Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

January 13, 2014

Lone Survivor

Filed under: Afghanistan,Film,militarism — louisproyect @ 7:12 pm

In recent trips to my local Cineplex to catch up with Hollywoodiana, I was genuinely surprised to see what amounted to a PSA on behalf of “Lone Survivor”, a film I saw about a month ago as a DVD screener sent from a publicist in conjunction with the NYFCO awards meeting. As a sign that my fellow critics have not been debased beyond all hope, this supremely stupid militarist movie did not get nominated for a single award. Unlike “Zero Dark Thirty”, it is the sort of film that used to star Chuck Norris or Sylvester Stallone even though some of our more “sophisticated” critics see it as a kind of “war is hell” story. Unlike the typical Norris saga, the film ends ignominiously for the American troops except the “lone survivor”. Too bad he didn’t get a bullet to the head as well. It is based on an incident that occurred during the “war on terror” in Afghanistan but is so bizarrely hyperbolic in the way it depicts Navy Seals that it defies its own claims to be truthful.

Sandwiched between the opening announcements about turning off your cell phone, etc. and the previews of coming attractions, you can see a “featurette” on “Lone Survivor” that is nearly four minutes long. It has snippets from the film as well as interviews with Peter Berg, the director, and Navy Seal veteran Marcus Luttrell, whose book the film is based on. Having seen at least a hundred films in my local Cineplex, an AMC theater, over the years, I have never seen such a “short subject” before, to use the term coined for featurettes in the 1950s. It is basically a bid to muster support for the troops of the kind seen at the Super Bowl and other quasi-Nuremberg rallies of an empire in decline.

The film opens with a typical day at a military base in Afghanistan as the troops engage in roughhousing pranks and haze a new recruit—but all in good fun. Later that day, four of them (Mark Wahlberg who stars as Marcus Luttrell—the lone survivor, the aptly named Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch, and Ben Foster) take a helicopter ride to a mountaintop overlooking a Taliban-controlled village to prepare for a larger assault that will kill a rebel leader as part of Operation Red Wing in 2005.

As the four Seals survey the village from afar, a group of goat-herders from the village accidentally stumble across their encampment. This forces them to make a decision whether to kill them or to spare their lives. If they are merciful, this will obviously risk them telling the Taliban about their whereabouts, which is what happens. Not long after the herdsman return to the village, a group of fifty Taliban can be seen above them on a nearby mountaintop armed to the gills with AK-47’s and RPG’s. For about an hour, you see the four Seals standing off the Taliban as if the enemy’s bullets both had eyes and were loyal to the stars and stripes. I have not seen a more ludicrous gun fight since “Kill Bill”. If Navy Seals were this invincible, the Taliban would have been defeated long ago.

It is not just the unrepentant Marxist who has noticed the implausible nature of the battle depicted in the film. Ed Darack, the author of a book on Operation Red Wing, offers these remarks:

The only surviving member of the four-man team, Marcus Luttrell, wrote a brief (2 1/2 page) after action report. In it, he stated that he estimated that the reconnaissance and surveillance team was ambushed by 20 to 35 ACM. Twenty was the number that was initially released by CJTF-76 Public Affairs, and that is why the earliest media reports used the number twenty (in the Time magazine article, they state “…probably 5 to 1” as related to the four-man team – meaning 20). Further analysis, the results of which never made it into the press (derived from analysis of signals intelligence gleaned during the ambush and human intelligence derived in Pakistan after the ambush, and videos of the actual ambush) stated the number to be between eight and ten.

But as time progressed, the number quickly inflated from twenty. Some sources state up to 200. I’ve seen figures even higher than this. Ever since a blunt education by Marines in Afghanistan on the subject, I’ve been ever-skeptical of stated enemy numbers. While I was in Afghanistan on my first embed, the Marines taught me about “Afghan Math” – “Just divide by about ten to get the real number ” is the governing directive of “Afghan Math”–when reading enemy numbers in press reports or when the enemy tries their brand of PsyOps over two-way radios (“we have fifty men waiting to ambush you” usually means, maybe, five). I experienced this during my first tag-along with Marines in combat in Afghanistan–listening to a “Taliban commander” talking to Marines over an Icom late one night (on a ridge across the Pech River Valley from Sawtalo Sar). I couldn’t figure out why everyone was laughing. I wasn’t laughing. Turns out “they” didn’t have even five, just the guy on his Icom two-way radio. Of course, he never attacked us, other than verbally.

