Lone Survivor

Peaceniks who say they want to put an end to war seem more than willing to direct their appeals to the wrong side. If there is no place for war in the 21st century, where does that leave the warlike ideology of Islamists?

Based on the first-person memoir of Marcus Luttrell, one of four Navy Seals sent to neutralize a Taliban leader in Afghanistan, Lone Survivor shows how war can be worse than hell if you second-guess yourself.

With the likes of Tom Cruise and Kanye West drawing comparisons to spending hours under the make-up lights and the grueling workload that prevents them from photo-ops and party time, Mark Wahlberg portrays Luttrell as though he was totally unaware of the food tray to the left of camera! In other words, it’s a story about being under fire to the breaking point, where resilience becomes a valued weapon.

Civilized morality on the battlefield only works if both sides recognize individual rights; and in the case of al-Qaeda and the Taliban, it’s reminiscent of Bill Cosby talking about the American Revolution: the Brits wear red and march in a straight line, while the colonists are camouflaged and hide in the trees!

Emile Hirsch and Taylor Kitsch co-star as part of the team that encounters goat herders, one a child, but find themselves divided on their course of action: to abort their mission by releasing them and risk them telling where they are, or kill all three.

Hollywood films, especially from World War II, were split between the condemnation of Nazis and the Imperial Japanese, or they attempted to reassure Americans that after the Hitler-Stalin pack was broken, the Russians were just like us! Vietnam films are focused more on the chaos and conflict within our own ranks.

Lone Survivor makes no such mistakes!

As the four Seals head for higher ground, they’re met by a fully operational army. Outnumbered and unable to communicate for either transport or air strikes, these four guys dig in, facing a better-armed adversary that doesn’t suffer the indignities of inner moral struggle. As sitting ducks, it becomes a matter of how much can they take. Shot numerous times during the course of the encounter, they resort to Civil War medical tactics of shoving mud into their wounds to cut blood flow!

I remember that conversation between McNamara and General LeMay when McNamara questions, “Listening to you, all our soldiers are trying to do is kill as many as they can, right?” And LeMay responds, “That’s how you win wars!” If we ever find a way to eliminate bloodshed, war will linger on and on, becoming acceptable and commonplace.

Good war films are devoid of abstractions. I don’t mind anti-war films; it’s poetic war movies that piss me off!

Lone Survivor puts the kibosh on the nonsense found in movies like Apocalypse Now! There’s no romanticism, no R&R or comic relief. What emerges isn’t some patriotic call to arms but rather an accumulative suspense from grueling, claustrophobic endurance on a hillside. The cohesive bridge between the battlefield and asylum in an Afghan village brings home the point that these soldiers show mercy. The Taliban, given similar circumstances, do not let old men or children block their objectives.

Distorted propaganda? The bigger question for those that believe in peace in our lifetime is: where does that leave Islamists whose sole motivation is warlike?

Without the first poppy field being scorched, the futility stems from having no clear objective that explains what we’re still doing in Afghanistan!

Here’s a clue: early protests over US involvement in Iraq, human shields, criticism of American interests, the contradictory nature of labeling it Bush’s war when it was Jimmy Carter’s legacy and then once Obama takes over, no further mention of body counts or Benghazi bombings is permitted by an administration that has only recently announced establishing a continued presence in Afghanistan – THIS sends a deceptive, confusing message to both al-Qaeda and our own troops in the field!

So if you are truly dedicated to ending war, take a second and think how protests in American streets doesn’t have the necessary impact, and instead focus your energies on those who hide behind and use the State to defy civilized laws! Demand they be the ones to give up their nuclear programs. If the US and another country are on the brink of war, get them to abandon their ideological aggressiveness, lay down their weapons and pursue peace. Otherwise, guys like Marcus Luttrell are deployed to enforce the peace.