My friends and I seem to have a hard time choosing a movie. Quite often someone will call our little circle together — or just another couple — and ask, “Want to see a movie tonight?”
On those rare occasions when everyone’s calendar allows an affirmative response, the next question is, “What shall we see?” That’s when things go south, because we are usually divided between the newest shoot-em-up action thriller or the latest espionage movie or a chick flick.
Now, I don’t want to disparage my lovely wife, Lisa or my friends’ wives, but they are the ones who usually want to see the chick flick — although not always. But our wives control 80 percent of the money and 100 percent of the sex in our individual lives so we usually wind up seeing some silly romance that is as predictable as the Atlanta Falcon’s offense when we go to the show.
Monday, however, my friend asked the question I much prefer to hear. Do you want to go see (a particular show.) That is much simpler and we are always free to say yea or nay with no hurt feelings.
The show Mark wanted to see Monday afternoon was “Lone Survivor.” I was particularly appreciative because I am not sure I could have talked Lisa into seeing that movie if it were just the two of us. Peer pressure doesn’t end at high school graduation, you know.
Every American needs to see “Lone Survivor.” It is a true story about a mission in Afghanistan gone terribly wrong. Texan Marshall Luttrell and his crew were the advance team charged with the job of locating Taliban leader Ahmad Shahd, for the purpose of having another team take him out — as in, remove him from among the living. There is a military term, SNAFU, for the problems Luttrell and his fellow Navy seals encountered.
Please understand, this is not a pretty movie. It is about war and war is never pretty. General William T. Sherman, who passed this way about 150 years ago, described it as hell. Robert E. Lee once mused, “It is good that war is so terrible, less we grow too fond.” War is hell, and it is ugly and profane and hard to look at. That is why every American needs to see this movie, because it demonstrates to an unknowing public exactly what we, the people, have asked the men and women of our armed forces to do on our behalf virtually each and every day for the past 12 years, and much — too much — of the past 239 years.
It emphasizes the fact that the men who have purchased the freedoms we enjoy with their lifeblood are everyday people — just like us and just like our sons. They have dreams and ambitions and loved ones and fears, and when they are in harm’s way in some foreign land most of their thoughts are of home. It also shows that when they are engaged in mortal combat their thoughts are primarily on survival and of taking care of their brothers in the field.
We are at war, but we really aren’t. Oh, the men and women who have volunteered to serve are at war and the mothers and fathers and wives and husbands and children and our soldiers loved ones — they are at war. But the rest of us aren’t. The war doesn’t affect us. Not really. We haven’t been asked to make a single personal sacrifice to support our heroes in the field. The politicians who voted to send them to war and continue to vote to keep them at war — they certainly haven’t made any sacrifices on their behalf.
Some things never change. It has always been an old man’s war and a young man’s fight.
We are on the verge of losing most of the independence and freedom our armed forces have provided to us — not on the field of battle but because we Americans have become fat and complacent and unwilling to stand up for our individual rights. We have traded our collective ideals for comfort and security and have surrendered our core belief system in the name of political correctness.
“Lone Survivor” reminds us that we are giving away what soldiers like Marshall Luttrell and his fallen comrades continue to risk their lives for every day. I hope Hillary Clinton sees this movie. I hope Barack Obama sees this movie. I hope John Kerry sees this movie.
And don’t tell me the event happened when George Bush was president. I already know that. I also know that he has already seen the movie, and I know that he hasn’t been president for five years. We can quit blaming everything that happens on him. But this isn’t about politics. This is about American soldiers and the fact that they far too often are not getting what they deserve — the thanks and the support of a grateful nation.