Short, but sadly, so not sweet. It’s 40 seconds of painful truth:
I wonder whether any branch of the military has lost a larger proportion of people than the Navy SEAL in the years since 9/11. Certainly they’ve done their bit and more to fight for American freedoms. We now learn that, in Benghazi, former Navy SEALS Tyrone Woods, 41, and Glen Doherty, 42, gave their lives to try to Ambassador Stevens even though they were not at the embassy in any official capacity:
The two former SEALS, Tyrone Woods, 41, and Glen Doherty, 42, were not employed by the State Department diplomatic security office and instead were what is known as personal service contractors who had other duties related to security, the officials said.
They stepped into action, however, when Stevens became separated from the small security detail normally assigned to protect him when he traveled from the more fortified embassy in Tripoli to Benghazi, the officials said.
The two ex-Seals and others engaged in a lengthy firefight with the extremists who attacked the compound, a fight that stretched from the inner area of the consulate to an outside annex and a nearby safe house — a location that the insurgents appeared to know about, the officials said.
The officials provided the information to the Washington Guardian, saying they feared the Obama administration’s scant description of the episode left a misimpression that the two ex-Navy SEALs might have been responsible for the ambassador’s personal safety or become separated from him.
Woods and Doherty were unable to save either Stevens or themselves. Of course, if they haven’t fought, there’s no telling how many more Americans might have died. It turns out that the State Department was so determined to keep a low profile in Benghazi (despite advance warning of a terrorist attack), that it hired a British security firm that happily complied with the State Department’s “no weapons” rule. Here’s a question I wonder if anyone has asked: If Woods and Doherty hadn’t picked up weapons and given their lives, how many of those British security people would have died along with the Americans?
Meanwhile, while American embassies burn (and Israel stares down another Holocaust), Obama fiddles and diddles away his time in Vegas, on Letterman, partying with Beyonce, and talking with pirates. Feckless is too nice a word for him, and I’m too much of a lady to use the ones that apply.
Did Bill Clinton mean to paint Obama as so invested in himself that he is incapable of any finer feelings? Bill’s a wily guy, so it’s entirely possible that, when he speak of dead SEALS being a bad outcome, not for the SEALS, but for Obama, he intended to make Obama look like the ultimate narcissistic political hack. Many of us commented on Clinton’s statement at the time, but this video interview with Karen Vaughn, mother of fallen Navy Seal of Aaron Carson Vaughn, brings home the Obama calculus, one that is bounded by his own needs and no one else’s:
While we’re on the subject of Obama’s over-weaning self-involvement, Aaron Miller had an interesting discussion with his uncle, one that saw them trying to create a debate riposte for Romney that has the same power as Reagan’s ageless “There you go again.” I think Miller’s uncle may have hit upon something:
An uncle and I were discussing how Romney might get under Obama’s skin and force an error during the Presidential debates. He mentioned Reagan’s famous “There you go again” line and said Romney could use a similar rejoinder. His suggestion?
“It’s not all about you.”
If you go to Miller’s post, you’ll see other one-liners in the comments, but I don’t think any of them are as good as “It’s not all about you” — especially in light of Mrs. Vaughn’s dismay at the audacity of the Democrat ego.
You know that expression “Never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel”? I think Obama might want to coin a new one, something along the lines of “Never pick a fight with the toughest, bravest, meanest, scariest-ass fighters in the world.”
I like watching martial arts fighting. I bet I’ll like watching this fight too. You know, this:
The Navy SEALS’ job, pretty much, is to deal with Muslims who have an axe to grind. For years in Afganistan and Iraq, they’ve used their strength and skills to face down Islamists in the battlefield. Facing angry Islamists in the political field, though, is apparently more than the SEALS — or, more accurately, their politically connected higher ups — can stand. Today’s example: the Navy’s decision to pretend that men and women wearing burqas aren’t legitimate targets against which the SEALS should train:
The Navy will not use a target depicting a Muslim woman holding a gun at a new training range for SEALs in Virginia Beach.
The announcement came hours after the Council on American-Islamic Relations asked the Pentagon to remove the target. A picture of the cardboard target, which shows a woman in a headscarf holding a pistol, was published in The Virginian-Pilot on Tuesday. The image shows verses of the Quran hanging on the wall behind the woman, which also generated criticism from the group.
