Oliver Stone, writer-director of numerous melodramatic films, several of which have had controversial political themes, has announced his plans to film Jawbreaker, based in part on the book of the same name by former CIA officer Gary Bernstein. The film will tell the story of the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan and hunt for terror chieftan Osama bin Laden after the 9/11 attacks in 2001.
The announcement has brought forth some controversy, because Bernstein's book claims that U.S. troops could have killed or captured bin Laden in 2001 in Tora Bora, Afghanistan, but failed to do so because the Bush administration did not send 800 additional troops Bernstein requested.
That might suggest that Stone plans to do a hit job on the Bush administration in a film released just before the election to decide his successor. Stone, however, says his objective with Jawbreaker will be to "create compelling drama, not a polemic," according to Reuters News Service.
Lending credence to Stone's claim that he is not planning a left-wing polemic is his choice as screenwriter for the second draft of the screenplay for Jawbreaker: Cyrus Nowrasteh, writer-producer of the ABC-TV miniseries The Path to 9/11. Nowrasteh was criticized severely by the left and by prominent Democrats in particular, as they alleged that his assessment of the Clinton's administration's culpability for 9/11 was significantly greater than they thought justified. In the conclusion of the two-part miniseries ,Nowrasteh held the Bush administration to an equally high standard, but complaints from the right were pretty much nonexistent.
Nowrasteh's miniseries, that is, was quite fair, and he correctly refused to exonerate either the Clinton or Bush administrations. In watching the series it was easy to see what led to the tragic mistakes that ended up allowing the 9/11 attacks to occur. Nowrasteh and Stone seem to share a fairly realistic view of how flawed most politicians are and how quickly events can spin out of control. If the two filmmakers are as fair-minded as they were in The Path to 9/11 and World Trade Center, respectively, it might make some politicians uncomfortable but should be an interesting and reasonable treatment of the subject matter.
At least we can have some reason to hope so. With Stone, anything can happen.
For more on the Stone story, see the Reuters article on the announcement, here.
From Karnick on Culture.