October 20, 2006, - 12:21 pm

“Flags of Our Fathers”: Dirty Harry’s White Flag on Patriotism

By Debbie Schlussel
Forty-one years from now, let’s hope there isn’t another Clint Eastwood making a movie based on a book about George Johnson, Dan McWilliams, and Billy Eisengrein.
Let’s hope there won’t be a melodramatic, anti-American movie about the “true story” of the “horrible lives” of those three firemen who raised the American flag in the famous photo at Ground Zero, just after America was attacked on 9/11.
That’s the way I see “Flags of Our Fathers,” the much-hyped Eastwood film, in theaters today. The movie–based on a book by James Bradley, whose father, Navy medic John Bradley, was one of the men raising the American flag in the famous photo of the Battle at Iwo Jima–is a mishmosh whose main point is to sully the patriotic image most Americans have of that War and what happened at the Marine Corp’s bloodiest battle ever. That’s done by questioning minutiae about the Joe Rosenthal photo–minutiae that really aren’t of any consequence.

flagsofourfathersmovieposter.jpg

I have mixed feelings about this film. The scenes of the Marines–reaching the shores of Iwo Jima and their valiant, but long, bloody, and very deadly battle against the Japanese in World War II–are masterful, moving, and powerful. The dismembered limbs (and heads) of dead American soldiers are very real parts of what fighting the Japanese on this barren island involved. And they remind us of the validity of the trite saying that freedom isn’t free.
It’s the scenes outside of the island and Eastwood’s intense focus on the ugly about America–instead of the ugliness of its enemy on Iwo Jima–that are disgusting and offensive. And a huge exaggeration from reality.
Despite the focus of the book, Eastwood focuses on the misery that visits the three flag-raisers in the photo who survived the bloody battle. They are a drunken Indian (Ira Hayes)–who is a victim of horrible, racist America, a “runner/messenger” (Rene Gagnon) who never fought on Iwo Jima but tries to turn his flag-raising into lucrative career opportunities, and a courageous Navy medic (John “Doc” Bradley)–whose son wrote the book (so, of course, his father is the normal, heroic one).
I wonder what Gagnon’s family thinks about his portrayal as an opportunist who “never fought” at Iwo Jima. He joined the Marines and went to Iwo Jima, like everyone else who served there. That he was assigned to messenger-like duties behind the fighting at Iwo Jima doesn’t mean his service was any less worthy or heroic. He could have been killed by the Japanese at any time and performed duties needed by the troops. For this, he deserves to be defamed by Dirty Harry?
Ira Hayes as a drunken, boisterous Indian, against whom every American is a complete racist? Been there, seen that. He’s been similarly portrayed in other movies, long ago, like 1961’s “The Outsider.” This is hardly new ground. So why is it being revisited and America’s racism against him amplified by Clint?
Much is made, too, that this was the second raising of the flag on Mount Suribachi and that the battle was only five days old, lasting many more after the photo. But that’s not news either. It’s hardly a secret that the U.S. wanted a bigger flag in the photo atop the Mount. What’s so wrong with that? The picture, shown round the world, demoralized the Japanese. And there was nothing wrong with using the photo and flag-raisers to raise money for War Bonds. We wanted to win the war, after all–a war we were in because they (the Japanese) attacked us (Memo to Dirty Harry: Remember Pearl Harbor?). While the movie makes a big deal of who was actually in the photo and who wasn’t, why should that be important to anyone but immediate family members? The photo is the sum of all men serving at Iwo Jima.
While the book goes into extensive details about how American Marines at Iwo Jima were seized by Japanese and mutilated to death in the middle of the night (to demoralize the Marines and make the Japanese feel good about themselves), we’re hardly shown that on the silver screen. A friend of mine who served summarizes the book thusly:

It focused on how the son of one of the men who raised the flag went from being almost anti-American in the way he believed the Japanese post-war propaganda, to realizing the error of his ways and also his father’s patience with him when he shot his mouth off as a young man.