Greg, at Rhymes with Right, has some hilarious suggestions for targets the Navy’s Nervous Nellies might find less threatening.
This subject hits home with me, because I took a ton of flak a few months ago for suggesting that the SEALS cried craven when they decided to make their mass murdering terrorist warlord a Jew. I learned through confidential sources that I can’t reveal here that the pivotal scene, the one in which the mastermind is revealed to be Jewish came about accidentally, and that the SEALS didn’t intend to make that point initially. I’m willing to accept that claim in good faith.
But as I kept complaining, the powers that be, once that mistake was made, had two choices. They could have corrected it, which would have been the proper and brave thing to do; or they could have run with it, happy that they could sit across the table from the white collar terrorists at CAIR and promise that no real Muslims would be maligned in the making of the movie.
Here’s a question for SEALS and their ilk to ask themselves: How can I fight bravely when I’m commanded by cowards?
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.
Obama’s War on Women backfired when one of his operatives made a stupid attack against Ann Romney and Moms. Obama’s Dog War against Romney backfired when it turned out that he’d dined on dogs. Now, it looks as if Obama’s “I killed bin Laden” shtick is going to backfire too:
Hat tip to all who sent me this wonderful video.
Of the many, many things I do that irritate my husband, two are pertinent here. First, I actually listen to what he says. This can be frustrating for him, because he doesn’t always use his words with precision. When we’re having a discussion and I say “But you said…” his return is usually “I know that’s what I said, but you know that’s not what I meant.” Well, no. If you said one thing, how the heck am I supposed to know that you meant another thing?
My other irritating habit is that I can totally read movies. Aside from the fact that I don’t generally like what’s coming out of Hollywood, I also have a very low boredom threshold. If I can figure out character, plot, and motive in the first ten minutes of the movie, and I don’t like where the movie is going, I’m so out of there. This irritates my husband, although he can also find it useful: “Why did that women get on the train?” “But I thought those two characters were married?” You know . . . questions like that. If there’s foreshadowing or nuance in a movie, I get it.
These two traits are relevant to my perception of antisemitism in Act of Valor. First, I was paying close attention to the dialog, so I heard what I heard. Second, had there been nuance, foreshadowing, character development, etc., I would have gotten it. The line “You’re a Jew,” was out there, and the nuance, foreshadowing, plot, or character development that would normally have explained that line’s meaning were missing, both before and after the line was uttered. That’s my defense.
BUT — and this is a really important “but,” so please stick with me here.
I just got an email from someone purporting to be close to the SEALS involved in the production, and for the time being, I’m comfortable believing that this person is who he says he is, and that what he’s saying is the truth. I won’t quote the bulk of the email verbatim, because I haven’t been given permission to do so. I will, however, pass on the pertinent data, along with my apologies to the SEALS generally and the Senior Chief specifically for having misinterpreted their motives and for having done so very publicly.
First, I have been assured that the Senior Chief is not an antisemite, and I absolutely believe that to be true. I actually never meant to accuse the real Senior Chief of being antisemitic, so I apologize for creating the perception that I did. I didn’t even perceive his character as being antisemitic. I perceived the movie as being antisemitic or, rather, having a rather stunningly antisemitic moment. To the extent, though, that perception becomes reality, I apologize directly to the Senior Chief for accusing him of being antisemitic.
Second, the email writer explained to me that, in the context of the scene (and I am going to quote here) “it was a device to try to separate Christo from Shabal by appealing to the natural enmity between Jews and radical islamists.” Further, the actor, Alex Veadov is, in fact, Jewish, so that charge against him in the movie was a form of method acting that brings together both reality and fiction that, to my mind, meshed in an unfortunate way.
I totally believe the above is true. Indeed, in my earlier posts, I even explored the possibility that it might be true — but rejected it because the line “you’re a Jew” existed in a vacuum. I don’t doubt that the SEALS and the other actors understood the subtext, but for the audience, the line stood there in glorious isolation. The second, missing, line should have been “How can you make common cause with a man who is dedicated to your people’s destruction?” Except that line wasn’t there. As a literalist who listens, its absence was a potent force for me. And I have to say that, as someone who reads movies, there was nothing else in the movie to help me understand that there was an unspoken line driving this scene.
