October 30, 2007

The Good Shepherd

Having spent most of the day away from any internet access, I came home to find that my chances of one day becoming a General Secretary of any major political party had increased tremendously. All I had to do was attend a general meeting organised by anyone connected or unconnected with the party, and there proclaim myself as GS, citing the flouting of constitutions and rules we witnessed today as wonderful precedents.

Happy at this positive outcome for Bangladesh and my career ambitions, I sat back to enjoy a movie I had watched about four times previously: The Good Shepherd directed by Robert De Niro. It is a fictional re-telling of the birth of the C.I.A. Since all is well and good in Bangladesh, I've decided to write about this movie and urge every Bangladeshi reader I've got to take a chill pill and watch it. Not once, not twice but over and over again. At three hours it's a bit long, but trust me completely worth it.

I might include a clip of it in the coming days, but for now I leave you with one small exchange, part of which you can hear from NPR's interview with de Niro @ 1:20 if you're interested. It's between General Bill Sullivan, the (semi-fictional) architect of America's intelligence agency played by de Niro, and Edward Wilson, his most promising protege played by Matt Damon.

Bill Sullivan: I have to tell you, I have some real problems with this whole thing despite how much we need it. I'm concerned that too much power will end up in the hands of too few. It's always in somebody's best interest to promote enemies real or imagined. I see this as America's eyes and ears; I don't want it to become its heart and soul. So I told the president for this to work there is going to have to be some kind of civilian oversight.

Edward Wilson: Oversight? How can you have a covert organization if you have people looking over your shoulder?

Bill Sullivan: You know who gave Hitler his power? The clerks and the bookkeepers, the civil servants. I have this one weakness: I believe in a just God. I always seem to err on the side of democracy.

Bill Sullivan: No matter what anyone tells you there'll be no one you can really trust.

Bill Sullivan: I'm afraid when all is said and done we're all just clerks too.

I'm a huge fan of de Niro.

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