Independence Day. Terrorist propaganda?

Not seen it in a while, but here’s what I remember.

A technologically superior alien race attempts to invade Earth and is initially looking pretty successful.

Two main characters (an airforce pilot and a scientific genius) upload a virus to their defense system and attempt to blow themselves up inside the mothership. They are saved at the last moment as the ship is destroyed.

Another character, who is a loser, an outcast and an embarrassment to his family, joins the resistance. He is obviously perceived as incompetent but is reluctantly permitted to pilot a jet aircraft. He transforms himself into a global hero and wins back the respect of his family by piloting his plane into an enemy spacecraft.

The movie obviously expects us to view these actions as praiseworthy. It implies that a sane person might blow themselves up in order to combat a perceived enemy without any religious motivation at all. Indeed, it suggests that this is justified by that enemy’s aggression, it’s desire to steal resources, it’s indifference to innocent casualties and it’s apparent invulnerability to a conventional military response.

Now I’m not an expert on these matters, but I’ve been reliably informed that suicide bombing can only ever seem like a rational decision, if the perpetrator expects a reward of 72 virgins. Furthermore, martyrdom is surely exclusively a ‘muslim concept’. The notion of sacrificing oneself merely because you believe it is a noble thing to do, or that you will be remembered as a hero, should be completely incomprehensible to these (apparently non-muslim) characters.

Then again, the movie was made in 1996. Perhaps, as a culture, our moral Intuitions have advanced dramatically in the last 19 years. Perhaps, when we’re told that X percentage of Muslims in X war-torn country think that suicide bombing is sometimes justified, this now represents an irreconcilable ideological rift between east and west.

I was pretty young when it came out, but I don’t remember hearing about people storming out of theatres, tearing up their tickets in disgust. In fact, didn’t it do quite well?

Also, why does it never seem to be on TV any more?

(Punches alien.)

“Welcome to Earth!”

I love that line.

Suicide bombing is not always a terrorist tactic. In WWII, the Japanese kamikaze tactics, while irregular, were somewhat effective, doing significant harm to the U.S. fleet.

Meanwhile, nearly all armies have respect and reverence for people who give their lives in “forlorn hope” assaults on enemy strongholds. The man who rushes an enemy pillbox and takes it out with a grenade, before being shot to bits, is held to be a hero.

If the target is specifically a military target, then it isn’t “terrorism” at all, just a self-sacrificial tactic of war.


Stories of soldiers who threw themself onto an enemy grenade to save their buddies in their unit are quite common. Or those who took other suicidal risks for the sake of their unit/their country. And such things actually happened. I have heard stories of such undocumented heroism in their units from relatives who served in the military. If you want more documented ones, read the citations of US servicemen who have won the Congressional Medal of Honor here or here. For Britain, see the same info on Victoria Cross winners. Most other countries have similar records.

I responding to comments/statistics like this (From which I keep seeing thrown around at the moment.

“It is true that most Muslims do condemn extremist violence, though not as small a minority as might be hoped. According to a 2013 poll by the Pew Research Center, a majority believes that suicide bombing is rarely/never justified. But in certain countries, disturbingly healthy minorities believe it is often/sometimes justified. For example, 39% in Afghanistan, 26% percent in Bangladesh, 29% in Egypt, 40% in Palestinian territory, 18% in Malaysia, and 13% in Pakistan feel that suicide bombings are justifiable.”

I agree that it’s nonsense. I also agree that suicide bombing is not the same as terrorism. That’s what makes alarmist statistics like these meaningless. I was going for irony. Obviously I missed the mark somewhat. :frowning:

Well imagine on 9/11 if a pilot piloting a regular plane had decided to take out one of the planes heading for the twin towers by ramming it?

There’s a difference between sacrificing yourself in battle because something went wrong and you have no other choice, and sacrificing yourself in battle because that was the original battle plan.

Okay. I imagined that.

My turn.

Imagine Dracula riding a verlociraptor… No wait, Dracula and He-man racing verlociraptors… Along the Death Star trench run!

I like this game.

Yes. Proper planning is important.

You don’t have to imagine that. It actually happened, but the passengers of Flight 93 beat the pilots to the punch.

Is English not your first language. If not would mind gettingsomeone for whom it’s their primary language to translate into what you said.


I only saw it once due to the impression it was just a crass, meat-headed piece of mid west, multiplex, celebratory nationalist propaganda …

About as subtle as an alien invasion. YMMV :smiley:

Yep, what they did in the film was akin to going over the top in WW1 - to almost certain death, or something else, what media likes to call ‘suicide missions’ when a group of heroes goes to face overwhelming odds to save the day. We celebrate the charge of the Light Brigade for example, make films about that stuff

Whn the bad guys did it they were crazies, like Kamikaze pilots from WW2 for example - radicalised, nationalist extremists so lost in a twisted socio-cultural world which made as much sense to the rest of us as Jonestown.

But then they weren’t doing it for us.

Non-militarily, there are the good guys, an example would be the helicopter crew who sacrificed themselves in capping the Chernobyl reactor building - total act of courage and sacrifice.
I don’t know if Independence Day was near the start of the blurring of those themes (military, civilian, crazy, good) but 9/11 totally tore up the cozy understandings most of us had before - Western, not, religious, not.

Nitpick: Randy Quaid’s character didn’t go into battle intending to do a kamikaze mission. His missile wouldn’t launch, which forced him to carry the missile directly to its target.

And Fresh Prince was a Marine.

If Rihanna can be a battleship gunner…

The questionthe Pew research center specifically asks is about suicide bombing of CIVILIAN targets. Suicidal actions against military targets are not regarded as terrorism. The premise of the thread is flawed.

The character sacrificed himself to take down a murderer that had a loaded gun pointed at his children. Unlike ISIL and Al Qaeda, he was not using an evil tactic (the deliberate murder of civilians) to advance an evil cause (the creation of a murderous theocracy).

Besides, who’s worthy of admiration: a man who sacrifices his life because he wants to die, or a man who sacrifices his life despite the fact he *doesn’t *want to die?

A person who gives his life willingly deserves pity at best, contempt at worse.

“admiration” “pity” and “contempt”, all based on a daft premise.

And what premise is that?

I’m terribly sorry, I don’t understand a word of English. I’ve no idea what you are asking me, nor do I understand the response I’m currently typing. I regret therefore, that I cannot be of much assistance to you in the matter.

Oh well, that’s life I suppose. Once again, my most sincere apologies.