Monday, January 23, 2006

Munich. As my nom de blog indicates, I am of (partial) Slovak descent. Accordingly, when you say Munich to me, I associate it with "Peace in our time" and the coming of WWII. Steven Spielberg apparently wants you to associate Munich with the attack on the Twin Towers.

But I'm getting ahead of myself...

Mild Spoiler Warning! (I don't think I'm giving away much, however.)

There are about five things I liked about the movie Munich (in no particular order):
  1. It equates marital fidelity with life, adultery with death. If you've seen the movie, you know what I'm talking about.
  2. I found myself thinking about it many days later -- to me this is always good (well, unless I'm just thinking of some pointless gore...)
  3. It reminds the world that a group of Palestinian Terrorists attacked and deliberately murdered Israeli athletes during the Olympics violating the ideal of a time of truce for all countries.
  4. It shows the Israelis (who are engaged in a new type of warfare) wrestling with their consciences.
  5. It showed how the media can really screw things up (the terrorists were watching the attempted rescue in the Olympic village and called the negotiators to warn off the rescuers.
Yet the negatives far outweigh the positives:
  • It treats the Israelis engaging in a defensive military action as the equivalent of the Palestinian terrorist who attack defenseless innocents. More about this below.
  • It uses a grossly offensive Jewish stereotype to malign the Israelis ("Bring the receipts" bellows a Jewish accountant over and over.) Compare this from the real ex-spies.
  • It uses fictitious history -- and especially fictitious statements -- to support its case, which is...
  • Fighting back is wrong and leads to a cycle of violence.
  • It implies that the United States was behind the attack on the Israeli athletes, or at the very least, sheltered the terrorists following murders (i.e. the US is an "accessory after the fact").
  • Finally, as best put by David Brooks, "There is, above all, no evil. And that is the core of Spielberg's fable. In his depiction of reality there are no people so committed to a murderous ideology that they are impervious to the sort of compromise and dialogue Spielberg puts such great faith in.
    Because he will not admit the existence of evil, as it really exists, Spielberg gets reality wrong. "
This event happened when I was about 13 and still had a dream to make the 1976 US Olympic Swim Team. This was the Olympics in which Mark Spitz won 7 gold medals, Dan Gable won the gold medal without having a point scored on him, Olga Korbut, Dave Wottle's run from behind Sugar Ray Seales.

Yes, there were ugly politics, the US-USSR basketball game, the suspension of Vincent Matthews and Wayne Collett, the revocation of Rick DeMont's medal.

Then came September 5, 1972 and the Yasser Arafat backed (via Fatah) terrorists.

My blood still boils when I think about this attack
-- during the movie, it took all my self-control from crying out "Waste those..." well, you get the idea...

The movie is full of fake dialogue and fact facts designed to portray the Israelis and the terrorists as engaged in some sort of yin and yang struggle, some sort of co-equal forces; both equally moral or immoral.

For example, the movie's 'Golda Meir' says "Every civilization finds it necessary to negotiate compromises with its own values." This is her justification for ruthlessly attacking other members of Fatah -- albeit those who planned the massacre. This is baloney.* What Mrs. Meir actually said was this:
From the blood-drenched history of the Jewish nation, we learn that violence which begins with the murder of Jews, ends with the spread of violence and danger to all people, in all nations. . . We have no choice but to strike at the terrorist organizations wherever we can reach them. That is our obligation to ourselves and to peace.
from Michael Medved, USA Today (quoting Mrs. Meir's Sept. 12, 1972, address to the Israeli Knesset). That was the case then; it's the case today. If there is a rattlesnake in the yard, you don't wait for it to strike before you take action.

The fact is the terrorists who hit the Israeli athletes in Munich were pure evil. Their backers and planners were evil. Their supporters and apologists are evil. This can not be denied, ignored, or spun away with false history.

By definition, terrorists strike innocent victims; helpless people in a defenseless situation. Their goal is to spread terror. This is evil, pure and simple. It must be crushed, not appeased.

Negotiating with terrorists, like negotiating with Hitler, only allows evil to grow stronger and the innocent to suffer.

You would think the man who directed Schindler's List would know this.

Big Spoiler Alert

Last, and this is a definite spoiler, Spielberg closes with a long shot dwelling on the World Trade Center. He has made an argument throughout the movie that striking back at evil just causes the evil to escalate and his unmistakable conclusion is that Israel's decision to strike back at terror instead of negotiate with it is what led to 9/11.


*Similarly, Premier Meir is said to have avoided attending the athletes' funerals because she was afraid of being booed (because she refused to negotiate with the terrorists). However, a Jerusalem Post poll found her the most popular figure in the nation, just one week after the killings.


More. Here's a good story looking back at the Massacre, by CBS News:

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