Susan Sarandon’s making the publicity rounds for her latest anti-war movie, titled In the Valley of Elah. In Friday’s Washington Post, staff writer Ellen McCarthy profiled Sarandon and this movie, "inspired by a 2004 Playboy magazine story about a returning soldier who was killed by his close friends and fellow Iraq war vets after a rowdy night of beers and strippers near their base in Fort Benning." Sarandon denounced the war as usual, but now she’s claiming to speak for returning soldiers, who she claimed are "asked to kill children and women in order to stay alive." Here’s how her Post quotes unfolded:
"The main reason I wanted to do it was that I felt that there has been a huge disconnect between the real war and the politicized war," says the 60-year-old actress, who has been a hugely vocal critic of the conflict since the 2003 invasion. "And I felt that this movie acknowledges that war takes really decent people and changes them." [Read: warps them, ruins them.]
..."It's really important to listen to what the veterans are telling us about what they need. What they've seen, what they've done," she says in a phone interview during a promotional blitz. "A lot of these vets who are taking it upon themselves to educate us as to their needs and the actual experiences of this war are very articulate, but the press is not really listening for whatever reason."
"A lot of people aren't listening," she adds. "And I thought that this was a great opportunity to trigger a real dialogue."
After claiming she’s now spent a lot of time with soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, she apparently learned they are ordered to slaughter the innocent:
"I think we need to acknowledge the toll that it takes on them physically and psychologically and spiritually," she says. "It's this surreal experience of going from this intense environment where you're just trying to stay alive and you're asked to kill children and women in order to stay alive. And then you come back into this world that has no idea what's been going on over there."
Sarandon also appeared on ABC’s The View on September 11 (a perfect occasion for an anti-war rant, apparently), and co-host Whoopi Goldberg declared of her film, "I gave it a standing ovation when I watched it."
Sarandon sounded the same themes about how the "huge disconnect" and we’re all ignoring the savage real war and playing with the politicized war instead. She added this numerical claim: "We’ve really been ignoring, I think the statistics are 55 soldiers a day are killed, injured, or sick in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. And we are not stepping up to the plate. We’re not discussing it. Our presidential candidates are not discussing it. Definitely our president [is not]. None of these guys that are so eager to get them over there but have never been in a war are really dealing with the actual cost. "
Elisabeth Hasselbeck tried to praise her, and raised no questions about her wild statistics, even as Sarandon suggested our soldiers are young and stupid: "It’s just heartbreaking to see these photos of these smiling eager young, young kids who have been sacrificed and are not even clear why they’re there."
As for the 9/11 anniversary, Sarandon added: "In the rubble of 9/11, our president said ‘Let’s shop.’ There’s no war tax, there’s no GI Bill, you know we’re making the same mistakes that we made." Sarandon also claimed the role of veteran’s activist, complaining about how they can’t see doctors, that there’s a stigma toward their post-traumatic stress disorder, and how "There’s hundreds and hundreds of suicides from this war already."
She also said she liked John Edwards for president, which tells you how far out on the left he is standing in this campaign.
Prodded by co-host Sherri Shepherd to repeat her backstage chatter, Sarandon began on the subject of Kathy Griffin’s "Suck it, Jesus" Emmy speech. She thought Griffin’s critics had a tiny, humorless God – and her God was a Goddess:
"I just said my God has a big sense of humor. It’s much bigger than that. And I wonder if somebody had actually gone down and thanked Allah, what would have happened? I mean, a God other than the one that’s accepted for the most part in this country, a Wiccan? I don’t know. We’re very specific in our gods, but I really think She has a much bigger sense of humor." [Laughter]