Oliver Stone’s W: Burning Bush

Deena Mueller

We all hate Bush! Republicans and Democrats alike are awaiting the day he is no longer our President, and from time to time we all tell mocking jokes about the Bush Administration. But Oliver Stone took it too far with his new movie, W.

I understand the concept of free speech. Stone has the legal right to make a movie about the numerous mistakes and lack of qualifications of George W. Bush. However, what he did with W goes beyond stating one’s views in a public forum; it’s a personal attack and an unfair power play.

President Bush’s eight year stint in office has provided a lot of material for his opponents to draw from, and yet the movie W, while touching on these, goes more into Bush’s personal life. One scene depicts a much younger Bush driving drunk. Granted, driving drunk is a reprehensible act, but it has no relevance in the evaluation of the Bush Presidency. Plus, it is decades in the past. Yes, Bush was a drunkard, but he’s also been sober for as long as I’ve been alive!

I’m not saying W lies (although W might), but Stone picked and chose exactly what aspects of Bush’s life and work to highlight in order to portray the most negative image possible. W is based on truth, but it is not the whole truth.

The movie also makes it seem as though Bush makes bad presidential decisions and then shrugs them off and toasts champagne to the riches he and his cronies will gain from Iraq. I find this highly unlikely. My bet is that Bush lays awake at night, agonizing over the lives he’s cost America in Iraq and Afghanistan, or over the state of the economy and every family whose home foreclosed because he couldn’t stop the country from spiraling into recession.

Bush utilized awful plans and policies, and he bares responsibility for many of the negative things that have happened to this country and its citizens over the last eight years. But don’t be na’ve enough to think he doesn’t care. In fact his body reflects the stress he is constantly under. The stress aged him. Think about it. As president, the job hours are 24/7 year round, and the decisions one needs to make amount to trillions of dollars and cost humans their lives. It isn’t an easy task to be president, so maybe we should be less quick to judge.

In reality, there are an infinite number of possible ways to approach the challenges a president faces and usually none are “right,” some are just less bad than others. And no president is perfect: they’ve all had their shares of mistakes. Unfortunately for all of us, Bush made more blunders than most.

However, the fact that this movie rehashes these errors seems to me to be kicking a dying horse. Bush is a lame duck with less than 20 percent approval rate; did we really need a feature film about it before he even finishes his term?

If someone wants to make a derogatory movie about a U.S. president, fine, but release it after he (or she, if that ever happens) is out of office. It is so disrespectful to make this movie about Bush while he is still President. He may be rather dumb and incompetent, but he is still the leader of the free world and this movie just totally discredited him, to Americans and people around the world. It is embarrassing for us. And what if something were to happen before Bush departs the White House? He wouldn’t even have the respect needed to be taken seriously in resolving a crisis.

Furthermore, W is blatant propaganda to influence the election. Surely, Stone hopes that by reminding us how bad Bush has been, it will force us to vote for the other party. In essence, it gives off the impression that you can’t vote Republican or you’ll end up repeating this disaster again. I am so sick of that. John McCain is not George W. Bush. In fact, McCain couldn’t be any less like Bush!

Everyone has their causes that they fight for, but Oliver Stone is fighting an unnecessary and dirty battle. No one needs Stone to tell them that George W has been one of the top five worst U.S. presidents. We’ve figured that one out on our own, and we’ll figure out who to vote for without the aid of a biased Hollywood movie.