Buried in the Sand: The Deception of America is an informative and revealing movie. It is described as “exclusive, uncensored footage of atrocities that gives rare insight into why America had a moral obligation’ to invade Iraq.” But in reality, it is a horrifying, disjointed, and infuriating primer on anti-Arab sentiment and policy-making. The movie serves as a graphic illustration of the hay that conservative hard-liners are frantically trying to turn into political gold.
The movie, The Deception of America in terms of both form and content, laughably falls short of the producers’ claim that it is “documentary journalism.” Buried dresses its “truth” in bogeyman foreboding, like so much hard-line rhetoric. A bank of TV monitors, a chain-link fence. And a black box soundstage make up the odd set, which meant to evoke a sort of bunker atmosphere. Small-time conservative radio jockey host Mark Taylor menacingly lit from one side. Leaving half of his face in perpetual shadow. These methods more closely resemble the conspiracy revelations of Alien Autopsy than the “grim political realism” promised in the DVD’s press release.
Representations Of “Terror”
The The Deception of America film briefly opens with footage of Hitler and Nazi Germany before fading in on Taylor, who warns the audience that what will come next is graphic and difficult to watch. The Hitler frame is an illustration of the film’s sole recurrent argumentative strategy, which is to hazard a guess that Saddam Hussein and radical, fundamentalist Islam are related to images of renowned evil. Representations of “terror”—Nazis, unidentified mass graves, the aftermath of suicide bombings “in the region.” The radicalization of Muslim children—link Saddam Hussein’s particular brutality with a more generalized atrocity. Couched in terms of Judeo-Christian versus Muslim. This is reminiscent of the Bush Administration’s famous “You’re either with us or against us” rhetoric from after the 9/11 attacks.
But even on this level of propaganda, the movie falls short because it lacks coherence and appeal. Bookended by carefully decontextualized and ellipsis-filled quotes from Hillary Clinton, Ted Kennedy. And John Kerry announcing Saddam Hussein’s tyranny are screams and grainy footage of severed hands, executions, and beatings. See? Once upon a time, even liberals saw the danger. By cutting to graphic footage of the American invasion of Baghdad. The movie drags these quotations into “justification for the war” territory.
Taylor kept his promise that the movie would have graphic scenes. An uncut video of several recent beheadings is the most obscene example. However, I assume the purpose of this is to highlight the need for force and show how brutal “the enemy” is. But the filmmakers’ interest in spectacle comes through instead. Such footage strips away the complexity of the situation in Iraq. Much like the cut from Saddam Hussein’s brutality toward the American invasion. It is disgusting that prisoners are being beheaded in Iraq. It is unacceptable to use such footage to retroactively advance a war agenda.
Truth Of Saddam Hussein
The “truth” of Saddam Hussein’s threat is the “deception” of Buried, which is being masked by the liberal left and mainstream media. The Administration’s variety of justifications for preemptive war, however, represents another type of deception depicted in the movie. The real value of Buried is not as conservative propaganda but rather as a condensed illustration of conservative political spin.