Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Congressional Medal of Honor

Rob, thanks for sending me the link to the Bill O'Reilly piece on "Stop-Loss." While it's not every day that I see eye-to-eye with Mr. O'Reilly, I certainly dig this column as it more or less dovetails with my original "Stop-Loss" entry. Here's the link: http://www.billoreilly.com/column?pid=23227

Also, my apologies to readers if my 1 April entry seemed defensive. I just saw "comment deleted by author" and (wrongly) assumed the worst -- someone had posted something controversial, had second thoughts, and then scrubbed it. I made an ASS out of U and ME as it was, in the end, just a technical glitch that caused that. To wit, if there's anything I want to with this blog, it's encourage free and open debate. I throw a lot of my own views out there but definitely don't want to discourage dissent. I will almost always try to respond to comments, either to agree, disagree, or spur on more ideas.

But back to "Stop-Loss" for a second. Over beers tonight at the VFW, I mentioned this film and got some people pretty fired up. Here's why: one of the guys we were with (I'll call him 'Evan') was seriously wounded in Iraq. I won't go into details but suffice to say that one moment he was in northern Iraq and the next (as far as he knew) he was laying on a hospital bed in Germany. Well, get this -- after fully recovering at a veterans' hospital in the U.S., Evan changed his reserve unit affiliation in order to hide the injury (his old unit already knew, of course, but his new one wouldn't). Why did he do this? So he could return if needed. His old unit never would have allowed it, but he basically maneuvered around the system to remain deployable. The mainstream media, Hollywood, and the Harry Reid types in the Senate wouldn't touch his story with a ten-foot pole. They'll just keep insulting veterans and maligning the Bush Administration over decisions that were made in 2003 that are, frankly, irrelevant in 2008.

Here was the other really neat thing about tonight -- I got to speak in-depth with a guy who just got back from twelve months in Kosovo and had nothing but good things to say about what we're doing over there which is, literally, nation-building in the truest sense. Kosovo, by the way, is a National Guard-owned mission, so I have a great chance of getting over there once I make that transition.

Just remember this -- the next time someone accuses America, or the American military in particular, of having some sort of anti-Islamic agenda, just throw one word back at them: Kosovo. Because not only did we intervene on two major occasions to save Muslim lives in the Balkans in the 1990s, but we midwifed a European Muslim-majority nation (one of three now, along with Albania and Bosnia-Herzegovina) very much against the will of other Great Powers, mainly Russia, a decade later. Kosovo is still fragile but the (quiet) efforts of the U.S. military are helping it to develop democratic institutions and rule of law now.

One last note here -- I just want to remind readers to pause today to think about Mike Monsoor's Congressional Medal of Honor (CMH). Bear in mind that before earning the CMH, Monsoor had already earned the Silver Star (Valorous) and the Bronze Star (Valorous) for completely unrelated service. So far in the Global War on Terror (GWOT), there have been four CMH winners, all posthumous. The three from Iraq are SFC Paul Smith, Cpl. Jason Dunham, and PO2 Monsoor. The one from Afghanistan is LT Murphy. With the two Somalia CMH earners KIA in OCT 93 (Shughart and Gordon), that means we still haven't had a living CMH recipient since Vietnam.


Matt said...

I agree, but why do these conservative commentators need to play up the blurky idea of "The Heartland?" If you look at how Paramount opened "Stop Loss" (and I did) you will see that it opened on the most screens in non-"heartland" states. For two reasons:

1. the studio knew that this wasn't the kind of flick "red-state" movie-goers would flock to

2. most red, "heartland" states have more rural areas and therefore less theaters.

And get this: "In the Valley of Elah" didn't even OPEN outside the major metropolitan markets. "Redacted" only ever screened in New York City, where it had one of the lowest per-screen averages in HISTORY.

So guess who is rejecting these films in droves???

"Heartland" cineastes? Nope.

You guessed it -- blue state, metropolitan liberals.

Ergo, these blue-state liberals (which I admit, on most issues I am) are really the ones who don't want to see veterans' service denigrated. It's these liberals that are causing the films to flop.

At least O'Reilly should give us some credit.

The New Englander said...

Nice call on the blurkiness of "The Heartland." Not only is it almost always used to patronize people who live in the "flyover states," but what does it imply about those of us in states that border oceans? Are we soulless heathens?

Also, thanks for adding that in about the theaters where those movies opened. It shows that the swath of America that's rejecting this stuff cuts a wide range of location and landscape...still, to the initial point about the diggery of Hollywood, I'd presume that the Hollywood types that make these movies are way further "out there" than are most everyday urban types, even urban liberals. But you're right, everyone should get some credit for seeing through these movies and avoiding them.

And I still believe that if someone made a *real* Iraq war movie from the grunt's perspective -- one that captured the horrors and tragedies of close-quarters combat but also showed lighter moments and tremendous heroism/love of buddies and country, etc. it would win wide audiences. I think the best subject might be the Marines' assault on Fallujah in November 2004...if it was filmed in a Saving Private Ryan/Black Hawk Down type of realistic way, with some historical context written in (to explain why the Marines did what they did back in '04) it could capture all the horror alongside the glory while still leaving final interpretations up to the viewer.

The initial push back in 03 could be done well, too..