The long highway of the left’s paranoia

April 17, 2007

One of the best political thrillers of the 1970’s was Sydney Pollack’s Three Days of the Condor. Copybook direction from Pollack was largely responsible for the film’s enduring power. Filmed just after the oil crisis of 1974 (when the west would have gone to war for oil if it was ever going to), it also set the parameters for the left’s most abiding obsession: it’s all about oil. Somehow, some way, it’s always because of the oil. It’s what the liberation of Kuwait was all about, it’s what the obviously faked 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon were all about, it’s what the invasion of Iraq was all about, it’s what everything was always all about.

In this, one of the first articulations of what was to become a decades-long paranoia, Robert Redford memorably plays Turner, a former CIA bookworm, who stumbled across, guess what, a sinister plot.

TURNER (strong-arming CIA Deputy Director Leonard Atwood): It was your network I turned up. Doing what? Doing what? What does Operations care about a bunch of goddamned books? A book in Dutch. A book out of Venezuela. Mystery stories in Arabic. What is so important about…..

[penny drops, clangs loudly]

…. oilfields. Oil. That’s it, isn’t it? This whole damn thing was about oil. Wasn’t it? Wasn’t it?

ATWOOD (cowed): Yes.

Watch the denouement here.

Plus ca change.


  1. So, the liberation of Kuwait and the invasion of Iraq wasn’t about oil? It must have been about spreading democracy then I guess…except one wonders why the US and its allies strangely neglected to address the issue of women being banned from voting or holding political office in Kuwait…or why they also neglected to spread democracy throughout Latin America…surely a task much easier given the the US’s influence in that region..?

  2. Hi Chav, how nice you took the trouble to visit. No, the liberation of Kuwait was about the liberation of Kuwait, and the invasion of Iraq was about invading Iraq. The first I agreed with (not that it matters much what I thought), the second, not.

    But yes, how foolish not to invade such a soft target as South America. What could Bu$hitlerburtonMacChimpleychick’n’$$$$burger have been thinking?

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