There's been many, many anti-war, anti-soldier movies out in the past few years - Redacted, Valley of Elah, Rendition, etc. Big flops the lot of them. I haven't really commented because there are so many others better at it. But this most recent, this Stop Loss, really pisses me off.
The other films show our troops as wife beaters, children killers, maniacs, blood-thirsty savages, etc and I figure most people see that for what it is: Insane propoganda.
Stop Loss just out and out lies about military contracts (but has all of the above as well). The family review site Plugged In does a great job of showing the film for what it is.
Unfortunately, Stop-Loss also concocts some false dilemmas and presents them in tandem with those above: What do you do with a military that targets individual soldiers returning from war, nabs them with a "back-door draft," turns them around and sends them right back into combat? And what about the Army's dubious "standard operating procedure" of ordering soldiers to pursue terrorist attackers, even when it's clear they're headed straight into an ambush? These policies sound irresponsible at best, unethical at worst. And they would be, if they were actually happening. Which is what Stop-Loss seems to want its audience to believe. But in both cases, filmmakers are preying on the military ignorance of most moviegoers to create a moral predicament where none exists.
To set the record straight: stop-loss is a real military policy that allows the armed forces to extend soldiers' service times beyond their original active-duty contracts. However, it's not the bait-and-switch tactic that this film makes it out to be. Every soldier knows it's a possibility from the moment he signs his contract. And rarely does it result in someone being deployed on two back-to-back combat assignments.
The same goes for the orders that send Brandon and his men directly into an ambush. While soldiers are expected to pursue terrorists who attack a checkpoint, they're expressly trained not to continue the pursuit into a danger zone like the one portrayed here. Technicalities, certainly. But if you don't already know these things, you're not at all likely to glean them from watching this film. So you're left with the impression that the military (and particularly its commander in chief) is suffering from a serious moral shortfall. Maddening. Who needs made-up problems when war presents more than enough real ones?
For families, of course, all this two-edged sword philosophy is something of a moot point, since violence, drunkenness and over-the-top profanity makes Stop-Loss more of an all-out loss.
If you've never read Plugged In, I recommend it even if you don't have kids.
So they lie about stop loss. The whole basis of the movie is a lie. A big lie to make America look bad, our President look bad, our military look really bad. Bastards.
What's great about this is that everyone is expecting Stop Loss to fail like the others. Though, the media and Hollywood blames the failures on America's being tired of this horrible war we shouldn't be in in the first place. Not, of course, on the fact that most Americans can't stand to see our soldiers treated in this disgusting manner. It makes us sick. Libertas has some good posts on that matter.
Just don't. Please. Whether you're American or British, let's not let this one be a hit either.
No, not me, I love the kid. I think he's been growing up, has more growing up to do, but generally I love him. Not everybody does.
What starts out semi-sweet :
How much easier it would have been had Prince Harry become a doctor, not a soldier. True, he would have needed rather better A-levels and a rather different sense of vocation. But it would have caused fewer problems all round if he'd decided to spend his life listening to a heart-beat at the end of a stethoscope instead of looking down the barrel of a gun. None of us knows exactly what Harry was up to near the front line in Afghanistan. Whatever it was, I'm prepared to believe that he was showing considerable guts. As a desk-bound academic, it's not my place to question a soldier's bravery.
But I will anyway. Hey I said semi. Then it begins its turn :
All the same, saving lives might have been a much more acceptable 21st-century image for a Prince than taking them. To be fair to the young man, it was not exactly his fault that he was transformed overnight from Nazi impersonator and late-night clubber to hero of the nation, battling the Taliban in defence of the free world. And Harry was certainly generous and gracious enough, on his return, to share the credit and point to the heroism of the men he had left behind. But there was something about all those semi-staged interviews, saturating our news broadcasts, that made me feel distinctly sick.
Wha.... ? Distinctly sick? Wait for it... wait for it :
.... this is the catchphrase of that sort of simplistic, thuggish, tit-for-tat politics that got us into the murderous mess of Iraq and Afghanistan in the first place. And it's not exactly a very Christian sentiment, either - as I hope his grandmother might have pointed out to him. .... The rest of us can be as ambivalent as we like. Ambivalence is a luxury you don't have, Harry (though you have plenty of other luxuries to make up for it). So you'd better just get on with it. And if it's the Press that's bothering you back home, then maybe cutting down on those late-night visits to Boujis might help a bit.
Yowza. It's like she's talking to him... but he didn't ever say anything to her to begin with. What does she mean "get on with it"? When was he not? That's one crazy lady.