But that’s not the movie. Instead, Eastwood focuses on American evil–corrupt, racist politicians; chickenhawk government officials who parade the men around to raise war bond cash; general White anti-Indian racism in America; alcoholic Indians; and war “heroes” (like Gagnon) over there who can’t get a job over here (or work as janitors).
Does this sound like a Michael Moore movie to you? It seemed like I was watching one–in spades. “Support the Troops, Oppose the Government.” That was the message in this film. That’s the message of the left now.
Tom Brokaw confirms my view of the film’s agenda. He told USA Today he hopes it will make people question our efforts in Iraq (because he, somehow, thinks they aren’t doing that enough already?):

It will be interesting to me to see whether there’ll be any contemporary political fallout as a result of this film, whether people will think about the fog of war, the decisions that were made and the use of propaganda.

USA Today film critic Claudia Puig seconds that emotion:

The film is patriotic in the truest sense: honoring those who risked their lives in battle and questioning the motives of those in power who sought to use the soldiers as political pawns.
Though the film respects the heroes it depicts, it also takes a cynical look at the selling of war to the American people.

Propaganda? Selling of war? Do these people not remember that the Japanese attacked us? Memo to them, too: Remember Pearl Harbor?
And is that the kind of movie America really needs, right now?
To hear Eastwood, he sounds like an anti-war peacenik of the Moore/Cindy Sheehan ilk. He told USA Today:

World War I was there, and that was going to be the one to end all wars. And then World War II came along and that was going to be the war to end all wars. Then, five years later, Korea. Not too many years after that, Vietnam. And all the little skirmishes, Yugoslavia, Gulf War I, Gulf War II …
It doesn’t speak well for mankind. It seems like it’s just inevitable that they’ll go on forever. Is that the way it’s supposed to be? Is man most creative when he’s at war? I don’t know.

So, we should have raised the white flag in response to Pearl Harbor’s bombing and shouldn’t have fought the Nazis because it wasn’t “the last war” and man isn’t the “most creative” when he’s at war? Huh? Which ashram did he get that from?
One thing’s for sure. Had we not fought and won World War II, it certainly would have been our last war. And some of us would be saluting the Fuhrer. The rest, like me, would never have existed in the first place because the Nazis were at their “most creative” with the Final Solution.
Clint Eastwood made a movie that is possibly mostly true. The acting is excellent, especially that of star Ryan Phillippe (who plays “Doc” Bradley). It is a well executed film. But so what? We are at war, right now.
And this is not the right time for this movie. If there ever is one. Demoralizing America about a great victory over the partners of the Third Reich really isn’t something to celebrate. Even if you–like Eastwood–don’t like that America continues to celebrate a picture that stands for America’s heroism in that war.
Bradley, who wrote the “Flags” book, said he wrote it “to demythologize the flag raising.” But what was wrong with the myth?
And was it a myth at all? The picture doesn’t stand for the individuals in it or what happened in their lives. It stands for many, many men who fought and gave their lives so we could be free. So we wouldn’t live life under the Nazis and the Japanese.
And that’s not a myth. It’s a reality that doesn’t need to be “demystified” by Hollywood. Ever.

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36 Responses

WW2 was a war for our very survival. Lieberal “peace” activists in the 1930’s appeased Hitler and turned a blind eye to the threat of Imperial Japan. They mocked wise men like Billy Mitchell who warned about Japanese expansionism. They called Winston Churchill a war-monger when he wanted to stop Hitler from re-building the German military machine. Remember the wise words of Churchill, who said in 1939:
“If you will not fight for right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory is sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves.”
Today, the Left wants us to appease aggression. Lieberals were wrong then. They are wrong now.

FreethinkerNY on October 20, 2006 at 2:35 pm

Debbie and FreethinkerNY are both right, of course.
Funny how these same Leftie peace types will never make a movie about one war that really was tragically useless–
Our own Civil War…
Tell me again what we got for around 600,000 dead?

