Oliver Stone and Professor Peter Kuznick Deliver a Message

[Moxley Confidential] Wake up, OC! U.S. is not God's gift to humanity

Operating as a well-dressed, two-man wrecking crew, legendary Hollywood director Oliver Stone and American University professor Peter Kuznick visited UC Irvine last weekend with an impassioned call for citizens to reject the conventional, rah-rah version of U.S. history. The idea that our nation is a benevolent superpower dedicated chiefly to spreading liberty around the globe as well as freedom at home is, Stone and Kuznick insist, deceitful propaganda. They say that since the dropping of atomic bombs on hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians during World War II to present-day U.S. military drone strikes that kill women and children in the Middle East, our government has far too often been a case study not just in corruption, but also evil. They argue that we're not the world's ethics-driven policemen we like to think we are, but instead the planet's myopic, trigger-happy, money-hungry bully.

"I think our society is where the Soviet Union was [in the 1980s, on the verge of collapse from corruption and desperately in need of reform]," Stone told several hundred attendees. "I think we are moribund. I think there is something wrong. We're corrupt. Our economy is corrupt. There's too many large corporations. There's too many wealthy individuals. . . . It's a two-tiered system, and the people at the bottom—nobody gives a fuck about them, and that's what's going to bring us down."

During the past five years, Stone and Kuznick have teamed up to develop a multipart Showtime series, The Untold History of the United States, and an accompanying 784-page book. Their UCI appearance was part of the ongoing promotion of their project, inspired by what they see as hair-pulling trends toward increasing public ignorance. For example, while most 18-to-29-year-old Americans now consider the Vietnam War wise public policy, they note that older citizens, more familiar with the realities of the bloody conflict, see that war as "a terrible thing."

"But the younger generation we're trying to reach isn't getting that," said Kuznick. "There's another whole part of our history that Americans have got to understand—not singing our praises, [but] looking at what we've done wrong so we can get it right next time."

He explained that Japanese war memorials he'd visited honor all individuals on each side who died in battles, but our government erected a Vietnam War Memorial that only mourns American dead. "The message of the Vietnam memorial is that the tragedy of Vietnam is that 58,272 Americans died," said Kuznick, observing the memorial stretches 146 feet. "If that memorial actually had the names of the 58,000 Americans, the 3.8 million Vietnamese, the hundreds of thousands of Cambodians, Laotians and other people who died, it would be over 4 miles long. Now, that would be a war memorial, and that would tell something about Vietnam. . . . That would be the tombstone to this idea of American 'exceptionalism' that we need, and that's what we're trying to convey here. This idea that is so dangerous to think [is that] the United States is God's gift to humanity, that we're different from other countries, that we're altruistic, that we spread freedom, and that's what our goal is."

Added Stone, "I think we react as a mad dog, and we are sick. We have this military aggression inside us. It's evident in our football games, where you've got the flyover jets and this homage to the military. Now, we need a military; I'm all for the military. I joined the military, and I see the strengths of it. But we need a military to defend this country and defend its national interests, not to go abroad looking for fights to pick and for countries to intervene in if they don't agree with our way of doing things. We cannot impose one cultural value on the entire world."

Kuznick said that though President Dwight Eisenhower is commonly given credit for alerting the nation to the scary inclinations of the military industrial complex, he is the primary architect of Cold War hostilities. When Eisenhower took control of the White House in 1953, the U.S. had 1,000 "nukes." When he left office, we possessed more than 23,000.

"This policy of threatening the world with annihilation in order to maintain American economic and political privilege in the world doesn't make sense," he said. "That's what we're challenging here—a world in which the richest 300 [individuals] have more than the poorest 3 billion, a world in which the United States controls the planet with our bases, with our fleets, with our arms—which we're selling everywhere, with military alliances."

Research for the series and book underscored a key lesson, according to Stone, director of Platoon, Savages, Wall Street, Nixon, Born on the Fourth of July, The Doors, Heaven & Earth, and JFK, as well as winner of nine Academy Awards.

"Governments lie," he explained, careful to note he doesn't necessarily trust President Barack Obama any more than he did George W. Bush or Ronald Reagan. "When I [was growing] up, I believed the government. My father told me to believe them. You know, I didn't realize how corrupt this thing was."

Stone's biggest worry? In the wake of the shocking Edward Snowden revelations about the extent of warrantless National Security Agency spying at home and overseas, the U.S. is marching to a future few could have imagined just a year ago.

