Alan MacLeod Military

“Top Gun: Maverick” is Military Propaganda. Official Documents Prove It.

Tom Cruise poses for the media during the ‘Top Gun Maverick’ UK premiere at a central London cinema, May 19, 2022. Alberto Pezzali | AP

By Alan MacLeod / MintPress News

BEVERLY HILLS, CALIF – “Top Gun: Maverick” is a box-office smash, a massive hit with both critics and the public alike. Navy and Air Force units across the country have set up recruitment stalls inside movie halls, hoping to sign up individuals buzzed after watching the high-paced aviation action. But documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that the movie was made only after an agreement was signed between Hollywood and the Pentagon, with the Navy insisting on “weav[ing] in” their “key talking points” in exchange for granting the production company extensive access to military hardware.

Investigative journalist Tom Seckerauthor of “National Security Cinema: The Shocking New Evidence of Government Control in Hollywood,” was one of those who obtained the documents. Secker explained that “Top Gun: Maverick” was made with an explicit agenda behind it, telling MintPress:

It’s about rehabilitation of the military’s image in the wake of numerous failed wars. The film also helps foreground human pilots flying an actual combat mission – something very rare in these days of high-altitude airstrikes and drone warfare. It helps distract from all the drone pilots who’ve spoken out about the misery and horror inherent in that job.”

The sequel to the hit 1980s movie “Top Gun,” the new film follows the story of Pete “Maverick” Mitchell over 30 years later, as the renegade pilot who does not play by the rules is brought in to train the Navy’s best young pilots for a secret mission to blow up a uranium enrichment facility [a site implied to be in Iran]. Maverick instead shows that he is still the best pilot and is selected for the mission himself.

The production agreement between the Department of Defense (DoD) and Paramount Pictures is an explicit quid pro quo. In exchange for all manner of technical support and access to military equipment and personnel, the Pentagon was allowed to “[a]ssign a senior staff, post-command Officer to review with public affairs the script’s thematics and weave in key talking points relevant to the aviation community.”

Department of Defense (DoD) and Paramount Pictures production agreement PDF.

What these key talking points are, Secker felt, is not too difficult to work out. Throughout the movie, the phrase “it’s not the plane; it’s the pilot” is used. This comes at a time when the military is facing a pressing shortage of pilots – something that is completely incongruous if the glamorous image of hard drinking, woman-chasing daredevils living the high-octane life is anything like accurate.

In essence, then, the movie functions as a two-hour 11 minute-long recruitment ad for the military. As one recruiter told Fox News, “We want to take advantage of the opportunity to connect not just the movie and the idea of a military service, but the fact that we’ve got jobs and we’ve got recruiters waiting for them.”

Roger Stahl, professor of communications at the University of Georgia, told MintPress that movies play a key role in improving the military’s image at home and abroad, stating:

Foreign policy planners famously nicknamed the public’s reticence to authorize military intervention in the 80s the “Vietnam Syndrome.” The original “Top Gun’” arrived just in time to clean up this image and clear the way for a more palatable high-tech vision of imperialism and ultimately the Persian Gulf War. “Top Gun: Maverick” arrives at a similar moment in the shadow of Iraq and Afghanistan. And we will likely see a similar rebooting of the U.S. military machine.”

Stahl and Secker are co-producers of the new film “Theaters of War: How the Pentagon and CIA took Hollywood.”

A MOUNTAIN OF MILITARY HARDWARE

In over 100 pages of contracts, the military agreed to allow Paramount access to a mountain of their most expensive hardware in exchange for what amounts to significant editorial control over the content and tone of the movie – an arrangement that is remarkably common in today’s environment.

“Top Gun: Maverick” was filmed at a number of military locations across the United States. This included air bases filled with the latest fighter jets and aboard two nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, the USS Theodore Roosevelt and the USS Abraham Lincoln. The production company was also allowed to borrow an F-14 Tomcat jet and to use a number of helicopters. The F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet, however, is the star of the show, with actors playing pilots being put through an extensive and rigorous training program, and the production company was given permission to attach cameras all over the inside and outside of the aircraft.