Red Ryder on October 20, 2006 at 2:45 pm

It gets better too.
Since Eastwood felt this movie was just too darn patriotic, he’s making a sequel as a companion piece to this movie…
Letters from Iwo Jima… told from the Japanese perspective (the title seems to have undergone numerous incarnations)
http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/la-ca-flags15oct15,1,782079.story?coll=la-headlines-entnews&ctrack=1&cset=true
“Eastwood had planned to focus solely on the American story and its aftermath, but as he was developing his film version of the bestselling book by James Bradley and Ron Powers, he became intrigued with the plight of the 20,000 Japanese soldiers who had burrowed into the island’s volcanic rock to await their fate at the hands of the invading Marines. That group, left on the island in hopes that they could forestall an invasion of Japan, was subject to some of the most savage fighting of the war. When the 39-day battle was finally over, fewer than 1,500 are thought to have survived.”
…plight….subject….savage fighting…. away their fate…invading marines…
YES, HE IS MAKING THE JAPANESE “PERSPECTIVE” OF EVENTS. I WROTE ABOUT THAT, LAST OCTOBER, BUT THE NAME OF THE MOVIE HAS CHANGED SINCE I POSTED ABOUT IT HERE:
http://www.debbieschlussel.com/archives/2005/10/shame_on_dirty.html
DEBBIE SCHLUSSEL

sultan_knish on October 20, 2006 at 2:45 pm

More…
“Eastwood found himself drawn in particular to the story of Gen. Tadamichi Kuribayashi, who had been given the hopeless task of defending Iwo Jima and delaying the American advance in what amounted to a suicide mission”.
“”The first document I looked at was a compilation of letters from Gen. Kuribayashi to his family during the time he had been a military envoy in the United States,” says Yamashita. “Most of them were addressed to his son when he was a toddler. As I read them, I was hit with the same impression that Clint must have had when those letters had inspired him to make the movie.
“It was hard to believe that this soft-hearted, loving father was the commanding general of the Japanese forces on Iwo Jima. The letters were filled with doodles and caricatures and humorous sentiment. You could tell that he adored and missed his son.”
…now that looks like a love letter to General Kuribayashi. I’m not an expert on WW2 Pacific Front but in addition to Iwo Jima, he commanded a regiment in combat in Manchuria and a brigade in northern China. He served as chief of staff of the Twenty-third Army during the capture of Hong Kong, I have little doubt there were numerous atrocities committed there
Eastwood’s love letter may well be the equivalent of turning a Nazi General into a hero… anyone who knows more about the subject would be helpfull

sultan_knish on October 20, 2006 at 2:52 pm

Again this is preliminary, but the occupation of Hong Kong saw thousands of British civilians and soldiers kept in camps at starvation rations, this goes without saying but they tortured and killed numberless chinese
one would note this sample of the atrocities of the occupation of Hong Kong and as chief of staff of the twenty-third army it’s almost certain that Kuribayashi’s men were responsible for similar crimes and he as well
http://www.cofepow.org.uk/pages/asia_hongkong2.htm
for anyone who knows the history in detail it would be important to bring out what role he played…

sultan_knish on October 20, 2006 at 2:58 pm

IF you hit my SN here & elsewhere, it may or MAY NOT lead you to my daily ravings against your beloved Amerikkka!!!
While i’m sorely cognizant that there’s not a dittohead on the planet who can understand the *chiarscuro* of wrongful “rights” that are so much a part of the landscape of Amerikkklan history, Eastwood SHOULD be given a Nobel prize for his entire body of work as both a filmmaker AND actor since he has portrayed EVERY aspect of the American experience!
Suggested READing: http://bostonreview.net/BR24.1/atwan.html [the BOOK, not this limbaughnista-freindly review] in order to get a feeling of what REAL ART is about…
Hath
not a Jew eyes? hath not a Jew hands, organs,
dimensions, senses, affections, passions? fed with
the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject
to the same diseases, healed by the same means,
warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as
a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed?
if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison
us, do we not die? and if you wrong us, shall we not
revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will
resemble you in that. If a Jew wrong a Christian,
what is his humility? Revenge. If a Christian
wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by
Christian example? Why, revenge. The villany you
teach me, I will execute, and it shall go hard but I
will better the instruction.
is great stuff for a Klan rally…but getting BEHIND the ART might be beyond most of you

EminemsRevenge on October 20, 2006 at 3:01 pm

I watched a documentary called “Hell in the Pacific” a few weeks ago on the Military Channel.
The best part about these documentaries are the interview with survivors who fought there.
A lot of them made it a point to say that they would not take Japanese prisoners, they took pride and pleasure in killing the Japanese, and they said you can you say what you want about that, but you werent there and we were. They had good reasons, Japanese would surrender with their hands up and 2 grenades under their armpits, they witnessed firsthand how incredibly brutal to prisoners and civilian populations the Japanese were and they were killing their buddies.
I hate so much that we prosecute and investigate our soldiers to the hilt today, when the terrorists employ the same tactics.