My sense here is that, much as I really dislike Hollywood, Hollywood is adept at one thing, and that is telling the story at both the big, obvious level, and at the lower, more subliminal level. When it’s doing pure entertainment, this works. When it’s doing propaganda, this facility is irritating. This movie bypassed Hollywood, something that I really appreciate. It made an amateur mistake, however, which is to forget that the audience has to have things spelled out, and that’s true whether they’re spelled out explicitly or implicitly. I can’t know what the movie’s makers intend; I can know only what they tell me.
The letter writer closed by asking me to correct my earlier email as quickly as possible lest it create dangerous risks for the men and women in the field. He could have just appealed to my conscience, because I do have one. If I do something wrong, I say so. If I hurt someone’s feelings, I apologize. And if I create the incorrect impression that a person or group has bad motives, I move as quickly as possibly to remedy that error. I now have data showing I was wrong and created a bad impression. This post, written as soon as possible, is meant to correct that, and I’m disseminating this post as widely as possible. And I do most heartily apologize to the Senior Chief and the SEALS for wrongly impugning them.
[UPDATE: I received an email from someone who I have reason to believe is indeed close to the story, rebutting my charges. I still think the film slipped up, but I am certain that the SEALS are not antisemites. Read more here.]
In my earlier post, I accused Act of Valor of including crude antisemitism. You can read my accusation here. I have a few more thoughts that I want to put out here.
Readers of my blog know that I’m not someone who sees antisemitism under every rock. Certainly, I do discuss antisemitism at the Bookworm Room, as you’ll see if you follow the category link. I happen to believe that our President is not a friend of Israel, and I suspect that he doesn’t like religious Jews. I also write a fair number of posts about modern Leftism’s hostility to Israel, a hostility that is hard to explain without looking to good old-fashioned Jew hatred. If you want to see more of my thoughts on the subject, check the link.
Having said that, I don’t constantly watch movies and TV shows, or view news reports, or read books with a constant eye out for antisemitism. People sometimes say or do things that can be perceived as offensive, but if their motives are clearly from innocence or ignorance, I just don’t care. You’ve probably heard the expression that, to a hammer, everything is a nail. That is not my approach to antisemitism.
One of my friends whom I greatly respect suggested that maybe I read something in the movie that isn’t there. He pointed out that both Roger Simon and Phyllis Chesler, two other people I highly respect, gave the movie glowing reviews without any mention of that “Jewish” bit. Taking his question seriously, I asked myself “Did I fall asleep?” or “Did I have a hammer/nail moment where I imagined that scene?”
I therefore did a reality check, asking each of my children if, in the interrogation scene, the Navy SEAL had said to the bad guy something along the lines of “You’re a Jew.” The children (a tween and a teen) corroborated that this dialogue took place. The older one said “It made me uncomfortable.” The younger one said, “They had a good reason for doing it. They wanted to show that Jews can be bad guys and work with Muslims too.”
My younger child may be right about the point the movie wanted to make, but he’s still fundamentally wrong about the point being made (as are the filmmakers, if this was their goal). Yes, some of the worst antisemites in the world are Jews. Yousef Al-Khattab is a Jew turned Jihadi and George Soros is, of course, Jewish. Puree these two nasty men into one individual, and you could come up with a billionaire Jewish jihadist. But how likely is that? Both Soros and Al-Khattab are pretty rare animals — sui generis, one might say. There’s only one Soros, and he’s inspired by Leftism, not by jihadism, and there’s only one Yousef Al-Khattab, and he’s inspired by Islam, not by a Jewish desire to destroy capital.
The reality in this world is that the vast (and by vast I mean in excess of 99%) majority of Jews aren’t jihadists. In the real world, Jews are Israelis who are front-line warriors in the battle against radical Islam; beleaguered European Jews who are realizing that the Europeans don’t like them any more than they did in 1939 and side more with the Islamists in the midst; and ostrich-like American Jews whose loosey-goosey Leftism blinds them to the fact that the Left’s movers and shakers are not friends to either Israel or the Jews.
