The film exposes the incomparable distance we’ve created (and irresponsibly allowed to grow) in this country between what is now essentially a warrior class and everyone else. It’s tearing open a shameful national boil of a discussion that’s been bubbling below our collective skin for far too long. And with that, it performs an exceptionally important public service in a way only film can.
I haven't yet seen this movie. Budgets being what they are, I'll have to wait for one of my daughters to "treat me," as they often do. Some readers who have posted comments elsewhere on this blog about all veterans being "mercenary murderers in service to the empire" will have noticed that such comments most often don't make it past my delete key. (The same goes for those who declare that all cops are evil.) Considering that my own son did three tours of Iraq beginning with the 101st ABN DIV during the invasion and one of Afghanistan this is understandable, I would think, and not for petty personal reasons. It is largely because I know what they do not, having lived through those years with a son in harm's way and experiencing our own learning curve of feckless government policies. I know too much. The human tragedy of it fills me, sometimes, when I think of what my son and his buddies had to endure -- what they gave so willingly -- with so little result. And as a result I curse the evil bastards who provoke the unnecessary wars with their pride and their craving for other people's property and liberty. Any honest war movie is perforce an anti-war movie because war is so horrible, so tragic, so wasteful. The thing is, Capt. John Parker could have, and likely would have, been described by these same doctrinaires as a "mercenary murderer in service to the empire" for his participation in the French and Indian War. There are, however, some things worse than war, as Capt. Parker knew, as we should all know, and sometimes wars are forced upon us. Should that happen in this country, within this country, and amongst us, in our streets and in our homes, I know that some of those same doctrinaires will be bloody well glad that we have a more than few "mercenary murderers in service to the empire" on our side when push comes to shove. There is no such thing as a free lunch and no free passport to some lands. Our sons and daughters who have fought in these wars know that intimately. They paid in hard coin -- the hardest of coin -- for that knowledge. I suspect that when I do see this movie, that will be the truth that hits home most keenly.