Adam Curtis uses one obvious truth to obscure another. The one he likes and uses is that the world is a more complicated place than can be captured by any 'Manichean fantasy', any 'simplified story of goodies versus baddies'. It is just such a story, according to him, that Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaida became, as a follow-on to the simplified story it replaced, that of the fight between the liberal West and communism. Al-Qaida, he writes, 'became the new Soviet Union, and in the process Bin Laden became a demonic, terrifyingly powerful figure brooding in a cave'... etc and so forth.
What, then, is the truth that Curtis obscures? It is that, even once you have allowed for all the complexity you want or need, some things are better than others and sometimes a lot better than others. Some forms of polity and society, and some political creeds, are better than others. Living in a liberal democracy, for everything wrong with this, was one hell of a lot better than living in the Soviet Union. There are many measures of the difference, but one of them can be unpacked in the vast numbers done to death as a direct consequence of communist rule. Living in a liberal democracy is also considerably better than living in an Al-Qaida-ruled society would be - as it is also better in a liberal democracy if you don't have to run the risk of being blown apart for no other reason than happening to be in the wrong public place at the wrong time; 'wrong' as determined by one or another cell of Al-Qaida enthusiasts. So goodies vs baddies may need to be complicated, qualified, nuanced to the nth degree, but good against bad sometimes does apply, and in the dispatching of Osama bin Gone-Now it applies with tassels, bugles and bells.
To this it may be added that Curtis's failure to - shall we say? - give that side of things any emphasis leads him into simplicities of his own. Thus, the problem with goody vs baddy stories, he says, is that they do not 'permit a proper critical framework', one with which to judge your own side, as well as your enemy. But here's a little nuance for him to ponder. You can align yourself with the good against the bad where you judge there to be such a division, and still be critical of the good side. You just try to keep knowing the difference between criticism of friends and a fight against enemies.
Something else. Curtis suggests that the goody vs baddy fantasy has lately led to the discomfiting of Western commentators in face of the struggles against dictatorship in the Arab world. Ha and even ha ha ha to that, a perpetual refrain from the verkrappt and soft-minded segments of the left. The peoples of the Arab countries in revolt want democracy and they want the sort of freedoms they know are enjoyed elsewhere. Into one particular story of the political good versus the political bad that fits right in.
Some of these left-liberal sophisticates who want exquisite complication as between liberal democracy, on the one hand, and tyranny or terrorism, on the other, are only playing games. They aren't serious, and should it ever get to the chips being down for them personally, they'll come home to Momma. But others not. We know, simply from the general way of human affairs, that there will be uglies amongst them. These would go the wrong way.