January 22, 2015

"'American Sniper'... had the power to leave a packed Manhattan movie house silent—really, completely silent..."

"... as they stared at the closing credits and tried to absorb the meaning of what they’d seen. They filed out silently, too.... The movie seems to have pinged off something in the American psyche... [Navy SEAL Chris] Kyle, the movie makes clear, joined up to defend America after al Qaeda began making its moves. When he was a boy his father taught him not to be a sheep or a wolf but a sheepdog—a protector of others. The movie is a meditation on this. It is interesting that Americans want such a meditation. On the Iraq war it takes no stand. While the film glorifies war—all battlefield heroics, by being admirable, glorify war—there is a persistent antiwar presence, and not only because depicting the damage and dislocation done to those visited by war is an antiwar statement. Chris Kyle’s brother, on leaving Iraq after his own tour, makes a statement suggestion [sic] the U.S. is in the wrong place. A heartbroken mother at a stateside funeral seems to cry out for peace. Kyle’s close friend shares his doubts. Kyle doesn’t share them but he hears them, and Eastwood lets them echo out. This is a fair-minded movie. It is not anyone’s propaganda...."

Writes Peggy Noonan.

ADDED: How do you know that people staying to read the closing credits are "tr[ying] to absorb the meaning of what they’d seen." Maybe they're looking to see who played some bit part and what that song was and so forth. And don't people who are still sitting and watching remain silent? I think talking about a movie is something that you do as you're walking out of the theater. Did those Manhattanites, walking out, turn to each other with the usual "So what do you think?" or whatever it is people say nowadays to start the after-movie conversations?

And that's assuming the moviegoers were not alone. And if these moviegoers were really in a position to talk to someone else and delaying in some abnormal way, it might not be about the "meaning" of the movie as a "meditation" on the military, it could be the more mundane question whether this is a good movie. Did I like it as a movie? That's sometimes a puzzle. Sometimes you withhold judgment until you see the end and need more time to have an opinion worth stating.

When I read the first half of Noonan's piece, I thought: I should see this movie. But when I read the second half, I thought: I don't need to see this movie. It's not good enough. It's got formulaic scenes in boot camp and with a tedious wife character. I don't need to spend my time on moving pictures of something that's easily and more authentically accessible in book form.

130 comments:

George M. Spencer said...

"On the Iraq War it takes no stand."

She must be daft.

Maybe she had her eyes closed when that power drill went up against the little boy's head.

PB said...

It's not the quality of the movie, though Clint Eastwood's work is consistently high quality, but the story of the man, Chris Kyle that leaves us gasping.

Curious George said...

"It is not anyone’s propaganda...."

Here is a sample of some lefty FB "friends of friends":

"Eastwood is very talented, no doubt about that but the very idea of this film is offensive."

"Very challenging watching some I'm connected to tout the film when I'm so very, very against it all."

Neither had seen the movie of course.

Paul said...

Noonan has pretty much jumped the shark...

PB said...

The thing that drives liberals wild is the fact that the movie doesn't depict soldiers as drunken rapists pillaging the people. It shows men trying hard to do a job they signed up for, believed in, and paid a great price for.

PB said...

I have one word for the movie: "earnest". This is something missing in the DNA of your average leftest.

FleetUSA said...

Looking forward to seeing it on Friday.

Obviously not your typical Prog's cup of tea.

Mary Beth said...

"decompressing with other guys in cots"

I lost the serious mood of the piece with that line.

Unknown said...

The one thing theme that sticks with me is the price to pay for fighting evil that lasts beyond the battlefield.

Michael K said...

"the movie doesn't depict soldiers as drunken rapists pillaging the people. "

Those movies were made when Bush was president. None made enough money to pay the cost. Valley of Elam made less than one million dollars,probably mostly in Arab countries.

Shanna said...

The bit about the theater being silent has come up from almost everyone who has reported seeing the film.

Vet66 said...

Too many people have had it too easy for too long in this country and the west. Hiding behind the gaussian blur of Cappuccino steam while evil runs rampant in third world countries is easily dismissed/overlooked while we are geographically protected by civilized neighbors and two oceans. The technology the left uses to avoid the truth is the bridge across those borders and oceans that will visit the evil on our population with increased frequency. Kyle and the Seal Team 6 that took out Bin Laden represent cold reality that looms just over the horizon. The liberals and progressives are not ready or able to deal with the reality of evil. Thanks to our military who protect us and those who scoff at the lesson of 9/11, etc.

Tank said...

While the film glorifies war—all battlefield heroics, by being admirable, glorify war—there is a persistent antiwar presence, and not only because depicting the damage and dislocation done to those visited by war is an antiwar statement.

Not surprising when you think about other work Eastwood has done like Unforgiven.

He's really had a remarkable career when you look back at all of the things he did. He reminds me of Woody Allen, not because they are at all a like, but because year after year they just keep working at their craft, some hits, some misses, just keep working.

Heartless Aztec said...

She saved her last line for Master Rogen ( Master as in not being an adult ). Skewered as it were and left twisting on the pin like an insect. And completely unexpected. Good stuff, again, from Ms. Noonan.

Scott M said...

"all battlefield heroics, by being admirable, glorify war"

Dumbest thing I've read this week. And that's saying a lot.

Michael K said...

"Not surprising when you think about other work Eastwood has done like Unforgiven. "

Gran Torino had an anti-war theme. A powerful one.

bridgecross said...

Wow. The last movie I saw that left a packed Manhattan theater quiet was Phantom Menace.

Curious George said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Julie C said...

The film didn't depict Kyle's death in an expected (Hollywood) way. Spoiler alert: it didn't depict it at all. It showed the aftermath, through actual footage of people in Texas lining the streets and freeway overpasses waving flags etc. It was extremely powerful.

The audience where I saw it had the exact same response as Noonan's Manhattan audience. No one moved when the credits started. No one spoke. When the credits finished, people silently left the theater.

Big Mike said...

