As President Barack Obama continues to push for a military strike on Syria, the Hollywood community’s most vocal anti-war celebrities seem to be taking a hushed approach when it comes to discussing the issue.
When George Clooney was recently asked about a possible U.S. military intervention by a reporter at the Venice Film Festival, the actor responded, “I actually thought you would ask me about Ben Affleck playing Batman, but no, it’s Syria.” The actor managed to avoid discussing the issue with the verbal sleight of hand.
The long list of notables, who had previously made it a point to let the world know their viewpoints regarding war when a Republican president was serving in the Oval Office, include Clooney, Sheryl Crow, Susan Sarandon, Martin Sheen, Tim Robbins, Sean Penn, and Danny Glover, among others. All seem to be AWOL this time around when it comes to voicing anti-war comments.
Hardly restrained when she attended an anti-war rally in the nation’s capital in 2002, Sarandon said, “Let us resist this war. Let us hate war in all its forms, whether the weapon used is a missile or an airplane.”
Also in 2002, Penn took some time from his then-busy career to publish an open letter to President Bush in which he decried the administration’s “deconstruction of civil liberties.” His anti-war sentiments were explicit as he noted, “. . . bombing is answered by bombing, mutilation by mutilation, killing by killing, is a pattern that only a great country like ours can stop.”
During the same time period, numerous notables from the entertainment field offered similar statements.
Ed Asner recently theorized as to why the Hollywood left may now be reluctant to speak out concerning the proposed military actions in Syria. In the first of a group of justifications for the deafening silence, Asner claimed there simply has not been enough time for Hollywood celebrities to react.
“It [U.S. attack on Syria] will be a done deal before Hollywood is mobilized,” Asner told The Hollywood Reporter. The actor then offered the explanation that the Hollywood left’s disappointment in its inability to have a meaningful effect on policy decisions during the Iraq war may be the reason why they are now reticent.
“We had a million people in the streets . . . protesting Iraq, which was about as illegal as you could find,” Asner said. “Did it matter? Is George Bush being tried in the high courts of justice?”
His final justification for Hollywood’s silence provides some insight into the unspoken thoughts of many of his colleagues.
“A lot of people don’t want to feel anti-black by being opposed to Obama,” Asner said, apparently suggesting that if one speaks out against the president’s desire to use military action in Syria, he or she might be thought of as a racist.
Perhaps Asner and his colleagues are taking the lead from elected officials on the political left, who have cited similar sounding reasons for supporting the Obama administration’s Syrian plans.
Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton said as much when, in a radio interview with Bill Press, she acknowledged that the sole reason she and other Democratic legislators would cast a vote in favor of an attack on Syria was to avoid having the president suffer any embarrassment.
“I’d like to say, Bill, that if he gets saved at all, I think it’ll be because, it’ll be because of loyalty of Democrats,” Holmes Norton said. “They just don’t want to see him shamed and humiliated on the national stage.”
“At the moment, that’s the only reason I would vote for it if I could vote on it,” the congresswoman added.
Former Vermont governor and prior DNC Chairman Howard Dean, who was the anti-war left’s candidate of choice for president back in 2004, shared his new foreign policy perspective on Syria. “Thus far I fully support the president, including his going to Congress,” Dean said in an email to The Hill.
Van Jones, former Obama adviser, exhibited his presently hawkish position in a recent CNN appearance.
“I think we need to stand behind this president and send a clear message to Assad that this type behavior is not acceptable,” Jones said.
Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer have made similar statements of support for the administration’s planned attack on Syria.
This kind of uncharacteristic rhetoric from left-of-center sages appears to be helping to confuse the already muddled mindset of the Hollywood left.
James Hirsen, J.D., M.A., in media psychology, is a New York Times best-selling author, media analyst, and law professor. Visit Newsmax.TV Hollywood. Read more reports from James Hirsen — Click Here Now.
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