Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Culture Wars Over A Movie?

How Clint Eastwood’s ‘American Sniper’ stoked the American culture wars

I have not seen the film and might not bother with it for a few years or until it's available through Netflix.  I can say a few things.  Everything military really is political.  No pols, no wars.  It's not quite that simple, but it gets close.  Be it a king, dictator or elected Prez, they have armies to conduct foreign policy with force when words fail them.  When we war and win, it's good.  When they do it and they win, it's bad and evil.  Hell, know they are bad because the Prez told us so. He would not send our military to fight unless it was for good.  There's a lot of PR bullshit when it comes to armies, war and politics.

War is death.  War is destruction.  To some it's downright enjoyable.  Odd that we can wind up loving mayhem, but we can and do.  Soldiers do all kinds of jobs.  Some are very deadly, but remember before we praise them to effusively, those same acts in other contexts would warrant a war crimes trial or a civil trial and a long prison sentence.   In the past most guys were more quiet than not about their "hands on" war experiences.  Maybe you can figure out why now.

Wars have immediate causes and long term causes.  Usually it's easier to promote the immediate cause as a good reason to go kill them.  If we look at the long term causes it can become very painful to realize that the latest war is just our hoisting ourselves on our own petard, again.  The folks who are in charge of governments are just people who seem to make the same mistakes, over and over again.  Under their leadership, half the time we're at war and half the time we're at peace.  I wish if were more peaceful split.

Why do we make war?  Well, it's simple, we want to be secure in our wealth national interest.   Odd that today, it's 1% of us securing the wealth of that other 1%.  99% of have no real wealth and 99% will not serve in the military.  That's not right.

I served in Vietnam.  I enlisted in 1967.  Back then, G.I.s were given the pleasure of one, one year all expenses paid vacation in the war zone.  I even received an extra $65 a month.  There were no multiple tours in Vietnam (unless you volunteered).   I never did find any dominoes that were supposed to fall if Vietnam fell.  I never did quite figure out how, by being there,  I was defending freedom here.  As with most folks who enlist, it was for a variety of reasons.  One of them was simply that I did what I was supposed to do.  I'd do it again.

War sucks.  Let's appreciate our Constitution and Declaration of Independence and tamp down the glorification of war and soldiers.  I don't like the way we now refer to soldiers as warriors.  The Wall has the names of 60,000 soliders who died in Vietnam.  I cannot use the term warriors, it does not sit well with me.  Remember patriotism all to often is the refuge of scoundrels.

We probably will never be able to be rid of war, it's an evil we live with.  Until our government fails us, we'll be able to field willing armies of men and women who do have that sense of duty, honor and country.  Hmm, to win future wars, we need good government that serves the needs of all its people.  Is that the real national interest?

Oh, regardless of how you feel about my BS above, see the flick, it's probably a good one if you like the genre.  See it, think about it, then write about it.


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