While the film glorifies war—all battlefield heroics, by being admirable, glorify war

I think Peggy's wrong on this point. I didn't see anything in that movie that suggested war was "glorious." As noted by many military historians, from World War II onwards Americans have approached war as a job -- dirty, dangerous, but you do what you're trained to do and you look out for each other.

traditionalguy said...

Being good a war is an ambiguous talent. Without that inner resolve to fight and never surrender to an attack we would be enslaved. But doing the fighting also wounds us, damages us and kills us before our time.

Spielberg showed this conundrum with the opening scene of the full landing craft approaching Omaha Beach in Saving Private Ryan which is to be to hosed by MG42 fire as the ramp lowers.

At that point you are either impressed by the courage of the soon to die men, or you are sad to see the fools who did not have connections to prevent their being the ones there on the front lines.

Eastwood understands being a man trapped in that cannot surrender mode for all that it entails.

The Drill SGT said...

The American sniper does not shoot those who are not immediately aiming to harm someone.

Sniping is the most modern of the military arts. The precise application of military force in order to minimize collateral damage.

What's not to like for a progressive tree-hugger.

1 shot, 1 kill...

RAH said...

I saw the movie and recognized the real footage of the people lining the highways playing tribute to Chris Kyle's life and death. I recall because I saw that same footage when Chris was killed. That was so powerful and it was not acted. It was taken from real life.

Part of the reason this film is so good is that it is not fiction, it is real history. The part of the brother having doubts was not in the book nor was the shooting of the child.

There were some liberties that showed the cost to the soldiers and their families. If that gave it a anti war feel that was slightly emphasized by Eastwood.

Biff said...

When one seriously grapples with Eastwood's work (yes, Unforgiven is a good example), it becomes clear that it his work often is far more subtle and intellectual than any card carrying lefty ever will credit it for.

I'm convinced that of all the things about American Sniper that rankle lefties, nothing rankles more than the silence of the crowds that have stayed to watch the credits. That is evidence of a serious movie. Which Michael Moore movie has had a similar effect? (crickets chirping)

Mary Beth said..."decompressing with other guys in cots"...I lost the serious mood of the piece with that line.

I thought of my 19 year old dad steaming toward Japan, anticipating invasion, and then heading away from Japan, not needing to see battle again, when I read that line. The line really resonated for me.

Noonan's perspective often suffers from her NYC-DC cocoon, but I continue to admire her ability to write lyrical prose.

Robert Cook said...

"Noonan's perspective often suffers from her NYC-DC cocoon, but I continue to admire her ability to write lyrical prose."

Funny...it's Noonan's propensity for belabored Hallmark Card sentimentality and sugared banalities, (which I always hear in my head in her phony, breathy-"I'm amazed at the cosmic-ness of it all" vocal delivery) that I find most grating about her.

Robert Cook said...

"She must be daft.

"Maybe she had her eyes closed when that power drill went up against the little boy's head."


No, Noonan's right; that scene merely illustrates the savagery that is unleashed in war, where locals will treat those they see as collaborators with the enemy with brutally swift punishment. The film takes no pro or con position on the war itself.

Guildofcannonballs said...

"or you are sad to see the fools who did not have connections to prevent their being the ones there on the front lines."

Explain what's foolish about not having connections.

Unfortunate would be an okay word, but using "fools" is projection.

Guildofcannonballs said...

"When one seriously grapples with Eastwood's work (yes, Unforgiven is a good example), it becomes clear that it his work often is far more subtle and intellectual than any card carrying lefty ever will credit it for."

He has won Oscars from card-carrying Leftists...

Larry J said...

Shanna said...
The bit about the theater being silent has come up from almost everyone who has reported seeing the film.


I've read some reports of people applauding at the end of the movie but most reports are of silence.

Since 9/11, America has not been at war. The military has been at war but not the rest of us. I know many people who served in Iraq and/or Afghanistan, including my youngest son. How many Americans don't personally know anyone who served in the military, much less in combat?

Michael K said...

Gran Torino had an anti-war theme. A powerful one.


Yes, it did talk about the damage war does to a man and the lingering effects even decades later. My Uncle Paul was a POW for 30 months in Korea. I only heard him talk about any of his experiences there twice. It was just too painful. He could only talk openly with other former POWs.

SPOILER****

I think Eastwood missed the correct ending for "Gran Torino." Instead of giving the young man his car, he should've given him his tools. The movie talked a great deal about the importance and value of tools and how he'd collected them over a lifetime. He bought the young man some tools to help him get started. Giving him his tools would've been a more powerful message than giving him his car, IMO.

Steve said...

Blogger Julie C said...

The film didn't depict Kyle's death in an expected (Hollywood) way. Spoiler alert


How about giving the spoiler alert BEFORE the spoiler.

Idiot.

RAH said...

The ending is powerful because that was real footage of the tribute that people lined up on the highway to pay for Chris's life and death. I know because I saw that footage when Chris was killed and it was powerful then . This was no simulated drama just reality. People responded to that

Robert Cook said...

"The thing that drives liberals wild is the fact that the movie doesn't depict soldiers as drunken rapists pillaging the people."

I'm completely opposed to our various wars in the middle east, but I enjoyed the movie, and found it a quite powerful depiction of men at war.

There are soldiers who are rapists--drunk or not--and who pillage the areas where they fight; this is a fact of war, which is itself always a rape and pillage; but there are soldiers--most of them--who are not rapists and pillagers.

The truth is, soldiers are the greatest victims of war, after the non-combatant who are killed, maimed, or otherwise harmed by war. Soldiers who survive with their lives are often maimed physically and mentally, and also financially. (After WWI, soldiers in American and in Germany who returned home were often left poverty-stricken and homeless. George Grosz depicts in drawings and paintings the maimed beggars in the streets of Berlin, veterans of the war returned to a society who ignored them; in America, there were the Bonus Marchers).

The greatest villains of war are always the heads of state who plan and implement them.

Steve said...

The ending is powerful

Blah blah blah. More idiocy. Please stop spoiling newly-released movies!! Or start your post with a warning!

