Best quote from the film: "You're either with me, or you're my enemy... Only a Sith believes in absolutes."
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith mirrors reality
The Star Wars story has had, without a question, the greatest impact on popular culture of any movie in world history. We will now explore why it has resonated so strongly with so many people across generations.
At last, the mainstream media is picking up on something we've been talking about for years. The plot lines of George Lucas' six Star Wars films mirror, in many respects, the activities of western governments.
George Lucas, the creator of the Star Wars saga, has said over and over again that he simply plays on subconscious archetypal symbols that evoke primeval fears and passions. Lucas has also stated on many occasions that he draws from historical examples of imperial leaders' lust for war and total power.
Lucas has said that that is why his films have such a powerful effect of people. Deep down, everyone knows that the greatest threat to life and liberty isn't the average criminal on the street, but the monolithic, all-powerful state.
The human desire to resist tyranny is one of the strongest drives we have and Lucas plays upon that instinct masterfully.
While premiering his film, Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, at the Cannes Film Festival George Lucas was asked if his new film was a social commentary on George Bush and the Iraq invasion (which even our own government admits is part of America's new "kindly, helpful and loving" imperialism).
How can they not ask this when Darth Vader says to his former teacher Obi-Wan Kenobi, "if you're not with me, then you're my enemy." Remember that Lord Bush, after the 9/11 attacks said, "either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists."
Lucas responded to the reporters by saying that the original Star Wars was developed in the early post-Veitnam War era shortly after Richard Nixon left office amidst a byzantine scandal.
He continued by saying, "The issue was, how does a democracy turn itself into a dictatorship...When I wrote it, Iraq (the U.S.-led war) didn't exist.. but the parallels of what we did in Vietnam and Iraq are un believable ...I didn't think it was going to get this close."
Speaking about present day America he said, "I hope this doesn't come true in our country."
There are thousands of examples of classical despotism being practiced in the US and worldwide today. Here are just a couple:
- Our new Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales, in published memos told the President and military leaders that US forces could interrogate detainees to death. If the detainees died while being tortured, the military's actions would be legal as long as they hadn't killed them on purpose. The document contained examples of how to strap someone down to a table and lower them into "liquid effluent" until they began to pass out.
Gonzales had the nerve to say that President Bush is the law and that he can break any Federal or international law that he wishes because he is the President. Gonzalez openly defended his view in front of a Senate panel that still confirmed him to be Attorney General.
Remember Hans Solo in the Empire Strikes Back strapped down in a torture chair as Darth Vader administers electric shocks. According the Alberto Gonzales' logic this is good. Vader works for the Emperor and the Emperor is the law.
The Attorney General's dark views are shared by the rest of the White House. They believe that they are above the law. Coupled with the exploding American police state, this reality is the text book manifestation of dictatorship.
Combine this open demonstration of dictatorship with 63 countries on a White House invasion hit-list and tyrannical empire is the only term that fits.
-Under section 802 of the USA Patriot Act, misdemeanor non-terror related crimes are listed as terrorism. Citizens are stripped of their most basic Constitutional rights that were held sacred in the old Republic.
-George Bush has set up a draconian Department of Homeland Security, giving FEMA the power to engage in mass arrests.
-Last year, the outgoing head of CENTCOM, General Tommy Franks, told the press that if America was attacked again the Constitution would be set aside in favor of a military form of government.
-The Federal government is dismantling the last vestiges of States' rights with its new Federally-standardized National ID Card that has been integrated with thousands of private databases to track and trace our every action.
When I first saw Episode I, I instantly understood the plot. Being a student of history, it made total sense. But, I was amazed, time and time again, when talking to educated adults who were also Star Wars fans that they didn't get it. They'd say, "it doesn't make any sense."
This phenomenon got even worse when Episode II came out. People were totally confused. They didn't understand a plot that children could grasp.
For those who are still confused, here's a plot synopsis in a nutshell:
In Episode I, Senator Palpatine is an obscure politician from the peaceful world of Naboo. Palpatine influences Naboo not to pay its Trade Federation taxes. The corrupt mercantile Trade Federation cartel then blockades the Naboo system and begins a ground invasion of its capitol, taking its orders from the sinister leader Darth Sidious, Lord of the Sith, who is one and the same with Senator Palpatine.
By manipulating the outcome of the Naboo police action, Palpatine (who then plays the part of resisting an operation that he has launched) is able to springboard into the Chancellery of the Galactic Senate.
Episode II begins with a widening conflict that threatens to destroy the hundred thousand-year-old Republic. The newly- elected Chancellor (Palpatine) is able to use the expanding crisis as a pretext to pass police state legislation and to launch a mammoth military buildup.
As in Episode I, Darth Sidious is in control of the separatists led by the charismatic Count Dooku, who is his secret apprentice, Darth Tyrannus. Darth Sidious uses his agent (Count Dooku) to create a crisis that threatens to destroy the Republic, thus threatening the Republic's very existence and manipulating the Senate into giving him the powers of a dictator.
This is the classic use of problem-reaction-solution. Create a crisis, get the reaction of fear from the population, and offer the solution of a police state that you control.
Real-world examples of this through history are:
-Adolph Hitler, two months after being elected Chancellor, firebombed the German Parliament (Reichstag) building, blamed it on his political enemies and declared martial law in the Reich.
-Most historians now believe that the US government bombed its own ship in Havana harbor as a pretext to launch the Spanish-American war in 1898.
-The LBJ Presidential library in 2003 released taped conversations between President Johnson and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara in which they discussed how the Gulf of Tonkin attack never really took place and how to use it to officially kick of the Vietnam War which resulted in the deaths of over 58,000 US troops and over a million Vietnamese.
-In early 2001, the Baltimore Sun and ABC News reported on a newly-declassified operation code-named Northwoods, where the Joint Chiefs of Staff proposed hijacking jets by remote control and crashing them, bombing DC, committing sniper attacks in Miami and DC, having the CIA attack the Guantanamo Bay Marine Corps base with mortars, and how to blame all of this terrorism on Cuba and the Soviet Union, giving the Pentagon the pretext to start World War III.
The plan was green-lighted all the way up to President Kennedy who vetoed the plan. The bottom line is that the US government planned to terrorize its own cities as a pretext for war.
In Episode III, the surviving Jedi realize, when its too late, that the Clone Wars have been systematically engineered by the Lord of the Sith to destroy the Republic and the Jedi.
In the end, the Emperor dispatches his dark apprentice, Darth Vader, to exterminate the Jedi and the leaders of the separatist movement (that the Chancellor controlled), leaving the enemies of the Sith dead and the Sith in control of the Central Government. The despotic Galactic Empire is born.