In addition, the Navy agreed to “[s]upport flying scenes with Naval aircraft and Naval aviators” and “[a]llow active-duty personnel in a duty status to appear in the film.” This included pilots, ground crew and sailors aboard Navy ships. Sweetening the deal, the Navy’s Blue Angel flight demonstration squad was instructed to perform a flyover for the production company.

Paramount was also given permission to purchase military uniforms. However, the Department of Defense effectively held a veto over any actor who appeared in the movie. As the agreement states,

The Production Company will cast actors, extras, doubles. and stunt personnel portraying Service members who conform to individual Military Service regulations governing age, height and weight, uniform, grooming, appearance, and conduct standards. DoD reserves the right to suspend support in the event that disagreement regarding the military aspects of these portrayals cannot be resolved in negotiation between the Production Company and DoD within the 72-hour cure period. The DoD Project Officer will provide written guidance specific to each Military Service being portrayed.

This is not a mere technicality. The DoD is intensely protective of its image in the media, going so far as to threaten to completely shut down the movie “12 Strong” (2018) merely because the production company intended to portray some U.S. soldiers with beards and/or tattoos.

This is far from the most onerous condition attached to the agreement, however. Clause 8 of the document, for instance, notes that the DoD approved a draft script of “Top Gun: Maverick” and that henceforth:

The Production Company must obtain, in advance, DoD concurrence for any subsequent substantial changes proposed to the military depictions made to either the Picture or the sound portions of the production before it is exhibited to the public.

Not only that, but Paramount must “involve the DoD Project Officer in these changes, including those that may be made during post-production.”

As a final check, clause 19 stipulates that the production company must provide to the military a final cut of the movie and allow the DoD to “confirm that the tone of the military sequences substantially conforms to the agreed script” and “[s]hould the Department of Defense determine that material in the production compromises any of the preceding concerns, the Department of Defense will alert the Production Company of the material, and the Production Company will remove the material from the production.” In other words, the Department of Defense is both co-writer and co-producer of the movie.

Should Paramount break this agreement, the terms were clear. The contract states that the military will permanently revoke the use of any images including its personnel or equipment, rendering the movie dead on arrival. Furthermore, the DoD notes that “Requests for future support…may also be denied.” To put it bluntly, anyone not producing a movie where every shot from every scene is not as the military wants it is blacklisted.

Despite effectively co-writing and co-producing the movie, the contract also demands that the extent of the military’s involvement must be downplayed. Clause 21a states that the military will be mentioned merely with the phrase “Special Thanks to the United States Department of Defense” in the end credits. No doubt the Pentagon is aware that the propaganda value of “Top Gun: Maverick” would be greatly diminished if moviegoers realized that this was an hours-long propaganda film produced by the military itself.

“Special Thanks” is a common phrase the DoD uses to hide its true role in Hollywood. Phil Strub, the Pentagon’s Hollywood liaison between 1988 and 2018, was possibly the most influential man in the entertainment industry. From the “Iron Man,, “James Bond,” “Jurassic Park” and “Transformers” franchises, to smash hits like “Apollo 13,” “Godzilla,” “Black Hawk Down” and “I Am Legend,” Strub’s resume is positively Spielbergian. Yet he is rarely credited with anything else but “special thanks,” despite the fact that documents show he wrote and rewrote movie scripts to suit the Pentagon’s agenda.

A GRIM REALITY

When pressed on its involvement in Hollywood, the Pentagon insists it is there merely to ensure that the military is presented as realistically as possible. Indeed, the “Top Gun: Maverick” production agreement states that its liaisons were there “to provide on-set dialogue and depict action scenes accurately.” Cruise, who played Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, is on the same page, stating that he demanded the movie “had to be as real as possible.”

Yet the entire premise of the movie – that Iran is developing a nuclear weapon and that the U.S. military would have to scramble together a plan to bomb the country in a matter of days – is absurd in itself. Maverick himself often egregiously breaks Navy rules, disobeying senior officers and stealing a plane – something that would never be tolerated. Furthermore, there are a number of crazy acrobatic stunts that are supposedly part of Maverick’s training program, including one where he flies directly between two of his students at a perpendicular angle, inches from destroying all three planes and ending their lives. This would be too dangerous even for choreographed routines from the Blue Angels, let alone for pilot training.