Robert Cook said...

"The liberals and progressives are not ready or able to deal with the reality of evil. Thanks to our military who protect us and those who scoff at the lesson of 9/11, etc."

Our wars in the middle east are not protecting us from anything, and the lesson of 9/11 is how not to respond to a terrorist attack...but we haven't heeded the lesson, and won't.

victoria said...

I want to preface this by saying that i am a liberal. Totally, completely.

I just loved this movie. Saw it the day after Christmas in Hollywood, at the Cinerama Dome, with a packed audience. People got up and clapped and cheered the life of Chris Kyle. It is an awesome achievement and is neither pro or anti war.

BTW, Bradley Cooper is amazing.

Vicki from Pasadena

Danno said...

I saw an interesting article at the Washington Free Beacon asking why Hollywood ignores the demographic group(s) that are making Sniper a huge box office hit.

http://freebeacon.com/blog/why-does-hollywood-ignore-the-american-sniper-audience/

Larry J said...

Robert Cook said...

Our wars in the middle east are not protecting us from anything, and the lesson of 9/11 is how not to respond to a terrorist attack...but we haven't heeded the lesson, and won't.


It seems that you must believe that the proper response to the 9/11 attacks would've been to send over FBI agents with arrest warrants to search those houses and caves in Afghanistan. Am I close?

FullMoon said...

Packed theater was silent after Schindlers List.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Chris Kyle on Conan

http://rare.us/story/watch-chris-kyles-hilarious-chat-with-conan-obrien-one-year-before-his-tragic-death/

Francisco D said...

I have yet to see the movie, but reports that the audience sat in stunned silence at the end remind me of another movie experience.

A few years ago, I saw "The Passion of the Christ" in a theater packed with noisy teenagers. After about 10 minutes, there was complete silence. At the end, no one talked or moved. Five minutes later I was the first to leave their seat.

I still don't know what I think of the movie except that it was immensely powerful. That seems to be the reaction to "American Sniper."

Such emotional power should transcend politics.

bbkingfish said...

If you shy away from the "formulaic" you will never see a Clint Eastwood movie.

Of course, that is true of most Hollywood offerings, and Clint, unlike most, delivers the goods more often than not.

traditionalguy said...

A silence takes a place so the audience can process the story and reenter the safe world.

The story is that EVIL exists and that it is near and that we are its targets. That requires we participate in a fight before a happy ending appears.

Charlie Currie said...

Movies based on books are movies for people who don't read books.

The book is always better.

Anonymous said...

Maybe they're looking to see who played some bit part and what that song was and so forth.

I think you are right. But Noonan is always overwrought, over analyze, over imagine, over dramatize things that are real only in her mind.

bbkingfish said...

"He's really had a remarkable career when you look back at all of the things he did. He reminds me of Woody Allen, not because they are at all a like, but because year after year they just keep working at their craft, some hits, some misses, just keep working."

Ditto. Both guys decided early in their careers not to kow-tow to the Hollywood monolith. Each found his own financial backing, and each accomplished so much more than he could have working through established channels.

Of course, if you want to pursue independence, it always helps to be a genius.

SJ said...

When he was a boy his father taught him not to be a sheep or a wolf but a sheepdog—a protector of others.

I've heard Policemen talk about the difference between Sheepdogs, Sheep, and Wolves.

It's also the kind of phraseology used by people who support the right of non-Police to carry firearms. Because some citizens want to be Sheepdogs towards their family.

It's not the kind of thing that usually shows up in Hollywood movies. (For example, the film A History of Violence missed a great chance to distinguish between Sheepdog behavior and Wolf behavior. It was jarring to realize, because the main character had filled both roles at different times in his life.)

It's kind of sad, when the movie-makers of America don't like talking about the difference between Protective violence and Predatory violence.

mccullough said...

Larry J,

Walt had already given Thao his tools. When the Hmong gangbangers jumped Thao and broke the tools Walt bought him, he told Thao he could use his tools. He also gave Thao's family his dog.

The house and the Gran Torino were Walt's only possessions left. Giving the church the house pissed off his sons and daughters in law. Giving the Gran Torino to Thao pissed off his granddaughter. That wasn't the reason he did it, but it showed how entitled his family was. He was a better father to Thao than his own sons, but Thao and his sister were also better people.

That's why he entrusted them with his dog, his tools, and his Gran Torino.




mccullough said...

I would not go see or not go see any movie based on something Peggy Noonan wrote.

Robert Cook said...

"The story is that EVIL exists and that it is near and that we are its targets."

No, this is not the story. The story is that CONFLICT exists--for many reasons--and human beings caught up in the conflict, whether trying to prevail or just survive, do damage and are damaged

Robert Cook said...

"It seems that you must believe that the proper response to the 9/11 attacks would've been to send over FBI agents with arrest warrants to search those houses and caves in Afghanistan. Am I close?"

Really? Is this the only alternative response you can imagine? Or are you just being snarky?

Jason said...

http://youtu.be/SHKjOl9ocR0

The link goes to a 1946 Woody Guthrie song extolling the virtues of one of Stalin's female snipers in WWII. She was reported to have 300 kills.

See, liberals love them some snipers. As long as they're communist and/or not American.

Jason said...

Cookie. You morally retarded fucking idiot. Conflict brings men to a battlefield. Conflict does not make anybody torture a child with a drill.

Evil does that.

Todd said...

Robert Cook said... [hush]​[hide comment]
"The story is that EVIL exists and that it is near and that we are its targets."

No, this is not the story. The story is that CONFLICT exists--for many reasons--and human beings caught up in the conflict, whether trying to prevail or just survive, do damage and are damaged

1/22/15, 11:20 AM


Really? Do you actually believe that or are you just saying it? Have no problems at all with people strapping explosives to kids and sending them into crowds? Using kids as human shields. Attacking from hospitals and houses of worship. That is not evil, it is just a "conflict"?

Robert Cook said...

"Conflict does not make anybody torture a child with a drill."