Marcus Lutrell’s “Lone Survivor” was ghost-written by Patrick Robinson, a British author best known for fictional works featuring heroic American and British soldiers. Typical is “Ghost Force”, a novel about Navy Seals who foil a plot by Argentinians and Siberians (!) to retake the Malvinas as an anti-imperialist plot against Exxon-Mobil. Just the sort of writer who would bring Lutrell’s overactive imagination to fruition.

If Robinson was just the right ghost-writer, Peter Berg was a director whose ideological predispositions were ideally suited for the material as well. Berg can be proud of his work. Wikipedia reports: “Its opening weekend gross made it the second largest debut for any film released in January after the 2008 film Cloverfield’s opening weekend gross of $40.1 million.” That its success is measured against “Cloverfield” should give you some indication about the dire straits of Hollywood filmmaking. “Cloverfield” was an idiotic space invasion movie whose shaky camera effects were enough to induce an epilepsy attack even if you did not suffer from the illness.

Berg’s previous film was “Battleship”, another space invasion movie that was based on a video game and that was geared to the average 15-year-old boy. It opens with 911 type attacks on skyscrapers and climaxes with a WWII vintage battleship being dusted off and used to smite the filthy alien spaceships that bear a striking resemblance to the Transformers. This, of course, is the perfect preparation for a movie like “Lone Survivor”.

On IMDB, Berg describes why he made a film like “Lone Survivor”:

I’m a patriot. I admire our military, their character, code of honor, belief systems. I lived with the SEALs, their families, went to their funerals. I went to Iraq. Did you ever see anyone killed? I did.

“Lone Survivor” was made by Universal Studios, a subsidiary of NBCUniversal that is half-owned by Comcast and half by GE, one of America’s biggest arms manufacturers. Comcast is the world’s largest media and communications corporation by revenue and includes MSNBC as one of its wholly owned subsidiaries. As a cable provider, it is a bitter enemy of net neutrality. The CEO of Comcast is Brian Roberts, an American Jew who has made major contributions to the Obama campaigns.

Every time I run into a film like “Zero Dark Thirty” or “Lone Survivor”, I am reminded of the incestuous ties between the military, big business, and the film industry including the professional critics who praise such films. They are no different from the German journalists who lauded Leni Riefenstahl.

“Lone Survivors” got an astonishingly high rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with 73 percent “Fresh” ratings. It also received an 89 percent favorable rating from Rotten Tomato users, in other words people who registered to voice their opinions but can’t post articles.

NPR’s Ella Taylor opined:

When you don’t know the terrain and you don’t know who’s for or against you, heroics are either beside the point or they extend only as far as survival and solidarity. In this regard, Berg is relentlessly unsparing — in Lone Survivor, we discover what it is like to topple downhill from rock to rock, and what it is like to reach for your gun and find that your hand is missing — but never Tarantino-sadistic.

There’s courage aplenty in Lone Survivor — the day when grunts were made to stand in for American imperialism is long gone and rightly so.

I know Taylor from her days at the Village Voice, when she was a lot more “edgy”. That she can sanctify this glorified version of a Chuck Norris film for a radio station that was originally intended to be an alternative to commercial radio speaks volumes about the dying culture we live in. No, Ms. Taylor, the day when grunts were made to stand in for American imperialism is still very much with us.

27 Comments »

  1. It figures that the “hole in our culture” (as a Leonard Cohen lyric put it) gets filled with military propaganda.

    I too saw this 4 minutes of schlock at a local theater and was appalled.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — January 13, 2014 @ 9:06 pm

  2. You do know that there has been a few cases of NATO operators being hit as many as 30 times with 7.62 ak 47 rounds and surviving right? Learn the facts before you write such a terrible review.(A poorly written review. Are you 12 years old?) It’s called Type 3,4 and 5 body armor. The official number of Insurgent fighters during the battle was in the mid 30s, with the battle lasting almost 3 hours. Ahmad Shah’s fighters grew in to the 200 range after this battle took place. There has been so many situations in the last 30 years where forces were outnumbered greatly and still put up a fight. Insurgent fighters are highly under trained in comparison to most higher tier special operations groups. No one is invincible, but with much better training, better gear, and better weapons; four men who are apart of the best special operations group in the world can take on 30-40 Taliban,even in such a terrible environment (It’s been done in Fallujah,Ramadi, and many times in Kunar province for example.). A four man SEAL recon team carries 10,000+ rounds of ammo. You can’t argue with me, I’m better than you in every way sir when it comes to facts in modern warfare . So as I said, check your facts before you write a review.

