Why I don’t like today’s war movies — it’s not the plot, it’s the people behind the movie

Someone gave us tickets to see a play called Black Watch, about the famed Scottish regiment in the British Army.  The play premiered in 2006 in Edinburgh, at the height of anti-War fervor.  It tells the story of a regiment that goes back 300 years, that bore the brunt of a bad attack in Iraq, and that was later folded into another regiment, to the distress of its members and many in Scotland.  The genesis for the play was a series of news reports about returning vets getting into bar fights, etc.  (Of course, when I heard that, I immediately wondered if these guys would have gotten into bar fights regardless, consistent with their working class Scottish demographic, and then made news solely because of their Black Watch affiliation.)

Here’s a YouTube promo that gives you an idea about the play.  I got tired just watching it:

Although everybody on the Left who wrote it, produced it, acted in it, or reviewed it insists that it’s “even handed,” I have to admit to having my doubts.  I’ll try to keep an open mind, though.  It might indeed be a moving tribute to a long-standing regiment.  (My Dad — who was in the RAF, but ended up in ANZAC, and then somehow served as an infantryman — fought aside the Black Watch in El Alamein.  He carried with him memories of being piped into battle.)

The good thing is that the actors I’ll be watching are all actually Scottish, so they’ll have the accent right.  The bad news — and the reason I have an icky feeling about the play, even if it is well-done and is even-handed — is that I’m absolutely certain that the majority of them are anti-War.  I mean, think about it:  young, Scottish, in the Arts — they’ve got to be Leftists.  I certainly don’t have proof, but I have a reasonable hypothesis, right?

What this means is that those who are ostensibly paying respectful homage to generations of Black Watch soldiers in fact think of soldiers as sadistic baby killers.  For such actors, every depiction of a good soldier is a parody, because there’s no such thing.  And every depiction of a bad soldier — whether on the field or off — feels right because, after all, that’s what troops are . . . BAD.

This is why I hate modern war movies.  It’s not just because I’m squeamish.  It’s because I know that the actors, producers, and directors making those movies hate everything the troops stand for:  their masculine culture (which is why the huge push for homosexuals generally and women on the front lines), their religion (which is why Obama’s Pentagon has hired a rabid Christian hater to work with it on “tolerance”), and their belief that war is the only way to solve some problems (“War, for the times when a ‘Coexist’ bumper sticker just won’t get the job done.”).

To me, it’s a cruel travesty to watch poncy Hollywood (or Scottish) actors bound around pretending to be masculine and brave.  It’s not just that they’re scared little boys pretending; it’s that they’re scared little boys who despise the real thing.

All of this makes it very ironic that Steven Spielberg, he of the anti-War left, has signed on to make a Chris Kyle biopic.  Chris Kyle wasn’t politically correct.  He loved war when it was just, he loved fighting, he loved the manliness of his military environment, and he absolutely and completely hated the people against whom he fought:  the savage barbarians of Islam.  One can bet, though, that in Spielberg’s limp hands, Kyle will become an anguished figure, trying to come to terms with the havoc he’s wreaked upon the innocent people of Iraq.

Incidentally, one of the reasons WWII war films worked so well, and are still watchable, was because the people in them supported the war effort.  Some enlisted, some served, some were in the Army Reserve since 1937 but couldn’t serve because of bad vision (that would be Ronald Reagan), and all believed that America needed to beat the Axis.  Yes, a lot of the actors were scared little boys pretending, but they admired the real thing, rather than despising it.

After I’ve seen Black Watch, I’ll let you know what I think of it, and whether my fears were realized.

Obama almost aggressively ignores Chris Kyle’s death, but sends significant delegation to Chavez’s funeral

Chris Kyle and Hugo Chavez

It’s been more than a month since military hero Chris Kyle died, and President Obama has yet to say a word about Kyle and his service to our country.  It’s been two days since Venezuelan Hugo Chavez died, and the President has already made arrangements to send a three-man delegation to his funeral.

The former Navy-SEAL was an extraordinarily heroic sniper who recorded the highest number of kill shots in American history.  He claimed he was just lucky (there were so many enemies around him that it was like shooting fish in a barrel), but it’s obvious that luck was only a part of it.  He was naturally talented, well-trained, meticulously prepared, and extremely courageous.  Although he had nothing good to say about the barbarians he fought, Kyle never had a bad word to say in public about this country or its leaders.  He truly and proudly loved America.

Hugo Chavez was a “socialist” despot who wrecked Venezuela’s economy, not for the people’s benefit, but to enrich himself.  Current estimates are that he squirreled away about $2 billion dollars of the Venezuelan people’s money in his own bank accounts.  His favorite people were the world’s worst dictators, whether in Cuba, the Middle East, or Russia, and he tried hard to help these regimes out with the oil he robbed from his people.  He aggressively supported Latin American drug and Leftist terrorist groups, and he practiced the usual dictator’s trick of blaming the Jews (who are a tiny minority in Venezuela) for the economic troubles he created.

