Friday, July 27, 2007

Gunny Highway, Colonel Shaw and Private Peter Pan

The Master Blogger Digby has an excellent post on the 101st Fighting Keyboarders attempt to demonize an Iraqi Veteran who did not conform to their version of reality
    I hear so much from the right about how they love the troops. But they don't seem to love the actual human beings who wear the uniform, they love those little GI Joe dolls they played with as children which they could dress up in little costumes and contort into pretzels for their fun and amusement. If they loved the actual troops they wouldn't require them to be like two dimensional John Wayne's, withholding their real experiences and feelings for fear that a virtual armchair lynch mob would come after them.
This was a major point of a minor B movie in the career of Clint Eastwood titled Heartbreak Ridge (although Roger E seemed to like it). Beyond the profanity, minor nudity and major fight scenes, a single theme dominated the picture: WAR IS NOT A GAME! IT IS SERIOUS BUSINESS AND IT IS HELL!

    Highway: You're dead marine, you just got your legs blown off and we'll hafta send out a search party for your testicles. Where's your cover?
    [They indicate Profile who waves to them]
    Highway: What the hell are ya doin' back there? Without any cover fire I'll get my ass shot off! While the rest of you are pumpin' the neighbors dog we'll get every swinging dick in this platoon killed!
This would be emphasized in a different way in the 1990 A picture Glory. Like Gunny Highway , Colonel Shaw learned that war was Serious Business:
    Colonel Robert G. Shaw: Sgt. Mulcahy!
    Sgt. Mulcahy: Sir!
    Colonel Robert G. Shaw: I have no doubt you a fair man, Mulcahy. I wonder if you are treating the men a little hard.
    [Sgt. Mulcahy pauses]
    Colonel Robert G. Shaw: You may speak freely.
    Sgt. Mulcahy: The boy is a friend of yours, is he?
    Colonel Robert G. Shaw: Yes, we grew up together
    Sgt. Mulcahy: Let him grow up some more.
Highway, Mulcahy and Shaw had this funny idea that they did not want their men to die. And they also knew that war was a thing to be avoided, not some stupid way to prove your manhood:
    Colonel Meyers: How are your men doing Major?
    Major Malcom Powers: My men are ready to fight to the death to Protect our country.

    Colonel Meyers: Well let's hope that won't be necessary.
This can not be overstated. 20 years in the Army (where I was lucky to avoid 2 wars and 5 police actions) and I saw a bunch of these Rambo wannabes that seem to think war was some form of romantic adventure (they obviously missed the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan).

1 comment:

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