We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Hollywood propagandist fimmaker Robert Redford has his latest revisionist history film, The Conspirator, torn asunder in the Washington Post review. Excerpt:
Replace “post-Vietnam” with “post-Iraq” and you get a pretty good description of how the U.S. military is portrayed in “The Conspirator.” Rather than a principle worth fighting for, or a fragile democracy still vulnerable to dead-enders who would reignite the war, the Union is painted as the nest that hatched the egg of an overweening state and arrogant abuse of power.
I've not seen the movie yet, but viewed two of the trailers.
Based on those two snippets, the movie is anti-military tribunals to try what are essentially criminals.
If that's the case, then it is correct. There are no military tribunals authorized the US military other than to try military criminals within the US armed forces.
Further, the US Army was a band of murderous thugs who'd murdered, raped, and pillaged their way across the Confederate States, waging war on civilians most of the time. Hopefully, Redford will portray that accurately, but my expectations are low.
"Torn asunder"? I'm not sure why you say that. So Redford "courted ambiguity"? Well, as it happens, some members of the military tribunal that convicted Surratt were not entirely sure of Surratt's role in the conspiracy and, after having convicted her and sentenced her to death, wrote to President Andrew Johnson with a request for leniency, asking him to commute her death sentence to life imprisonment. Which he proceeded to ignore. After the conviction, the Supreme Court for the District of Columbia issued a writ of habeas corpus at the request of Surratt's lawyers, which Johnson also ignored, citing the habeas corpus act of 1863 passed by Congress which allowed Johnson (and Lincoln before him) to suspend that fundamental right in law. As for whether Surratt should have been tried in civil court instead of by the military tribunal formed at the direction of President Johnson, Congress had gutted and reorganized the civil court system in D.C. in 1863 in order to fire some judges on the old court who had lifetime appointments. I can imagine that proceedings in the civil courts in D.C. might have been pretty messy after the war. The situation might not have been exactly favorable to a dispassionate trial of someone who was accused of conspiring to kill the President and two others. (For the record, one co-conspirator claimed she was not involved in the plot, another claimed she was deeply involved. I don't know what the historians have finally concluded.)
Clayton E Cramer saw, researched, and reviewed The Conspiritor. He's not known to me as someone who pulls any punches when it comes to liberal bias, and he wrote a fairly positive review of it on his blog.