And of course, like any despot, Chavez hated America.  In a memorable 2006 appearance at the U.N., Chavez said of President George Bush that “The devil came here yesterday.  It still smells of sulfur today.” President Bush wasn’t his only target.  In the same speech, he told the world that America and President Bush promoted “a false democracy of the elite” and a “democracy of bombs.”

When American hero Chris Kyle died, Obama said nothing.

When America-hater Hugo Chavez died, Obama issued a wordy statement that said nothing about the fact that Venezuela and the world are large are better off without the dangerous despot who desperately wanted to be a big player in the world’s Axis of Evil:

At this challenging time of President Hugo Chavez’s passing, the United States reaffirms its support for the Venezuelan people and its interest in developing a constructive relationship with the Venezuelan government. As Venezuela begins a new chapter in its history, the United States remains committed to policies that promote democratic principles, the rule of law, and respect for human rights.

When American hero Chris Kyle was mourned at his memorial service, Obama did not attend, he did not send a taped message (or even a telegram), and he did not send an official White House representative.

Now that America-hater Hugo Chavez has finally died, Obama has arranged for an impressive delegation to attend the official funeral in Caracas.  According to the Washington Times:

The Obama administration has dispatched an official delegation to Caracas to attend Friday’s funeral for deceased Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

In addition to James Derham, who presently serves as Charge d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in the Venezuelan capital, the State Department said Thursday that the delegation to the socialist revolutionary’s funeral will include U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks, New York Democrat, and former U.S. Rep. William Delahunt, Massachusetts Democrat.

Not to put too fine a point on things, it is disgusting that President Obama (who is the American military’s Commander in Chief) completely ignored an American military hero’s death; and now, just a month later, pulls out the stops when an anti-American, pro-terrorist, socialist robber baron dies.  If you need a snapshot of the Obama administration’s values, this is it.

(Written by Bookworm; originally published at Mr. Conservative.)

Friday morning round-up

If ignorance is bliss, ’tis folly to be wise — especially when the subject is Islam.

Today is the day that Obama (at extraordinary cost) flew all over the country to hype as Armageddon.  I got out of bed this morning, looked up, and saw the sky right where it belonged.  “Wow,” I said to myself.  “The sky didn’t fall.  I think someone lied to me.”  Krauthammer thinks the same.  The Dems were on to something with their “never let a crisis go to waste” policy.  Where they erred was in thinking they could use that policy effectively by faking crises.  That might have been a mistake for them — and I hope it was a big mistake.

“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” Mia Farrow inadvertently said something very important.  “Bob Woodward burned his cloak of impartiality.”  What did Woodward do to start this conflagration?  Acting as an actual investigative journalist, he reported that Obama lied about the sequestration.  In other words, “impartiality” means “the Obama party line.”  I have a friend who loves Jon Stewart.  He cannot understand when I say that, aside from finding Stewart too puerile and crude to be funny, I don’t like his biased humor.  “Bias?  There is no bias,” says my friend.  According to him, the impartial truth is that, 90% of the time (per Stewart) conservatives are stupid, mean, and wrong, while that’s only true (maybe) about 10% of the time for Democrats.

I couldn’t agree more with this article urging that schools have children read the Bible, not as a religious book, but as literature.  The King James Bible is, without doubt, one of the most beautifully written books in the English language, and one that enriches our speech every day.  And if a little morality rubs off along the way, well, who’s to say that’s a bad thing?

Who knew that Michelle Obama had so much in common with ancient Sparta?  Following her fitness program is now a “patriotic obligation.”  Considering that Sparta was a, well, spartan, warlike, slave state, I’m not sure I like this.  It’s one thing if people want to be physically fit (as I do).  It’s quite another thing when the state makes it a civic obligation that, ultimately, as a civic obligation, will be enforced using all the state’s power.

One of my long-time blog friends, and one of the smartest women in the conservative blogosphere has a fascinating post up at PJ Media about the transition from liberal to conservative — one that sees many of us following a Churchillian political trajectory.  I think many Bookworm Room readers will recognize themselves in her post.  I certainly see myself.

Also at PJ Media, David Goldman brings some of his always interesting insights to bear on the warped, and definitely pre-modern, mental life of Obama’s favorite political leader, Turkey’s Tayyip Erdogan. Erdogan, as you may recall, is the Muslim political leader who just the other day called Zionism a “crime against humanity.”