dll2000 on October 20, 2006 at 3:03 pm

During WWII, the media, for the most part, and Hollywood were very patriotic, very pro-American, produced patriotic movies, and told the truth about America’s enemies. This movie is just another modern LIBERAL Hollywood attempt to re-write history and to tarnish America’s image, its values, and our determination in pursuing a war that was just. This movie is trying to draw invented “parallels” between what America was during WWII (overwhelmingly racist, flawed, and its soldiers as opportunistic and flawed), and the War on Terrorism, thereby painting the current conflict as invalid, unnecessary, unjust, immoral, and as just another Crusade by the opportunists in government and in the private sector.
Clint Eastwood has one foot in the grave, and I’m guessing that he wants to leave a legacy beyond his Spaghetti Westerns and his Shoot ‘em Up Dirty Harry’s. He’s already produced and directed a few LIBERAL-minded movies such as; Million Dollar Baby, that glorifies euthanasia. He wants to be embraced by his fellow LIBERAL, America-hating loons in Hollywood rather than being the object of derision and hatred such as the late Elia Kazan.
Good ‘ole Clint’s next movie about the Japanese on Iwo Jima will undoubtedly showcase the brutality of America trying to defend itself in a war that was started by said Japanese.
I wonder if Clint will do a movie about “The Rape of Nanking” or “The Bataan Death March”.

Thee_Bruno on October 20, 2006 at 4:46 pm

The difference between Hollywood of the 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, and even 60’s and the Hollywood of the 70’s up till now, is that it turned “international.”
With the advancement of technology and the rapid spread of information, Hollywood found a larger audience, a more lucrative and larger population than the American regular moviegoers or video renters.
It is all about money.
I’ve said it before, businessmen (Hollywood people, that is, in this case) would sell America to those who pay more.
And those who pay more hate America and, of course, wouldn’t like to see an American movie glorifying America.
Therefore, to satisfy America’s haters, Hollywood must comply with their conditions and demands, and to appeal -simultaneously- to their American audience, and to avoid being called “traitors,” they have to put a superficial touch of so-called “patriotism.”
This is not to defend Hollywood, but to show you that it is all about business and profit, not about America or patriotism.
That is the bottom line.

Independent Conservative on October 20, 2006 at 5:39 pm

I grew up reading many popular American histories of WWII: like one about the Navy’s Seabees (http://www.seabee.navy.mil/) and one about Gen. Claire Chennault of the Flying Tigers pilots in China (source of the TV show “Baa Baa Black Sheep”). W/o living WWII vets in my family, those books shaped my kid’s view of the war like no other medium. Your review brings to mind the fundamental confidence those books inspired.
In support of your point about myths, here’s something former Soviet dissident, later Israeli journalist Edward Kuznetsov wrote while in prison in 1971:
“To be victorious in the long run you need a tradition of fighting, you need myths and martyrs’ haloes — otherwise national character will fall into decay.”

Jeremiah on October 20, 2006 at 8:00 pm

The LIBERALS, in order to achieve their America-hating agenda, has to portray America as untrustworthy. So, they must portray America as untrustworthy in WWII. Our methods, our soldiers, our government are always suspect and completely flawed and merciless. In their propaganda campaign, America is NEVER to be trusted fighting any wars. If they succeed in tearing down America’s illustrious past, and America’s moral superiority, then they automatically succeed in tearing down modern-day America. It’s a “given”.
When Clint makes his new movie portraying the Japanese on Iwo Jima under American bombardment in their own terms, I wonder if he’ll cut-away and get the viewpoint of their children and wives about their fathers and husbands on Iwo Jima. Will those children say that Japanese culture toward women and children during and prior to WWII was that of almost total subjugation and servitude? Somehow, I doubt it.
You see, it’s OK to criticize America, but LIBERALS NEVER criticize America’s enemies. This is the case even with our current Islamo-Nazi’s who have declared war upon us. You never see Hollywood LIBERALS putting out movies about Muzlums and their motivations about killing us. You never see movies about the truth about the Crusades. NO! Instead, we get Hollywood’s revisionism of the Crusades with garbage like; “Kingdom of Heaven” and other such bullshit.

