A most un-Fair Game

Okay, so I’m in Orlando, not having much luck in the Nationals.  The least I can do is tell you about the movie we saw last Sunday—you wouldn’t be interested in my bridge game anyway.

Sister Susan (as opposed to BFF Susan) recommended we see Fair Game, and I’m glad she did.  It’s an excellent telling of an important story.

The time is 2002, the country is reeling after the 9/11 attacks, and Vice President Cheney wants to go to war with Iraq, for reasons we may someday understand.

Meanwhile, the CIA is trying to find out what sort of things are really happening in the world.  To this end, they send former Ambassador Joe Wilson, the husband of Valerie Plame, a CIA covert operative specializing in the middle East, to Niger to check out a rumor that Niger is supplying yellowcake uranium to Iraq for the production of nuclear weapons.

Wilson reports back that they are not:  there is no shipment of uranium to Iraq.

Then, surprisingly, President George Bush gives his state of the union address and says that there is proof that there IS uranium being shipped to Iraq, and we have to go to war to stop the production of these weapons of mass destruction.

This makes Ambassador Wilson cranky.  He starts telling everyone he knows, and that’s almost everyone in Washington and the media, that the prez lied us into war.  Since there were no WMD’s found,  people are listening to him and making Darth Cheney look even worse than usual.

So the spin machine goes into high gear, Wilson gets slimed, but that isn’t enough.  To complete the sliming, the identity of his wife is leaked to Robert Novak, destroying her career.  This is a felony, and the ceaseless work of Ambassador Wilson brings the felony to light and eventually Scooter Libby gets to take the fall for the White House.  Of course a deal was cut in advance, so although he was found guilty and disbarred, his fine and prison term were commuted by the President, who at least didn’t pardon Libby at the end of his term.

All of this makes a darned good movie.  Having Sean Penn portray Joe Wilson makes it better.   Naomi Watts does an excellent job as Valerie Plame, carrying the burden of trying to do her very important job while the government she works for is trying to destroy her for political purposes.

The only real problem with issue advocacy movies like this is that they are preaching to the choir.  If you don’t like Bush and Cheney, you’ll probably love this movie.  If you are one of the 25% of Americans who still swallows the lie that Iraq had something to do with the 9/11 attacks, you might not enjoy it quite so much.

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