When Whitney Houston, the pathetically drug addicted diva, died in her bath, Obama paused in his busy campaign to acknowledge her passing.  To date, Obama has said nothing about Chris Kyle, a man who fought ferociously in the military that Obama heads, given his constitutional status as Commander in Chief.  Keith Koffler rightly calls Obama out on this revolting silence.

I’m sure I’ll have more to say as the day rolls on, but this is a start.


Obama and the deaths of famous people

Keep in mind as you look at this poster that Obama is the military’s Commander in Chief.  This means that, in theory, although clearly not in fact, Chris Kyle was one of Obama’s own:

Obama's responses to death

Incidentally, I don’t reprint this poster to denigrate Houston’s tragedy (which was drug addiction), but merely to point out that our President’s values don’t align well with traditional morality or patriotism.

Chris Kyle leaves for his final resting place *UPDATED*

Chris Kyle

Having read Chris Kyle’s American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History, I keep forgetting that I never actually met the man.  The book was so vivid, not just about his war-time experiences, but also when it came to his life and personality, that my memory creates false images of my actually having spoken with Kyle.  I’m not delusional.  I know they’re false memories.  It’s just that a very real person stepped out of those pages.

Today, that vivid man was laid to rest, beginning with a memorial service before approximately 7,000 people at Cowboys Stadium, followed by a long drive to Texas State Cemetery in Austin, Texas:

Slain ex-Navy SEAL Chris Kyle was a devoted husband, father and friend who will never be forgotten, his widow told mourners at his memorial service Monday.

Taya Kyle said she was broken but that the family will “put one foot in front of the other” to get through their grief. She told her two children that they will remember Chris Kyle’s silly side, Texas twang and prayers they prayed together.

“Chris, there isn’t enough time to tell you everything you mean to me and everything you taught me,” she said through tears.

Nearly 7,000 people, including former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and her husband, attended the service at Cowboys Stadium. Dozens of military personnel and others were seated in front of the podium near the star at midfield, where Kyle’s flag-draped coffin was placed at the beginning of the service.

After Taya Kyle’s eulogy, country singer Randy Travis sang “Whisper My Name,” which he said Taya Kyle had told him was a meaningful song for the couple, and “Amazing Grace.” At the conclusion of the two-hour service, bagpipers played as military personnel carried out Kyle’s coffin, and many in the crowd saluted.

His friends and fellow service members told mourners that Kyle was more than an excellent sniper feared by U.S. enemies — he was a dedicated family man known for his sense of humor, compassion, selflessness and generosity.

Some who served with him said that Kyle was a man, myth and legend because he would do anything for his fellow SEALs. Some of his childhood friends recalled his mischievous side, and one said he and Kyle played with BB guns as kids — and Kyle “wasn’t a good shot back then.”

(Read more here.)

Kyle was a larger-than-life character, and I suspect he would have appreciated this larger than life funeral.  I don’t just suspect, though, but know with absolute certainty that he would infinitely preferred to have spent a long life with the wife and children he adored.

R.I.P, Chris Kyle.  You were a man of courage and honor, you touched many lives, and you will be greatly missed.

UPDATE:  Typically, the Daily Mail has the best coverage.

Obama: it’s not just what he says, it’s what he doesn’t say

A friend forwarded me this Facebook page:

Obama's deafening silence

Perhaps, though, we should be grateful. You just know that Obama would have wanted to say something along the lines of Ron Paul’s execrable statement about living and dying by the sword. (And we know how stupid that is in this context.) Given half a moment and a bully pulpit, Obama would have dressed up Chris Kyle, the ultimate warrior, as the poster child for draconian gun control.

Chris Kyle, RIP

Chris Kyle

Back in June, I reviewed Chris Kyle’s American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History.  I gave the book a thumbs up — it was an enjoyable, informative read about life on the front lines from a tough guy who became a SEAL, and then went on to become, as the title says, the most lethal sniper in U.S. Military history.  Along the way, Kyle picked up, just to name a few the honors bestowed upon him, two Silver Stars, five Bronze Stars with Valor, and two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals.

One of the things that struck me about Kyle’s book was how earthy and irreverent it was.  I compared it to Marcus Luttrell’s equally enjoyable, but very different, Service: A Navy SEAL at War, which struck a more reverent note.  Kyle was a rough, tough man, who lived hard and loved his wife and family with the same passion he brought to everything else he did.

That rough, tough, passionate, loving man managed to survive front line service in Iraq only to die yesterday in Texas when a crazed former Marine shot him and Chad Littlefield at point blank range, killing both:

The deadliest sniper in US history has been shot dead at point blank range by a veteran suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.

Chris Kyle, 39, was blasted in the back by Eddie Ray Routh, 25, after taking him on an outing to a shooting range to help him deal with his demons.

