Oliver Stone: Bush Lacks 'Intelligence and a Conscience,' Is the 'Manchurian Candidate'

In a Monday USA Today profile of Oliver Stone, published two days before the opening of World Trade Center, the movie he directed about the rescue of two Port Authority police officers, Stone didn't follow the apolitical script of the film. Reporter Anthony Breznican quoted Stone: “'Bush makes Nixon look like St. Augustine,' he says of the saint known for his zeal in confessing wrongs. 'At least Nixon had some intelligence and a conscience....Bush is The Manchurian Candidate,' a reference to the 1962 movie about a presidential contender manipulated by immoral handlers.” Stone also complained in the article in which he denounced President Bush: "I hate that kind of censorship which says celebrities can't speak." (Excerpt follows)

An excerpt from the August 7 USA Today “Life' section cover story, “Oliver Stone minus the edge: 'World Trade Center' puts politics aside,” by Anthony Breznican:
That his movie does not criticize the actions or policies of President Bush should not be read as an endorsement. Stone is not a fan.

“Bush makes Nixon look like St. Augustine,” he says of the saint known for his zeal in confessing wrongs. “At least Nixon had some intelligence and a conscience....[ellipses in original] Bush is The Manchurian Candidate,” a reference to the 1962 movie about a presidential contender manipulated by immoral handlers.....

Stone is a Vietnam veteran who enlisted in the Army after dropping out of Yale. He served combat duty in the infantry and was wounded twice, receiving the Purple Heart with an Oak Leaf Cluster and a Bronze Star for valor....

Stone is a fan of the hit Al Gore documentary An Inconvenient Truth and would like to develop a drama about the environment. “To dramatize that and make it exciting would be brilliant. But how do you make carbon dioxide poison exciting?” he laughs....

Would he have preferred to make a film that explores the political implications of 9/11 instead of a strict rescue docudrama?

“If I could go back, would I change it? Good question. At what point am I a filmmaker and at what point am I John Q. Citizen?” He begins quietly, and then rouses his own anger. “I hate that kind of censorship which says celebrities can't speak.” Stone hammers an open palm against his chest with each syllable: “John Q. Citizen -- that's my right. I served my country. I've got a host of medals. I paid my taxes. I raised children, went through the whole system. And I can't (expletive) speak, as John Q. Citizen, about the state of the nation?”
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center