Oliver Stone's "W" is celebrating its 10 year anniversary this year, but by all accounts, Stone's film about George W. Bush has all but been forgotten in today's rapid-paced, socio-political and cultural world. This is not to say that the film was bad by any stretch of the imagination. The 2008 film, a sort of political indictment that was also a comedy, about Dubya's life up until he was about to invade Iraq, received mixed reviews and all but bombed at the box-office. However, there were real delights in the film. Josh Brolin's Bush wasn't an impersonation as much as it was a re-imagining of the President; it seemed to have irked some people, but I didn't mind it. Bush always had that naiveté to his demeanor, the dim-witted puppet that went along with what his masters told him to do. The real scene-stealer though was Richard Dreyfus' Dick Cheney, the behind-the-scenes puppetmaster who, the film hints, was the real brains behind the presidential operation.
In today's Trump-dominated stratosphere, Bush and Cheney's war crimes have all but been forgotten by the masses, which is infuriating. The Bush presidency, which lasted from 2000 to 2008, was the most disastrous administration the White House had ever seen, right up there and even exceeding Nixon's. Why? Well, for so many reasons, but just the lies concocted by the administration to enable them to start a full-on unjust war in Iraq already makes it a candidate for worst presidency. Fifteen years later, with history having taken a closer look at the facts, it is quite clear that these lies -- that Saddam Hussein had WMDs and that he also had something to do with 9/11 -- were propagated by a herd-like media to manipulate the American people into going along with the Bush/Cheney narrative.
Of course, none of the aforementioned "facts" were true. And yet, here we are, two years into the Trump-era, and George W. Bush has become a kind of portrait-painting, folk hero for part of the resistance against 45. He's now just fine in many people's books, good ol' W. Why? Because he hates Trump. After all, Trump demolished his brother, "low energy" Jeb, in the Republican primary debates and even condemned the Bush presidency as a "disaster."
Dubya has become rather cozy with the Obamas of late, as if the deep state has to stick together in these terrible times, to fight the rueful forces currently inflicting their precious establishment 'democracy.' I wanted to punch a brick when I saw Michelle Obama proclaiming her BFF love for Dubya the other day, saying he has become her "partner in crime." Give me a break. Are people actually that stupid? Do they not realize the damage that Bush did to this country?
Of course, these days, if you're against Trump you receive a free pass from the mainstream press. And so, with all that said, Stone was interviewed by IndieWire, in celebration of "W" and its decade-old anniversary. Eric Kohn asks Stone about the sudden re-evaulation of Bush and doesn't believe that he should get the free pass that he's been getting:
"Frankly, the media may have softened on W., but I don’t agree at all. I think he has been the root cause of this overall national failure."
"I don’t buy it. That doesn’t matter to me, that he’s a painter or that he comes to national events as an ex-president, and is respected. It doesn’t mean anything. It’s just pomp and circumstance, parading around. The truth is that he was a disaster. He put this country into a deep hole. He’s put us in a national emergency basis, he had no experience to do that. We’ve completely lost our perspective as to what’s dangerous. Our national security has become an emergency as opposed to being the strongest country in the world, militarily."
"We made the film in the last year of his presidency, but the film ends in 2004 when he goes into Iraq. We know it’s going to be a disaster and a tragedy. Certainly nothing changed. From my viewpoint, this whole 18 years since Bush has gotten elected has been a massive tragedy for the country, an endless global war on terror, a confusion of identities, an overbudgeting of the military, the militarization of the country, the police force. Everything that could’ve gone wrong went wrong in 2000. Frankly, it’s eating away at the country in a big way."
"We should not be scared, but we’ve operated out of fear, and our imagery has been manipulated to create constant fear. I don’t see any positive. The media is not going to change my view of Mr. Bush. I know that Mr. Trump is supposed to be far worse, but I just find that’s distraction. The macro forces are much more important here. We should be getting along and partnering with people — China, Russia, Iran — but instead, we’re making enemies. It’s not good."
Let's hope Adam McKay's "Cheney" re-enlightens the American people into what the Bush presidency was all about.