Gary Fouse—a retired federal narcotics cop who never fought in a war and writes the blog Patriot's Corner—took the first opportunity to ask a question and delivered an oral blow to Stone, who earned a Bronze Star and Purple Heart for his repeated combat bravery in Vietnam. "I seem to feel that maybe your experiences turned you against your country in many ways," Fouse said. "And I just wonder if you've ever considered that if it were not for the United States of America and specifically its military, I don't think that there would be a country in the world living in freedom today."

Because of microphone problems in the auditorium, an expressionless Stone couldn't hear the remark, and Fouse, who stood in the back of the room, continued, "I'd just like to say to the young audience here that in spite of what you've seen in this one-sided presentation, and in spite of our mistakes and the dark chapters in our history, which we acknowledge, which, you know, we're making mistakes today, this is still a great country, and I think it deserves your support and your loyalty."

Stone isn't easily rattled. Questioning his patriotism is always the first move of his critics. He called the Showtime presentation a "visual poem to a country that I love—loved [his emphasis] when I was a young man. . . . [The U.S. has] lost our goal, and that is what this whole series is about. . . . I wish to God we can turn it around. And that's why we did these things, and that's why we're here today among you, trying to remind you that we were and still can be a great country."

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33 comments
tongue_twister_for_t
tongue_twister_for_t topcommenter

To: Director Oliver Stone or Professor Peter Kuznick (if you happen to see this):  

READ THIS FIRST:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/02/pakistan-fears-violent-revenge-after-mehsud-killing

From another source:

“The Americans have a lot to learn” This is not just the killing of one person, it’s the death of all peace efforts." Some Pakistan analysts agree, saying the death of the leader has left a vacuum for peace negociations. So what I want to know is why is the USA in Pakistan when they have already killed thier fake target patsy Osama Bin Ladin (the one that Bush couldn’t find) when they were in cahoots with the Bin Ladin family. They’re invading a country that had nothing to do with 9/11/2001.

“It’s almost like Cambodia (& Vietnam) all over again”.

sweetliberty17761776
sweetliberty17761776 topcommenter

THEY DONT EVEN HAVE THE COURAGE TO CALL OUT OBAMA


no cred for them


sure they mention the hater in chief but have to also mention Bush


leftist losers is what they are



tongue_twister_for_t
tongue_twister_for_t topcommenter

"Stone isn't easily rattled. Questioning his patriotism is always the first move of his critics. He called the Showtime presentation a "visual poem to a country that I love—loved [his emphasis] when I was a young man. . . . [The U.S. has] lost our goal, and that is what this whole series is about. . . . I wish to God we can turn it around. And that's why we did these things, and that's why we're here today among you, trying to remind you that we were and still can be a great country."

 23 Million people unemployed from coast to coast as we speak. And we have a State Assemblyman (Allan Monsoor) that used to be a lousy mayor in this city saying we need immigration reform by signing a letter to give amnesty to illegal mexicans and latino's. Protesters raided his offices because of his signing of the letter.

tongue_twister_for_t
tongue_twister_for_t topcommenter

"But we need a military to defend this country and defend its national interests, not to go abroad looking for fights to pick and for countries to intervene in if they don't agree with our way of doing things. We cannot impose one cultural value on the entire world."

He is right there because we are fighting against a religion in order to get the profits off a drug trade (heroin) that is in Afghanistan (the new bank buildings are being funded off of the profits of the drug trade out of that country.) We have a new one that just opened in Costa Mesa a few weeks ago by none other than Chase.

tongue_twister_for_t
tongue_twister_for_t topcommenter

"They argue that we're not the world's ethics-driven policemen we like to think we are, but instead the planet's myopic, trigger-happy, money-hungry bully".

That is true in many respects because look at the current situation with Benghazi Libya (and the killing of Moammar Khadadfi) ('but he was wierd') and you have all these cops wandering around the hallways of the schools as if the schools were prisons so much so that the kids can't learn because the criminal cops are there preventing them from learning, the cops themselves are bullys to the students when they're claiming that they are not bully's, it makes no freaking sense whatsoever. The cops are criminal cops and are violating the laws as we speak by being criminals while on duty.  

tongue_twister_for_t
tongue_twister_for_t topcommenter

"The idea that our nation is a benevolent superpower dedicated chiefly to spreading liberty around the globe as well as freedom at home is, Stone and Kuznick insist, deceitful propaganda. They say that since the dropping of atomic bombs on hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians during World War II".