And then she's off :
But worst of all, for my taste, has been the way the pictures of the smiling young Prince, confident in command of his "Spartan vehicle", happy and proud to be serving Queen and country, have been turned into an advertising campaign for one of the most foolish of all recent British military ventures. .... No, I'm not trying to suggest that the Taliban is an admirable group. In fact, I can imagine little or nothing that is worse than living under a Taliban regime. But the Afghan war is wasting the lives of far too many young British soldiers for almost no effect at all. .... All those pictures of the beaming Harry, tanned and tousle-headed (don't soldiers have to have a short back and sides any more?), have given this folly a spurious legitimacy, even glamour. But there is more to this dangerous story of the dashing young Prince fighting on the front line than at first meets the eye. Easy as it might be to blame the blanket media coverage or Harry's minders, there is also a lesson of history to be learned.
I don't even know where to start. The Taliban is evil, but we're not making any progress so we should just stop. Even though they're evil. But you know, que sera, sera.
The big finish :
The truth is that a Prince on the front line can do little right. He's damned if he's no good, damned if he's too dashing, damned if he stays and damned if he comes home. Just think how politically awkward it would have been if Harry had pulled off some real heroics. Imagine he had single-handedly pulled to safety six of his desperately injured crew from the burning wreckage of a Chinook helicopter, before tracking down Osama Bin Laden to a secret hideout in Helmand and leading him into captivity. The papers would have loved it - "Di's boy comes good and saves the planet". But what would his brother and father have made of it? Charles would have faced more calls for the crown to skip a generation. William would have wondered whether his token six-month service on an aircraft carrier safely in the South Atlantic could ever match junior's heroics. And what on earth would the Army have done with him next? They could hardly have given him a desk job.
How politically awkward of Prince Harry to serve in his country's armed services. What was he thinking. Just look at the brilliant logic: Harry might save lives - British lives - Allied lives, but then he would have to continue to save lives, promote freedom, do good... which is exactly what he wants to do and where he wants to be anyway. Oh the horror!! Make it stop, make it all stop! Nope, no desk job. Good on ya, Harry.
Olympic sprinter John Regis has come out strongly in favor of a survey directed at children and young adults asking for their opinions about gun and knife crime. Regis' nephew was the victim in a seemingly motiveless knife attack back in March. He believes that listening to the kids could go a long way in lowering gun and knife violence in the UK.
The move, billed as the largest of its kind to take place in the UK, aims to get to the root of why some youngsters want to carry weapons. Regis said: "Too many young people's lives are being destroyed by gun and knife crime. This NCH consultation will be a crucial tool in helping to understand the views of those most directly affected. "Only by involving young people in the debate will we have the chance of improving things. I would encourage every young person concerned about these issues to take part."
The survey itself can be found on the NCH site. You can go take a look at the questions without sending them to the survey.
I'm all for a survey, all for getting kids involved with the issue and with politics in general - get rid of the apathy. I DO NOT think it will have any impact on the violence, unfortunately. In my opinion, we already know what causes the violence and Britain already has so many laws and rules regarding guns and knives it's ridiculous. And not helping. If I could fill out that survey, I would say YOU'RE NOT HELPING YOURSELVES OR YOUR PEOPLE!! Give the people back the right to protect themselves and their families and their property. Don't punish the good and innocent people.
I love Britain. I miss it a lot and I will be back to visit whenever I can. But I thank God that my children will be born and grow up in America.
In the November issue of Marie Claire UK, there's a big article on Hillary Clinton : Is This America's Next President. The article is too much for me to get into right now. Hillary brings out the worst in me. BUT...
As an addition to the Hillary Clinton article, there is a pretty blue box that says 'Who are Hillary's main contenders for the US Presidency in 2008? The Democrats are first, naturally.
Barack Obama Who is he? A junior senator from Illinois. He began his official campaign with a call to end the Iraq war and for US troops to be out of Iraq by March 2008. What's he got going for him? Oprah Winfrey urged him to announce his candidacy on her show. Wherever he goes he is greeted like a rock star. Time magazine called him 'America's hottest political phenomenon'. And against him? His age (47) and inexperience.
John Edwards Who is he? Former lawyer and one-term North Carolina senator, 53, who runs an anti-poverty centre. What's he got going for him? He has been called 'the most naturally talented politician in the field' by the Washington Post. There is a lot of public sympathy for the fact that he and his wife, Elizabeth, lost a son and she is battling cancer. And against him? Many consider him too slick and think he should drop out because of his wife's illness.