Of course it does.

Rusty said...

Robert Cook said...
"It seems that you must believe that the proper response to the 9/11 attacks would've been to send over FBI agents with arrest warrants to search those houses and caves in Afghanistan. Am I close?"

Really? Is this the only alternative response you can imagine? Or are you just being snarky?

Let's hear what you would have done.

Robert Cook said...

"Have no problems at all with people strapping explosives to kids and sending them into crowds? Using kids as human shields. Attacking from hospitals and houses of worship. That is not evil, it is just a 'conflict?'"

Of course it's evil, but evil is unleashed when people are engaged in conflict. Are our drone bombings any less evil than what you describe? Were our invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, to kill people who had nothing to do with 9/11, any less evil? Is our use of torture on captives to compel confessions of...whatever they can think of to day to stop the torture any less evil? Our use of napalm and Agent Orange in Viet Nam? Our nuking whole cities in Japan?

It's all evil, and this is why war should never be entered into unless absolutely necessary.

And it is seldom necessary. Certainly, none of our present ongoing wars are necessary. War is almost always entered into with cold calculation, to achieve some desired geo-political goal of domination and/or acquisition of or access to resources.

As the man says, "War is a continuation of politics by other means."

Unknown said...

@Robert Cooke

I take it you don't believe in evil?

Robert Cook said...

"Let's hear what you would have done."

How about using intelligence and working in concert with nations in the regions to help locate and isolate those involved in the planning, funding, and carrying out of the 9/11 attacks, and using whatever least means of men and material necessary to arrest and extradite those persons for trial? (Or have them tried by an international court, such as was the case at Nuremberg?)

After all, we finally located bin Laden, and could have captured him, but we killed him--stupidly, but probably for some reason we're not meant to know.

I'm sure there are other strategies that could have been tried, but we, as we always must, used the crudest, least focused, least effective, most expensive and wasteful and most destructive means possible.

Unknown said...

@Robert Cooke

Nevermind.

Jason said...

For Cookie and his Marxist fellow travelers, there is no such thing as moral agency, regardless of the circumstances.

Especially for communists, because the lack of moral agency acts as a ready made excuse to explain away scores of millions of their murder victims, and for brown people.

Because leftists are the biggest racists of them all.

Jason said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jason said...

Cookie: How about using intelligence and working in concert with nations in the regions to help locate and isolate those involved in the planning, funding, and carrying out of the 9/11 attacks, and using whatever least means of men and material necessary to arrest and extradite those persons for trial? (Or have them tried by an international court, such as was the case at Nuremberg?)

That's, like, the 8-dimensional chess of stupidity, Cookie.

Why not just outsource the job to the Great Pumpkin while we're at it, dummy?

Robert Cook said...

"I take it you don't believe in evil?"

People do evil things--we no less than others--but most have their reasons and justify their actions as "necessary" for some reason or other.

There are individuals who are psychopathic or otherwise cruel who harm others for the enjoyment of it, or for mere expediency in achieving other ends. Such people are statistically a minority among humans...although, if they gain positions of power, they can do much harm.

But "evil" as a metaphysical reality, such as a Satanic or demonic force that animates whole peoples?

No.

"Evil" is also a matter of which side one stands on. You can be sure the Muslim extremists see themselves as purely righteous warriors fighting for whatever reasons they may have, and see us as purely evil.

Anonymous said...

Just see the movie Ann.

The problem lies have with the movie is Eastwood's empty chair routine at the Republican convention. That's all.

If Spielberg made the same movie, frame for frame, we would not hear a peep because he is a huge fundraiser for Dems.

Robert Cook said...

Jason, as usual, comments, but adds only noise--no signal--to the conversation.

Larry J said...

mccullough said...
Larry J,

Walt had already given Thao his tools. When the Hmong gangbangers jumped Thao and broke the tools Walt bought him, he told Thao he could use his tools.


I must have missed that part of the movie. Time to watch it again. It's worth a second look.

Annie said...

I haven't seen the movie but plan on doing so. I will agree the book, being Kyle's voice, is more authentic. I've read parts of it and am pulled in by his stories. A lot of his observations reminded me of Michael Totten's dispatches.

Fustigator said...

Interesting that the reaction in Manhattan is the same thing I experienced in Colorado.

Saw it last Sunday. Not one peep or voice as we filed out of theatre and all the way to the lobby (and it was dinner time and the Packers had lost during the movie to Seahawks so there was plenty to talk about).

This is speculation on my part and based on my feelings, but I think the feeling for a lot of people is that we have really fucked our soldiers and their families and put them through hell with multiple tours. And most people know that our current administration 'ended' the wars and all of their sacrifices and injuries and deaths will be in vain. And, like Vietnam, their was no public feting of their accomplishments and sacrifices. This is where I am incredibly disappointed with the Obama administration and the liberal left. It seems they just don't give a shit about our soldiers and refuse to celebrate or acknowledge their efforts/sacrifice even if they didnt support the wars.

And to Steve who is whining about no spoiler alert or not soon enough...I think 98% of the people going to this movie know that Chris Kyle was killed by another soldier....so what gets you is to see everything he has struggled through and survived some hellacious conflicts only to be taken out right here in America by one of our own.

All I can say is thank god they didnt show that scene...it would have been even more gut wrenching. And by telling you this we arent spoiling anything. Still worth going to experience it

ColoComment said...

SJ: the references to wolves, sheepdogs and sheep comes from the book "On Combat" by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman.

You can read his full essay here:

http://rhinoden.rangerup.com/on-sheep-wolves-and-sheepdogs-by-ltc-dave-grossman-usa-ret/

Gahrie said...

"Evil" is also a matter of which side one stands on

Here you have presented for you the basic fallacy of Leftism...they simply refuse to acknowledge that evil exists. In their efforts to convince the rest of us, they have cursed with multiculturalism and moral relativism.

Why is this so important to the Left? Because they know the rest of us consider their actions and beliefs evil, and they have to answer the only way they can...either there is no such thing as evil, or that judging someone as evil makes you evil.