Yes but that was so that the war in WW II could be stopped because the japs were ruthless against our own troops and many believe that it deserved to be done (even though it is a very sad time in our history) Vietnam was way after that and many consider that excursion to be a big mistake, but thier were consequences. Some we are even still paying for to this very day and I would bet he's even still got some bitterness within him about it because he fought in it in real life even though it's finished. It would be something that you would carry with you for the rest of your life, but you cannot let it get you down, I still think he's a great director. Ithought that "We Were Soldiers" with Mel Gibson was fantastic. I haven't seen it for awhile and I think I might go rent it again.

tongue_twister_for_t
tongue_twister_for_t topcommenter

I met him in person once at a signup for his movie JFK way back in '91 when I was in Dallas Texas and shook his hand while he was at the pre setup for a scene for JFK in Dealy Plaza, I attended the film extras and met him at the Dallas Convention Center he was looking at me as if he was contemplating something but he never really said anything, Platoon came out in 1986 and JFK was in 1991. Wonder if he's got anything currently going? I'd be interested.

pkuznick
pkuznick

Scott--Great piece. Only one error. I said the richest 300 have more wealth than the poorest 3 billion, not the richest 3 million. Please correct.

Thanks,

Peter Kuznick

matthewtcoker1
matthewtcoker1

Scott, you were there? Where? I was in the third row, didn't see you.

MikeOxbent
MikeOxbent

Why is Stone bad-mouthing America? Americans didn't screw this country up, it is the rich 1%ers doing it, in other words, Stones FRIENDS.  And if it wasn't for the American military, Ol' Stoney would not be anywhere as rich as he is now. He's just saying this stuff to get people to watch his program.  Then he will go to bed tonight on top of a huge pile of hundies.  In a nutshell: 1%er hypocrite.  

tongue_twister_for_t
tongue_twister_for_t topcommenter

There are over 550 different religions in the WORLD today, pick one of them and follow it to the T. It cannot be done. You cannot folow just one religion totally. It's impossible.

ethernot
ethernot

@tongue_twister_for_t   "japs"?!  Seriously?

So, would that make Vietnamese "gooks" or "slopes"?

Racist much?

sweetliberty17761776
sweetliberty17761776 topcommenter

@pkuznick 


and 90% of them are leftists who use the street people, the poor ,as their pawns to keep white people scared


except of course its backfiring


as they tear up the communities


but you're probably good with that too


as it gives you that superior feeling you need when you patronize /control them and then can get them on your side, using their ignorance against them



FishWithoutBicycle
FishWithoutBicycle

@MikeOxbent  

To quote from a certain 70's nostalgia movie, our country was founded by "a bunch of slave-owning, aristocratic white males [who] didn't want to pay their taxes..."

So what if Stone is wealthy? It takes a true patriot with a genuine love for their country to want to make it better...regardless of their social status or income.

tongue_twister_for_t
tongue_twister_for_t topcommenter

You have to remember that Stone is an ex Vietnam Vet himself.

tongue_twister_for_t
tongue_twister_for_t topcommenter

quit with the racist comments because we even called them japs during the war, Political correctness does not work and neither does affirmative action.

"Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me".

The cops are bullies and then they tell you it's against the laws to be a bully yourself. And they beat you up and arrest you for being a bully when they are the ones that are violating the laws by saying that you're the bully.  -Peacekeepers? "Exsqueeze Me"?

tongue_twister_for_t
tongue_twister_for_t topcommenter

@ethernot @tongue_twister_for_t 

and who gave you that authority to judge me because of my language regarding something that happened 70 years ago. They made me a top commenter for this story, so nyah nyah nayh.

tongue_twister_for_t
tongue_twister_for_t topcommenter

So what are you gonna do sue me for it. It's FREE SPEECH.

"I gotta boogie. I gotta boogie, I got a boogie on my finger and I can't shake it off". 

ethernot
ethernot

@tongue_twister_for_t 

Just because *some* people--including our gov't--referred to other human beings with a bigoted slur seventy years ago doesn't make it okay for you to do it today.

sweetliberty17761776
sweetliberty17761776 topcommenter

@FishWithoutBicycle @sweetliberty17761776 


AGREE


the conservatives who want to get into peoples personal business are no better than the leftists


I take it you see the hypocrisy on the Left as I do on the right


NO JUSTIFYING wrong


most people fear the truth as it will destroy their house of cards


I am not one of those


FishWithoutBicycle
FishWithoutBicycle

@sweetliberty17761776

But not ALL government...one of their key grievances was that they had no REPRESENTATION in the English parliament...which lead them to the decision to break with England and create a new government...

But it's funny how, for conservatives nowadays, "freedom from government" always applies to guns and personal finances...but not a woman's womb.

And I thought we were supposed to get FREEDOM FROM RELIGION, too...that hasn't worked out so well...


FishWithoutBicycle
FishWithoutBicycle

@sweetliberty17761776

I respect Stone because he puts his money where his mouth is...just like those "aristocrats" who signed that treasonous document called The Declaration of Independence in July of 1776.

 
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