A review of a pile from Liberal Street Fighter

I just watched Last Best Chance on HBO, and I can’t decide whether to be disgusted, outraged or laughing my ass off.

A sanctimonious pile of poorly written, poorly acted agitprop, Last Best Chance is yet another instance of the rightwing in this country turning history and real problems on their heads in order to score political points and scare the shit out of people.
The Board of Directors of the Nuclear Threat Initiative is full of the very sort of Republican office holders who made fun of those of us who tried to raise the alarum about this very issue back in the Eighties, tied into the overarching No Nukes movement.  

Sadly, this is a real problem, a problem created by many of the same people who helped pay for this movie. When the left tried desperately to get the US and Soviet Union to dial back the arms race, they instead stepped it up. Nuclear capabilities were exported to states such as Israel, South Africa, Pakistan and India. However, you can “learn” from this movie that proliferation of small weapons and weapons-grade material is caused by bureaucrats arguing over “details”, rather than the very real, very cold and very harsh decisions made by the political leaders of this and several other nations.

The political movement behind this movie, this dishonest Tom-Clancy-Lite potboiler (you’ll laugh when every acronym spouted by a character is followed by bad exposition from another faceless functionary explaining the acronym, as though these characters shouldn’t KNOW what it means).

This is not to say that there isn’t a real problem with unaccounted for nukes, or poorly secured nuclear materials. There is, and there has been, for DECADES. None of this is new. In fact, the US is working to build NEW generations of smaller weapons, weapons that would be more “usable”, and frankly I’m more convinced that Bush is likely to drop a few on Iran or Syria than I am about Moslem terrorists sneaking one into a city. Hell, I’m more concerned about the next Timothy McVey getting a bomb some of his Fundie Air Force buddies help him steal to blow up in “Jew York City”.

Yes, there is a real problem, but it’s being pushed for cheap effect now to serve a political class that helped FOSTER this atmosphere in this first place, a political class that still enables the merchants of death in the world arms industries, that plays up ethnic hatreds and divisions, that refuses to get serious about attempts to bridge the gaps of culture and religion and race. A political culture that serves international corporations FIRST, corporations that benefit from the arms trade, that profits from division and hatred. It is no suprise that movies like this are made NOW, when brown-skinned monsters can be trotted out as the new boogie men instead of the pale ghouls who helped build and nurture this industry. This mess, this problem of proliferation, isn’t a creation of bureaucrats (as Fred Thompson’s President says several times), but the stalker of our future created by the wealthy political class that runs this and most other countries.

Almost exactly 20 years ago I remember sitting at a table before a room full of people next to my physics professor, nervously presenting research on “suitcase” and “backpack” nukes I’d gathered using the “Reader’s Guide to Periodicals” and various journals that I’d consulted, their pages torn out by previous students working on research for papers (oh, what I would have given for Google). I remember the arguments with fervent Reaganites, their insistence that I was a traitor for believing that his policies on proliferation were dangerous and wrong-headed. I remember that when it comes down to killing and terrorizing civilians, NOBODY can out-do the modern nation-state.

It’s especially galling to watch Fred Thompson pontificate about how we’re running out of time now that we have some easy-to-demonize enemy while he supports a President who protects the biggest nuclear proliferator in the world, Pakistan, a President who seems almost eager to use nuclear weapons, a nasty little macho cowboy who has seamingly few compunctions about killing tens of thousands of Iraqis from the air, including with newer versions of the banned-and-reviled napalm. Fred Thompson can kiss my hippie ass.

It’s on all month. Last Best Chance is a poorly acted, poorly written and suspect piece of propaganda put out at a time when one of the most criminal regimes to ever run a western nation is running amok, a snide and simplistic presentation of a very real problem. Watch it if you must, but please educate yourself so that you can offer some perspective to others who might see it and buy the rightwing presentation without knowing the history and complicity of our own government. This problem wasn’t created by bureaucrats, it was created by politicians eager for power and willing to fan the flames of fear.

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