Robert Cook said...

"Because (those on the Left) know the rest of us consider their actions and beliefs evil...."

It goes both ways, pal...many on the left take it as a given that the actions, beliefs, and motives of those on the right are intrinsically evil.

I don't assume this, having grown up in a Republican family (who are all still Republican), and having been a Republican myself for a few years.

I was just having a conversation today with a colleague about this very thing, and I pointed out that most everyone sees themselves as "good," and those who hold beliefs not consonant with theirs they see as "evil."

In so many ways than just this context, but certainly here, "seeing" doesn't make it so.

Todd said...

Robert Cook said...
I was just having a conversation today with a colleague about this very thing, and I pointed out that most everyone sees themselves as "good," and those who hold beliefs not consonant with theirs they see as "evil."
1/22/15, 1:35 PM


Whether someone is evil or not has little to do with how they see themselves and everything to do with their interaction with the world and others. If you do "evil" things, you are evil despite thinking you are not. Hitler was evil. Stalin was evil. Sadam and his boys were evil.

Sometimes it really is that straight forward and clear-cut.

I Callahan said...

Funny...it's Noonan's propensity for belabored Hallmark Card sentimentality and sugared banalities, (which I always hear in my head in her phony, breathy-"I'm amazed at the cosmic-ness of it all" vocal delivery) that I find most grating about her.

This is EXACTLY what grates on me about Noonan as well. Out of the park, Robert.

traditionalguy said...

Good gives to others, cautious or boldly. But EVIL comes to steal kill and destroy others, sneaky like a snake or roaring like a lion.

Ken B said...

Read Peggy Noonan? I'll wait for the movie.

chuck said...

I don't need to see this movie. It's not good enough.

Ahem. All movies are crap, and you see a lot of them. I read a lot of cheap/crap novels, but I don't pretend they need to be good.

Ken B said...

"Movies based on books are movies for people who don't read books."

No, they're for people who didn't read *that* book.

Jason said...

Jason, as usual, comments, but adds only noise--no signal--to the conversation.

The "noise" just skewered you upthread, silly person. By conflating "evil" with "conflict" as the root cause of brutality and war crimes, which is obvious bullshit to all men of honor (a concept you couldn't grasp if it punched you in the nose) you simultaneously cheapen good men and elevate criminals like Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, Saddam Hussein, the Taliban and Stalin.

You're just to stupid and blinded by your ignorant leftardism to see I've got you impaled on a spike. As do a number of others.

Don't think I think people like you are entitled to civility. That went out the window with the first ANSWER rally in 2001, if not before. Your kind of murderous, barbarous leftism merits only mockery and derision:

Robert Cook said...

"If you do 'evil' things, you are evil despite thinking you are not."

Yes, of course...as I said earlier.

However, even in this there is the matter of perspective: from the point of view of the tyrant, he is the source of order, and is therefore good, and all who oppose him, who threaten to bring disorder, are evil; from the point of view of the subjugated, they are freedom fighters and the tyrant is the evil one.

Is there a clear cut differentiation to be made between these opposing parties?

The tyrant, who oppresses his people and who tortures them, imprisons them, exploits them, and kills them, does evil and therefore is evil, even as he may provide order and greater or lesser degrees of a modern, functional society, (e.g., Saddam Hussein). Those who oppose the oppressive order, who, to overthrow the evil tyrant, to the degree they commit violent acts destructive of property or lives, do evil when they take lives, even as they fight for, and may occasionally, achieve their goal of a less oppressive, more inclusive state, where more of the citizens may have greater freedom and say in their own lives.

The political or religious fanatic is the most convinced of the righteousness and purity of his cause, and even when his cause may be just, (which is certainly not always so), his actions taken in realizing his goals may be among the greatest of atrocities.

To state a banality: life is not a children's storybook or a Hollywood movie. Good and evil are more often than not intertwined in all matters having to do with human behavior.

Robert Cook said...

To add a postscript:

How easily so many Americans can support torture by America when they see it necessary to achieve a perceived "good," the rooting out of presumed terrorist plots against us, none of which have ever been discovered through our torture program, because torture produces bad information, (but also because there have been no real post-9/11 terror plots against us).

Just because Americans support torture for these purposes--even assuming it had ever worked--does not in the least mitigate the evil of torture.

Rusty said...

Robert Cook said...
"Let's hear what you would have done."

How about using intelligence and working in concert with nations in the regions to help locate and isolate those involved in the planning, funding, and carrying out of the 9/11 attacks, and using whatever least means of men and material necessary to arrest and extradite those persons for trial?

We did that. Surprise! They were hiding in countries that agreed with their actions and help support them. Turns out the least amount was quite a lot. I would think that nor arresting them and bringing them here would be obvious to you, but apparently not.

(Or have them tried by an international court, such as was the case at Nuremberg?)

Um. No. An international court made up of who? Exactly? The UN?

After all, we finally located bin Laden, and could have captured him, but we killed him--stupidly, but probably for some reason we're not meant to know.

Assertion is not fact. You need to larn that.

I'm sure there are other strategies that could have been tried,

gain. Assertion without fact.

but we, as we always must, used the crudest, least focused, least effective, most expensive and wasteful and most destructive means possible.

Again assertion without fact.
When get the opportunity to lead oner of these oporations let usd know how it went.

Robert Cook said...

"We did that."

Umm...no, we didn't. Unless you think the few weeks between the 9/11 attacks and our invasion of Afghanistan constituted an exhaustive attempt to marshall cooperative efforts (and to employ intelligence) in order to track down bin Laden and his cohorts.

Heck, we couldn't even be bothered to amass and provide to the Taliban the information they requested we provide to them to justify their extraditing bin Laden to us.

Once we knew bin Laden had fled Afghanistan, it certainly was not productive to remain in Afghanistan, and the only other country (at the time) that we attacked was Iraq, which had nothing to do with 9/11 and who were enemies of bin Laden.

