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Troops 10, Hollywood 0

By Petrarch  |  November 12, 2007

During the Second World War, Hollywood mobilized right alongside the troops to fight the Axis.  We've all seen those old Donald Duck and Bugs Bunny cartoons glorifying our military, and encouraging civilians to serve the cause by buying war bonds, recycling rubber and scrap metal, and willingly paying taxes.  For the breathing movie stars, a USO tour was obligatory; Bob Hope was the most dedicated star to entertain our troops overseas, but practically all the rest did as well.

The movies produced during the war years -- though rarely seen today -- served to both encourage those on the home front, and to make our soldiers feel proud as they did their job.

Fast forward a few decades.  Today, Hollywood encourages every military institution that is not a part of the United States.  Instead, today's movie stars praise the regimes of Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro and Saddam Hussein while hiding their various atrocities.

There are still some celebrities appearing at military bases in Arabia, but for every one that does, there's another who stands with the Dixie Chicks.

It took a while to get the bandwagon rolling, but after 6 years of war, Hollywood has begun churning out war movies.  This year has seen such fare as The Kingdom, Rendition, In the Valley of Elah, Redacted, and now Lions for Lambs.  Two common themes unite these offerings.

The first is a disdain for the War on Terror, and to a large degree, those fighting it.  Rendition portrays an innocent and sympathetic Muslim, snatched out of a U.S. airport and whisked off to some Middle Eastern hellhole, for torture at the hands of CIA agents commanded by a parody of a Republican government official.  Rendition sees fit to cast the war through the light of American soldiers brutally abusing and murdering innocent Iraqis - based on an incident which (the movie does not consider of sufficient importance to mention) ended with the arrest, trial, and conviction of the individuals involved by the U.S. forces.

The other movies, at best, view our activities overseas as amoral, with the U.S. as no better than the terrorists, and oftentimes worse.  These films desire to balance the scales of history so as to accredit as much evil on the conventional "good guys", regardless of any motive or reason, so long as they were participating in the fighting too - sort of a motherly finger-wagging on everyone involved.

Last year's Munich, for instance, managed to scold the Israelis for responding to the Olympic massacre in 1976.  And there was Kingdom of Heaven which assured audiences that Christians originally started the whole Middle East conflict to begin with.

What a shocking contrast to the patriotism and loyalty of the Hollywood's golden age; Bob Hope and Bing Crosby must be rolling over in their graves.

But the truly astounding thing about this whole sorry record, the second common element which unites the lot, is that these antiwar movies are all losing money by the truckload!  Indignity after indignity comes for these star-studded disasters - Rendition was out-grossed by a re-release of a 14-year-old holiday special; Lions for Lambs was lapped by a universally-panned Santa takeoff.   It would be understandable, although no less unseemly, if the film industry kept making these movies because they were profitable.  But, film after film, release after release, opening night after opening night, the sound of chirping crickets resounds throughout the theaters as the audience stays home in droves.

We see revealed at last that, contrary to popular belief, the luminaries of Hollywood do not worship solely at the altar of Mammon.  There is a greater god that they worship, which can overwhelm even their legendary greed: and that is the shrine of "Blame America First."

As each of these films comes out and falls to the ground with a damp thud, we are reminded yet again that the studios and stars are willing to flush hundreds of millions of their own money in a futile attempt to get their own political views out - as if they are not already available from every other mass media organization coast-to-coast.

It's been said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result; it would appear that all the therapists in LA aren't enough to solve this problem.

So on this Veteran's Day, we can honor our troops, for what it's worth, by the knowledge that the vast majority of Americans have no interest in such defeatist fare; and that those who generate it are thereby becoming poorer every day.

As Adam Smith tells us, wherever there is a clear demand in the market that is not being filled, sooner or later someone will fill it.  Let us hope that next Veteran's Day brings us a string of hugely popular and profitable movies that put our soldiers and our country in the place of honor so richly deserved, and so scurrilously withheld in recent years.