    Comment by Crush it (@Crushit2015) — January 14, 2014 @ 1:11 pm

  3. Louis checked his facts better than you did yours, Crush it. You should have followed that link he provided before typing up your reply because it’s filled with mistakes and non sequiturs, which begs the question if you aren’t in fact a 12-year old yourself. Best stick to Call of Duty (same shit, different platform).
    2 minor points of criticism though, Louis: “Cloverfield” wasn’t a space invasion movie (it was JJ Abrams’ incredibly shitty version of a typical kaiju movie) and “Battleship” was actually based on the classic board game by Hasbro (Hollywood always finds a way to keep lowering the bar). Otherwise, thanks for the review.

    Comment by Deimos — January 14, 2014 @ 5:12 pm

  4. Is it a requirement to be obnoxiously ignorant to be a critic? The firefight in this movie is compared to kill bill? Really guy? You would know, right? Oh wait, you did quote some other writer who was “imbedded” in Afghanistan, LOL.
    I really don’t care what your writer buddy who was attached to some marine unit sleeping safely on some major heavily secured American/Coalition base thinks, though I’m sure it’s an EXCELLENT source of opinion, a civilian attached to military? Why not interview the military cooks or diesel mechanics about what it’s like in combat/firefights? Think that writer has a better idea?
    I’ve WORKED with a SEAL team in Afghanistan, numerous joint ops with special forces, over 500 combat missions between there and Iraq. I’ve been to J bad, A bad, BK, the areas in this movie and all over Afghanistan, before the timeline of this movie.
    Out of the DOZENS of firefights I’ve been in, the ones involving ONLY small-arms fire— guess what the score was 9/10 times at the end of it???? X or XX vs ZERO. Yes they are THAT bad. Whatever training they had was a joke and they usually never stood a CHANCE toe-toe small arms-small arms. Guess where they got their kills???? IEDs….rockets, RPGs. In a 6 month stint around that SAME area that this movie played out in with at least 3 attacks/fights per-week, we had 10 men killed, guess how????? THE SAME HELO THAT GETS TAKEN DOWN IN THIS MOVIE BY AN RPG…….GOT TAKEN DOWN BY AN RPG……….. crazy huh? Firefights where the Americans take out the enemy 5-1, 10-1 even but their biggest loss is from an rpg taking out a Shinook….
    WAIT, THAT’S REALITY.
    Enjoy your opinion.

    Comment by Rob — January 14, 2014 @ 8:32 pm

  5. Is it a requirement to be obnoxiously ignorant to be a critic? The firefight in this movie is compared to kill bill? Really guy?

    Well, maybe a more apt comparison would be with John Wayne in “Green Beret”.

    Comment by louisproyect — January 14, 2014 @ 8:41 pm

  6. Rob and Crush It – You are right the U.S. won every battle and is infinitely superior. Yet they still lost another war.

    Of course its because the opposition cheated with IED’s and you were sold out by politicians. Yep, that’s it.

    Stick to Grenada or intimidating dirty hippie protestors when you go civilian, I think ya’ll can handle about that.

    Comment by purple — January 14, 2014 @ 11:54 pm

  7. Hey Purple — it’s almost a fact that if it weren’t for small dedicated cells of Iraqi resistance fighters back in 03, 04 & 05 — Dubya Bush would be sitting today in his 4th term as some unparalleled National hero that we’d all have to be fawning over — declaring his flatulence the blessed winds of Christ our Savior’s voice.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — January 15, 2014 @ 2:44 am

  8. […] Supposedly based on a true incident, four Navy Seals holding off what appears to be ten times as many Taliban. If this were true (and it wasn’t), Afghanistan would have been pacified long ago. Produced by NBCUniversal, co-owned by GE and Comcast. What else would you expect? Full review: https://louisproyect.org/2014/01/13/lone-survivor/ […]

    Pingback by The Best and Worst Films of 2013 » CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names — January 17, 2014 @ 7:18 pm

  9. I think your review is pretty spot on. If anyone bothered to look into this op, they would find many discrepancies. From my experience SOCOM should have never involved their assets in this op as I think the Marines were much better suited for the mission. The SEALs sent a team out of Bagram which is as garrison as it gets. The Marines were constantly patrolling the area and had teams embedded with villagers. It is due to that fact that a villager took in the SEAL and provided him protection. I think the Marines were more familiar with the area and its terrain. They originally planned to send in six scout snipers who were to identify shah so a larger follow on force would conduct the assault. There is a lot to learn from this mission, such as never have your troop transport helicopters outrun your gunships. You’d never even know this was an actual issue in the telling of this film.

