There’s yet another movie coming out about the way in which the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq destroy lives and turn young men into pathetic losers:
There is a grim timeliness to the release of “Brothers,” Jim Sheridan’s movie about the effects of war on the family of a Marine serving in Afghanistan. Whatever the other consequences of President Obama’s revised strategy in that country, we can be sure that it will yield more stories like the one told in this film. And it is sobering, eight years into the war, to reflect that in 2004, the first time this movie was made — by the Danish director Susanne Bier — it was just as topical and urgent.
The review is written in terms of high art — which I translate as boring and pompous — but I gather that the brother who goes to war suffers terribly, and that his sufferings transfer to the family, and that they all suffer and are destroyed together. War is hell, people.
The above is the usual we expect from Hollywood. What’s so funny is the way in which the New York Times‘ movie reviewer, A.O. Scott, assures us that the movie is completely apolitical:
But this “Brothers,” like its predecessor, is in some ways less a movie about war than a movie that uses war as a scaffolding for domestic melodrama. It also follows the template of American movies about Iraq and Afghanistan in being resolutely somber and systematically apolitical: you can witness any kind of combat heroism or atrocity, and see unflinching portrayals of grief, trauma and healing. But you almost never hear an argument about the war itself, or glimpse the larger global and national context in which these intimate dramas take shape.
It doesn’t seem to occur to Scott that a movie that paints war as an evil thing that destroys, not just the enemy, but the warriors at home and, by extension, their families too, is pretty anti-war. And that if it’s anti-war, it isn’t apolitical. Instead, it’s standing firmly on the side of those liberals who believe that all wars, regardless of the goals, are inherently evil and destructive. It also stands firmly on the side of those liberals who do not believe that there is a warrior class that finds fulfillment in serving, and that despite the fact that war — even a just war — can indeed be hell.
As an antidote to the liberal establishment’s firm belief that military service inevitably destroys human beings, let me replay this great video of Congressional candidate Lieutenant Colonel Allen West, which I already added to my affirmative action post: