- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 22, 2006

In a recent article for The Times, I asked why Hollywood hadn’t produced, either in a movie or on television, any depictions of the heroism or American soldiers and marines in Afghanistan and Iraq. Warren Bell, a television writer/producer whom I spoke to for the piece, picked up the torch at National Review Online’s Corner blog here and here. He asked: “Why, for instance, has the amazing and tragic story of Pat Tillman not merited, at least, a cable TV biopic?”

Well, since the piece went to press, things have gotten slightly better.

And appreciably worse: According to the San Francisco Chronicle, there’s a biopic in the works about the antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan, starring Susan Sarandon.

Of course Sheehan suffered a grievous loss when her soldier son, Casey, was killed in action in Iraq. But I don’t think I’m out of line to be less than thrilled about the prospects of this biopic. Sarandon’s left-wing politics are well-known. And, judging from this “Scarborough Country” exchange on MSNBC, Sheehan’s pacifism appears to compel her to doubt even the struggle against Nazism and imperial Japanese militarism:

SCARBOROUGH: So you oppose Afghanistan. Do you think FDR was a terrorist in World War II because hundreds of thousands of Germans and Japanese civilians died during those wars?

SHEEHAN: Well, let me tell you, Joe. I’m a pacifist and I believe war is wrong. And if you look at the history, World War II happened because of World War I and the suppression and sanctions against the people of World War I. I’m a total pacifist and I think finally now, this is the 21st century and we need to stop killing each other to solve problems, especially imaginary problems.

Now, I agree wholeheartedly with Bell when he responded to Corner readers who assumed he was interested in seeing only pro-war propaganda: “I am calling for Hollywood writers and directors to make movies and TV shows depicting the heroic stories of the War on Terror, not for a whitewash of history.” But one can only imagine where the Sarandon/Sheehan biopic is headed. At this rate, we’ll be lucky to get evenhanded treatments that serve up not only heroism but the moral ambiguity and trepidations that this war seems to demand. Far from whitewashings of history, the worst-case scenario here is that we’ll get propaganda for the enemy.

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