“‘Top Gun: Maverick’ most assuredly is not accurate,” Secker told MintPress, adding:

The entire premise of the film – just like in the first movie – is not true to life. But then, saying the entertainment liaison offices are there to help Hollywood present truthfulness or reality is like saying celebrities hire PR/crisis management firms because they sincerely want the public to be well-informed.”

Before his death, “Top Gun” director Tony Scott felt guilty about making a movie that glamorizes military life, lamenting:

All these kids must hate me, because they all signed on thinking they’re gonna be fighter pilots pulling broads all over the world, and they all ended up eleven stories down on some shitty old aircraft carrier stuck in the Indian Ocean.

Yet the reality of the profession is not just more boring, but far more grizzly. PTSD and suicide are exceptionally common in the profession, as pilots struggle to come to terms with the staggering amount of destruction they are required to carry out.

A US Navy sailor poses for photos with young moviegoers outside of a “Top Gun: Maverick” showing. Photo | DVIDS

Testimonies from a series of whistleblowers paint aerial war in a far less glorified and arguably much more realistic fashion. USAF Airman Daniel Hale leaked documents showing the Obama administration compiled detailed kill lists and that over 90% of the victims of the U.S. drone program, by even its own figures, were civilians. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates that U.S. drone pilots have killed between 4,126 and 10,076 people in Afghanistan alone.

“When I fired my first shot and killed people, that was heartbreaking for me, because I didn’t think that I would ever be in a position that I would have to take someone else’s life,” said USAF sensor operator Brandon Bryant. “I felt like it destroyed my soul… It has isolated me. I stopped sleeping because I started dreaming about my job and couldn’t escape it at all,” he added.

Perhaps the most infamous leak revealing the realities of pilot life, however, is the Collateral Murder video. In it, U.S. Apache helicopter pilots are seen ruthlessly opening fire on a crowd of people in Baghdad, killing at least 12, including two Reuters journalists. As the attack continues, the pilots even laugh and shoot at civilians medically assisting the victims. While the leaker and publisher responsible for the world seeing those images went to prison, those presenting the sanitized, glorified version of military life are hot favorites to receive Academy Awards this year.

Thus, just as there are no scenes in “Top Gun: Maverick” of screaming Iranian children picking through the remains of their dead family, any “Top Gun 3” is unlikely to revolve around Tom Cruise struggling with PTSD caused by the unimaginable violence in which he has participated.

HOLLYWOOD: THE MILITARY’S WINGMAN

“Top Gun: Maverick” has been produced at a time when the United States is currently throttling Iran with illegal and deadly sanctions. In early 2020, the Trump administration assassinated top Iranian general and statesman Qassem Soleimani, and influential figures in the United States have called for an unprovoked nuclear attack on the country.

Yet none of this context is mentioned, leaving the legality of the depicted attack unquestioned. As Stahl told MintPress, the basic assumption is that “the U.S. has the right to violate international law and strike any country for any reason.” “Imagine if this film came out of Iran and was about striking an Israeli or U.S. nuclear facility,” he said. “Heads would explode with accusations of hard-line propaganda.”

Therefore, “Top Gun: Maverick” falls in line in promoting a remarkably militaristic society; one that spends almost as much on war as every other nation on Earth combined. Celebrations of militarism are everywhere in the United States, from sporting events to cinemas, feeding into an overwhelming cult of troop worship.

The military works exceptionally hard to maintain a positive image and has found a willing collaborator in the entertainment industry. Stahl and Secker’s investigations have found that the Pentagon and CIA have exercised direct control over more than 2,500 films and television shows. These include not only military-based blockbusters like “American Sniper,” “Pearl Harbor” and “A Few Good Men,” but also a host of light entertainment shows like “The Price is Right,” “Teen Idol” and “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” A decent rule of thumb is that if the title you are watching includes the military or security services, then those institutions will likely be co-producing the work, meaning they themselves decide how they are depicted.