The percentage of Jihadists who are Jews is incalculably small, and the percentage of billionaire, greasy-haired, hooked-nosed Jewish Jihadists is smaller still — to the point of zero. Even Soros, bad person though he is, does not look like a Jewish caricature, nor is he a Jihadist. He is a Leftist, which is a different beast — and Act of Valor makes no effort to put the character of Christo into that Leftist slot.
And that’s really the point: the movie makes no effort to try to put Christo into any recognizable slot other than that of traditional antisemitic imagery. Christo is not a Leftist who allies himself with Islamists because they share a common goal of destroying the West. Christo is not a convert who has abandoned his Jewishness and immersed himself in the antisemitic fanaticism of the Islamists. Christo is also not a tortured, self-loathing Jew who is at least psychologically interesting. He’s just an ugly, greasy, sadistic billionaire, whose goal is mass murder in America and the destruction of the American economy.
Christo’s Jewishness — which is a one-liner that ruined an entire movie for me — is thrown out there for no discernible reason. It doesn’t explain the story that preceded his being identified as a Jew, and it doesn’t affect the plot that follows that revelation. It’s just out there. To me, that’s antisemitism, pure and simple.
Interestingly, this isn’t the first time that a show that’s billed as ordinary entertainment digs deep into traditional antisemitic tropes. Just last month, an NBC TV show called Grimm apparently did precisely the same thing. That two 2012 productions should delve into the world’s antisemitic psyche to create their bad guys is more than disturbing. It’s frightening.
One last thing: I got mad at the Navy SEALS (and said so), because they star in Act of Valor and it’s billed as a Navy SEAL movie. I understand that there are many more layers to a movie: the creative side, the production side, the financing and, with this particular movie, presumably the Pentagon and State Department side. I’d be deeply sorry to believe that this swipe at Jews originated with the SEALS themselves, although you can’t escape the fact that they participated in the movie. Because of that participation, I don’t fully apologize to them for lashing out in my last post, but I somewhat apologize to them, and expand my anger to the other culprits behind this base act.
UPDATE: Sadie has suggested that the Pentagon, fearful of angering Muslims, throw in a bad Jew as a sop to their delicate sensibilities. Does that make it any better?
[UPDATE: I received an email from someone who I have reason to believe is indeed close to the story, rebutting my charges. I still think the film slipped up, but I am certain that the SEALS are not antisemites. Read more here.]
[I didn't want to clutter this post with endless updates, so I have further thoughts here, if you're interested.]
Let me begin by saying some nice things about the Navy SEAL movie Act of Valor. The SEALS who star in it aren’t good actors, but they aren’t bad actors either. None will win an Academy Award, but all managed to appear relaxed on-screen and seem like real people, not like real people struggling with a script.
The action scenes are every bit as good as advertised: watching the SEALS glide through the jungles of Costa Rica, emerge like alligators from dark tropical waters, fire their guns from trucks while dozens of bad guys are shooting right back, jumping from planes — it’s all there, and it’s a total adrenalin rush to watch them. It’s even more exciting knowing that the SEALS have actually done all this stuff for real. They’re not a combination of pretty Hollywood actors and stunt doubles. These guys have handled real guns, crawled through bug-infested jungles, and tangled with bad guys.
Throughout the movie, my kids kept leaning over to me and whispering “This is so cool” and “This is awesome.” As the movie unfolded, I was already planning a review that incorporated their enraptured comments. About halfway through the movie, though, cool and awesome came to a grinding halt, and I watched the rest of the movie stunned and confused.
Here’s the deal. There are two chief baddies in the movie: A crazed Islamic Chechen (who is actually Russian convert) and another guy who is introduced to us as Christo, a drug smuggling billionaire, presumably Slavic, who kills a CIA agent, orders the brutal torture of another (female) CIA agent, and uses his money to fund, and his smarts to facilitate, a massive terror attack on the United States. The actor who plays him, Alex Veadov, looks like this in his IMDB photo:
He has sort of a hippie, geek, scholar look, right? You’d see him in Starbucks, sipping a Chai Latte.