    I wish this film was as accurate as Rush in its retelling of events. The way the Seals died is heroic as it is and doesn’t need to be more glorified.

    Comment by Josh — January 17, 2014 @ 9:04 pm

  10. Do you think the surviving SEAL ran? I don’t say this as to call him a coward.. I watch his body language as he talks about it.. It seems possible and human.

    Comment by John — January 18, 2014 @ 1:57 am

  11. Don’t know what happened in reality, but the film reminded me of Rambo III: completely over the top and unrealistic. Indestructible ‘heroes’ that fall from cliffs, endure multiple shotwounds, but just keep going on shooting enemies one by one. Even if the situation in reality was 5 vs 1 this film fails to depict it in a convincing manner. Bad film, good review.

    Comment by Hugo — January 18, 2014 @ 9:36 pm

  12. I wouldn’t waste my time with this movie,even to criticize it/These movies are dangerous because modern special effects make them fantasy spectacles that feed the publics desire to relieve the unrelenting boredom of our modern life,and the for myth.humans think with myth the way they eat witheir hands.all this back and forth,much of which is true,misses some of these and other deeper philosophical,and existential questions that make life more interesting.

    Comment by richard — January 19, 2014 @ 12:59 am

  13. heroic,josh.you must be kidding.pointless,idoitic,posturing militarism thru and thru. Solzhenitsyn said it takes more courage to face your neighbors honestly than it does to face ten thousand screaming barbarians

    Comment by richard — January 19, 2014 @ 1:04 am

  14. I think this review is too harsh. I’m also wary of mindless jingoism in films, and while Lone Survivor has standard macho stuff and some jingoism, I think it also has a huge and important corrective to that mindset in the Pashtunwali section towards the end. And the gunfight itself is anything but Rambo-style nationalism. It is as far as I can tell, a super-realistic rendition of a firefight that turns desperate on both sides, with a really anti-romantic set of shots including random injuries and death on both sides, Americans disoriented and picked off despite supposedly superior firepower, the vagaries of communication-technology problems for the Americans, etc. Not to be flip, but Kenny Rogers did write in a song, “sometimes you gotta fight when you’re a man.” Sadly we live in a world where pure safety and nonviolent pacifism are no longer guaranteed in their viability. The U.S. does its share of misdeeds but so do Al Qaeda, the Taliban, Russians, Israelis, and so on and so on. I didn’t take seriously whatever (if any) militaristic policy stances the film may had; on the other hand, I took the nauseating scenes of desperate violence as a cautionary tale to resist thinking that military force in and of itself can solve all problems. The point is to make sure to place that force in service of justice and the hope for peace. Even Martin Luther King, Jr., was careful and in a way lucky to be able to sway the U.S. government to support the cause of nonviolence and racial justice. Otherwise those causes would’ve been smashed the way the Chinese and North Koreans do. Maybe my take is something that Marcus Latrell wanted as a take-home message, but it is how I saw it.

    Peace,
    Shepherd Moon

    Comment by Shepherd Moon — January 19, 2014 @ 6:14 pm

  15. Super-realistic? Are you kidding? This is what I wrote to someone yesterday who also described the fighting as realistic:

    On 1/18/14 2:05 PM, Bridget Slevin wrote:
    > Dear Louis,
    >
    > While I fully respect your right to your opinion I do disagree with
    > your assessment of battle scenes being akin to kill bill. If you have
    > never served in the military in any capacity then how can you
    > possibly comment on what looks real and what doesn’t.

    Look, there were 50 Taliban on the cliff overlooking the 4 Navy Seals armed with AK-47s and rocket launchers. That’s from the screenplay for “Lone Survivor”. That’s 12 enemies for every Navy Seal. I find it preposterous to think that the fight would have lasted more than 5 minutes, let alone two hours as depicted in the film. Luttrell had the balls to say that there were 200! That would definitely qualified as “Kill Bill”.

