Aug 24, 2006

Terrorist Awareness Quiz 

You crazy kids... 

... with your rock and roll music, and your Atari 2600... and your EIGHT planet solar system.

Question: does this make all us people born into the era of nine planets "salty"? Discuss.

Aug 23, 2006

Rev. Jackson to the rescue 

I have no good explanation for this, other than the one that has been offered in the past by Chris Rock:

- Jesse must've been, like: "Do you want the United States to really be mad at you? Give the hostages to ME." -
Washington D.C. (AHN) - Civil rights leader Jesse Jackson is attempting to negotiate the release of prisoners in the custody of Hezbollah and Israel.

In the past, Jackson has successfully negotiated the release of Americans and others held hostage or prisoner in Syria, Cuba, Iraq and Yugoslavia.

Jackson says he would go to Syria with other religious leaders "if we had the notion we could gain the release of prisoners on both sides. ... Such an effort would not be in conflict with our present policies because it would be humanitarian."
Thanks Rev. That's just what we need: YOU negotiating on behalf of Hezbollah terrorists to get their buddies out of lockup. But thanks for offering to do the same for the Israelis. Your fair, even-handed, non-moralistic, "humanitarian" approach leaves me all warm and fuzzy inside…

Ya gotta give it to the man, though. He delivers.

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I'm looking forward to a picture of Jesse with the couple hundred Hezbos that he manages to get sprung sometime in the near future. That'll be a real heart-warmer...

Aug 21, 2006

So long, Joe 

With the recent focus on "fauxtography," we have sadly lost a man who knew a thing or two about REAL photojournalism and war reporting. The man who took the single most reproduced photo in world history, Joe Rosenthal, passed away on 20 August at age 94.
"What I see behind the photo is what it took to get up to those heights -- the kind of devotion to their country that those young men had, and the sacrifices they made," Rosenthal once said. "I take some gratification in being a little part of what the U.S. stands for."
The greater majority of the current crop of picture-snappers for the AP is not qualified to hold this man's empty film canisters.

Goodbye, Joe. Semper Fi.

Aug 18, 2006

Every word is true 

Ralph Peters - once again - nails it.
The debacle in Lebanon wasn't even a war. It was only round one of a war. And Israel's back in its corner, dazed and punch-drunk.
Politicians and generals everywhere, repeat after me: "Air power alone can't win wars; you can't defeat terror on the cheap with technology; and (in the timeless words of Nathan Bedford Forrest) War means fighting, and fighting means killing."
Indisputable truth.

Update: Indisputable funny from Frank J. But also totally true. If only Israel had followed his advice...

Update II: The IDF agrees.

Movie Review, preemptive strike style 

Staying on the subject of movies, but covering one of my other favorite topics - history - Hot Air puts out a very good Vent today, reemphasizing that no war has ever been won without a little hate and discontent getting put downrange. A historical case lesson is offered up in the form of Iwo Jima.

For the time being, I'm going to gloss over Israel's sudden loss of intestinal fortitude and willingness to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Call this the Hezbo's Tet Offensive, if you will: asses thoroughly kicked, yet somehow they still "won"…

No, for now I want to pay some attention to the film mentioned at Hot Air, Flags of Our Fathers. Though I haven't read the book, just like any other Marine, I'm familiar with our history and have done a good amount of research and other reading about the battle of Iwo Jima. I simply cannot wait for the film to drop sometime in late October. Go watch the Japanese trailer. It'll be interesting to compare it to the American trailer which is scheduled to hit in early September. The Japanese trailer obviously depicts the Japanese actors more, plays up their biggest Hollywood star Ken Watanabe, and looks more the way I'd expect a trailer for the companion movie to. Yes, that's right. If you didn't know, Clint Eastwood is making TWO Iwo Jima movies. First will be "Flags," and then will be a film examining the battle from the Japanese side, staring some of the same actors - mostly the Japanese ones, for obvious reasons. IMDB currently has it listed as "Letters From Iwo Jima," but I'd bet that will change as it has previously been listed as "Red Sun, Black Sand," and prior to that, "Lamps in the Wind." Apparently, without a book to take the title from, finding a name for the film is highly problematic

Anyway, even though the trailer is almost entirely in Japanese, it still looks fantastic. And after reading some message boards about the film(s) it looks like it might actually be a joint trailer for both movies (or something to that effect). The second movie is slated for a January release. That would make these some very well timed films, if that's the case. Late October for the first means a wide release by early November, in time for the Marine Corps Birthday. And late January for the second means the same for the anniversary of the battle, in February. I think we could be looking at some great filmmaking here. Hopefully better than the last wide-release Marine Corps movie - Windtalkers - which had huge potential and was based on such compelling and interesting history… and then turned out so very, VERY bad. A real shame, that.

