When it comes to understanding America and the threats it faces, James Cameron is no match for Sandra Bullock and Michael Oher.
Like all good morality plays, the movie Avatar clarifies certain moral issues, even where the intended message may have been confused, or actually misleading. Independent minded, thinking viewers can then draw their own conclusions, and take away their own messages.
The Morality of Avatar
The actual moral lesson seen in Avatar is that what the corporate lackeys and their military mercenaries did to the indigenous Na’vi people of the planet of Pandora was an atrocity in the bloodiest, most morally repulsive traditions of 16th century imperialism. With far more technologically advanced military weaponry, the corporate interests commit mass murder in attacking the Na’vi to impatiently force them to move off of the valuable mineral deposits underneath their ancestral homeland.
Let us hope that any future space travelers from Earth bear the plain, good sense of Jake Sully, the hero of the movie, and his associates, who rebel against the genocidal war crimes committed by others from their own home planet, and join with the victimized innocent aliens from another world to fight against the attacks. Any future corporate plunderers behaving like those in Avatar deserve the death penalty for their crimes, which they will not get unless we have freed the Earth from the fallacies of so-called liberalism by then.
The Moral Confusion of Avatar
The problem arises when the movie seeks to apply this plain, straightforward, moral lesson of the story line to other situations where it does not apply. In particular, a couple of references in the movie suggest that what we are witnessing is analogous to the War on Terrorism.
Bad timing for this confused, misleading propaganda line. Because just a few days after the movie’s appearance on theater screens, America watched a real world morality play on its television screens, as the terrorists we are at war with from al Qaeda sent one of their trained assassins to commit mass murder in attempting to blow 300 innocent Americans out of the sky on a flight to Detroit.
The Islamist extremists who have been attacking and murdering Americans for almost two decades now are not in any way analogous to the peaceful Na’vi people subject to attack by the military forces in Avatar. These extremists have been at war with their neighbors for almost 1,400 years now, originally conquering an empire to impose their religion by force, and now threatening to do the same today. In that pursuit, it is they who have committed mass murder of the innocent worldwide, from India, to Indonesia, to Thailand, to Israel, to Spain (which they ruled by force for centuries, lest we forget).
They attacked America before George Bush, or any of the rest of us, even realized we were at war with them. The real problem is that we have a President today who, at this late date, still doesn’t truly believe we are at war with them, thinking instead that he has a law enforcement problem on his hands to be addressed by the FBI, not the CIA. As a result, the terrorist who attempted but failed to kill 300 Americans on Christmas Day now enjoys his own team of court appointed lawyers, with the President’s own homeland security advisor advising America that as a criminal defendant he has the right to remain silent, and not tell us anything about his terrorist network admittedly plotting to attack us again.
Too bad for America that President Obama ended the CIA enhanced interrogation program that was so successful in obtaining precisely such information from captured terrorists, precisely to prevent future terrorist attacks. Not to worry, though, for we are assured that we will get cooperation from the terrorist defendant who tried to murder 300 Americans by blowing them out of the sky, through a plea bargaining deal. That means that this attempted mass murderer will get reduced time for a reduced charge in return for his information, instead of using the now condemned CIA enhanced interrogation techniques in a military context, with a military tribunal ultimately to try him. Are we all feeling safer yet? Or will this literally kid gloves treatment for this murderous anti-American inspire many more terrorist attacks?
If the Keystone Kops operation that Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder are running consequently fails to stop the next terrorist attack, and hundreds of Americans die as a result, should President Obama be expected to resign for such a failure of leadership resulting from this moral confusion? Suppose the confused criminal trial of Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the mastermind of 9/11, inspires another murderous terrorist attack in New York City? Suppose the closing of Gitmo in favor of a new prison in Illinois inspires a terrorist attack in that locality? Dead Americans are a high price to pay for the education in realism of the former prep school Marxist we now have as President.
The Propaganda Civil War
What is troubling about the moral confusion of Avatar is that it is part of a broad propaganda civil war in America pursued by some Americans against our efforts to protect ourselves from the terrorist jihad. From the New York Times to Time and Newsweek to NBC to the ACLU to the movies to other media and cultural outlets, America is constantly under a dangerous propaganda assault telling us that it is immoral to fight back against terrorism. They tell us it is wrong for counterintelligence to listen in on overseas phone calls from phone numbers known to be associated with terrorist networks. They tell us it is wrong to interrogate captured terrorists with any methods beyond what the police can use on the local pickpocket. They insist it would be wrong to use military force to eliminate the Iranian nuclear program. They basically advocate the Obi Wan Kenobe doctrine against terrorism: Don’t fight back, it only makes them stronger.
This propaganda civil war has produced real world consequences, contributing to the election of President Obama and the now overwhelming Democrat Congressional majorities. And these new authorities are reversing the Bush terrorist policies that were so successful in preventing any further terrorist attacks on American soil for the seven years after 9/11. The constant propaganda barrage more generally weakens the resolve of the nation to fight back and defend itself.
Unfortunately, our terrorist enemies mean real business, as shown on that flight to Detroit on Christmas Day, or by Ahmadinejad’s threats of an all too possible EMP attack on America that would hurl our nation back to the early 19th century. The propaganda civil war, and the reversal of the serious Bush anti-terror policies that worked, are inspiring our murderous enemies to the several new attacks we have seen over the last year, thinking that they are winning the war. Those media and cultural institutions overinvested in the anti-anti-terrorism propaganda civil war should not be surprised by the cultural tsunami backlash that will result if America suffers another catastrophic terrorist attack.