Thee_Bruno on October 20, 2006 at 8:31 pm

btw, EminemsRevenge:
Just the other day in a post I used the very same Shakespeare quote to punctuate a point about an Iranian woman who’d been extremely mutilated during an “honor” killing attempt. The same day I posted favorably about Rush Limbaugh. I’ve spent many more hours reading Shakespeare than Limbaugh. So, what’s your point?

Jeremiah on October 20, 2006 at 9:08 pm

Jeremiah, EminemsGoof never has a point.
Forgot Eastwood who is senile. Thanks for the review, Debbie, I hadn’t read the book and thought this was a patriotic movie and considered seeing it.
I’ll just watch my “Great Raid” DVD again.

The_Man on October 21, 2006 at 12:43 am

Didn’t WWII used to be the one war everyone agreed was worth fighting, even liberals? I guess the only politically correct enemies left are Nazis. Everything else must be treated with the highest degree of cynicism.

Dan on October 21, 2006 at 3:24 am

It is really galling that Hollywood cannot bring itself to tell any story that focuses on good, courage, sacrifice or altruism anymore. It has to find the salacious angle, the negative spin. Clint Eastwood made his name (and a fortune) portraying hard-nosed, gritty and courageous characters and has now decided to champion another cause in order to win Oscars and approbation. That the left cannot even applaud our involvement in WWII today shows just where they stand and why they cannot be trusted to govern in these perilous times.
The irony of it all is that the first people to be lined up and mowed down in either a Nazi- or Islamist-conquered America would be the peacenik types whose side Clint Eastwood has taken in this film.

Gus on October 21, 2006 at 9:04 am

We must remember that as tough as Brother Clint is, he’s still Hollywood. The Hollywood of today is not our father’s hollywood. In fact, that would be a great response to this movie, “Hollywood of our fathers”. We could then see how Hollywood movies actually used to rally around our nation during a time of war. Contrast that with what we’re given today as so -called patriotism. Where are the Casablancas and the Sands of Iwo Jima? No, now we must have a movie that stirs debate among us as to the cause we’re engaged in and whether it’s worth it. I forget the exact details of this but I recall reading an article, perhaps in National Review, about a fellow pitching a true story to some Hollywood producers. The story was of a Canadian unit during WWII training for what was to be in essence a suicide mission. The men who volunteered for this mission understood the ramifications and what was expected of them. Their job was to be a smoke-screen, a diversion. They would be placed in harms way to distract the German army so that the real plan for attack could be put into place. At the end of the pitch, the Hollywood types asked some questions. One of these was who was the bad guy in this scenario? The people doing the pitch were stunned. Who are the bad guys? Well of course it’s Hitler and his Nazi regime they responded. They were then treated with the usual PC diatribe of how it was really a gray area, that it’s difficult for one to make such a judgement. After all, one could see how the Canadian govt. was the real bad guy for putting these men in the situation to be killed. Or perhaps their CO’s were really responsible for their death. And on and on it went until the pitch-men left in disgust. This is Hollywierd, take a story of bravery, sacrifice, and ultimately victory for the free world and turn it into a debate on who’s to blame for what, when, and how. What should we expect from people who make a living being anyone but themselves………..

Smartimus Maximus on October 21, 2006 at 11:02 am

Hollywood hates America, no real surprise.
Red Ryder,
You’ll never see a movie about the Civil War that goes to the truth. The war was fought because John C. Breckenridge, a Democrat, lost the Presidential election of 1860. In every movie I have ever seen, the Confederates were the good, the Federal were the evil. Someone mentioned the Klan. Founded by Forrest a Confederate veteran and lifelong Democrat.

Burt on October 21, 2006 at 11:17 am

What’s next? “Died on the Fourth of July”?

