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Oliver Stone Speaks Truth to Power in 12 November, 2012 CNN Interview


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Guest Tom Scully

Clips From Last Night: Oliver Stone on Petraeus' affair and Obama's re-election

http://piersmorgan.blogs.cnn.com/2012/11/13/clips-from-last-night-oliver-stone-on-petraeus-affair-and-obamas-re-election/?hpt=pm_mid

On Monday evening, "Piers Morgan Tonight" welcomed legendary filmmaker and documentarian Oliver Stone to the program to discuss his new project, the 10-part documentary series on Showtime, "Oliver Stone's Untold History of the United States."

http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1211/12/pmt.01.html

PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT

Petraeus Quits After Admitting Affair

Aired November 12, 2012 - 21:00 ET

MORGAN: Oliver Stone is not exactly the kind of guy who would take anything at face value. He would turn the official story on its head with movies like "JFK" and "Nixon." He has strong feelings about the unfolding Petraeus scandal, too.

In his new project, the book to complement the series, "The Untold History of the United States," he challenges the accepted view of American history. Oliver Stone joins me now.

Welcome back, Oliver. OLIVER STONE, DIRECTOR: Thank you, Piers.

MORGAN: I loved our last encounter. We had to bleep a few of your more outrageous comments but that's why I enjoyed it. Let's talk about Petraeus. Because unlike many people casting their verdict on him now, you did that before all this came out. And you were pretty scathing about it. Why were you not a fan of General Petraeus?

STONE: Well, the American media has come up with this narrative that he's the American hero who betrayed by the woman. He takes the fall. It's a classic. It sells well. It's a good soap opera. But it's not true. I see no evidence of his heroism.

There has been no success in Iraq. The so-called surge has been over hyped by the media as a success, when, in fact, Iraq was trashed almost from the beginning to the end, and it was in worse shape when he left. He didn't leave it well.

Then when he went to Afghanistan, he -- first of all, he conned Obama into adding 30,000 troops it was into Afghanistan, with a plan that he would win with this counter-insurgency program. Where is it? Where are the results? They're nonexistent. Afghanistan is worse off.

He's supervised the Predator explosion and the missiles, and into not only Pakistan and also Afghanistan, and he's exacerbated the entire region. And the people who are there are going to hate us more so for civilian damage, collateral damage.

On top of it, you know, he's built up this reputation. First of all, as a military man, I really think he's overdoing it as a showman, because he goes in front of Congress to talk about the counter- insurgency. He's wearing, if you noticed, the ribbons grow every year. He's got now like a regular fruit salad up here. Amazing amount.

And it's disgusting. General Marshall, who was one of the greatest heroes of World War II, is famous for being a modest man, going in front of Congress and wearing hardly anything. You don't need medals.

MORGAN: He had this reputation of King David.

STONE: Very much so.

MORGAN: A lot of people in the forces -- and they didn't always mean it as a compliment. They meant as he was slightly regal.

STONE: America values success. What is success in Iraq and Afghanistan? Can you tell me? He's left -- there have been many weeping widows out there. And it's not worked. Counter-insurgency -- our involvement in a foreign country, whether it's Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq one, Iraq two, it doesn't work.

We go in. We have a lot of money. We make a lot of friends, temporary friends. They know we're leaving. And when we leave, which they know we will leave, they value their lives. So they are our temporary friends.

MORGAN: Were you surprised when Petraeus got the CIA job?

STONE: I was worried about it because he's created again -- the military crossing into the CIA is very dangerous. And obviously it's a political job, but he's made it into a paramilitary force. He's adopted the Predator missiles into the CIA. They're using them as drone attacks, as well as the Pentagon.

Who knows what else he's up to. But certainly his whole concept of counter-insurgency violates the sovereignty of every nation on Earth. It's a very dangerous position we're putting ourselves into weapon-wise.

We can talk about untold history, where we get into the issue of where we're going, America --

MORGAN: I'll get to that. On Petraeus, when the scandal broke about him having a mistress, is that grounds enough --

STONE: In England, it is.

MORGAN: -- for him to resign?

STONE: In England, it is. Our puritan morality dictates it. Certainly it's not the reasons I would like to see him take a fall. It reminds me of the Monica Lewinsky scandal and stuff like that. It's tabloid stuff. You love that in England.

But here in America, the truth is that he should have been long ago investigated far more severely by our media. And he got a free pass because of the fruit salad and the Congressional -- and in general, the entire American nation, the Congress especially, has caved into this military worship of technology.

I've seen that in the last 20 years grow. In the '90s and 2000s, we seem to give a pass always to the military. Whenever they want more money, they get a pass.

MORGAN: The sense I get over here about the military is that it's almost impossible to criticize anyone in the military, because there's such patriotism towards it. And I get that. But it is particularly pronounced in America that it is almost seen as utter disloyalty, if not treachery, to criticize any serving military man or woman. That is quite dangerous, isn't it?