But I would hope that these films would convey something to the American public about a trait that we as a Nation seem to have lost somewhere along the way: the will to win. At some point we decided it was more important to be liked than respected. Being liked does not win wars, and more importantly it doesn't prevent them. Strength does. And RESPECT - not fear - but actual, honest to God RESPECT for our strength, has kept us out of more fights than our "popularity" ever has. While that's probably not the aim of the films (and even if it was - will enough Americans watch it to notice?), I still hope that Clint brought that out. But regardless, I think these films are going to be great examinations of history if nothing else.

Aug 12, 2006

Movie review 

With all that's going on in the world these days, I thought it was about time that I talked about something that was really important... a movie. "But WHAT movie," you say? World Trade Center? Flight 93? Talladega Nights?

No no, my friends. A film far more "B" than ANY of those could hope to be... The Hunt For Eagle One.

Wow... I mean WOW. These guys could have made a lower budget movie only if they had been robbed of all their cash mid-production. But despite that... I liked it anyway.

I never would have watched this movie - never would have probably heard of it even - if it wasn't for the fact that I recently started working with a Gunny who was the military technical advisor for the film and it came up when we were talking. Sadly, the production didn't really follow his advice to the letter... I mean, Rutger Hauer is a General who's walking around with his sleeves rolled up the wrong way (Army style) for the whole film.

But here's the lowdown. The story is set on the island of Mindanao in the southern Philippines. American Marines are advising and fighting alongside the Filipino Army as they try to root out Al-Qaeda connected Islamist terrorist groups. On this basis alone, they could have sold it as "reality based." But from there... mheh...

As the Army gears up to push on the terrorist positions, a Huey with a strike team on it gets shot down by the terrorists, forcing the pilot (Theresa Randle) to go on the run. Sadly for her, she don't get too far before she gets rolled up. Sadly for my Gunny, he was in this scene aboard the helo (so he got screen time and a few lines - cool!), but apparently he didn't survive the crash, and even more unfortunately his character was - horrors! - a Lieutenant. He will receive no end of crap for this come Monday, I promise you.

So, send in the rescue team, led by Mark Dacascos as a Marine Lieutenant. Dacascos has pretty much been trapped in B-movie hell his whole career, but he is one of the stars of the excellent - though French - Brotherhood of the Wolf. On that basis alone, I give him a bye. And happily the Gunny was able to fix him enough so that he does a rather admirable job portraying a Marine.

What follows from the helo shootdown is basically a 90-minute running gun fight. These guys followed the "Rambo" rules: more shooting, less dialog. Okay... not much of a story to begin with, why try to muck it up with talking halfway through, right? I can live with that.

What this film ends up being is - for lack of a better description - propaganda. The Marines are The Good Guys, the terrorists are The Bad Guys, and that's it. There's no attempt at any "deeper understanding" of the terrorists' motivations. They kill or torture prisoners. They call upon Allah for Death to America. They are B.A.D.

The Marines on the other hand, along with the Filipino Army, are salt-of-the-earth, 100% gung-ho, justified defenders of freedom, that refuse to leave a fallen man behind and are committed to watching each other's backs - the brass hats in D.C. be damned. I DIG IT.

Why can't they throw some money at something like this and maybe do it up right, instead of shoot it straight to video? Anybody in Hollywood out there that wants to get on our team and come on in for the big win? Anyone? Bueller? Hello?

Oh, well. Like I said, even with the Gunny's help this film had it's share of snafus. The pilot's flight suit was totally wrong, looking more like something the Army would wear (but still wrong, even for the Army). The General's sleeves were rolled up Army style. Some of the gear was a little too "after market" - like Marines don't use the scope that the one character has on his M-16 (but I guess getting ahold of an ACOG proved too difficult for these guys). And two of the Marines were Specialists... once again reflective of the ARMY and not the Marine Corps. Also, when I looked at the credits I found out that one of the guys that the Lt. is giving orders to through the whole film is a CAPTAIN... oops. They fix this in the sequel by demoting the guy to 2ndLt... sucks to be him, I guess. And according to my Gunny, he was on board for the sequel and once again got a few lines... but they were dubbed by someone else. Which is funny considering that he has no accent to deal with, unless you count "American" as an accent. Kinda strange. Especially since his character was apparently killed in the helo crash... hmm...

But on the good side, it's a movie that clearly shows us as the good guys, Islamic terrorists as the bad guys, and the actors do a decent job with what they're given, making things look as realistic as a small budget and sub-par writing will allow. And Rutger Hauer - who's Dutch - proves that he's a better American than Gary Busey, who's fast losing his street cred. Ooh-rah.

"The Hunt For Eagle One"
is rated R, though I can't really tell why, as there is no sex, little swearing, and the violence is mostly bloodless and reminiscent of old WWII movies. It can be picked up at your local Blockbuster, or if you're WAY motivated, you can get it from Amazon. I'd recommend the Blockbuster first, as your mileage may vary on repeat viewings. But it's a good enough pizza, beer, America F*ck Yeah! movie for a Saturday night.

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