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Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Welcome to the Suck

That is the catch phrase for the completely absurd movie, “Jarhead”. Well, if you went to see that movie, then you undoubtedly experienced the “Suck” for what seemed like an eternity. They might also have named it, “Cliché: The Movie” because it was basically the Gulf War edition of “Platoon” recycling tired military urban legends and patently false anecdotes. On Hugh Hewitt’s radio show yesterday he asked me to review the film and about an hour later, a friend and former Marine officer invited me to go.

The “story” of Anthony Swofford’s war service in the Marine Corps during the first Gulf War, it is a first person account of what it is like to be a $hitbird in the Corps. While it is always very easy for veterans to nitpick war films to death for every minute technical discrepancy that conflicts with the reality of military service, this film’s errors were so glaring and ridiculous that only patchouli stinking anti-war activists would be gullible enough to believe them.

Some of the more egregious and stupid scenes include:

During a training exercise where the Marines were crawling through mud beneath barbed wire, the Staff Sergeant running the evolution used live machine gun ammunition to fire over the heads of the trainees. A trainee becomes rattled and suddenly jumps up and takes a 7.62mm round in the head. The Staff Sergeant then walks over and yells at the now dead Marine for having been shot, and remains in command of the platoon. Impossible

During the Gulf War there are horribly burned Iraqis? strewn throughout the desert. Many of these burnt corpses are positioned in a manner to suggest that they were civilians bombed in large groups. During a patrol, a member of Swofford’s platoon is caught somehow playing or otherwise fiddling with a stinking, burnt corpse. Absurd

Swofford and his spotter (they are a sniper team) are assigned by their CO to shoot two enemy officers in an air traffic control tower at a military airfield in their sector. The two get in position for the shot and obtain permission to engage the targets only to be interrupted by a Marine Major barging into their hide unannounced. The Major informs the pair that their sniper shot is canceled and that he will be calling for an airstrike on the target instead. In response, the spotter (not the shooter) who is a Corporal has what amounts to a mental breakdown over the issue that they were not going to have the chance to shoot an Iraqi officer from 900m. The Corporal physically assaults the Major in the process of begging him to allow them to shoot the officers prior to the airstrike. Ridiculous

Upon completion of the “sniper mission” the pair become separated from their unit and are left wandering the desert at night. They eventually happen upon their unit engaging in a half naked drunken beach party complete with bonfires, loud music, and loaded weapons to celebrate the end of the War. Swofford remarks to his partner that he hadn’t fired his weapon during the entire conflict and fires into the air. This is followed by the entire unit firing full auto into the sky like the mourners at a Palestinian funeral. Unthinkable.

There are 10 more audaciously false and stupid scenes that lack any authenticity or originality. I never read the book, so I don’t know who to blame, the author or the director so I’ll go ahead and blame both. Swofford is a crybaby and a whiner who somehow thinks that he is special and uniquely qualified to judge his fellow Marines. Do Marines (or SEALs for that matter) masturbate without ceasing on deployment? Yes, but they don’t engage in homoerotic sexual simulations and naked revelries. This movie wasn’t so much a slander as it was a farce.

The only reason I went to see it was to review it for Hugh, and as far as I’m concerned, he owes me a link and the $8.50 for the ticket!