STONE: Very dangerous. You know where it leads to? Rome. Go back to the Roman Empire. The Praetorian Guard became so inflated by budgets, emperors would pay them homage and favors and pay them more money to be loyal to that faction. Eventually the Roman guards, the military became more important than the citizenry.

Of course, they didn't hold up the empire. They are all over the place, but they couldn't hold back the barbarians and so forth. So it doesn't work. You don't bribe the military. Frankly, we could be in a position where if things get more chaotic -- and there could be another terrorist attack and this concept of American security is so violated that the military could act in a very negative way, in an old-fashioned way, to restore order. And you end up with a General Petraeus running the country by certain form of dictatorship.

MORGAN: Take a short break. Let's come back and talk about Barack Obama being re-elected, and also historically where you put him in context in relation to the untold history of the United States and about this fascinating new project you have.

STONE: Well, we deal with --

MORGAN: After the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We live much of our lives in a fog, all of us. But I would like my children to have access to something that looks beyond what I call the tyranny of now. We watch the media. Everyone talks about that thing, the news of the day and all the subconscious, really important stuff that's going on is being neglected.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: A new project, "The Untold History of the United States," on Showtime. Back with me now is the one and only Oliver Stone. It's a fascinating project. I will come to that very soon.

I just want to talk to you quickly about Obama who got re- elected. You've been quite critical of him too previously. On balance, are you pleased though that he won the election?

STONE: I'm pleased he won the election. I voted for him. It was a better choice than Romney. But both men are operating inside of the economy where American security is paramount and American empire comes first, and the building up of America's power abroad, influence is the primary objective, which falls into the old concept of American empire, which we've had since 1898, since we went to the Philippines.

And it's got worse and worse and worse. And now we just accept it. No one in the argument, in the debate ever questions why we have to have such a big military, why we have to have foreign bases, 800 plus bases, and why we have to -- on top of it, you can talk about what Obama said, that America is the indispensable nation again.

We have heard this rhetoric over the years. It's a very dangerous rhetoric. We're not indispensable. We're not God appointed. We are very -- we should be very humble in the face of the prosperity that we have. But we've used our -- frankly, we've become like the New York Yankees a bit, like a little arrogant. And we're buying what we need. You mentioned Petraeus earlier. I said, maybe the concept of using money in Afghanistan and Iraq to bribe the Sunnis not to join us or to bribe the Shiites to fight -- I mean, it's a dirty thing that we do abroad. And people in America don't know about the dirty wars.

MORGAN: When you research this, how many military conflicts has America been engaged in that you think are justified?

STONE: In terms of conflicts, you mean -- you're talking about little things like Grenada that become big things?

(CROSS TALK)

STONE: I think it's about seven or eight major ones, since Vietnam and Korea. Korea was not necessary either. But that's another story. Vietnam starts this beginning of the decline economically in the country and also the infrastructure and the labor markets. The -- how do you say -- where the richest Americans have reached a level which is completely disproportionate to the rest of Americans.

MORGAN: But what was the point of doing this? Why did you want to make this series?

STONE: Boy. It started four and a half years ago. It's the culmination of the themes in my films, because I've been exploring. As I grew up. I found out more about life. I grew up conservative, very Republican. I served in Vietnam, with the belief that I was doing -- fighting communism.

And I saw the repetition of patterns. By the time the 1980s roll around and Reagan comes in and starts talking hostile actions in Central America, and messing with -- interfering with revolutions -- people's revolutions in those countries, I went down there, did a movie called "Salvador." I don't know if you saw it.

MORGAN: Great movie.

STONE: Basically, I saw American troops, just like I had been, a green kid in Vietnam. And I said -- I wondered -- I asked the kids, do you remember Vietnam? They literally said to me, no, I really don't know what happened in Vietnam. The history of Vietnam has been denied to them.

MORGAN: I think it's a fascinating history lesson, because you tell it so vividly. Not just your generation, which is a very interesting way of doing it, but the images that you use, the video you use makes it a compelling history lesson.

STONE: By the way, it's --

MORGAN: That's why I would urge people to watch it, because you will learn about these events, even if you don't necessarily agree with your take on it. STONE: That's true. I learned a lot. And we don't want to make it didactic.. You see, kids are bored with history because they think they know at the end. I don't agree. I don't think we know the end. I think the story that is untold -- because World War II, we started tonight, chapter one, World War II. We see it from three sides, Britain, Russia, the U.S.

It's a whole other ball game when you at three interests, you look at it through other eyes, Russian eyes, English eyes, Chinese eyes.

If you can see history, have empathy for others, other than yourself, you broaden your compassion. And you broaden. And we become a member of the world, of the global community. And this is what Obama has not done.

Now he's basically operating as an outlier now. You asked about our criticism of him. Our criticism is couched in the context of 120 years of history. We started in 1900. We end now. That's a lot.