Jeremiah on October 21, 2006 at 5:11 pm

First of all, I am no leftist. I am also not a person that will “choose” to be ignorant like so many of you seem to be. What Clint Eastwood is saying with his films is that war itself is a human problem. He doesn’t politicize shit in the film. He simply shows the truth of the story as laid out in the book by James Bradley, whose father was a flagraiser and had to live with “hero” worship his whole life. I believe the point that the movie makes is that Ira Hayes, Rene Gagnon, and all the other marines who fought at Iwo, as well as those that died, should be remembered as men, men who did their duty to their country and to each other in battle, but they still were just men. Just normal human beings.
From your review you called the story behind the flag raising inconsequential. That is a leftist thought, that the state benefitted from the sacrifices of the men and that the individual suffering of the “Heroes” is inconsequential. Far leftists sicken me, but far right people even more because you people ignore truth, and do not give in to any idea of relativity or questioning absolutist ideas. Furthermore, the film also depicts in one key scene prior to the Invasion pictures of atrocities committed by the militaristic Japanese, so your idea that he is glorifying the Japanese empire is just plain wrong. Also, the main character in the forthcoming Letters from Iwo Jima opposed the war with America (he had been an ambassador to the US in the 20s.)
All in all, your philosophical reasoning for opposing this film is extremely weak. A quote from the New York Times review sums up the film quite well in my opinion:If ìFlags of Our Fathersî feels so unlike most war movies and sounds so contrary to the usual political rhetoric, it is not because it affirms that war is hell, which it does with unblinking, graphic brutality. Itís because Mr. Eastwood insists, with a moral certitude that is all too rare in our movies, that we extract an unspeakable cost when we ask men to kill other men. There is never any doubt in the film that the country needed to fight this war, that it was necessary; it is the horror at such necessity that defines ìFlags of Our Fathers,î not exultation.

eluril on October 24, 2006 at 6:34 pm

Furthermore, upon examining your review even further, you answer your own question about why to tell this story:
“And was it a myth at all? The picture doesn’t stand for the individuals in it or what happened in their lives. It stands for many, many men who fought and gave their lives so we could be free. So we wouldn’t live life under the Nazis and the Japanese.”
The reason this story is important is because the War bond tour focused on the Three Surviving HEROES OF IWO JIMA. The three flagraisers all felt exactly as you did, as do most people who look at the photo now (as in, in the present.) But in the time that these events happened, the individual men were labeled as heroes, and that obviously messed them up for life. Even the normal one as you put it, kept everything quiet and regularly had nightmares that he refused to talk about. I hope you see these comments and respond. You seem like a very intelligent person, but your views seem slightly misinformed and skewed.

eluril on October 24, 2006 at 11:56 pm

Of course you’re a lefty Liberal; you started your comments by insulting those you do not agree with.

peteyboy on October 25, 2006 at 9:57 am

Bill o reilly and Rush Limbaugh must be Marxist Leninists then. Try to reason with me here. Try to debate the issues that matter, rather than how I said something. I consider myself a libertarian politically, and a moderate. Instead of discussing the issue and trying to reason through it, extremists make up their mind and refuse to budge. This is a major flaw in the human society.

eluril on October 25, 2006 at 10:31 am

Debbie,
My wefe and I just saw Eastwood’s movie Flags of our fathers.
When it was over, I had no feeling that I saw the move that I thought it would be. I thought of that fact that it was the democrats that were in charge back then, yet racisism was present.How could that, be?
The movie belittled the ultimate sacrafice that soldiers who lost their lives, were lost in vain just because of the raising of a flag. The movie showed that war is infact hell. My fahther-in-law was in Guaddal Canal. I saw the pictures of our soldiers and heard the stories of them being butchered by the enemy. I also heard about the payback. Again war is hell. Those american soldiers who stepped off the landing craft and went ashore to fight and die, had , lets put it this way, whatever they had they were made of brass and plenty big.
This movie was dissapointing, it focused on a politics based story, which is what liberals do.
Once again, the soldier (s) were made to look greedy or dumb. They were brave and they gave the ultimate sacrafice to save their families and friends and others at home. They were honorable.

rocktorrey on October 25, 2006 at 11:22 am

Kudos to eluril, who has it exactly right. I’m not a liberal or a pacifist by any means, but it’s time and past time that more of us on the right opened our eyes and faced the truth. It is simply foolish to pretend that our side is always 100% in the right, always fought just wars, always fought as heroes and honorable men, while the other side is always demonized as evil fiends. The fact is that we have gotten into wars we’d better have stayed out of, and that includes both world wars. In those and other wars, many American soldiers served with courage, honor and gallantry; many other American soldiers were cowardly, brutal, rapacious and criminal. The same applies to the forces of every other nation at war. That’s the way war is, folks.
Debbie and her gaggle of loyal, gullible fans may well prefer the myth over the truth, object to the latter whenever they see it, and even imagine that in doing so they are being “patriotic.” The facts are what they are, regardless. I for one applaud Clint Eastwood, whose body of work I think is a national treasure. You silly geese can keep honking all you want, for whatever shallow satisfaction it brings you.
And by the way, I served in the U.S. Army during wartime. I wonder how many of the self-inflated “patriots” posting here ever did.

