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Rogue One: A Jihad Story

When reviewing any Star Wars film it is important to point out an obvious, but frequently overlooked fact about the franchise. Namely, that Star Wars is for children. The fact that so many adult men and women seem unaware of this and somehow claim to find profundity within the confines of the series’s inherent shallowness speaks to the arrested development experienced by so many of Weimerica’s infantilized adults.

The series’s childishness hasn’t stopped it from becoming the vehicle for Neoliberal propaganda, however—especially in its more recent incarnations. To be fair, this was certainly less pronounced in the films directed by George Lucas, as their content was almost exclusively dictated by Lucas himself. Thus, while they did contain some moralistic scolding (“This is how Liberty dies" etc.) Lucas’s own general lack of intelligence and sophistication ultimately prevented them from being openly propagandistic and thus allowed them to remain the amusing children’s melodramas they always were.

Ever since Disney’s acquisition of the franchise, however, this has changed precipitously and nowhere is this stark difference in tone more noticeable than in the latest installment: “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.”

When analyzing any particular Liberal propagandistic abomination, it is important to ignore the usual metrics of normal cinematic analysis (plot, character development, acting performances, etc.) Rather, it is the film’s semiotics which is primarily of interest to us.

At first glance, the film’s ideology seems relatively transparent. The main protagonist, a white female, who is alienated from her father, begins associating with a rag-tag band of multi-ethnic rebels with whom she begins a campaign of clandestine terrorism with against the Patriarchal, and seemingly exclusively white Galactic Empire.

Again this is a superficial and, rather obvious, reading of the film as its essential outline: that of a white girl attempting to resolve her daddy issues by beginning a campaign of promiscuous fornication with random multiethnic strangers, could have been lifted from the life of anyone of the many thousands of American women rendered fatherless by the “liberation” of the sexual revolution.

But beyond this obvious reading of the film lies its significantly more important ideological sub-current. As Rogue One is mostly a vehicle for Neoconservative propaganda which preaches the necessity of working with Jihadist groups to further the goals of Neoliberal Hegemony.

We begin to see this theme most clearly near the beginning of the film as we are introduced the character “Saw Gerrera” who is portrayed by Forest Whitaker. Gerrera leads a band of “rebels” on the planet of Jedha, a planet whose geographic features of mountains and deserts could easily be mistaken for those of Syria or Afghanistan. The primary city on Jedha we are exposed to also bears many middle-eastern features and, as it appears to be built on a plateau, it bears an uncanny resemblance to the flashpoint of the Syrian Civil War: Aleppo, with its trademark central citadel.

As the film shows us, Gerrera’s rebels are in fact actually terrorists waging a cruel and brutal insurgent campaign, which includes assassinations and bombings, against Imperial forces who are presently occupying the planet in order to harvest its valuable Khyber crystals (oil?). So much so that they are recognized by the leader of the Republic’s forces, a short-haired woman (and stand-in for Hillary Clinton?) as essentially being terrorists.

As if the parallels already weren’t overt enough, many of Gerrera’s fighters sport long beards and wear shawls which make them almost perfect stand-ins for various Islamist groups, from the Afghan mujahideen to Jabhat Al-Sham in Syria. Gerrera himself, with his grizzled features and numerous robotics prosthetics, seems to be modelled directly on Mullah Omar, the legendary one-eyed leader of the Taliban known for his elusiveness and resilience. Whose base of operations is revealed to be in a fortified mountain stronghold (Tora Bora?).

In Rogue One, even the religion of the force takes on a Jihadist flavor. While in previous installments of the franchise “The Force” seemed to be a religion only followed by the Jedi elite of society, in Rogue One it seems to be a religion of the people and an inspiration to many of Saw Guerrea’s insurgents. The character Chirrut Îmwe, the blind force master, exemplifies this perfectly. Throughout the movie, Îmwe constantly insists that “All is as the force wills it” an almost perfect mirroring of the Islamic Theological principle of “Inshallah” (If God wills it). Îmwe even invokes the force before and during every battle, in a like manner to the Muslim battle cry of “Allah Akbar.”

Even the insurgent’s battle tactics resemble those of Jihadists. When the multiethnic band of commandos (who resemble nothing if not a group of international Jihadis) volunteers for a raid on the planet Scaif, which guards the plans for the Death Star, they are volunteering for a suicide mission. In much the same way as the Jihadists who carried out coordinated commando-style raids in Mumbai in 2008 and Paris in 2015, fighting to the death as they killed as many infidels as possible.

But why, one may ask, would Hollywood Liberals wish to glorify Islamic Jihadists? After all, hasn’t the United States been at war with such forces for over 15 years? Are the writers of the Rogue one crypto-Islamists? Is the Empire a stand-in for the U.S. in Iraq and Afghanistan?

To answer such questions one needs only to examine the timing of its development, most of which took place well after it was clear Hillary Clinton would be the Democratic nominee for President. As well as its release date of December 2016, which was immediately before the inauguration of, what was at the time presumed by all to be, the inauguration of Hillary Clinton.

Thus, Rogue One was in a perfect position to be a conduit directly between the schemes of Clinton’s band of Neoconservative hawks (who desperately desired a Syrian intervention) and the soft, impressionable minds of the American public.

Legitimizing Jihadist violence was until of course the Election of Donald Trump, an important part of the Liberal interventionist agenda as any intervention in Syria to topple Assad and undermine Russia and Iran depended on arming and training forces which were openly Islamist.

Rogue One was planned as merely part of a larger propaganda campaign, which would have taken effect immediately if Clinton had emerged victorious on election day, to garner sympathy for Syrian Jihadists and psychologically prepare the American people for the coming war against Assad and Russia, who in the film are represented by the Empire.

Rogue One even attempts to legitimize particular aspects of the planned Syrian intervention, such as Clinton’s proposed No-Fly Zone. As during the film’s climactic battle on the planet Scaife, the band of force following Jihadist commandos are saved from the Empire’s armored walkers by the intervention of a squadron of the Republic’s X-Wings fighters. Is this not, of course, the ultimate fantasy of the Max Boots and Michael Weiss's of the world? U.S. warplanes providing cover as a plucky group of freedom loving jihadists takes the fight to Assad and Putin in Syria?

Fortunately, for the movie-going citizens of the United States (and for the rest of the world as well) the Neoconservative fan-fiction/propaganda promoted by the writers of Rogue One will remain confined to the Big Screen. As, thankfully, the potential for the Neocons to realize their dark fantasies perished with the electoral prospects of Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Thus, we can view Rogue One as a kind of look into the propaganda of an alternate timeline’s future. A future where American bombs rained down on Syrian Alawites, Christians and Druze as Jihadi fanatics, with suicide vests strapped on tightly, advanced toward crowds of civilians. And as they pulled their cords, an indoctrinated American public, watching from their iPhones, loudly exclaimed:

“May the force be with them!”

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