.......I read a piece by Amanda Taub (just google it if you care to) in which she bashes the film and accuses it of “rewriting American history.” Her point of contention was that the film was too black and white for her tastes. She calls the war in Iraq a grey area, which I agree. I also agree with her disdain at the treatment of the conventional troops in the film as cannon fodder or inferior to the SEALS in importance. However, she smashes on Eastwood’s flick by calling into question the lack of mention of G.W. Bush, WMD, or Saddam Hussein. She accuses the movie of inventing fictional characters for Kyle to fight. I’m taking this as she is mad the movie didn’t take a political stance or mention any of the media hype, hot buttons, or buzzwords normally associated with the war in Iraq.
My answer to that: Yeah, no shit.
The film wasn’t about any of that because for US, the war wasn’t about any of that. Do you think any of us gave a fuck about Saddam Hussein, WMD, Bush, Cheney, or any of that shit that was being ejaculated by the news? The film wasn’t about grey areas, because to us it didn’t matter. All that mattered to us was the guy to our left, and the guy to our right…and especially the guy that still had a can of Skoal. It wasn’t that we were willfully ignorant of the issues surrounding the Iraq, or that we were in denial, but when your finger is on a trigger, when you’re face is covered in your friends’ brain matter, you aren’t thinking about “good and evil” or “grey areas.” That is the entire point this civil rights attorney misses, the film was about a man on the ground and the struggle to come home with a head full of grief and regret, not the Iraq war itself.
The movie didn’t really take a political stance at all. Yes, it mentioned 9/11, but it didn’t tie it to Iraq. It tied it to Kyle the way it was tied to all of us. 9/11 signaled to a generation that we are not safe, that there ARE people out there that want to kill us, on our own soil. Yet, here is the left, all up in arms about a movie about one man’s struggle in a war. They create paper tigers to go after in order to blackball these movies into oblivion. They refuse to see the good in this film as it pertains to veterans, because they don’t care about veterans.
I fear the plaid shirt, hash-tagging, trust-fund protestors are going to start coming out of the woodwork. The people who have kept their mouths shut because the war was still ongoing, are going to come forward and start openly bashing on us. The war is “officially” over and as a country, we are no longer engaged in combating terrorism with any sort of genuine commitment. That allows the dissenters to come out of their holes now that it’s less likely someone is going to say “dude, my brother/husband/dad is over there right now.” Because, at the end of the day, they still don’t want to offend the “victims” of veteran’s decisions, only the vets themselves.
To the people that saw the movie for what it was, it was a glimpse into our world. It offered up our collective hearts to you in a manner a typical, movie-going civilian would understand. That is powerful, and hopefully opens a broader dialogue about our struggle to really come home. This is what we’re thinking and why we’re still fighting. As far as our silent war goes, this movie got it right.
To those that saw it as more “pro Bush/Iraq/Right Wing/anti-Muslim” political statement and wants to bash it and our military, I say this:
The movie wasn’t for you. It was for the guy with mud on his boots and a hole in his heart, and for the families that are left to pick up the pieces. Go back to your latte.