And we start -- we mentioned Woodrow Wilson, World War I, saying America is the savior of the world, if you remember after Versailles. So we show that this mission to be a global policeman starts a long time ago. But it certainly grows dangerous after the atomic bomb in 1945.

MORGAN: It's a fascinating project. Thoroughly enjoyed the book. It's a riveting history lesson. You bring this stuff to life. I commend you for it. Oliver, good to see you.

STONE: Thank you, Piers.

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Guest Robert Morrow

How can one have an interview about American's "Untold History" and not mention the JFK assassination? Especially with Oliver Stone.

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I am surprised and gratified that Morgan was so generous in his praise for Stone and his new show. As for the above comments, although the interview didn't touch upon the JFK assassination per se, the assassination, et al, is inescapably intertwined with the topic of Stone's newest endeavor, thus highly recommended.

Edited by Steve Cearfoss
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How can one have an interview about American's "Untold History" and not mention the JFK assassination? Especially with Oliver Stone.

I have the book from the library. The entire assassination is skipped over, as it will probably be in the series. This may be a marketing decision, but based on a politically dictated market.

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When a writer or movie maker wants to deliver information to an audience, deliver a message that the audience will truly understand and integrate into their lives, the best way to accomplish this is to offer them the message from a unique, interesting perspective in a form that forces them to reflect upon the film or book to puzzle out the answer for themselves.

When you just drop the info into their lap, it's boring and feels preachy.

The writer needs to provide them the basic structure and integral points on the topic, and let that lead the reader or watcher to the conclusion via their own brain. If this is done in a fascinating way, it gets the audience to think about the topic for days until they find their own answer.

If you have watched the documentary Virtual JFK, the film maker never mentions who assassinated JFK- he only points out various proofs suggesting that Kennedy was at heart a dove, who continuously pushed for world peace and who was certainly not going to escalate Vietnam.

But the resulting effect on the audience, when they consider all the ways Kennedy went against the Joint Chiefs and Industrialists, is to ponder about the fact that JFK got wacked right as he was about to pull out of Vietnam, and the way Bundy and Johnson turned it around to escalation while the body was still warm leads the viewer towards the truth about JFK's death without ever even mentioning the assassination in context with the events the film is theorectically covering.

It's an adroit film technique to get the audience to ask specific questions without even bringing up the specific subject, and Oliver Stone, having already tackled the subject head on, is simply buttressing his past work with extremely relevant material on the subject of where the actions of our Industrialists, Military and Intelligence Agencies have led us after their little foray into treason.

Good thread, utterly relevant to the topic of the death of JFK, in my opinion. God Bless Oliver Stone, and kudos to Piers for have the Stones to dare to say what he actually thinks, instead of cow-towing the propagandized version of history.

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When a writer or movie maker wants to deliver information to an audience, deliver a message that the audience will truly understand and integrate into their lives, the best way to accomplish this is to offer them the message from a unique, interesting perspective in a form that forces them to reflect upon the film or book to puzzle out the answer for themselves.

The writer needs to provide them the basic structure and integral points on the topic, and let that lead the reader or watcher to the conclusion via their own brain. If this is done in a fascinating way, it gets the audience to think about the topic for days until they find their own answer.

But the resulting effect on the audience, when they consider all the ways Kennedy went against the Joint Chiefs and Industrialists, is to ponder about the fact that JFK got wacked right as he was about to pull out of Vietnam, and the way Bundy and Johnson turned it around to escalation while the body was still warm leads the viewer towards the truth about JFK's death without ever even mentioning the assassination in context with the events the film is theorectically covering.

It's an adroit film technique to get the audience to ask specific questions without even bringing up the specific subject, and Oliver Stone, having already tackled the subject head on, is simply buttressing his past work with extremely relevant material on the subject of where the actions of our Industrialists, Military and Intelligence Agencies have led us after their little foray into treason.

If the author of such a work does not provide all the significant alternatives to his viewers then he is engaging in manipulation and nothing more.

A false dichotomy is when you are presented with two choices, both of which are false or

you are presented with two choices which may or may not be false and there exists a third choice, which is true, which is not presented to you. It creates the illusion that a valid debate is being conducted.

You did get me interested in the documentary Virtual JFK and I am posting the link to their website.

From the website I learn that apparently this documentary is about Vietnam if Kennedy had lived, how the world would be different. I cannot read that without thinking what the Middle East would be like today if Kennedy had lived!

http://www.virtualjfk.com/

Edited by Mike Rago
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Actually, the assassination is discussed briefly, but non-committally, at the end of the Cuban Missile Crisis chapter, and again at the start of the Vietnam chapter. Robert may appreciate the reference to Nelson Rockefeller's "soft on Communism" campaign against Kennedy's re-election.

I appreciate Patrick's defense of Stone, and I do very much appreciate Stone's filmmaking. Still - a marketing decision. And we all know what the market's like now.

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