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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

War Machine: Thinly-Veiled Documentary on a Failed General and a Failed War



Possibly the best movie about war I’ve ever seen if you define war as the insane ambition of America’s failed military elite, a group unable to comprehend that we can’t kill our way out of all of our problems.

Please, just leave now.” These are the words of an Afghan villager to the American general in the film War Machine.

That says it all. We should have never gone in the first place. They criticize Obama—at least obliquely—but I think Obama wanted no part of these wars that he didn’t instigate. When he took office the military elite treated him like an ignorant child and I think Obama just said, “OK. I’ll let you idiots own these completely failed wars.” If you are still blaming Obama for these nightmares then you are a complete idiot or an amnesiac.

It isn’t a very cinematic depiction of war but it could be the most realistic telling of how wars are fought that has ever been put on film. Of course, I’m not including documentaries and this would have been much better as a documentary. Just why this wasn’t a documentary or why they didn’t call General McCrystal by name seems like a mistake to me.

War isn’t cool or sexy, the way it’s portrayed in most war films that make the violence fun and exciting. Using violence as an entertainment tool while glorify killing and mayhem has raised our threshold for outrage to the point that we find it impossible to distinguish between the newspaper headlines and the latest action flic at the multiplex.

Our military leaders since WWII have been the very worst of our elite in America, even worse than our financial leaders who are thieving scoundrels with the morals of snakes. Our military leaders are blind half-wits unable to learn from their many, many mistakes over the past 70 years and almost every move they have made has been a mistake. McCrystal was exactly the delusional creep that the reporter in the film calls out:

As an elected representative of the people of Germany it is my job to ensure that the personal ambitions of those who serve those people are kept in check. You have devoted your entire life, General, to the fighting of war and this situation in Afghanistan, for you, it is the culmination of all your years of training, all your years of ambition. This is the great moment of your life.

It's understandable to me that you should have, therefore, a fetish for completion to make your moment glorious. It is my job, however, to ensure that your personal ambitions are not entirely delusional and do not carry with them an unacceptable cost for everybody else.

Just what did our military elite think would be the result of our invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq? They couldn’t give a straight answer to the American public and the Bush administration tip-toed around anything that hinted at predictions. They ridiculed reporters who asked them for predictions. Isn’t a lack of predictions evidence of a lack of a plan?

So instead of any coherent strategy they gave us platitudes about facing evil. In the film, before the General’s big plan is set in motion (an utter failure by all accounts) we get a rousing, moronic locker room speech reminiscent of Henry V and then a chaplain gives an even more moronic and insipid prayer.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Investigations in Comparative Linguistics #512



No matter how long I live in Spain, when I hit my finger with a hammer the first 25 words out of my mouth are in English, in upper case, and way too vulgar for this forum. Integration is really hard.

My Native American name is Swears-Too-Much. I actually receive a medical pension from the Air Force for the Tourette Syndrome I caught while serving. Almost all vets suffer from this debilitating disease sometimes called the not-so-silent-and-very-profane killer.

Don’t be impressed by the word count as it’s sort of a prepared statement. I claim to be an atheist but it sounds a lot like an obscene prayer and the big guy’s name comes up a lot. As I said, I blame the military (for my language, not the fact that I'm crap at hammering).

People have told me that I should substitute other words, so instead of, for example, screaming out “shit” you use another word. That’s a lot to think about after a painful, self-induced injury but I tried that once or twice. Instead of screaming “shit” I yelled out “cocksucker” which didn’t seem to be any sort of improvement so why do people advise that?

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Forget Me Not



Lists are for wimps (this includes Schindler’s List—why couldn’t he just remember their names?). Shopping lists are very wimpy. With this said I sometimes keep forgetting essential items even though I have a supermarket in the bottom floor of my building. When I do commit to paper my list usually contains profanity and insults to spur my memory. Example: “Buy F#%¿ing TOOTH PASTE, you idiot!”

P.S. I have been logging some long hours on the piano these days. To what avail has yet to be determined. I plan to continue my assault on this instrument through the summer months to see if it is possible to rise above the “completely sucks” stage.