    This is par for the course in Hollywood war movies. American soldiers fight against overwhelming odds in battles that last forever. It is not just this rancid film, but “Saving Private Ryan” as well. To make it even clearer, imagine just one GI against 12 enemies–equally armed. Does it make sense that the GI would stand them off for as long as seen in the film? Picture yourself on a mountainside armed with a pistol and there are not only 12 other men also armed with a pistol determined to kill you but enjoying placement above you and knowledge of the terrain. How long would you last?

    These movies with Americans enjoying super-powers is part of a long tradition. In John Wayne westerns, you always see 4 or so “good guys” holding off hundreds of Indians. Movies like this can only be made by people convinced of their racial superiority. Even though there is only one survivor in “Lone Survivor”, the message is that we are better than our enemies: smarter, braver, and kinder. This is self-deception of biblical proportions.

    Comment by louisproyect — January 19, 2014 @ 6:25 pm

  16. Louisproyect,
    I believe you are correct in saying 200 fighters was most likely not the correct number, but it was most certainly not 8-10. Most reports put the number between 25-40. Which is still exceptional odds. I believe you acquired your number of militants involved in the ambush, in the same way the website onviolence.com did. Except you forgot to include the other tidbit of information. Onviolence.com states that 8-10 hardcore militants (Shah’s men) were involved and the rest of the force was made up of “accidental guerrillas” which was most likely fighters from the local area. A town militia at best. Taliban groups have always used local populace, friendly to the Taliban, to fill fighting positions. This is documented all the way back to the Soviet invasion. Mujahideen commanders, in personal interviews in the book, “The Other side of The Mountain” state that local groups would often eclipse the number of hard-line fighters. Which will bring me to my second point in a minute. But, the article on the website onviolence.com is the most conservative report I found. As I said most reports put it from 25-40. Which was Luttrell’s offical after action report.
    My second qualm is with your latest post about one “GI” versus twelve and they all have the same pistol. I completely agree, the militants had better knowledge of the terrain which is worth something, no doubt. But these men, were not simply army infantry, rather some of the most well trained men in the world. These men would have been adepts in close quarter firefights. The same can not be said about the militants. The 8-10 hard-liners may have had some practical and training experience, but it is not even comparable to a general infantry’s training let alone such an elite force as the Navy Seals. The other fighters that came from the local area, most likely had no training or battle experience what so ever, making them little more than cannon fodder. Perhaps explaining how the team was able to kill a large amount of militants and held off the attack for an extended period of time. If you ask any person in any military they will say that training is the most important factor in creating an effective fighting force and in Afghanistan, there are virtually no instances of Taliban going toe to toe with American forces, without suffering massive casualties.
    Thirdly, you say the equipment was equal. Simply, it was not. Any AK based system, wether it be the 47, 74, etcetera, is a good assault rifle, but is much less accurate (especially in the hands of ill-trained militants, who often fire on full automatic, making any hope of hitting a concealed target all but impossible considering the recoil on an AK 7.62mm round) compared to Navy Seals using weapon systems that were decked out with the most sophisticated attachments and sighting systems, dialed in to being extremely accurate. And these men never shoot in full-auto. Also rocket propelled grenades are extremely difficult to use firing down a slope. Considering they are impact detonation, firing on men behind cover, and down a sloping hill, it is doubtful these teams were very effective.
    I also fail to see your point, of if a battle did really involve 200 men vs 4 that the following action that would occur would be “Kill Bill” style. There have been many battles in history that the odds have been heavily stacked in one’s side favor, but that does not make it fake action.
    So to conclude, well trained Navy Seals with the best gear possible, even if they only number four are a lethal force against an enemy that is poorly trained in a weapon system that is not known for its accuracy. I do believe that in a consolidated fighting position on the defensive, these men would be capable of fighting of an attack by a numerically superior fighting force for hours, but they would indeed be eventually overrun, due to ammunition and the maneuvers of a continuing attack.
    I’m seriously not trying to be rude, just hoping to discuss this and see what you think on the matter and how you arrived at such conclusions.

    Comment by Justin — January 22, 2014 @ 11:29 pm

  17. I also fail to see your point, of if a battle did really involve 200 men vs 4 that the following action that would occur would be “Kill Bill” style. There have been many battles in history that the odds have been heavily stacked in one’s side favor, but that does not make it fake action.

    No, what makes it fake is the thousands of rounds that are fired at these four guys at close range, including RPG’s, and that they managed to fight for hours. It is, not to put too fine a point on it, like Randolph Scott and three other cowboys holding off a hundred Comanches also armed with rifles, as well as lances and bows and arrows. If you don’t think that the director tends toward the sensational, just look at “Battleship” and “Cloverfield”. This nut wouldn’t know realism if it bit him on the ass.