US Navy brass pose for a photo with Tom Cruise at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island. Photo | DVIDS

The military opens its doors to directors and producers across the country, offering them free or special access to its arsenal of machines that would be impossible to obtain otherwise, access to military bases for filming, and use of active-duty personnel as extras, as well as a host of other benefits that would be impractically expensive otherwise. But he who pays the piper calls the tune, and the Pentagon exacts a considerable political cost, insisting that the creative direction and outlook of the film or TV show is as relentlessly pro-military as it is possible to get. Anti-war productions need not apply and therefore are rejected out of hand by the majority of production companies, who do not want to lose such a powerful ally.

In this sense, then, film and television in America have slowly turned into a military-entertainment complex in which hundreds of millions of Americans are fed a steady diet of Pentagon-sponsored pro-war propaganda. And they are not even aware of it.

At one time, Cruise felt a good deal of remorse for becoming part of the war machine, telling Playboy magazine:

Some people felt that “Top Gun’”was a right-wing film to promote the Navy. And a lot of kids loved it. But I want the kids to know that that’s not the way war is – that “Top Gun” was just an amusement park ride, a fun film with a PG-13 rating that was not supposed to be reality. That’s why I didn’t go on and make Top Gun II and III and IV and V. That would have been irresponsible.”

Irresponsible it may be, but judging by the fact that Cruise will receive a significant cut of the global box office figures ($747 million and counting), at least he will be financially compensated for it. In the same Playboy interview, Cruise also lamented that he could be “totally responsible for World War Three.” Given the United States’ constantly aggressive actions towards Iran, he might one day be proven correct.

Alan MacLeod

Alan MacLeod is Senior Staff Writer for MintPress News. After completing his PhD in 2017 he published two books: Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting and Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent, as well as a number of academic articles. He has also contributed to FAIR.orgThe GuardianSalonThe GrayzoneJacobin Magazine, and Common Dreams.

39 comments

  1. Hey Alan, I’m writing to you as another Alan (spelled correctly, and not Allen, which is only a proper last name, like Steve Allen) — “smock smock, — where’s your fern” :

    Anyway, my main (not Maine) point with regard to the Department of Defense, is that it should at least be returned to the previous title of the Second World War of Empires — term of the War Department, or as Wiki defines:

    The United States Department of War, also called the War Department (and occasionally War Office in the early years), was the United States Cabinet department originally responsible for the operation and maintenance of the United States Army, also bearing responsibility for naval affairs until the establishment of the Navy Department in 1798, and for most land-based air forces until the creation of the Department of the Air Force on September 18, 1947.

    So, IMHO, it is entirely appropriate and honest to note that the proper nomenclature for the U.S. Department of War was not changed to the Department of Defense until AFTER America’s FIRST COUP in 1944, when the OSS and DNC conspired to physically block FDR’s brilliant socialist VP, Henry Wallace, from taking his proper place as the 60%+ favored candidate on the Convention Floor, who should have been President in April of 1945 when FDR died.

    But aside from that little matter of our first Coup d’état, the U.S. Military (aka) the ‘National Security State’, “rolled on under the night” (as F. Scott Fitzgerald somehow presciently wrote in “The Great Gatsby”, prior to Fitzgerald’s own death).

    Anyway, IMHO(2), all of the power and deceit of the NRA, and other recipient ‘pro-gun’ and ‘pro-war’ organizations, which manufacture, promote, advertise, deadly small arms — which only count their profits in the hundreds of millions of ‘small change’ — have ‘big brothers’ in the mis-named Defense Industry — which makes many Billion’s (perhaps 2 to 3 “orders of magnitude”) more money than the little domestic gun manufacturers.

    It is, IMHO, impossible to imagine that the BIG WEAPONS of WAR industry, (aka “Merchants of Death”) are NOT pushing massive amounts of money into the pockets of the NRA, et al.!!

    There has been, to the best of my knowledge, NOT ANY serious investigation of money flowing from the BIG WEAPONS industry of the Defense Industry into the ‘pockets’ of the small arms industry.

    Hey, New York ‘Times’, with your highly promoted ‘visual investigation’ skills — have you ever even thought about the pipeline between the BIG WEAPONS “Merchants of Death” and the ‘small arms peons’ of death???

    WakeTF-up!

