“The Godfather,” “Three Days of the Condor” and four documentaries—two on espionage, one on art, and a major, in-depth review of the Cold War—clarify man’s inhumanity to man, the insanity of the nuclear arms race, and how it’s all based on economics…also known as business. And in 2014 known jointly as Big Business: Big Agri, Big Arms, Big Oil, Big Banks and Big Government. And referred to by the late war hero and Republican President Dwight Eisenhower as the Military-Industrial Complex.
Collectively, the films also substantiate how a human race of such great potential, consistently dumbed down, prepares to kill itself.
These six films aren’t connected, nor meant to be. They’ve been produced in different decades. Yet, when considered on a single canvas, their images and intent unmuddy the coercive mindset and manipulation of warmongers in power. The films, besides “The Godfather” and “Condor,” are “American Coup,” “Secrets of Her Majesty’s Secret Service,” “This is Civilization,” and CNN’s 24-hour documentary “The Cold War.”
“The Godfather” (1972)
Two of the most famous lines from “The Godfather” set the stage for the Warmonger Mindset: “Tell Mike it was just business,” and “I’ll give him an offer he can’t refuse.” Both deal with killing. The first, killing you is nothing personal; it’s how we stay in power and keep the money flowing in. It’s required. No options. The second phrase connotes putting a gun to your head and giving you an option: you follow orders, or your brains coat the wall.
But “The Godfather” takes that Warmonger Mindset from that one-on-one level to the Family level, with a collection of people (gangs) involved. As Michael Corleone prepares to commit a double murder to “defend the family,” he watches his father’s old friend Clemenza prepare a meal for the guys. Clemenza explains to Michael why war will follow the assassination. It is inevitable:
Michael: How bad do you think it’s gonna be?
Clemenza: Pretty goddam bad. Probably all the other Families will line up against us. That’s all right. These things gotta happen every five years or so, ten years. Helps to get rid of the bad blood. Been ten years since the last one.
Then there’s the scene where Michael takes the image to the level of the federal government as he tries to defend his father’s Warmonger actions to Kay, who he wants to marry:
Michael: My father is no different than any powerful man, any man with power, like a president or senator.
Kay Adams: Do you know how naive you sound, Michael? Presidents and senators don’t have men killed.
Michael: Oh. Who’s being naive, Kay?
“Three Days of the Condor” (1975)
In the closing scene, Higgins, a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) assistant director, attempts to explain to protagonist Joe Turner why the clandestine agency really exists:
Higgins: It’s simple economics. Today it’s oil, right? In ten or fifteen years, food. Plutonium. Maybe even sooner. Now, what do you think the people are gonna want us to do then?
Joe Turner: Ask them?
Higgins: Not now – then! Ask ’em when they’re running out. Ask ’em when there’s no heat in their homes and they’re cold. Ask ’em when their engines stop. Ask ’em when people who have never known hunger start going hungry. You wanna know something? They won’t want us to ask ’em. They’ll just want us to get it for ’em!
No thought of multinational cooperation, communication, planning and distribution. Warmongers don’t profit from that.
“American Coup” (2010)
Peculiar Progressive took an in-depth look at this film in a 2012 column: “American Coup: When U.S. versus Iran Really Began.” The 53-minute documentary traces the CIA’s clandestine overthrow of Iran’s democratically elected government in 1953.
That’s DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED government. The U.S. replaced it with the Shah, who would assure the West access to Iranian oil. Hey, Iran. It was nothing personal. It was just business. Every Warmonger understands that.
“Secrets of Her Majesty’s Secret Service” (2014)
Aired on PBS this past Sunday, this intriguing British-made nearly hour-long film is a melding of documentary and public relations to show the history and value of the UK’s MI6 intelligence agency.
We cite it here because one brief segment basically shows that, during the Cold War, neither the U.S. nor Russia had a responsible grasp on what they were doing in their Warmongers shoving match.
The Reagan administration had put into play a full-scale mock military preparation—basically a war game, including the president’s involvement—to flex a show of strength. Trouble was, Russia suspicioned it to be the real thing, and began revving up its military and missiles…in a hurry. Their chief concern, according to MI6, was seeing that the president was directly involved.
The film explains that it took a call to MI6 from a Russian double agent who saw what really was happening. That allowed the British to immediately communicate to the White House, resulting in Reagan personally stepping away from the military exercise, and making clear to the Russians the U.S. effort was only an internal scrimmage, so to speak. The Russians stood down.
“This is Civilization” (2007)
Art critic Matthew Collings in this splendid 2007 four-part documentary traces civilization’s evolution from ancient Egypt to modern day through our art.
We speak of it here because Collings devotes one entire program to John Ruskin, the insightful, impactful 19th century British art-and-society critic. Collings explains how Ruskin saw, with the advent of the Industrial Revolution, the beginnings of civilization’s devolution: a turning from dependence on God and nature to an addiction with greed, money, and subservience of modern society.
It was then, Ruskin saw, and Collings seems to agree, that we turned from humans who cared for our souls to machines, that don’t care about our spirit. Collings titles that episode “Save Our Souls.” Not save our money. He believes Ruskin still may have the key on how to do that.
The Industrial Revolution, of course, led to the Technological Revolution, including the ability to immediately nuclear destruct.
“The Cold War” (1998)
In January, CNN re-aired this dedicated, exhaustive look at humanity’s destructive nature ranging from World War II through the rest of the 20th century. The network should re-air it often, and also distribute its 24-hour, six-disk DVD package internationally to schools.
Why? We emphasize again: Because this vast reporting effort paints the clearest picture—through both news films and interviews with eye witnesses—of man’s senseless inhumanity to man, as well as the sadly laughable insanity of nuclear weapons and the arms race.
One segment, in just a small portion of its hour, shows brief but deeply revealing interviews with a former American GI and a Russian woman. The GI speaks of walking with his squad down a German road near war’s end. They see a squad of Russians coming the other way. They’ve never met Russians before, but know that they’re allies. They approach and greet each other.
And the GI recalls how he was surprised to find, “They looked just like us. If you’d have put them in American uniforms, you wouldn’t have known the difference.”
The Russian woman, in a separate experience, echoes that surprise. She speaks of standing on a riverbank and seeing American soldiers approach her and her companions by boat. As the soldiers came ashore and greeted them, the woman recalls, “They looked just like us.”
What does this tell you about government propaganda? About painting pictures of another culture as an enemy to fear…an enemy who’s nothing like us and can’t be trusted…and must even be eventually destroyed.
In another hour’s segment, members of President Kennedy’s staff and two Russian military officers are interviewed separately about the rationale of the Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) philosophy they were operating under. Each interviewee begins to nervously laugh—realizing in these interviews years later how truly insane the nuclear arm wrestling is.
We’ll close by reminding you of our earlier column about the late Marine Brigadier General Smedley Butler. He gave a speech and followed it with a book titled “War is a Racket.” Having won two Congressional Medals of Honor and other military decorations, he’s hard to argue with.