We didn't do anything intelligent or pertinent to actually locate and capture the perpetrators of 9/11; we just cynically used the attacks as a pretext to mount wars for other purposes.

Jason said...

life is not a children's storybook or a Hollywood movie.

Says the idiot monday morning quarterback who says the SEALS acted stupidly in not taking Bin Ladin alive and giving him a chance to activate a suicide vest switch when they encountered him in a dark upstairs bedroom in Pakistan.

Cookie is every bit as stupid as garage, but with bigger words and more arrogance.

Jason said...

HA. Cookie thinks you just "employ intelligence" as if you can pick actionable intelligence off a fig tree.

He has no fucking clue how human intelligence is gathered on and off the battlefield, where it comes from, or why people give us information as opposed to the other guy.

HINT: It has a lot to do with us having boots on the ground so people can walk up to us and give us information.

It also has a lot to do with checking out the numbers and contacts on cell phones and notebooks belonging to people we kill and capture ourselves.

You don't just order it from Amazon like your Swedish Penis Pump, shit-for-brains.

Todd said...

Robert Cook said...
However, even in this there is the matter of perspective: from the point of view of the tyrant, he is the source of order, and is therefore good, and all who oppose him, who threaten to bring disorder, are evil; from the point of view of the subjugated, they are freedom fighters and the tyrant is the evil one.


Being a tyrant does not make one evil, it is just that most tyrants are (absolute power corrupts absolutely). Doing evil makes one evil.

tim in vermont said...

Who is more evil, Gail Collins or Peggy Noonan?

Fandor said...

I really didn't see any glory in the battle scenes.
They were realistic.
The fear and horror was present.
The bond between the Navy seals was there too.
War, in all it's barbarity, was grittily portrayed.
The debt we owe our combat soldiers can never be paid.

Biff said...

Robert Cook said...Funny...it's Noonan's propensity for belabored Hallmark Card sentimentality and sugared banalities, (which I always hear in my head in her phony, breathy-"I'm amazed at the cosmic-ness of it all" vocal delivery) that I find most grating about her.

That doesn't surprise me. Her writing definitely tends toward the sentimental, and sentimentality is very polarizing. Different strokes for different folks. Hell, I cried at the end of Rambo.

Julie C said...

Steve-- so you didn't know that Chris Kyle had died and I'm the idiot?

Althouse- I've been to plenty of movies where people got up and left during the credits or at the very least started talking. I don't think people at American Sniper were waiting to see who one of the actors was. That only happens at snooty foreign or indie films where everyone sits through the credits to show they are serious filmgoers.

The rest of us use IMDB.

jr565 said...

Its a character study, not a dissertation on the war. But I'll note that if you took all the anti Iraq war movies and added all their box office receipts together they wouldn't come close to the opening weekend receipts of American Sniper.

Their "snipers are cowards"and "he was a serial killer rhetoric" aint flying.

jr565 said...

Robert Cook wrote:
Of course it's evil, but evil is unleashed when people are engaged in conflict.

Sadaam wasn't in any conflict when he set up his rape rooms.

jr565 said...

Robert Cook wrote:
We didn't do anything intelligent or pertinent to actually locate and capture the perpetrators of 9/11; we just cynically used the attacks as a pretext to mount wars for other purposes.

The war on terror was more than just about one man hiding in a cave. If we stayed in Afhganistan after routing Al Qaeda and the Taliban it was because we don't want that state to become a terrorist state, or allow those we just routed to regroup.

Jason said...

The word went out on JournoList. Chris Kyle and American Sniper is the Piñata of the Week. All the usual libtard chin-strokers who've never smelled cordite in their lives are dutifully lining up to take a whack at it.

http://www.vox.com/2015/1/22/7859791/american-sniper-iraq?utm_campaign=vox&utm_content=chorus&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter

http://www.vox.com/2015/1/21/7641189/american-sniper-history

Jason said...

Box office opening weekends:
Opening Weekends:

Rendition $4mm
The Green Zone $14mm
Lions for Lambs $6.7mm
Stop Loss: $4.5 million

Lone Survivor: $40 mm
American Sniper $103 mm

Oh... and "Valley of Elah:" $133k. ROFL!!!

Bite it, libs!

Unknown said...

---No, Noonan's right; that scene merely illustrates the savagery that is unleashed in war,

There’s that progressive moral equivalence, right on time. We played loud music, and chilled the prisoners, and waterboarded (just like we waterboard all of our sere trainees (google it)) three! kingpins.

and we’re just the same as the savage with a powerdrill, and the savages that shot up Charlie Ebdo.

Give me a break.

Unknown said...

--Maybe they're looking to see who played some bit part and what that song was and so forth.

I think you are right. ----

Slaps head, you must be one of the shallowest people in your state.

Indigo Red said...

I always stay in the theater until the credits are done. I don't stay because I'm contemplating or for any reason beyond waiting for the crowd to get out of my way. And, to see the "Avengers" sneak previews. There is no preview after American Sniper.

Because I do stay, exiting audience silence is the norm. Seldom have I experienced a noisy exit usually because the movie has loud over-credit music. The audience silence after "American Sniper" may simply be more pronounced because Eastwood has no over-credit music. The credits are absolutely silent, prompting the audience to greater silence.

Anonymous said...

Robert Cook is a troll and I wish people would engage in the subject of the post and not the likes of him because at this point we know, he does not have an open mind. He is here to tell you how right he is and how wrong you are and that is just dull. He is Michael Moore.

Thanks.

Robert Cook said...

Robert Cook wrote:
"'Of course it's evil, but evil is unleashed when people are engaged in conflict.'

"Saddam wasn't in any conflict when he set up his rape rooms."


1/22/15, 6:12 PM

See my comment above about psychopaths.

Rusty said...


Heck, we couldn't even be bothered to amass and provide to the Taliban the information they requested we provide to them to justify their extraditing bin Laden to us.


I think I found you're problem.
Thanks , Bob.