    Comment by louisproyect — January 22, 2014 @ 11:38 pm

  18. Justin: If you train yourself to view most any war film as sheer propaganda then you’d not only have a head start in life but you’d quickly realize that initiating a debate on this subject with somebody like Proyect nets zero fecundity.

    Next you have to figure out who gains by this sheer propaganda? If you live in the USA you can bank that the Pentagon’s viewpoint prevails, or their allies. It’s virtually an axiom with a scant handful of notable exceptions filmwise: in chronological order — Path’s of Glory, The Battle of Algiers, Catch 22, Little Big Man, Breaker Morant, Full Metal Jacket & Dances With Wolves. There may be a couple others but until you view these films with an open mind and then compare them to the schlock fest you’re used to then, son, I can assure you won’t be able to discern feces from fat meat.

    Here’s an easily recognizable historical example. Go to a major library that has access to American Revolutionary war archives of the British press circa the mid 1770’s and you’ll find all kinds or Red Coat battles where the British Military, the most modern equipped in the World back in the day, reported to the King back home of all kinds of 10, 20, 30, 40 or even 50 to 1 kill ratios since, after all, they were just exterminating a bunch of degenerate peasant renegades defying The Crown.

    The reality in the field of course was quite different. That’s why the North in the Civil War sustained so many slaughters. Modern militarism is largely negated by home field advantage. It was the same in Vietnam and if you ask any ex-Soviet General, the same applies to Afghanistan.

    Who gives a fuck if the events depicted in this farse of a flick were even accurate, which they surely weren’t, that is, they likely were as accurate as that CIA agent survivor testimony of the Benghzi attack on the US Embassy reported by 60 Minutes recently which turned out to be a complete fraud, but the POINT is this — the Afghan War NEVER HAD A MILITARY SOLUTION.

    The reality was Afghanistan only had a POLITICAL SOLUTION. If you’re unsure of the definition of politics then I encourage you to read some VI Lenin as he rightfully reduced all the complications of politics to just 3 simple words: WHO GETS WHAT?

    Every civilian & military hack employed by the Pentagon knew this was a fact but advocating Peace does not advance your position in the bureaucracy of a society that is inherently based on predation.

    It surely does not enrich the coffers of Halliburton & BlackWater, et al. These companies had a license to steal & their derivatives still do.

    If Truman were alive today, and he was a degenerate militarist, he’d have publically hanged war pofiteers like Cheney, not because he was anti-war, no, on the contrary, he was an anti-commie madman who wanted to nuke China, but rather, he honestly felt that if corporations took advantage & profited from his anti-commie hysteria that they weren’t patriots. Truman after all was the only President in the 20th Century who wasn’t a millionare and he genuinely hated speculators.

    I took a Poly Sci course at the UofA from Prof. Tom Volgy circa 1987 (who ironically was also the elected Mayor of Tucson at the time) who swore that his mentor was the personal assistant of Harry Truman during his heyday in the White House and that Truman was so crazy insane determined to push the nuke button against China that CIA agents had to physically restrain Truman in a straight jacket until he promised to get over it. They probably told him the famous parable back then about a billion Chinese soldiers forming a land bridge to connect to the USA.

    If you really want to understand how this planet actually functioned for the last 5 centuries it amounts to this: Uncle Sam lives today only because he presides over an inherently predatory society armed to the teeth for more or less the last 500 years. It’s virtually a zero sum game. The Northern Hemisphere (Almost exclusively whites except for Japan which are “honorary whites” (and notably a country of browns that have never been invaded by whites) only lives large at the expense of abject poverty in the Southern Hemisphere, which is exclusively brown people.

    As just reported recently through a plethora of International sources, 85 people on this Earth have the same wealth that the lower 50% of the planet has. Now that’s just a fact. Albeit that some of these 85 people may not necessarily live in the North & may not be white, rest assured that the vast majority are white & from the North.

    The point is this: should any organized group of that lower 50% of humanity rise up to confiscate the wealth of a single one of those 85 people you can predict in advance, with 100% certainty (and predicability is the hallmark of science) that Uncle Sam would intervene on behalf of that besieged 1 in 85 rich person — in the name of Freedom & Democracy at first, of course, but ultimately in the name of the private property that the rich fuck swindled from the toilers.

