Volume 17 • Issue 17 | SEPTEMBER 17 - 23, 2004

Film

HIJACKING CATASTROPHE
Directed by Jeremy Earp
and Sut Jhally
imMEDIAte pictures
Opens Sep. 10, Cinema Village

Counteracting war media apathy

Yet another documentary casts the war in Iraq as the design of a right- wing conspiracy

By Seth J. Bookey

In a year that has brought us “Fahrenheit 9/11,” “ Control Room,” and “The Corporation,” a week after the Republican National Convention we now have “Hijacking Catastrophe: 9/11, Fear & the Selling of American Empire.” Of these sorts of documentaries, this is the one you absolutely have to see, and bring at least one friend along.

“Hijacking Catastrophe” succinctly and convincingly outlines the plans of radical conservatives in the Bush administration to become the “New Rome” in the successor to the “American Century.”

Is this a paranoid leftist claim? Well, a cursory look at today’s headlines about how the administration has trashed our foreign policy and longstanding international agreements bears out the film’s thesis—that the U.S. wants to pursue an unrestrained military doctrine overseas while promoting fear and ignoring social problems at home.

“Hijacking Catastrophe” shows this policy’s roots in the first Bush administration, when the Soviet Union collapsed, giving the U.S. unchallenged superpower status. Clinton’s two presidential victories put this bunch on hold for eight years, but with W’s ascension to the presidency, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz’s neo-conservative doctrine of global domination via unilateral force became a policy reality, starting with Afghanistan and followed by our invasion of Iraq last year.

The film trots out a number of venerable liberal commentators, from Noam Chomsky and Norman Mailer to a Pentagon whistleblower, Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowsky, who witnessed how George W. Bush’s men used sophisticated propaganda that manipulated the tragedies of September 11, 2001 into a military campaign ratified by the public’s fear.

The documentary also goes beyond mere Bush-bashing, pointing out how an administration full of men who never served in the military has sent others out to do their dirty work. Another truly scary specter—how overspending on arms while ignoring a huge debt puts the entire nation’s future at risk, as civil liberties and legal protections are threatened by the Patriot Act.

The film is also on sale now as a DVD release, with extended interviews and other features. A visit to hijackingcatastrope.com also gives tips on how to put the DVD to work with a wider audience, at house or dorm parties. Party on.



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