T. A. Hansen said...

I'm glad this movie is doing well, but cannot contemplate seeing it. Cannot even watch youtube vids on anything to do with current SW Asia wars. Maybe if I tripled my dosage of citolopram.

Anonymous said...

What's this red barf all over the thread?

Did someone leave socialist pamphlets where Robert Cook could get at them again?

Gahrie said...

It goes both ways, pal...many on the left take it as a given that the actions, beliefs, and motives of those on the right are intrinsically evil.

I am quite comfortable in comparing the amount of misery, death and destruction versus good our respective ideologies have resulted in.

Dagwood said...

Steve - unless you've had your head planted firmly up your ass since this movie was released, you should know that it is a narrative based on a real soldier's experiences, and his untimely death. Grow a pair of ears, or at least a pair of....

Carl Pham said...

I don't need to spend my time on moving pictures of something that's easily and more authentically accessible in book form.

Sounds like self-delusional bullshit to me. I don't believe you're obsessed with "authenticity" for a moment. But the key point about a book is that it is much easier to maintain emotional distance. It doesn't make use of sound, the expressions on faces, tones of voice, et cetera, to reach directly into your ape-brain and tweak the tribal instincts you've got from 40,000 years of evolution. You can close it to pause and marshal your own thoughts for a moment, intellectualize away uncomfortable feelings. You're also not surrounded by a hundred other people who may be urging you to accept the movie's emotional direction with their subliminal attaboys.

Clearly you're ambivalent about the story. It's an interesting question why you want to avoid the more direct emotional manipulation of the film. What do you fear?

Jason said...

Cooktard: It goes both ways, pal...many on the left take it as a given that the actions, beliefs, and motives of those on the right are intrinsically evil.

The funny thing is, the idiot lefties are always deluding themselves with the fantasy that their favorite bugaboo, the Nazis, were "right wing," and therefore assigning their crimes to the crimes of right wingers.

The truth is that the Nazis were left wing, not right wing. They were socialists through and through.

Anonymous said...

You reject Noonan's hypothesis and go right to lawyering: maybe they are reading credits, maybe searching for song info, and anyway, a NY crowd has to talk...So Noonan must be wrong and your examples prove reasonable doubt so you, who were not there, are right as always. Fish gotta swim, lawyers gotta argue.

Bruce Hayden said...

Cook is not a troll here. He is one of the long term resident leftists here, And, in my mind, probably the most thoughtful and polite ones. So often, when you argue with the left, they quickly evolve into taunting, name calling, and resorts to authority. RC much less so. He actually engages on the issues.

The reason that I appreciate him and his commentary here is that we get to see how someone who appears to be reasonably bright and articulate can come to conclusions so different from many of the rest of us here do. I think his moral relativism evident here is a prime example of this. I see good and evil in the world, and believe that the U.S. is much more likely to be on the side of good, and esp through much of the last century. He sees the similarities between us and them. I see the differences, but acknowledge that you always have to keep the similarities in mind in order to keep on the side of right and justice.

This, BTW, is part of why Obama's use of drones, but not snipers, is worrisome, and evidence of how he doesn't get this distinction. Indiscriminate use of drones causes collateral damage that we may have been able to avoid, in the killing of innocents, often for no other reason of convenience. When the Israelies last week shot up that convoy last week, killing militants intent on their destruction, as well as an Iranian General, there were no innocent victims. There rarely are, with the Israelis. Which is just the opposite the case with there attackers. To me, good and evil. I don't think that either Obama or Cook really see this difference, which is why innocent victims will continue to die as long as Obama retains control of our military actions.

Robert Cook said...

"The funny thing is, the idiot lefties are always deluding themselves with the fantasy that their favorite bugaboo, the Nazis, were "right wing," and therefore assigning their crimes to the crimes of right wingers.

"The truth is that the Nazis were left wing, not right wing. They were socialists through and through."


Hahahaha!

Nope!

Rusty said...

Robert Cook said...
"The funny thing is, the idiot lefties are always deluding themselves with the fantasy that their favorite bugaboo, the Nazis, were "right wing," and therefore assigning their crimes to the crimes of right wingers.

"The truth is that the Nazis were left wing, not right wing. They were socialists through and through."

Hahahaha!


Prove it.

amielalune said...

Robert Cook:
"No, Noonan's right; that scene merely illustrates the savagery that is unleashed in war, where locals will treat those they see as collaborators with the enemy with brutally swift punishment. The film takes no pro or con position on the war itself."

"Locals" is that another euphemism like "youths" or "asians"? Your "locals" are nothing like my "locals"; yours are barbarians. And so are you, for implying that it's perfectly natural to use a power drill on a young boy. It only is if you are Saddam Hussein or one of his co-religionists.

Jason said...

What does the "Z" in "Nazi" stand for, genius?

Robert Cook said...

Amielalune,

If we were engaged in a brutal ground war in this country, fighting against foreign forces, you can be sure there would be Americans equally and easily as ready and able to torture or kill anyone--even children--with drillbits, if the child's family was thought to be collaborating with the invading enemy.

Do not think for a second we are any less savage or more moral than anyone else in the world. All we have is the fortunate circumstances of a peaceful, stable society, which allows us to flatter ourselves that we are somehow better.

(Heck, our own history tells us who we are.)

Robert Cook said...

Rusty,

Is it those who assert the kooky ahistorical notion that the Nazis were leftists or socialists who must "prove it."

Jason said...

I did at 9:22.

Robert Cook said...

Jason,

You died at 9:22?!

Jason said...

Or you could always ask Hitler himself, if he were here.

Here's what Hitler said:

We are socialists, we are enemies of today's capitalistic economic system for the exploitation of the economically weak, with its unfair salaries, with its unseemly evaluation of a human being according to wealth and property instead of responsibility and performance, and we are all determined to destroy this system under all conditions.

Why, it's right out of a left-tard Occupy rally!

Robert Cook said...

Hmmm...so the propaganda statements of a master of deception meets your standards of evidentiary proof?



No wonder so much of what you know is wrong.

