WHY I REFUSE TO SEE “THE SUM OF ALL FEARS”: No, it’s not the casting of Ben Affleck as Jack Ryan (though I concede Ben is a bit of a step down from Harrison Ford in the gravitas department). It’s not because I don’t like the action genre, it’s not because I’m uncomfortable seeing a movie about terrorism post-9/11, and it’s not even because I don’t think it’ll be a good movie. I will not be seeing “The Sum of All Fears” because, in the process of its adaptation from the Tom Clancy novel, the gutless decision was made to replace the book’s fundamentalist Muslim terrorists with right-wing, neo-Nazi militia types. This shameless sacrifice to the false god of political correctness is so contemptuous towards the truth that such a film that grows out of it does not deserve our support.
As chronicled on the indispensable movie website Coming Attractions, “The Sum of All Fears” has been in the works as the next Jack Ryan movie almost since the release of “Clear and Present Danger” in 1994, so the producers’ decision to change the ethnicity of the villains was not as a result of 9/11. Rather, it came partly as an attempt to appease Ford (who they were still hoping to woo at the time) and partly because the Arab-American lobby made it clear that they would protest long and loud should the project go forward in the novel’s form. And for some reason Clancy, who no one ever mistook for a bleeding-heart liberal, never even lifted a finger in protest.
The event that likely caused the “Sum of All Fears” producers to blink was the release in 1999 of “The Seige,” a relatively innocuous message movie starring Denzel Washington which dared to depict Islamic terrorists striking a wave of targets in New York. And even though the film was clearly more about intolerance than terrorism, and in fact contained a clear message against stereotyping and totalitarianism (and even included an Arab-American good guy!), the Arab activists missed the point, launched a highly visable boycott, and thus significantly hurt “The Seige” at the box office. These activists, of course, had their point significantly undercut when the exact events of the movie happened in real life on September 11and I find it deeply unsettling that those activists (including the openly terror-supporting Council on American-Islamic Relations) were so much more publicly critical of the terrorism in “The Seige”‘s New York than they were of the terrorism in real-life New York.
Now more than ever we must be aware of the scourge of Islamo-fascism and the threat it poses to our world, and Hollywood can and should be encouraging this awareness. But unfortunately, political correctness must always intervene. Of course it’s wrong to assume that all Arabs and all Muslims are terrorists- but anyone who isn’t an idiot knows that, just as all non-idiots know that terrorists killing innocent people based on their perverted interpretation of the Koran is a major problem in this world, before 9/11 and afterand as Bill Maher said, “next time there’s a major terrorist attack, it’s probably not gonna be the Swedes.” The producers of “The Sum of All Fears” had a chance to take such a stand, but since they didn’t have the guts, I will not be seeing their movie.

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