    1. In terms of movies being ‘POLAR OPPOSITES’ — “TOP GUN: MAVERICK” is absolutely TOP GUN Propaganda, compared to many other seriously ‘Anti-WAR’ and ‘ANTI-EMPIRE’ films such as; “Don’t Look Up”, “Bulworth”, “Dr. Strangelove”, “Cool Hand Luke”, “Being There”, “Three Days of the Condor”, etc. etc., et. al.

      1. @Alan MacDonald
        Apocalypse Now! is the most anti-war fiction movie I’ve ever seen. It freaked me out so much that I never wanted to see another gun or helicopter again. I also talked to several Vietnam vets who said they had to leave the movie during the first battle scene because it was too realistic and freaked them out so much.

  2. Even as Tom Cruise is jumping up and down on Oprah’s expensive sofa to prove his life-long dexterity (he’s 50-something now, right?), he vehemently denies any connection with the US military.

  3. Hats off to the author for digging this up. Very informative. I saw Top Gun Maverick and it was an exciting piece of entertainment. My first reaction was that it was a huge recruiting bonus for the Navy.

    My guess is that the Production Company’s agreement with the DOD is probably in line with every other war movie ever made.

    Have there been any battle scene movies made without DOD assistance.

    I scanned the 84 page agreement but did not see if any funds exchanged hands,. Did the the producers pay for any of this assistance?

    Finally, the biggest question in my mind per provisions on page 83 is, this, is the Hard Deck Bar still open at Coronado.

  4. Hollywood was founded on propaganda literally. It was financed by political order to make a propaganda piece called “The Birth of the Nation” in 1915, first three hour long production in the world, starring revered by US government KKK.

    Since then vast majority of movies they produced were those any retarded KKK members can be proud of. And all of them orgies of propaganda cliches and “righteous” violence were heavily censored out of any resemblances of peoples reality aimed at emotional flushing young brains down the intellectual toilet calling it patriotic education.

    The “American (film art) school” if it existed consisted of those who escaped from Hollywood’s grip and produced films they saw as reflecting truths of times contemporary to them.The often self- contradictory truths about human experience devoid of medial, cultural or propaganda delusions of it.

    In ten thousand Hollywood movies combined produced over last 100 years there is less truth about reality of human experience and condition amid historical background of wars and moral conflicts then in outside of Hollywood control produced movies like “Soldier Blue” and “Apocalypse Now” to name just few.

    Decades ago one of famous international directors stated that camera lens is natural born liar and hence must be forced even violated to tell the truth. However, truth has been nearly completely eradicated from cinema while Hollywood lies have been elevated to status of art as Adorno pointed out already in 1930s and 40s. Americans have been blinded by means of big screen hypnosis so they do not see commercial monster they created.

  5. “Imagination is everything. It’s the preview of life’s coming attractions”. Einstein

    ‘The Depp travesty is as much sociopolitically motivated to agitate populations as the SCOTUS move to overturn Roe v Wade. Both of which themselves sit against the backdrop of inescapable #MeToo *mass-emasculation*, LGBT agitation and US/UK hero-worship of militarism propaganda – notably in football stadia and cinematic productions. Synchronicity and timing are everything…

    …Societal cohesion is fragmented, political threats are divided and each demographic by race, culture, religion & especially by gender and sexuality – real and invented – is channelled according to ‘The Party’s’ predetermined Orwellian roles.’

    ‘The Depp Travesty: Judgement Day – If You Tolerate This…’ (2022) https://wp.me/p94Aj4-387

    Johnny McNeill
    #GaslightingGilligan (© 2017) 
    Twitter: @GasGilligan (*free download*)

  6. I raised my children to be followers of the nonviolent Jesus. In the early 90’s, some of the churches in our rural county put together a series of joint services. This included a youth outreach. As part of a contest, our oldest son won a prize of a year subscription to Breakaway magazine, a “Christian” publication for teen boys put out by James Dobson and his Focus on the Family organization.

    The very first issue’s cover illustration was of the USS Michigan submarine shown launching two of its 24 Trident II ballistic missiles with nuclear weaponry. The journalist who wrote the article had been given a guided tour of the submarine. His article was a “gee whiz golly wow!” piece to stimulate young men how cool all that awesome power was.

