Let’s talk reality: When the film shows jihadists storming into a village and lopping off a man’s head, it understates their atrocities. I don’t know what has to be done to penetrate the thick skulls of the willfully ignorant, but the Taliban and their al-Qaeda allies are evil to a degree Americans (obviously) have trouble comprehending.
...Though there are no perfect men, there is good and evil, and the SEALs were (and are) doing great good against unspeakable evil.—David French “Lone Survivor and Insufferable Anti-American Self-Righteousness”
“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”—Evelyn Beatrice Hall (1868-1956) “The Friends of Voltaire”—1906
Now that I have finally watched the movie “Lone Survivor” I feel qualified to weigh in on the controversy stirred up by the film. What do I mean by controversy?
I am referring to liberal versus conservative reaction toward the film. Although there are exceptions to the rule, generally the conservative reaction has been quite positive, while the liberal response has been lukewarm to negative. No surprise there.
Conservative pundit Glenn Beck offered to fly a film reviewer for the “LA Times” down to Texas to confront former SEAL and author of “Lone Survivor,” Marcus Luttrell. “If you have the balls to say what you just said to Marcus Luttrell and back it up, go for it,” Beck said. (Not to nitpick, but as the reviewer is a woman, I would imagine that we are talking ovaries and not gonads here. Then again, the times being what they are, I hesitate to draw any hasty conclusions. In any event, Beck got his point across).
In fairness to the “LA Times” I should mention that one of their film critics (Betsy Sharkey) wrote a review of “Lone Survivor” that, if not exactly glowing, is much more evenhanded than the review that Beck (and numerous others) took issue with.
David French nicely sums up the Leftist attitude regarding films that deal with the US military: “To them, there’s only one acceptable way to portray American soldiers—as PTSD-addled victims of America’s imperial hubris. Any other story is merely a ‘jingoistic’ and ‘pornographic’ example of ‘war propaganda.’”
After years of subtle and not-so-subtle anti-American indoctrination via our “educational system,” it is no surprise that there are numerous Americans who automatically assume that the USA is “the bad guy” in any international conflict—heck, there doesn’t even need to be a conflict for them to assume that America is wrong. It is a given.
Our children are taught to “Think globally, act locally.” A worthy sentiment on the face of it I suppose, but unstated behind the “happy face” exterior is the Far Left’s leitmotif that nation states (countries) are passe, and globalism is the only goal worth striving for. The idea of American exceptionalism is treated as a joke.
Undergirding the condescending snobbishness of the cultural elite’s disdain for the American middle-class (the historically despised bourgeoisie) are the teachings of Marx, Gramsci, Lukacs, Marcuse, Alinsky, and a host of other anti-freedom, anti-Western, anti-capitalist, anti-God, anti-USA demagogues—but that is the subject for a different article.
Suffice it to say that America’s poor and middle-class has a long history of bearing the brunt of America’s wars. The gulf between the elites who plan and instigate America’s overseas military actions and the military personnel who actually do the fighting has never been greater than it is today. (The gulf between the elites and America’s poor and middle-class has also never been greater, but again, that is the subject for another article).
I agree with Mark Twain’s sentiment that “Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.” I support our troops always—our government not so much. Unfortunately, it is the government elites who plan our “overseas adventures,” and IMHO they have been doing one p—s poor job for waay too long. Rushing headlong into untenable wars with no long-term goal, exit strategy, or commitment to WIN is not my idea of a smart game-plan—call me peculiar.
If you don’t plan on winning a fight then why in God’s name start one in the first place? That is elementary school “Common Sense 101,” for crying out loud—but I’m veering off message.
To understand the vast difference between the Left’s weltanschauung and the conservative view, it is instructive to look at the SEAL Code, which reads in part:
...My loyalty to Country and Team is beyond reproach. I humbly serve as a guardian to my fellow Americans always ready to defend those who are unable to defend themselves. I do not advertise the nature of my work, nor seek recognition for my actions. I voluntarily accept the inherent hazards of my profession, placing the welfare and security of others before my own.
...Uncompromising integrity is my standard. My character and honor are steadfast. My word is my bond.
What could the Far Left possibly find offensive about the SEAL Code? In a word—everything. (“Back in the day” we didn’t have a formal SEAL Code, and had to make do with short maxims—e.g. “The only easy day was yesterday”—and rather salty marching cadences. I recall one that ended with a blunt expository statement followed by a query: “I’m a f—king frogman; who the f—k are you!?” Granted, as a code it left a lot to be desired, but it’s what we had).
Why do I say that the Far Left (and through osmosis the Left as a whole, to varying degrees) finds everything about the SEAL Code offensive? Well…they are arrogant globalists who find the idea of patriotism to be at best quaintly retardataire, and at worst counter-revolutionary bourgeois bile. They believe in, teach, and promote the poisonous absurdity of multiculturalism. They tend to be amoral atheists (in fact, if not in name) who cultivate the base insidiousness of moral relativity—i.e the Taliban’s destruction of the ancient Bamiyan Buddhas is considered to be on a par with “loyalty to country and Team” (also see “multiculturalism”). The idea of being personally responsible for their actions is anathema to them—”victimhood” is their rallying cry and cause celebre. “Take responsibility for your actions?” Value loyalty, honesty, integrity, and commitment? Puh-leeze. We are talking about the Far Left here—graduates of “The Machiavelli School of Lies and Skullduggery.”
In short, that which is glaringly virtuous and praise-worthy to conservatives, morphs into bourgeois drivel for the radical Left. I strongly disagree with them, and I assure you that I am not tempted in the least to “defend to the death their right to say it.” Screw ‘em, and the horse they rode in on.
And kudos to Peter Berg, Marcus Luttrell, and all those involved in the filming of “Lone Survivor.” IMO it ranks right up there with “Black Hawk Down,” “Saving Private Ryan,” “We Were Soldiers” and other classics of the genre. Such movies shine a light on the hard-to-capture essence of Hemingway’s observation that “No story is terrible if the story is true…and if it affirms courage and grace under pressure.”
I do not love war—I hate war. But I am not so naïve as to think that we live in a world where freedom and righteousness need not be defended—at times to “the last full measure.” I thank God for our military “sheepdogs” who confront life out in the field—not out of hatred for the wolves in front of them, but out of a sense of camaraderie for the other guardians who stand with them, and love and devotion toward family, friends, and country far behind.
Born June 4, 1951 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Served in the U.S. Navy from 1970-1974 in both UDT-21 (Underwater Demolition Team) and SEAL Team Two. Worked as a commercial diver in the waters off of Scotland, India, and the United States. Worked overseas in the Merchant Marines. While attending the University of South Florida as a journalism student in 1998 was presented with the “Carol Burnett/University of Hawaii AEJMC Research in Journalism Ethics Award,” 1st place undergraduate division. (The annual contest was set up by Carol Burnett with money she won from successfully suing a national newspaper for libel). Awarded US Army, US Navy, South African, and Russian jump wings. Graduate of NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School, 1970). Member of Mensa, China Post #1, and lifetime member of the NRA and UDT/SEAL Association.
Jim can be reached at:
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