Rambo versus Bin Laden

If Bush can’t kill bin Laden in real life, he might as well have Rocky do it in the movies. Showbiz reporter for the UK Sun Online, Jacqui Smith, says the 56 year old Sylvester Stallone will once again bring the Rambo character to life, this time to fight the forces of evil, namely the Taliban and Osama bin Laden. Stallone was so keen to see bin Laden brought to justice — something Bush is unable or unwilling to do — he wrote the script himself. Initially, the aging Sly was scripted to kill the Evil One all on his lonesome, but he had second thoughts because, as a Hollywood type told the Sun, the actor “thought that was beyond the imagination,” which is to say, I suppose, the idea of a middle aged Rambo doing what the US military was unable (or not permitted) to do in the span of more than a year is “beyond the imagination.”

Nonetheless, Americans need closure on the bin Laden thing, and if the US military can’t deliver justice maybe Hollywood can, at least on the big screen. Millions of Americans will trek enthusiastically to mall cinemas far and wide to indulge vicariously in the murderous and patriotic rampages of John Rambo (who in an earlier movie went back to Vietnam to finish what Johnson and Nixon didn’t have the balls to see through). Rambo will slaughter the straggling Taliban and al-Qaeda bad guys Rumsfeld overlooked. No laser-guided missiles or JDAMs needed, no bunker busters or cluster bombs designed to resemble food packages required — Rambo will do the job himself and not one innocent citizen will fall victim to “collateral damage.” Rambo will hunt down and smoke out the Omars of this world and kill each and every last one with his bare hands, no pansy-ass Predator drones armed with Hellfire missiles needed. It will be justice delivered 70mm cowboy style. No doubt Miramax, makers of the original Rambo movie, are anticipating handsome returns at the box office.

Stallone and Miramax, however, are a little behind the curve. In the months since 911, bin Laden has slipped under the Bushite radar screen, especially now that they have their sights fixed on Iraq and its bounteous oil fields. If Hollywood is sincerely interested in producing a topical movie, they’d have Rambo parachuting into Baghdad under the cover of darkness with a grenade launching AK47 slung over his shoulder, bayonet clenched between his teeth, and his naked chest crisscrossed with teflon hollowpoint cartridge belts (a few depleted uranium shells thrown in for good measure). Rambo would sneak into one of Saddam’s many palatial residences and slit his throat while he dreams of Nebuchadnezzar. But then, considering no intelligence service or covert op team has been able to get anywhere near the slippery Iraqi dictator — not with Saddam’s al-Bu Nasir praetorian guards lurking about — this scenario may be even more “beyond the imagination” than the idiotic bin Laden idea. But then idiotic movies are Hollywood’s stock and trade.

But why stop with Rambo in Afghanistan or Iraq making toast and just deserts of America’s enemies? Miramax may want to hire a swarm of scriveners to write any number of “prequels” to the bin Laden bedtime story. How about “Bill Casey Goes to Afghanistan,” a movie about how the CIA and Pakistan’s ISI single-handedly created the Mujahideen — trained them by the thousands in the art of bomb-making (some lucky enough to make it to the CIA’s retreat in Virginia) and financed them handsomely — and then turned the wild-eyed Muslim fanatics loose not only on the hapless Soviets but the world of infidels at large. Or maybe an epic on Bush Senior’s first Iraq attack is in order. Imagine John Rambo blowing up the An Nasiriyah chemical warehouse in Iraq in advance of US ground troops arriving, thus saving thousands of red-blooded American boys and girls from Gulf War Syndrome. Maybe casting would be able to entice April Glaspie into a cameo role. Or Tarek Aziz. Somebody needs to see if Tom Clancy’s available to write the script.

Truly, we Americans live in a land of unending absurdity and ignorance. Hollywood knows its game well enough to understand that a movie where bin Laden and assorted al-Qaeda and Taliban fugitives are hunted down and killed by a lone wolf all-American mercenary will be a good investment (no matter if Stallone is pushing 60; John Wayne was offing various gooks, injuns, and mobsters on the big screen well into his 60s). Just as the mild antiwar second thoughts of the soldiers portrayed in Mark Bowden’s book Black Hawk Down were cut when Hollywood made it into a movie, Miramax’s effort will be devoid of any historical or political context or appraisal. Americans do not cotton to such glaring realities in their blood-drenched fantasies where the Good always prevail and the Bad are brought to justice. Nor will there be scenes of disemboweled wedding guests near the village of Deh Rawud, no portrayals of slaughtered Taliban prisoners at Mazar-i-Sharif, no sweeping pans of starving refugees massed at the borders of Pakistan and Iran seeking to escape US military bombardment. In the Great American Fantasy, the Good and the Bad slug it out on the tundra (or deep within remote jungles), far away from babies, grandmothers, and humanitarian workers. Of course, as in a previous John Rambo movie, a peacenik or two might get slugged in the face. Serves ’em right for going up against the Good and Righteous.

As John Rambo represents a grotesque cardboard personage, so does the unelected and increasingly acerbic (and detestable) president George W. Bush. Junior told the American people in his dim-witted and unimaginative way a few short months ago the perps of 911 are “wanted dead or alive” and would be hunted down and smoked out like renegade Comanche who terrorize womenfolk and scalp god-fearing sodbusters. Go forward a few months in time. Now bin Laden’s name is never mentioned and the half-ass dictator Saddam Hussein (when compared to any number of US-supported dictators, say Indonesia’s Suharto or Chile’s Pinochet) has inherited bin Laden’s iniquitous cloak of unquestionable evil. The former CIA asset bin Laden served his purpose for Dubya and his clatch of empire-mad neocons who are attempting to create their own renovated version of Manifest Destiny on a global scale. Only this time the natives will not stay on the reservation. This time around they will not be easily cowed into pitiful submission.

If Bush is allowed to bring his war to the people of the Middle East (and Central Asia, South America, and wherever else people resist the brutal encroachment of empire) the ensuing cataclysm will be of truly historic proportions. Our children will not sing great songs, as the neocon Richard Perle would have it, but mournful laments. Not only will oil wells burn and millions of people die horrible deaths in far away lands but war will spread like wildfire to the tinderbox shores of America. The police state Bush has in mind for the American people will not stop it. No way are there enough Marines, Army Rangers, Delta Forces, Seal Teams, Special Forces, CIA operatives to contain its spread and wrathful violence.

Not even John Rambo will make America feel good about itself in the aftermath.

KURT NIMMO is a photographer and multimedia developer in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Visit his excellent online gallery. He can be reached at: nimmo@zianet.com

We highly recommend regular visits to Nimmo’s website, Another Day in the Empire


KURT NIMMO is a photographer and multimedia developer in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Visit his excellent no holds barred blog at www.kurtnimmo.com/ . Nimmo is a contributor to Cockburn and St. Clair’s, The Politics of Anti-Semitism. A collection of his essays for CounterPunch, Another Day in the Empire, is now available from Dandelion Books. He can be reached at: nimmo@zianet.com