Al Gore Who is he? He was Vice President to Bill Clinton for 8 years. Gore, 59, lost against George W Bush in 2000. What's he got going for him? As his backers never fail to point out, more Americans voted for him in 2000 than for Bush, but the controversy over the votes in Florida 'robbed' him of the presidency. His Oscar winning environmental film, An Inconvenient Truth, has made him an eco hero. And against him? Hasn't declared his candidacy yet.
If someone stands in the middle of a busy road, surely normally they would be sectioned and treated as suicidal. The same sort of reasoning to those who have to have pipes cut from their arms by the fire brigade. As this was an illegal demonstration, surely they should be sent the bill for their actions? Maybe the SNP will pick up the bill from Party funds? Normal Scots should pay the price in disruption due to these activists. If they want to make a statement then please do it legally, and with an aim of minimising disruption to normal people, people who have no links to the Navy, or Trident. Add to that the fact that this sort of action simply does not work, even when we had record protests in recent years against the War in Iraq and the Fox Hunting ban the Government still carried on business as usual. I'm all for freedom of speech, and freedom of protest, but protests need to be planned to minimise disruption and increase safety of those involved. --potential_officer
nothings changed then, one climbed up a mast in 84 when i was on the fire station. I offered our hoses to wet the bloke to make him come down but it was refused - bastards. --chockhead819
The protests in the late60s/early 70s were much more fun - you could throw them in the loch if they got too stroppy. No fun around these days, too PC and ooman rights. --lsadirty
When are the MDPS / MDGS going to use the guns they are issued with and start some gene pool cleansing ??? Failing that get a few HETs fully loaded to head down the road full speed and see how fast they wanna remain say in the road. --ukdaytona
apparently they are superglueing themselves to the road....let em...then set the dogs on em. --northern_part_timer
The BBC has an article - Arrests as Faslane protest ends - reporting that 171 people were arrested at a final rally for the Faslane 365 year-long protest. Sadly, almost none of these will receive any sort of punishment. The Faslane 365 site claims that out of 961 arrests, only 51 were prosecuted. I don't know how everyone in that area puts up with them. Really don't.
On the happy flip side, maybe now the kids will be allowed to get to school on time.
The Faslane peace camp (and, more recently the Faslane 365 crowd) has been a blight on the landscape of Helensburgh, Scotland comparable to the San Francisco parks from the 1960s - and just about as clean - since 1982. More importantly than that though, is what a horrible effect it has on the surrounding community and how they frankly just don't give a damn about anybody but themselves.
Most recently the protesters have been so incredibly difficult - things like keeping school kids from reaching school on time most days, but also their very stressful and super important exam days - that many in the surrounding area have started a group and protested against the protesters. Good on them. As my father said to me today about liberal protesters in general, "The bigger the issue and the less they can do about it, the more they whine, cry, scream and protest." I would also add 'and do more to hurt those that have nothing to do with it, and not get anything done in the process.'
Now that you know how I feel about that (!) here are some photographs of the peace camp that I have managed to aquire:
Unbelievable. Or maybe not. Apparently this vicar said that a community funded memorial for Royal Marine Commando Mathew Ford that was killed in Afghanistan would not be allowed because it's not 'our war'.
'Our war' is the continually surrounded by quotes phrase. Our war. Our war. If this was a one off I wouldn't be that upset. I'd just think this one guy was a self absorbed idiot. But yeah, so not the first time I've heard this type of thing from the Catholic church.
I remember the first Christmas after we began seeing each other, Royal called me fuming mad after attending midnight mass with his mother - Royal is not Catholic, but his mother was raised that way and attends occasionally and especially at Christmas. Like any mother, she likes her family to attend with her. He said all was fine until one part where the priest made a big deal out of praying for all the immigrants trying to get into Britain... but not for the soldiers fighting for their country. When he asked his mom about it, she said the Catholic church didn't support war (not that she doesn't, she completely adores and supports her son!).
Well, guess in this instance it's not just that they don't support war, it's also that they don't support soldiers or the loved ones they leave behind.
A UK Government continue to pass more legislation effectively turning the UK into a Stalinist state. At some point Her Majesty decides enoough is enough and makes it known that she wishes change. Whoever the current El Presidente is says Stuff You, Liz and moves to remove the Monarchy and the Queen you swore to protect. She asks for a little help. The MOD order you to stand easy. What do you do?
So far there have been 179 votes with 92% saying 'Weapon - check, ammo - check. Which way to Downing Street' and the rest saying 'An army needs discipline so I'd toe the Gubmint line'
and some very interesting comments. I'll be posing the question to Royal the next time we chat, though I'm sure I already know his answer.