Interestingly, Veadov/Christo, despite being the chief bad guy in the movie, is absent from the trailers, something that’s rather peculiar. Usually, part of the trailer’s allure is to show the bad guy, so that you know precisely who the good guys are going after. It’s part of the audience’s anticipation. Maybe the movie-makers thought that Veadov’s character was too ugly to show in a trailer. I can’t find any pictures of him in the role but, with his beard, greasy hair, shiny face, and hook nose, I can help you out by telling you that the character looks like this:
Or like this:
Or like this:
For those who have missed my point, all of the above images come from Nazi antisemitic propaganda.
From the moment he appeared on-screen, I was struck by Veadov’s similarity to the propaganda images. I assumed that the film-makers were trying to make him look like this, a familiar face to all of you, one that is both Semitic and one that is attached to one of America’s greatest enemies:
I was wrong in that assumption. Halfway through the movie, in a very exciting action scene, the SEALS capture Christo and the Team’s senior commander interviews him. Christo is oozing greasy sweat and even more greasy arrogance. At any moment, one expects him to call his interrogator “infidel” or say “Allah is Great,” two things we hear with great frequency from those fighting against Americans in Afghanistan, those who fought against Americans in Iraq, and those who blow up Americans on 9/11. Instead, though, what we hear the is the Senior say “But you’re Jewish!”
Here’s the deal: Our “brave” SEALS flinched. Tasked with making a movie that could have shown Americans who the real heroes and the real enemies are, they chose, instead, to tear a page out of the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” and promote, very heavily (and especially heavily to Israel’s political friends), a movie that makes its greasy, ugly, rich, manipulative, American-hating bad guy . . . a Jew.
The other day, I saw a Newsweak headline calling the Navy SEALS “Obama’s Secret Army.” At the time, I was incensed. My thought was that the Newsweek team was annointing Obama king, with his own special force, answerable only to him. The SEALS, I said to any who would listen, are America’s secret army or, at the very least, the military’s secret army.
Having seen this movie, though, my feeling is that Obama can have his SEALS. They deserve each other, since both of them apparently feel very comfortable wallowing in the world of antisemitism. I’m really, really disgusted.
Do not waste your money on this movie. Hollywood movies are almost as good at portraying action and adventure and they, at least, are more subtle in their antisemitic tropes. Or, even better, don’t see anything at all. Take the money you would have spent on the movie and donate it to the Israeli Defense Forces — real warriors, fighting real bad guys.
UPDATE: Turns out Debbie Schlussel noticed it too.
UPDATE II: Just to clarify, as you’ll discover by looking at my military-themed blog posts, I am as pro-military as they come, without actually being military myself. I support our military’s mission 100%, and greatly admire the brave men and women who put themselves on the front line. Which makes this movie’s completely gratuitous (as in, it didn’t have any purpose) swipe at Jews all the more disgraceful.
Both the SEALS and Charlie Sheen have been in the news lately, the SEALS for an extraordinarily well-planned, brave and effective operation, and Charlie Sheen because he’s a drugged-out piece of human detritus. Did you know, though, that the two — that is, the SEALS and Sheen — have something in common? Yup, they do: A movie!
Back in 1990, Charlie Sheen starred in a movie called Navy SEALS, with Sheen playing (cough, cough, giggle) the second in command of a SEAL platoon. You can read the silly, turgid and formulaic plot here.
The one interesting thing about the movie, aside from Sheen’s role as a (cough, cough, giggle) SEAL commander, is that the movie has a Muslim as the terrorist bad guy. The seeds for PC are already in place, because the terrorist gets to explain that his terrorism was inspired, not by his religion and culture, but as revenge for the fact that the U.S. Navy bombed his home. Nevertheless, the mere fact that Hollywood could even contemplate a Muslim bad guy just 21 years ago reminds us how far our country has traveled down the dhimmi, politically correct road to its own destruction.
If you need a good laugh tonight, here’s the original trailer:
Argghhh! is running a caption contest for a photo showing Joe Biden speaking to a group enrolled in the Navy SEALS program. When you see the picture, you’ll understand why so many of the proposed captions involve the size of a gun or some other, more personal weapon. I’m no good at manufacturing quips, so I didn’t even make a stab at this one.