    I wrote the publisher asking how this submarines’ potential to destroy the world squared with Jesus, and received nothing but a tepid acknowledgement that people can have different beliefs. In my opinion, the article was mutiny to the person and teachings of Jesus. Sadly, tragically, this continues.

    1. @Allen Johnson
      Christianity as it is practiced is pretty much the opposite of what Jesus taught. If Jesus were alive today, Christians would be at the front of the line to kill him. People who follow his teachings are a small minority of Christians.

  7. The film is totally unrealistic in another way. Cruise’s character would simply be too old to fly (30 years and more of “active” duty!) as a trainer let alone in combat. Besides, the military should have already retired his character and let him work for some military contractor raking in the bucks.

  8. “‘Top Gun: Maverick’ is Military Propaganda. Official Documents Prove It.”

    Well, DUH!!! That fact is quite obvious and you don’t need documents to prove it. The first Top Gun movie was also military propaganda (full disclosure, I haven’t seen either one and have no desire to do so). The first one was so bad that Tom Cruise, certainly no anti-war progressive, apologized publicly for it.

  9. Horkheimer/adorno described US organized sound (they call it music) Hollywood, TV media, as a “consciousness industry…a tool of ruling class domination”. what can be more fascist and racist than Star Trek?

    1. @george simmel
      Explain specifically how Star Trek is racist or fascist. I could not disagree more with that statement, and it shows that you don’t understand science fiction, which generally makes points by allegory, metaphor, and symbolism.

      1. @frank
        Not only that, but Star Trek had that half-Black, half-white episode, showing how stupid racism is. george simmel’s comment was stupid and ignorant.

  10. To have any cog in the military machine called Maverick is a psyop in doublethink. Leave it to Tom Cruise, celebrity apostle for the cult of Scientology, to be just the manboy for the job.

    1. It’s a movie, it’s fiction, it’s a story, it’s entertainment, it’s not real.

      Pete “Maverick” Mitchell is not a cog in the U.S. military. He is a fictional character.

      It’s a highly entertaining movie and America has voted for Tom Cruise with their wallets.

      I don’t know anything about Scientology but what does that have to do with anything?

      What exactly is a “man boy?”

      1. @WDD
        If your response to niko was an attempt to prove that you don’t understand how propaganda works, congrats! Fiction, especially in Hollywood, is used far more than nonfiction to propagandize and brainwash regular people, and these awful movies are perfect examples of that.

      2. I’ve noticed that a lot of commentators on this site like to use terms like propaganda and brainwash and main stream media (by the way, is there a list of who’s included in the MSM and who’s not?) to diminish other peoples’ posts.

        Who exactly is being brainwashed by Top Gun.? All the “regular people?”

        And do we have any polling on this? That all these people coming out of Top Gun and giving it an audience review of 97% are what, Stepford wife’s in favor of every military budget ever proposed.

        There are a lot of elitists posting on this site who assume that the “regular person”, as used in one of the posts on this topic are all idiots.

        The producers of Top Gun had one goal, to make money. To do that they had to make an exciting movie. Both goals have been accomplished.

        If anyone thinks those producers are trying to brainwash their movie going audience, show me some proof.

      3. @WDD
        The Pentagon is heavily involved in Hollywood, probably the CIA too. You can find that information, I don’t remember where I seen it, though I’ve seen it multiple times (maybe Jimmy Dore?). The people being brainwashed to Top Gun are the people who watch it, simple as that.

        I never claimed that regular people are stupid. Regular people get put into a bad position because our leaders are crap — they are egomaniacs obsessed with money, power, and other unevolved things like that — and because the corporate/mainstream/establishment media is propaganda and lies instead of the news that it should be. Regular people shouldn’t have to, and are incapable of, spending long hours researching just to find out what’s really going on. The news media should be informing us, and our politicians should be working for us. Instead, it’s just the opposite, and regular people are tricked into thinking that it’s raining on them when in fact the ruling class is pissing on them. That doesn’t make people stupid, it just means that they have jobs and families to attend to and don’t have time to figure things out.

      4. I guess I’ve just never met anyone who was brainwashed. How do you identify such a person?

        I’m fully aware of the tremendous support the military gave to the producers of Top Gun. I saw the movie and was highly entertained but I don’t feel brainwashed. What are the symptoms you would observe in me to diagnose a condition of brainwashed.