Routh also allegedly shot dead his neighbor Chad Littlefield, 35, who was on the trip too.

I’m not blind to the irony that a man who made his career shooting people died by being shot. I don’t have to go to Left wing blogs to know that they’re probably celebrating this “karmic” end to his life. This point of view is, of course, wildly and completely wrong.

As Kyle fully understood — as every person on a battlefield has understood — there is a difference between war time and peace time. During war time, an enemy is arrayed against you and yours. If you don’t kill him, he will kill you, and your friends, and your family. Provided you are fighting against a true enemy (one who genuinely seeks your destruction), killing in war is a righteous.

My Dad may have had nightmares about the Nazis coming to kill him at El Alamein, but he never had nightmares about the Nazis he killed.  Individually, I have no doubt that there were decent men amongst the Nazi troops, men who were patriots, rather than genocidal maniacs.  When a country goes to war, decent individuals too often find themselves on the wrong side.  Sadly, though, the nature of war means that, to destroy an evil nation, one has to destroy its military — including the cannon fodder forced into that nation’s war.  Kyle understood this.

At home, though, in peace time, Kyle was not a crazed killer.  He was a family man and an educator.  He sought to protect innocents.  Living as a man of peace, in peace time, his murder was just as terrible as it would have been if he’d spent the last decades being an accountant, rather than a SEAL.

I enjoyed the funny, rough, pragmatic man I met in Kyle’s book.  If you haven’t read it, I bet you’d like him too.  Perhaps now is the time to buy the book, since I’m sure his wife and children will need the royalties from its sales.

The different faces of the military — two SEAL autobiographies

Within the last two weeks, I’ve read two Navy SEAL books:  Marcus Luttrell’s Service: A Navy SEAL at War and Chris Kyle’s American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History.

The books have a lot of similarities, separate from the fact that both are books about SEALS seeing service in Iraq during and before the Anbar awakening.  Luttrell and Kyle are both Texas boys (who, unsurprisingly, are friends); they both value the triumvirate of Country, God, and Family, although not necessarily in that order; they both have a superhuman capacity for exertion and suffering, which is a necessity for a SEAL; they both describe the devastating long-term effects on their bodies from constant training and battle, hardships they willingly endure because they love their jobs and their country; and they both are fiercely, almost fanatically devoted to the SEALS.

What’s different about the books, and what makes it worthwhile to read both, is tone.  Despite being a Texas good ol’ boy, Luttrell’s view of the SEALS is almost reverent.  His SEALS don’t come across as choir boys, but they are remarkably close to the PG-rated, family-loving, lite beer-drinking SEALS in Act of Valor. After his Afghanistan ordeal, Luttrell’s subsequent service in Iraq comes close to a martyrdom, as he struggles against debilitating physical injury in order to be out there with his Teams.

Kyle adores the SEALs, but has no reverence.  These are hard charging men who drink, brawl, and haze each other with cheerful, impartial brutality.  When they’re off duty, and have nothing else to do, they play computer games and watch porn.  These are the R-rated SEALS.  These are men who naturally have testosterone infusing their testosterone.  I have a suspicion that they’re closer to the real deal than are Luttrell’s SEALS, who seem to have come out of central casting, circa the John Wayne era.  Kyle clearly loves war.  He’s no sadist, but there is pleasure for him in defeating an enemy he describes as “savage” and “barbarian.”

I’ve been wondering about the different approach these two men take to describing their comrades.  Are Luttrell and Kyle so different in personality that they simply see their team members through a different filter?  Or are they writing for very different audiences?  Luttrell gained national prominence because of his experiences in Afghanistan, whereas Kyle may be more of a military phenomenon.  This means that Luttrell has to appeal to — and is selling the SEALS to — a broader spectrum of Americans than Kyle.

The books are a perfectly matched set (and you know how I love my matched sets), so I recommend reading both.  Combining Luttrell’s more cerebral approach with Kyle’s earthier stories gives a well-rounded view of the brave and slightly insane (in a very good way) men who willingly engage in uncomfortable, brutal, and dangerous warfare so that the majority of Americans can live out their lives in comfort and safety.  I have inordinate admiration for these men, but I do get the feeling that you have to be as tough as they are to function around them.

Also, both books offer a good insight into the chasm between actual fighting in the field, and the political fighting at home that so often handicapped them.  Frustration is the name-of-the-game for front line fighters who have the enemy in their sights and are constrained by almost arbitrary rules of engagement.  The theory behind the rules of engagement is to leave a loving population behind.  But war is not loving, and things would probably have gone better if the government had trusted the troops a little more, and allowed them to wage a quick, clean-ish war, rather than a slow, enervating war.