best way to end it is to simply stop. But when one side doesn't want to stop - when they actually welcome it as Hezbollah certainly does - that won't work.
As Tony Blair says "defeat it we must."