        Does the mainstream media include my local newspaper or NPR affiliate?

        Does the ruling class include town councils and school boards, the governing bodies closest to most people?

        Why do some people who post on this site like to spell America with a k.
        What does that mean? Did Thomas Paine spell America with a k?

      5. @WDD
        It’s nice that you don’t FEEL brainwashed. If you did, you wouldn’t be brainwashed!

        You meet brainwashed people every day, because most Americans are very brainwashed. The U.S. has the most extensive and sophisticated propaganda in the world, and it provides great results.

        A perfect example of brainwashed Americans was the hysterical and gross overreaction to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Americans had been brainwashed with years of Russiagate lies & propaganda, and they were brainwashed into hating Russia for no good reason before the invasion. THAT’s how you identify brainwashed people. Look at how people from the global south view the Russia/Ukraine situation to see how people who aren’t brainwashed reacted to the invasion.

        The ruling class is the group of billionaires who also take an interest in political affairs and work to get their political views made into law. Examples are the Koch brothers, the Mellons, the Morgans, the Rockefellers, and the Rothchilds. People in political office work for these people, and if you ever took an honest political science course, you’d have been taught that.

      6. Ok, I get it now, a brainwashed person is one who thinks differently from you.

        Was the response to PUTIN’s invasion of Ukraine hysterical. I doubt many Ukrainians agree with that.

        What was the responsible, that is non-hysterical position. “OK Vlad, just the Ukraine and not an inch more.”

        Hard not to think of Munich in this regard.

        No doubt the billionaire class has an outsize influence over everything that happens. It’s hard to see a way to keep the influence of money in check.

        Maybe Denmark and Sweden have figured it out.

        When our Supreme Court decides that money is speech and corporations are people, it’s hard to see a way out of our dilemma.

        On the other hand, it’s good to remember that the murderous tyrants of our time were not created by the ruling class-billionaires as you describe.

        Stalin, Putin, Hitler, Mao, Saddam, Pol Pot, Kim….all came from a political class that co-opted the rich for their purposes.

      7. @WDD
        I too get it. You’re a typical brainwashed American who supports the establishment for no reason except that you’ve been brainwashed.

        A non-hysterical response to Russia’s invasion would be something like China’s: the invasion was wrong, but the fault is ultimately that of the U.S. for constant eastward expansion of NATO, the 2014 coup, etc. The western reaction was hysterical because it was so over-the-top compared to the much weaker or nonexistent reactions to immoral U.S. invasions of the past 20 or so years — Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, etc.

        I notice that you don’t mention any U.S. presidents in your list of supposed murderers. The U.S. has killed about 20 million people since the end of WWII, but they get a pass? Perfect example of U.S. brainwashing.

      8. I can see you like claiming people who differ from you are brainwashed. Then you don’t have to responded to their arguments in fact based way.

        Your argument is that the in vision was wrong but NATO’s at fault? NATO has no territorial designs on the Russian Federation.

        The Munich parallel seems quite strong to me, first Crimea then Ukraine. First the Sudetenland then all of Czechoslovakia. What’s next for Vlad?

        It seems a weak argument that the invasion of Ukraine is bad because U.S. invasions were equally bad or worse. My mother taught me a long time ago that just because Johnny did it doesn’t make it right for me to do it.

        What President do you contend has slaughtered his own people like Hitler, Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot or the Kim’s.

        Do you contend there is an equivalence here.

        Jeff, some facts please.

      9. @WDD
        If you support the U.S. establishment and are American, you’re either brainwashed or you have something to gain from the establishment’s positions. Same specifically regarding your Putin/Russia hatred. As to this issue specifically, do you realize that most of the world by population doesn’t support the U.S./NATO position on this? Basically, only white people support this utter BS, the rest pretty much take China’s position, which I do also.

        The people in Crimea voted overwhelmingly to become part of Russia. I know it’s hard for people like you to understand, but not everyone likes the west.

        As to facts, I provided plenty, starting with the eastward expansion of NATO, which the U.S. agreed not to do beyond Germany in exchange for Russia allowing Germany’s reunification.

