Friday, October 19, 2007

In the Valley of Elah

I just sent this off to the publicity people for a new film, opening in theaters now, as they say.

I don't usually do film reviews on, and I am not wanting to be on your list of "usual suspects," though I'm interested in UNusual films.

The hook for me was that my state senator and majority leader, Harry Reid, handed off a copy to John Kerry - who watched it and sent out a notice to his entire mailing list. is pretty much about what it sounds like, and it sounds like this is a very graphic truth indeed.

For me, the fact that the ball started rolling on this in 2003 is to me the most interesting part of this story. It takes that long for the consequences of some acts to materialize, sometimes even longer.

This seems to be all about unintended, unimagined and unimaginable consequences.

I really, really do not want to see this film. I expect it will give me nightmares.

Can you please send me a review copy?


Bob King

I can count the number of times I've done something like this on my thumbs. And I'm doing it knowing that it is going to have a certain message, it is going to portray a certain reality that will be unpalatable to those who think that the War in Iraq and the War on Terror are inseparable.But in fact, when you go to war - every time, and for whatever reason, you must pay the Butcher's Bill - and the horrifying truth is that each and every soldier who faces combat is affected forever. This paragraph comes from John Kerry's letter.
The former top operating officer at the Pentagon, a Marine Lieutenant General, once said of Iraq that "the commitment of our forces to this fight was done with a casualness and swagger that are the special province of those who have never had to execute these missions --or bury the results."

I've never seriously considered myself to be anti-war. It strikes me rather like being anti-hurricane.

It really doesn't matter to the hurricane whether you are philosophically opposed to it's existence or not. One can prepare for it, one can avoid being in it or choose to endure it, one must respond to it intelligently and clean up the mess so that life can return to normal. These are common sense observations, and wars come upon us for many reasons, many of which are no more under our control than the weather.

I am pro-peace - and to me, the best way to ensure peace and the best way to return to a state of peace subsequent to war is to have a very efficient and powerful response to aggression, and as realistic an appreciation as possible as to the costs of war upon the people asked to fight it and those who must stay at home. Above all, don't stupidly create conditions that may provoke a war.

There is a huge, indefinable, but real price that must be paid over the generations for every act of war, for ever war that starts due to foolishness, misadventure, miscalculation, aggression, need, greed, the hunger for power or the desire for "living room."

Thousands of years ago, Sun Tsu considered all these things in his "Art of War," a book George W. Bush has clearly never read, or at least comprehended. Source:; Links indicated with question marks lead to related discussion threads:

If one gains victory in battle and is successful in attacks, but does not exploit those achievements, it is disastrous.

This is called waste and delay. ?

Therefore, I say the wise general thinks about it, and the good general executes it. ?

If it is not advantageous, do not move;

if there is no gain, do not use troops;

if there is no danger, do not do battle. ?

The ruler may not move his army out of anger; the general may not do battle out of wrath. ?
If it is advantageous, move;

if it is not advantageous, stop. ?

Those angry will be happy again, and those wrathful will be cheerful again, but a destroyed nation cannot exist again, the dead cannot be brought back to life. ?

Therefore, the enlightened ruler is prudent, the good general is cautious.

This is the Way of securing the nation, and preserving the army. ?

And I could not resist adding this further citation from the very first page:

Before doing battle, in the temple one calculates and will win, because many calculations were made;

before doing battle, in the temple one calculates and will not win, because few calculations were made; ?

Many calculations, victory, few calculations, no victory, then how much less so when no calculations?

By means of these, I can observe them, beholding victory or defeat! ?

It seems that in this case, foresight was 20/20.

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