3 years ago

BBC: The Power of Nightmares (2004)

“Politicians have discovered a new role that restores their power and authority. Instead of delivering dreams, politicians now promise to protect us from nightmares.”

Narrates Award winning English documentary filmmaker Adam Curtis (The Trap, The Power of Nightmares, All Watched Over by Machines of Love and Grace, Bitter Lake) brilliant BBC Two Autumn 2004 released documentary, The Power of Nightmares (Trailer). A series of three one hour parts, consisting mostly of a montage of archive footage with Curtis’s narration, questioning whether the threat of terrorism to the West is a politically driven fantasy and if al-Qaeda really is an organised network.’

Watch all BBC: The Power of Nightmares (2004) below in Full.

Part 1 “The Rise of the Politics of Fear”

The first part of the series explains the origin of Islamism and Neo-Conservatism.

Part 2  “The Phantom Victory“

In the second episode, Islamist factions, rapidly falling under the more radical influence of Zawahiri and his rich Saudi acolyte Osama bin Laden.

Part 3  “The Shadows in the Cave” 

The final episode addresses the actual rise of al-Qaeda.

Where Greg Lacour writer/blogger from Charlottemag questions:

I first ran across this concept through a 2004 BBC documentary, directed by Adam Curtis, titled The Power of Nightmares: The Rise of the Politics of Fear. I don’t agree with all of Curtis’ conclusions; he exaggerates in some spots, oversimplifies in others. But I think his basic premise is sound—the most hawkish elements of the American foreign policy apparatus have, since about 1950, told a consistent story about America under perpetual assault from two Big Enemies: the Soviet Union until 1991; and Islamic terrorists from then until now. To fulfill the bad guy role, these enemies can’t be temporary or containable. They have to be existential threats to the Republic, to our very Way of Life. Much of this thinking, Curtis says, comes from the German-American political philosopher Leo Strauss.

[Voiceover] Strauss believed that the liberal idea of individual freedom led people to question everything—all values, all moral truths. Instead, people were led by their own selfish desires. And this threatened to tear apart the shared values which held society together. But there was a way to stop this, Strauss believed. It was for politicians to assert powerful and inspiring myths that everyone could believe in. They might not be true, but they were necessary illusions. One of these was religion; the other was the myth of the nation. And in America, that was the idea that the country had a unique destiny to battle the forces of evil throughout the world. This myth was epitomized, Strauss told his students, in his favorite television program: Gunsmoke …

[The late Professor Stanley Rosen, a former student of Strauss’] The hero has a white hat; he’s faster on the draw than the bad man; the good guy wins. And it’s not just that the good guy wins, but that values are clear. That’s America! We’re gonna triumph over the evils of… of… that are trying to destroy us and the virtues of the Western frontier. Good and evil.

Photo credit: BBC.