      10. Does anyone really trust a vote that claims a turnout of 86% voted 97% in favor of The annexation of Crimea to Russia when the Crimea is only 60% ethnic Russian? Not even Stalin won by those margins.

        Of course, the annexation violated the Ukranian constitution and international law but that matters little to some.

        There is no international treaty whereby NATO agreed not to extend its membership to the east.

        On the other hand, Putin did agree, in writing, to respect the territorial integrity of Ukraine when Ukraine gave up possession of its nuclear weapons.

        I certainly don’t hate Russia or Putin for that matter. To hate someone I think you must have some emotional or personal attachment of some sort. I have neither with Russia or Putin. I don’t hate anyone.

        Putin, undoubtedly, is a very dangerous man. He is personally and morally corrupt and he holds all the levers of power of a nation with nuclear weapons.

        The negotiations for the unification of Germany were among the four powers and is no written agreement by them not to extend NATO.

        The UN in early March 2022 voted 141-5 to condemn the Russian invasion. There were 35 abstentions. The five no votes were Russia, Belarus, Syria, North Korea and Eritrea.

        I have not done a skin color breakdown of this vote but it hardly supports your contention that only White people support Ukraine.

      11. @WDD
        “Of course, the annexation violated the Ukranian constitution and international law but that matters little to some.”

        Doesn’t matter to me at all. People should be allowed to separate from a nation if they so wish, couldn’t care less about a constitution of international law regarding that.

        “There is no international treaty whereby NATO agreed not to extend its membership to the east.”

        This is a type of the Native saying that “you can’t trust white people, which is why they have to put everything in writing.” It’s well documented that the U.S. promised Russia not to expand NATO eastward from Germany, your meaningless technicality notwithstanding. Even more fundamental is that NATO had no legitimate purpose for even existing after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and shouldn’t have existed beyond that time. NATO not only threatens Russia with the former’s constant expansion, it has participated in immoral U.S. wars of empire and is an offensive military group.

        “Putin, undoubtedly, is a very dangerous man. He is personally and morally corrupt and he holds all the levers of power of a nation with nuclear weapons.”

        That’s a joke, right? To be clear, ALL leaders of large countries are evil and dangerous, but each U.S. president in our lifetimes has killed more people around the world than Putin ever has.

        You can continue your USA, USA rant all you want, I’m done with this. You haven’t made one credible argument to support your position, instead just repeating propaganda and using a lame technicality for why the U.S. shouldn’t be held to the promise it made.

      12. Isn’t it remarkable how much reality is constructed by what’s not real in Amerika?

        Like imagining being a real rebel in the military, until after you’ve signed up at one of those recruitment stations at theaters.

        Amerikan kulture sells shit for money, and erstwhile citizens qua consumers vote with their wallets for monumental piles of it.

        One cult, scientology, deserves another, patriotism and militarism.

        What is a manboy? Tom Cruise, flyboy and ‘top gun’, the envy of every adolescent boy’s wet dreams.

  11. The truth is that we are a less than mediocre country. I’d say Cain, but that names taken.

  12. These comments… it seems I have stumbled upon the most pedantic, pathetic group of losers in all of the interwebs.

    The movie was awesome. And that’s coming from as an anti-war individual as is possible.

    1. @JJ
      The fact that you went to the movie means that you’re very far from being as much of “an anti-war individual as is possible.” If you’re that anti-war, you wouldn’t even consider watching pro-war/pro-military trash like that.

      1. @JJ
        Wrong! If you’re entertained by military crap like that, you’re not that anti-war. If you were anywhere near as anti-war as you claim, you’d be totally repulsed by stuff like this. What entertains you shows a lot about what you’re into.

      2. @JJ
        Not to mention that giving money to assholes who make movies like this just encourages more of this pro-war propaganda and the Pentagon spending on it. Entities like large corporations and the Pentagon don’t spend large sums of money on things that don’t work to suit their purposes, and the Pentagon spends money on Hollywood making evil movies like this in order to indoctrinate people into believing in what the U.S. military does. So in addition to the other issues here, you just contributed to military pro-war propaganda, Mr. most “anti-war individual as is possible.”

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