Jason said...

Here's the official National SOCIALIST (hey, THERE'S clue for you right off the bat, dipshit) German Workers Party Platform from the late 20s... a foundational Nazi document.

http://avalon.law.yale.edu/imt/nsdappro.asp

Take a look at number 11. Those crazy capitalists. Always trying to eliminate sources of unearned income, like capital gains, dividends and interest.

Take a look at number 13. Those crazy capitalists. Always trying to nationalize anything held in private trusts.

Wow. Number 16. They demand "The immediate communalization of all large stores." That word 'communalization.' It's a doozy, eh?

Number 17. calls for the end of ownership in land. Those crazy capitalists. Always trying to strip landowners of their property and turn holdings over to the state.

Indeed, there were massive nationalizations of land occurring in Nazi Germany.

It does occur, to me, Cookie, that if any person would like to insist that the National Socialists weren't who they said they were, then the burden of proof is on them.

But you lefttards are nothing but slippery liars, known for excusing away the murderous failings of socialism by claiming that "true communism has never been tried!"

I'll say one thing for Hitler. He had the right idea about the Bolsheviks. And he kept his damned campaign promises.

Well, not the one about the "Reich that will last for a thousand years," so much.





Jason said...

Yahoo Answers?

I'm giving you a translated primary source document demonstrating that the Nazis called for the elimination of private ownership of land, the nationalization of large estates and trusts and the communalization of large stores and you send me to Yahoo Answers?

No wonder you're stuck on stupid.

Robert Cook said...

Jason,

You seem to believe that founding documents are necessarily honest statements of intent.

Proof is not in what persons or institutions say about themselves but in how they behave in reality.

Jason said...

Hence the reference to mass scale nationalizations of stores and large estates and industries that actually occurred in Nazi Germany, dipshit.

You seem to be laboring under the delusion that other people are as easily fooled as your fellow leftists.

I'm sorry your knowledge of history is only Zinn-deep.

Rusty said...

From Metapedia

National Socialism origins
From Metapedia
Jump to: navigation, search
National Socialism is a revolutionary ideological, movement, phenomena that combines nationalist ideals with socialist ideals as a matter of social change for the re-organization and progress of a society. The phrase "national socialist" was coined by socialist Czechs who wanted to be nationalist in 1896. It is a synthesis of the ideas of social reform, centralization, egalitarianism, Collectivism, nationalism and in the Austrian and German forms ethnic nationalism. It is also called Fascism. It takes several different forms. It has some similarity to forces and concepts realized in the French Revolution. Furthermore, it was developed spontaneously in diverse areas of people wanted socialism without class warfare and without the internationalist aspect which is marxist (Jew) socialism and who wanted to be nationalists at the same time. As in the words of Sir Oswald Mosley, "If you love our country you are national, and if you love our people you are a socialist". It became a powerful idea.

There is no single founder or birthplace of this idea. There is no set of doctrines that are common to all as opposed to Marxism that was doctrinaire and had a single "founder". This movement was arrived at by a dialectic in each of its particular circumstances and watered by neighboring developments, each influencing the other. The Early National socialist Timeline illustrates when people on both fringes of Europe began using the word National Socialism.

National socialism is reactionary (in the secondary sense, not in the conservative sense) that it is a reaction to International Socialism which was created circa 1848. International or Jewish socialism became to be known as communism. The end goal of communism was stated by the Jew Karl Marx when he ended The Communist Manifesto with the words, "All the workers of the world unite". International socialism or communism espoused the end of nations and national differences and the creation of One World. One of the ideological goals of International socialism is a deracination. This prospect concerned and frightened many people. National socialism was formed in a dialectic with International socialism and is a reaction to the ends of International socialism. National Socialism (or Fascism) wanted to preserve their ethnicity.

Furthermore, International socialism was based on class warfare and the dictatorship of the proletariat. This caused many civil wars where the proleterait tried to take the reins of power away from the bourgeouis. Fascism/national socialism wanted to end the worked-up antagonism, the class warfare by establishing resolution committees between the workers and the owners. National Socialism wanted a harmonious society where all pulled together for the betterment of the state/nation.

This ideology was to have dangerous, explosive and dominating effect on history of the world in the 20th century and its very existence gave a chance for world Jewry for the incitement of WWII and millions of lives lost. It gave later a possibility for Jews to build up the fiction of Holocaust and to blackmail the world with that fiction.

National socialism, like communism, is chialistic/millenarist movement; it is about destroying the Old Order and replacing it with a New Order.

You know. Just so we're clear.

Jason said...

Metapedia?

Yahoo Answers?

I'm sorry, libtards. Is there a grown-up we can talk to?

Jason said...

Rusty... Did you read your link you just copied and pasted? I mean, the whole thing?

Jason said...

Here's the Metapedia page on National Socialism that Rusty just quoted.

http://en.metapedia.org/wiki/National_Socialism

Although you'll probably want to take a shower after reading it.

Funny how when the question turns to the Nazis, Rusty the Illinois Nazi and Cookie the Commie are two peas in a pod.

Rusty said...

Rusty the Illinois Nazi

"I hate Illinois nazis."

Jason said...

Ack... ok, I don't know how much irony Rusty intended in posting the Metapedia link.

It first I thought it was ironic. Now I'm not so sure. The problem with lefttard stupidy at the Cookie level is that it is so extreme and pervasive that it is almost impossible to parody, because the parodists are getting indistinguishable from the real thing.

That's why I stick to mockery and derision, rather than try to parody leftists.

And I withdraw the comment referring to Rusty as "Illinois Nazi."

Rusty said...

sOK. doanworryboutit. If I had a thin skin I wouldn't be here.
It's just fun to string comrade bob along and see how far you can get him to go. See how deep that fantasy runs.

Christy said...

The comments about "leftists" are a bit offensive. Why can't a person be both liberal and patriotic? Why can't someone be both against the war and in support of the troops at the same time? I think "leftists" like me hate to see anyone suffer, including our own soldiers, hence our politics.