- The Washington Times - Friday, July 15, 2005

Every so often Hollywood gets it right. There are those movies, many recent ones, that have managed to capture a major moment in U.S. history with the proper amount of accuracy, emotional impact and — dare we say — patriotism. Movies in this caliber that come immediately to mind are Steven Spielberg’s “Saving Private Ryan,” Randall Wallace’s “We Were Soldiers” and Ridley Scott’s “Blackhawk Down.” Even Michael Bay’s mediocre and overwrought “Pearl Harbor” was imbued with patriotism. It’s also no small hint to Hollywood that all were blockbusters. Despite Mr. Spielberg’s occasional lapses into left-wing sophistry, any one of these directors would probably make a fine, successful movie about September 11.

And so it was with the greatest regret that we heard Paramount Pictures had chosen Oliver Stone, the conspiracy-addled director with a soft spot for dictators, to direct Hollywood’s first major movie about that day of days. We can’t think of one of Mr. Stone’s historical pictures — “JFK,” “Born on the Fourth of July,” “Nixon” and “Salvador” — which would convince us that this was anything but a maliciously inspired choice.

It certainly doesn’t improve our expectations when we remember what Mr. Stone has said about September 11. According to Rolling Stone magazine, a month after the attacks, Mr. Stone argued at a panel discussion that “there’s been a conglomeration under six principal princes — they’re kings, they’re barons — and these six companies have control of the world.” This is going somewhere. “They control culture, they control ideas,” he said. “And I think the revolt of September 11 was [about them].” He added later, “Does anybody make a connection between the 2000 election and the events of September 11?” No, but might not the characters in Mr. Stone’s forthcoming movie? “This attack was pure chaos, and chaos is energy,” he said. “All great changes have come from people or events that were initially misunderstood, and seemed frightening, like madmen. Einstein, Nikola Tesla, [Bill] Gates.”

If this isn’t bad enough, consider Mr. Stone’s recent remarks, supposedly answering his critics. “Look at the English,” he said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “They took [the July 7 attacks in London] and absorbed it and continued on. They didn’t run around and call for huge pieces of legislation costing billions of dollars to defend our homeland and create a huge war in a foreign country.”

There remains the hope that Mr. Stone will dispense with the nonsense and tell it like it was. Even if he can’t help himself, the images of falling bodies and collapsing towers should be enough to remind us all, once more, why we fight.