Captions aside, what I did find amusing about the picture is the fact that, with one exception, every one of the men listening to Biden bloviate (I’m assuming Biden was bloviating, ’cause that’s his standard MO), looks either blank, bored or befuddled — all of which are appropriate responses to bloviating. The only guy without that look is in the middle of the second row and, to be honest, he looks as if he’s trying to choke back a giggle — which is, of course, the other appropriate response to a Biden-esque speaker.
I’m still waiting for the MSM to hop on board the “sneer at the VP ’cause he’s an idiot” bandwagon, a wagon they rode with vigor during the Quayle years. I just can’t seem to figure out why the MSM is being so coy and retiring this time around. (That last statement, obviously, is sarcastic. If I were in an old movie, I’d be the dumb blond who is unable to understand eventhe simplest concept.)
The MSM has been very low key about this one (natch), but we in the blogosphere don’t have to abide by MSM constraints. I therefore wanted to make sure all of you knew the story of Michael Monsoor, the first Naval hero to be awarded a Medal of Honor in the Iraq War. As you know, the Medal of Honor is the highest award America offers for combat bravery. Sadly, as here, it’s often an award given posthumously. Here is the pivotal event that earned Monsoor the award:
On Sept. 29, the platoon engaged four insurgents in a firefight. Anticipating further attacks, Monsoor and other SEALs had taken up a rooftop position. Civilians aiding the insurgents blocked off the streets, and a nearby mosque blared out a message for people to rise up against the Americans and the Iraqi soldiers.
Monsoor’s duty was to protect three SEAL snipers, two of whom were 15 feet away. His position made him the only SEAL on the rooftop with quick access to an escape route.
But when the grenade hit him and fell onto the roof, he “chose to protect his comrades by the sacrifice of his own life,” according to a Navy report.
The two SEAL snipers nearest to Monsoor were injured in the blast. Monsoor was immediately evacuated for medical care, but it was too late.
Monsoor’s is not the first story I’ve heard of a person throwing himself into certain death to save others. As I’ve recounted before on this blog, when my Dad was in training in the Israeli Army during the 1948 War of Independence, he attended a briefing about grenades. He and about a dozen other people stood in the hot desert sun as the instructor explained to them the finer points of grenade use. (I suspect this was a review for my Dad, who had served 5 years in North Africa in the RAF.) In his hand, the instructor had a glass jar filled with grenade detonators. As he spoke, he shifted the jar back and forth, from hand to hand. My Dad found himself mesmerized by the motion. Watching, my Dad’s battle savvy suddenly kicked in, and he realized that something bad was about to happen. He hollered a warning, and threw himself on top of the soldier next to him (he was pretty brave too). He needn’t have bothered. The instructor realized the problem at the same time my Dad did and threw himself on top of the jar, absorbing the entire blast. He died; everyone else walked away scot-free.
I’ve always wondered in the years since my Dad first told that story what type of a man would have the courage to walk into certain death to save his comrades. Monsoor’s story gives us some useful insight into one of those men.
First, he lives life to the fullest and comes from a family with a commitment to bravery and service:
Born in Long Beach, Monsoor played football at Garden Grove High School, graduating in 1999. He enjoyed snowboarding, body-boarding and spearfishing, as well as riding his motorcycle and driving his Corvette. His father and one of his brothers were Marines, but he decided to enlist in the Navy in 2001.
Next, he has an overwhelming drive to succeed in the toughest arenas:
Monsoor completed the grueling 25-week SEAL training in 2004 on his second try. A broken heel had forced him to drop out on his initial attempt. The dropout rate for many SEAL trainee classes exceeds 50%.
He has probably engaged in other acts of bravery, but was low key about them, rather than boastful:
Monsoor has also been awarded a Silver Star for rescuing a wounded SEAL during the same deployment. While under continuous fire, he dashed into a street to drag his comrade to safety. He never told his family about his heroism. They learned about it the month before his death, while attending another SEAL’s funeral.
And lastly, he might be part of a tight knit community, with each member feeling a strong sense of responsibility for the others:
The SEALs, a tough and close-knit, group, were deeply affected by his death, Stone said.
Rest in peace, Michael Monsoor. You’ve earned that honor.