    Keep all that in mind next time you gullible citizens get all choked up about some war movie.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — January 23, 2014 @ 2:33 am

  19. Whinny

    Louisproyect,
    I am in total agreement with you about the notion of four cowboys holding off the 100’s of Native American warriors. There are so many movies that exhibit such appalling traits. Even modern day retellings of such stories as Custer’s Last Stand, are chalk full of sensationalism, not only about how well the cavalry fought and their ability to fight off thousands of vicious Indians, hell bent on destroying America, but also yes, white supremacy. I am no hawk or blind citizen believing America is capable of only doing good, and the rest of the world is inferior. I am working towards my doctorate degree at this moment on the Soviet Union, and as a result have taken many courses on politics and history, particularly the history of conflict. I’m well aware of the endemic problem that plagues historical accounts and that centers around the superiority of white males. And yes of course, many of those movies, such as Cloverfield were based soley on spectacle. However in this movie, the cast trained with real Navy Seals, in tactics, weapon functions etc, making the units movement resemble, although not nearly as well, the movements of true Navy Seals. I also know you disagree with me, that just due to the simple fact that thousands of rounds were fired, these men would have been unable to hold them off for such an extended period of time. But considering the common AK magazine holds 30 rounds, it is easy to see how a given numerous fighters, some armed with light machine guns like a PKM or RPK, could fire easily thousands of rounds. But again, it is not the amount of rounds going down range that make an effective fighting force. Even in close quarters, it is easy to miss a target if a force is poorly trained and under direct fire. By continuing to “bound” backwards and establish new defensive positions, the Americans prevented themselves from being outmaneuvered. This greatly reduces the effectiveness of an numerically superior force. And trust me, I do not believe Americans or any white person is better than anybody else that we share this world with. But in this case, the defining factor was the superior training of the Seal team. This does make them a “better” force on the battlefield. If the militants would have went through such exceptional training, then they would have been an equal match on the battlefield.
    My kindest regards to you.

    Karl,
    I never once stated that war films do not express some forms of propaganda. Some far more than others. It is very true, that this film was created for American audiences and has noticeable patriotic tones. I am not disagreeing with you on the movie industry. I am simply discussing the facts of a battle, that did indeed occur. I appreciate you attempting to warn me about the pitfalls of American cinema, but I was not discussing the military industrial complex or how government contracts make war profitable for many companies. I know that this is a sad fact. So, I will not address all your points, as I believe they have deviated from the topic. Again, not to say I do not appreciate your intelligent points. And I would appreciate it if you did not call me “son” and I am well aware of the difference between feces and fat meat. And yes, in the grand scheme of things, discussing the small points of a war story, is mostly irrelevant. But since this article was originally about these small points, that is what I decided to discuss. If we wanted to discuss what you have brought to the table it would require a new post, which I would enjoy, but is a little out of place here.
    Now to address the points that you did bring up about the this particular battle. Fighting on your home turf yields benefits. But, those benefits are not applicable for all situations or at least do not play that large of a role. Vietnamese and the Mujahideen were able to use their home ground to their advantage in such cases like blending in with the population after a firefight, knowing what places could be a sanctuary from the enemy, where a good place to lay an ambush would be, acquiring supplies from the locals who support you and many more. But in this instance, I would argue home field advantage played a very minor role. The militants, mobilized to find the force that the goat herders had alerted them to. They therefore were not laying an ambush but attempting to purse the small group of Americans. Therefore, they were not choosing the ground they fought on. They would engage the Americans whenever they caught up to them. The one place where fighting on terrain you know could have helped them, was by figuring out where defilades were and places they could attempt to flank the American position. But, if the American force was continually moving down the mountain, this would deny them the opportunity to successfully flank the Americans, because they would move out of the flank-able position before the militants could set up on the flanks. The Taliban element had already used the home field advantage to acquire more fighters from the local village. But beyond that, I do not see how the enemy could have better exploited their advantage of fighting on home terrain. If you believe there is something I am missing, I would love to hear it.
    I also do not understand your point on the American Civil War. If you would mind clarifying I would greatly appreciate it. If you are discussing home field advantage again, I would say you are partially right but, there was far more that went into these loses than simply fighting on home ground. For example the North was plagued with deplorable officers, which accounted for such terrible decisions as the plan for the battle at Fredericksburg.
    Let me say this too, I agree that corporations in America have ascertained rights and powers that is nothing short of disgusting. The distribution of wealth in this country and the world is appalling and something indeed, needs to be done about this massive inequality. Oh and I have read plenty of Lenin, in Russian I might add, and truly believe he was a good man and was very sad that he died and handed the country to a despot (he implored the politburo not to give Stalin power in one of his last written documents, by the way) who, destroyed the chance that Russia had to embrace the full tenets of socialism. We believe a lot of the same ideas on this topic. You do realize there are many other countries in the northern hemisphere that are made up of different races right? The whole Middle East, China, many portions of Asia and the Southern hemisphere also is home to Australia, which is largely made up of white people. I understand what you were getting at in the general gap of wealth between most Southern hemisphere countries and most Northern hemisphere countries.
    So before declaring me a “gullible citizen,” maybe try to be a bit more respectful and less condescending. I enjoy discussing all these topics and have not been rude to anyone and enjoy respectfully exchanges opinions.

