They came out of the dark.
They had been awaiting the day.”
— from FLAME & CITRON a film by Ole Christian Madsen
Netflix Streaming MOVIE OF THE DAY : THE WILD GEESE 
Directed capably, if unexceptionally, by Andrew V. McLaglen, what elevates this tale of aging mercenaries and an off the book mission, is a surprisingly incisive script, that includes three or four exchanges, about Africa, and colonialism, and war, and ethnic cleansing, and bigotry and apartheid, that still resonate today.
Based on a novel by Daniel Carney, the exceptional screenplay is by Reginald Rose of 12 ANGRY MEN fame and involves the rescue of a deposed African president called Limbani (loosely based on the real life Lumumba). Add to that a stellar cast that includes Richard Burton, Roger Moore, Richard Harris, Stewart Granger and a host of great British character actors, and you have a movie that exceeds expectations. Strongly Recommended. Grade: B+.
However a country that does not resolve the issues of its own back yard before expanding and enforcing its will on other countries, is like a dog with rabies, running around the neighborhood and jumping fences and killing and mating with other dogs. It is a policy of barbarism and ultimately genocide and madness.
So the crux of Eric’s closing speech (quoted above)is sound, not that we should adopt China’s system, but that we should be flexible, and open to a changing and changed system, and the idea that there are a multitude of systems and solutions that remain untried.
Open to the idea that we as individuals, groups, and nations must always be looking to form… a more perfect union.
However other things grab my interest. Other things that perhaps transcend caring what group of modern gladiators, beat another group of modern gladiators.
This weekend, according to the AP, Chris Kyle, ex-Navy Seal Sniper and author of the 2012 best-selling AMERICAN SNIPER was killed along with another veteran Chad Littlefield in a shooting at the gun range at Rough Creek Lodge and Resort in Glen Rose, Texas. Killed by another former veteran.
The details and the reasons are still sketchy, but aren’t they always. What is known is this is the latest in what is seemingly an endless parade of American mass-murders.
And reading the coverage of this latest violence, something of interest struck me in the coverage.
The CNN coverage states:
“[Chris] Kyle learned to shoot on hunting trips with his father, then went on to serve four combat tours in Iraq with the SEALS, though his official biography notes he also worked with Army and Marine units. He received two Silver Stars and other commendations before leaving the Navy in 2009 — claiming that, in his years as a sniper, he’d killed more than 150 people, which he called a record for an American.”
“The first time, you’re not even sure you can do it,” he [Chris Kyle] said in the interview. “But I’m not over there looking at these people as people. I’m not wondering if he has a family. I’m just trying to keep my guys safe. Every time I kill someone, he can’t plant an (improvised explosive device). You don’t think twice about it.”
“In a statement, the [Fitco Cares]foundation described Kyle as an “American hero” and pledged to carry on his mission.”
And maybe it’s that simple.
Maybe from Sergeant York to Audie Murphy to today’s efficient killers, maybe it has become the American pastime to define as hero the indiscriminate taking of lives. While we live in a world where the pursuit of life, is often dependent on those adept at death, perhaps what is increasingly lost in the American mindset today… is the sense of that act as an evil, perhaps a necessary evil, but an evil none the less.
Perhaps the American media’s glorification of men of war at the expense of men of peace, seeps into the American zeitgeist, the American Soul if you will, and America’s export of indiscriminate horror and blood abroad, returns to us at home.
From Columbine to Aurora to Sandy Hook, perhaps these uniquely American Massacres are part and parcel of the increasing unrepentant and murderous definition of American Heroes.
We glorify the wrong things in our Soldiers, and by so doing glorify the wrong things in ourselves. They are heroes because they are willing to sacrifice, not because they are willing to kill. They and we are victims, when we have to kill. When the killing is all we have left. And worse when the act of that killing ceases to have meaning.
Chickens coming home to roost. By its fruit will you know a tree.
A soldier and a warrior died this weekend and that is a tragedy. But it is only a tragedy if the loss of the 150 lives he took, is also a tragedy.
Like any soldier, like every soldier; either every life has value or no life has value. That is the lesson of America and the world in the 21st century. The more easily we justify killing the other, the more valueless we make their lives, the more valueless we make our own.
That’s the lesson I learned today, while all of Rome was watching the Gladiators in the Coliseum,
Somehow I think… a lesson of value.
However, like too many re-imaginings of America’s independence from Britain it kinda leaves out the fact that losing the colony was the cost Britain paid for fighting a multi-pronged war with France at the time. Without France lending support, and keeping the sea supremacy of Britain embroiled on other fronts, it is staggeringly unlikely the fledgling colony would have won her war of Independence.
