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Official documents prove “Top Gun: Maverick” is military propaganda

by Alan Macleod
 
Part 1
 
“Top Gun: Maverick” is a box-office smash, a massive hit with both critics and the public alike. Navy and Air Force units across the country have set up recruitment stalls inside movie halls, hoping to sign up individuals buzzed after watching the high-paced aviation action. But documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that the movie was made only after an agreement was signed between Hollywood and the Pentagon, with the Navy insisting on “weav[ing] in” their “key talking points” in exchange for granting the production company extensive access to military hardware.

Investigative journalist Tom Secker, author of “National Security Cinema: The Shocking New Evidence of Government Control in Hollywood,” was one of those who obtained the documents. Secker explained that “Top Gun: Maverick” was made with an explicit agenda behind it, telling MintPress:

              It’s about rehabilitation of the military’s image in the wake of numerous failed wars. The film also helps foreground human pilots flying an actual combat mission – something very rare in these days of high-altitude airstrikes and drone warfare. It helps distract from all the drone pilots who’ve spoken out about the misery and horror inherent in that job.”

The sequel to the hit 1980s movie “Top Gun,” the new film follows the story of Pete “Maverick” Mitchell over 30 years later, as the renegade pilot who does not play by the rules is brought in to train the Navy’s best young pilots for a secret mission to blow up a uranium enrichment facility [a site implied to be in Iran]. Maverick instead shows that he is still the best pilot and is selected for the mission himself.
 
The production agreement between the Department of Defense (DoD) and Paramount Pictures is an explicit quid pro quo. In exchange for all manner of technical support and access to military equipment and personnel, the Pentagon was allowed to “[a]ssign a senior staff, post-command Officer to review with public affairs the script’s thematics and weave in key talking points relevant to the aviation community.” 

What these key talking points are, Secker felt, is not too difficult to work out. Throughout the movie, the phrase “it’s not the plane; it’s the pilot” is used. This comes at a time when the military is facing a pressing shortage of pilots – something that is completely incongruous if the glamorous image of hard drinking, woman-chasing daredevils living the high-octane life is anything like accurate.

In essence, then, the movie functions as a two-hour 11 minute-long recruitment ad for the military. As one recruiter told Fox News, “We want to take advantage of the opportunity to connect not just the movie and the idea of a military service, but the fact that we’ve got jobs and we’ve got recruiters waiting for them.

Roger Stahl, professor of communications at the University of Georgia, told MintPress that movies play a key role in improving the military’s image at home and abroad, stating:

                        Foreign policy planners famously nicknamed the public’s reticence to authorize military intervention in the 80s the “Vietnam Syndrome.” The original “Top Gun’” arrived just in time to clean up this image and clear the way for a more palatable high-tech vision of imperialism and ultimately the Persian Gulf War. “Top Gun: Maverick” arrives at a similar moment in the shadow of Iraq and Afghanistan. And we will likely see a similar rebooting of the U.S. military machine.”

Stahl and Secker are co-producers of the new film “Theaters of War: How the Pentagon and CIA took Hollywood.”

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