    Thanks everyone for listening,
    Justin

    Comment by Justin — January 24, 2014 @ 1:02 am

  20. Oh and sorry about the whinny at the top, my cousin was playing on my computer.

    Comment by Justin — January 24, 2014 @ 1:03 am

  21. This movie was good as far as it goes. It failed to take the hero the final step. I think back to Audie Murphy in The Red Badge of Courage. There was a turning point for the hero/anti hero when the rage of battle takes over and right or wrong is forgotten.

    In this case the American team DID THE RIGHT THING, they let the goat herders go and thus unleashed the enemy forces on themselves. There were similar “rules of engagement” in Viet Nam.

    In any course war is always ugly. Sun Tzu said it best, the really effective generals win the city with no battles.

    Comment by Martybee — January 26, 2014 @ 4:45 am

  22. Looks like you guys adore politic. Every war film has to be politic in your eyes. Every war film with U.S. involved in it, of course.

    Also, in combats, most shots fired are missed. Needless to say, Aks in the hands of those Talibans are about as effective as a bag of rocks in term of accuracy.

    Comment by joe — January 26, 2014 @ 5:45 am

  23. You miss the point Joe. Of course every war film has a political aspect since the sharpest expression of politics is war.

    Suppose a professional army invaded your neighborhood and all your neighbors had to defend your turf with whatever weapons they could muster. How accurate would they be compared to the professional invaders?

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — January 26, 2014 @ 3:36 pm

  24. The critic needs to read the book. But I’m sure he would think that’s fictitious as well. And who cares if there were 20 or 50 or 200 enemy combatants, it was clearly a lot, they were heavily outnumbered, and I’m sure it seemed like 200. You talk about unrealistically outnumbered, how about The Battle of the Bulge’s Battle of Lanzerath Ridge (22 American soldiers vs 500 Germans), among countless other examples? The critic basically sounds like an idiot. And what is this bizarro conspiracy stuff? You sound like you’re either on drugs or a delusional idealogue who lives in his own la la land and needs to read a little history of war and humanity to get a perspective on reality.

    Comment by Cool Breeze — January 27, 2014 @ 12:33 am

  25. From the Wiki on Lanzerath:

    Many of the German units were recent conscripts with very little experience. Sergeant Vinz Kuhlbach’s platoon was typical.[11] Most of his soldiers had little combat experience and even less training. The German units had been formed by conscripting teenage boys and men over 50, men previously rejected as physically unfit for service, wounded soldiers newly released from hospitals, and men transferred from the “jobless” personnel of the shrinking Kriegsmarine and Luftwaffe. The German 3rd Fallschirmjaeger Division, which had previously acquired a superb combat reputation,[4] had been virtually destroyed during the Normandy Invasion in the Falaise pocket.

    Comment by louisproyect — January 27, 2014 @ 2:39 am

  26. This movie is soooo off base and yes I am military, The mission was wack, first of all this high end team should have use laser targeting and drones…daaa, fight would have lasted 15 minutes max., of course I am Air Force not Special Ed,. Then what happened to take the high ground, not bunker down in a valley of death, then where’s ghost protocol they are snipers right, okay can you try to spread out
    and make four seem like forty please. Obliviously this type of macho mission is special they don’t teach us …only Special Ed. Go Seals.

    Comment by RWM2 — January 29, 2014 @ 5:37 am

  27. Hey everyone – Louis puts a lot of content up, sure, but if you’re looking for an additional source of progressive and unfiltered journalism, check out FourthEstateWatch dot com. You won’t be disappointed. Cheers!

    Comment by fourthestatewatch — February 6, 2014 @ 5:04 pm


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