And it also overplays George Washington’s hand in the victory. One of the greatest warriors of the Revolutionary War, whose decisive victories and battle strategies rewrote at the time, modern combat, and swung the tide of battle was not George Washington, it was the man we have since relegated and derided as a traitor… It was Benedict Arnold.
One of the greatest warriors this nation has ever produced.
Still the above quick link is worth a read.
Okay this gets a bit weirdy and ranty, so if you don’t want weirdy and ranty, skip this post and come back tomorrow when I’ll be discussing the finer arts of moose calling or some-such nonsense. :)
Okay… you’ve been warned.
“God will never forgive us, if we break faith with our dead again”
— Irene Dunne in her favorite film role (I concur) 1944’s THE WHITE CLIFFS OF DOVER, set in a world at war, fighting to end future wars. Hoping the sacrifice of young lives would end there.
–In Aldo Lado’s surprisingly haunting and still relevant 1971 film… SHORT NIGHT OF THE GLASS DOLLS, written in a world beset with wars civil and colonial.
With an election year upon us, I’m always mightily aware of politicians and posturing.
And I’m always distinctly aware, I’ve heard it before.
Every lie before they say it. A memorial of lies one might say.
How about we try this crazy thing, instead of just remembering the ones who have died, always a worthy goal, let’s do our bit and reduce the number of people we send to join them this year, and next year, and the year after.
How’s that for a worthy memorial to war? An end to all current and future war. An end to young people dying for the posturings of old people.
Be those young people American, or Iranian, or Somalian, or Haitian, or Guatemalan…let’s consecrate ourselves to some new way, some better way, some civilized way… to live, that does not involve pitting our young people against each other in conflicts, real life Hunger Games, that they have not the slightest idea of why they are fighting.
So I’m putting on the ballot a new way to fight wars… the big mouths in this country who have a problem with big mouths in another country, the congressmen, the owners of papers, the columnists, the heads of corporations, the religious zealots, and the talk radio idiots, everyone who is quick to have others kill and torture for them… you go fight the war.
Let’s try that.
All in favor, raise your hand. :) .
Let’s let the 20 and 30 year olds stay home, eff their brains out, get back to some of that age of Aquarius loving (before the 80s came to get them on the ‘me’ kick), and let them run the country.
And all you senators, all you justices, all you presidential candidates… you’ve had your time at bat, and you’ve made a perpetually regenerating and increasing mess of it…. so yeah you old, chairman of the board, want to be in charge f**ks, put on some fatigues, fill up that rucksack and you go fight the wars.
But no remote control drone bombing raids, no satellite directed death from above, no weather modification toys, no dropping mines in playgrounds (what kind of animal signs off on that? You do my friends. With every tax dollar you pay and flag you wave. You do, when you say ‘yes sir’ to terms like war power acts, and patriot acts, and laughable misnomers like homeland security… you do, we do. We did. Not anymore), not even any nuclear subs or good old grunts on the ground. No, we don’t give you any of that to wage war with, none of your cowardly, expedient toys to turn countless people into your faceless collateral damage, instead just a cage match with you old, hateful, fat f**ks in a cage with other old, hateful, fat f**ks.
We’ll give you some boxing gloves, maybe even a club or two, and you guys go at it. Work it out. Get along or kill each other, but either way, the world would be a lot better if you old manifest destiny, new world order, ‘woodrow wilson’ idolizing mfers would just die.
Because honestly, you effers have had your day, and all we have seen since the industrial revolution, is more of the same. The rich few get richer, and the rest of the people and the planet, gets raped and used up until we are clinging to a burnt out dying ball of rock.
What is the good of all your imagined power then you dumb f**ks?!!
The world can’t afford doing the same insanity that got us here, to this point, and expecting a different result. In fact that’s the definition of insanity, trying the same thing, and expecting a different result.
So give it to the young.
The world… give it to the young. They might eff up, they might not. They might find a different way, a better way. They’ll at least fall down going forward, going toward something new, which is more than any of you old ingrained effers have done in the last century and a couple decades, of mounting genocide.
Hell, maybe young people, devoid of you old people riding them to ensure they make your comfortable, beloved mistakes, they’ll even make a REAL democracy out of America, instead of a tyranny dressed as capitalism.
And as far as you old dudes and dudettes, you seekers or power and despoilers of wisdom, when you die, which is sad but more than likely a probability, that whole ‘live by the sword, die by the sword’ thing, we’ll grill a hot-dog or hamburger to you on the next memorial day.
Really we will.
Happy memorial day. :)