Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Lone Survivor

I went to see this new movie last night, not to be entertained but to see the reconstruction of an actual event that had occurred in Afghanistan. I considered it to be a documentary. A true documentary includes actual video of events which this was not. I take it on faith that the film makers, out of respect for the victims, filmed the events as close to actual; as possible. After the picture ended the pictures of the deceased were shown one after the other, sometimes in uniform and others with wives and children. It starts with shots of the rigorous Seal training showing the strain these men are subjected to, including pictures of some who drop out. They signify that action by placing their helmets on the ground. Four men are dropped into the desert on a mission to locate a Taliban leader who had recently killed a large number of U.S. Marines. They accomplish this but unfortunately they are discovered by three Afghani shepherds. They debate killing them, leaving them tied up or releasing. They finally decide on release, aborting the mission, attempting to reach the other side of the mountain calling for extraction. The shepherds quickly inform the Taliban and they come after them. They become engaged in a fire fight ending in the death of three men. A rescue effort ends in tragedy as 19 men are killed in the rescue helicopter. The survivor of the original group hides as night descends. In the morning friendly villagers discover him, take him to their village and care for him. He asks that a note be carried to the base telling where he is. Once received a massive effort is put into action to save him. In the meantime the Taliban forces attack the village. The Taliban group is attacked and driven off with many casualties. He is returned and does survive. That is the story. Normally it is considered impolite to disclose the plot of a movie. Since this was a recap of actual events which ended as portrayed I felt I could do so. There are a few comments I would now like to make. Since I have previously made it known to one and all my concern about adherents to Islam, I was deeply affected by the knowledge that Muslims protected him knowing that they would be attacked by the Taliban. A number gave their lives doing so. It was announced that this is tradition to protect strangers in need. The other main point was subtly brought into the conversation regarding previous penalties others had received for killing civilians or other breaches of the stringent code of conduct these men are required to accept. It is no wonder to me that veterans return home feeling bitter and sometimes suicidal. Please see this movie and remember the hardship these men live under on our behalf. Jack B. Walters January 14, 2014

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