Neil H. on October 25, 2006 at 12:15 pm

YO CLINT,,,,TELL US OF AUDEY MURPHY,THE MOST DECORATED SERVICE MAN IN WWII,

COASTSIDE on October 25, 2006 at 3:14 pm

I am a blow hard and I was in the infantry back in 82′ when my upper middle class rich baby birmingham puke classmates made fun of me for joining “reagan’s army” and it sucked but i remember someone somewhere telling me that I was to “put aside my personal comfort to serve my country”. Let alone go and die. which is how pampered and protected losers such as the above see the services, its where you go die. There’s nothing in their heads about “so that others may live” they are just reductivist conceits that see everything in terms of their own ass, the republic be damned.
this film is a projection of liberal guilt. Eastwood was making cowboy movies for the leftists while average joes like me were commiting crimes like trying to save the millions of southern vietnamese clint abandoned to the nva. where’s the movie about that? IT NEVER HAPPENED IN THEIR WORLD!!!!
Instead we get revisionist hack jobs of baby boomers that go to sleep at night knowing that they had better go back and change all the truths about WWII lest the kids figure oout just how cowardly they were in their lives. All they care about is their legacy now, insteadc of mentioning that no generation of Americans has EVER sucked off the taxpayers as much as theirs, they make movies about how racist, homophobic, anti-environmentalist and misogynist the generation before them “was”.
let the rich bastards dig their own effing grave. This is california for you, rich, guilty,empty and artless. No grace asked and no grace given.
Imagine having all that money and all that power but knowing deep in your hearts that it means nothing compared to the down home of integrity of fly over country? It drives them insane..
This is just a tour de force of the me generation of the wealthiest losers in history. they bitch and pick at everything a real man or woman does as they drive around in their brand new cars living in their little gilded bubble while their ass falls off. so what.
the real Americans know the difference and just go there to see the hot chicks and some cool planes blowing up, the rest of it is holly weird.
by the way. most of the troops that fought in that battle were 18, like 90%. nowadays that would be called child abuse. Ryan pretty boy would be a first sergeant by then and so would Indian of the Year they have in every movie because holeyweird can’t find another one “they can work with”.
santyana was right

playertwo on October 25, 2006 at 3:37 pm

If I can read your argument playertwo, which is kind of hard considering, you seem to imply the only “true” patriots are those who join the military. You’re just so wrong that I can’t even respond with reason. Here’s one: most artists and writers who have written about war or depicted war (not all but the majority) wanted to get across the barbarism of war, what it does to human beings to kill each other. They have the right to say this because they are human beings- thus they have the freedom and knowledge to know how to express emotional reactions to something like “War” or “Love”. Just because a person is in the military does not mean they understand human nature any better than a filmmaker or a writer when it comes to depicting war or the impact of battle. All truth is discoverable by reason, therefore it is not necessary to experience something to know it is true. I’ve never been burned alive, but I can reason that it would be pretty painful. Related to this subject, I believe as a human being that killing another person, even an enemy combatant, would effect me emotionally no matter what atrocities they had committed. I would feel justified if they had,but that is not the same thing as saying it was “right”.

eluril on October 25, 2006 at 3:51 pm

It seems to me that all the Hollywood group can do is live in the “life stories” of people that they can only read and act about – not really live because the challenges of real everyday life would be too hard. Some think that because they have acted the ‘part’ they now are a ‘person of expert knowledge’ on the subject. Sacrifice and loss is what alot of real life is all about. Were there bad things done on both sides of the war? -yes but again that is a part of the human situation when people fight for survival. Having spent time with my uncles about WW2 and some of the action that they saw I can realize why the feelings were so high about’getting even’ after seeing their friends “hacked into fish food” or seeing the enemy navy use the survivors of sunk ships used as rifle practice as they (the enemy) laughed about how many shots it took to ‘sink’ one of ‘our’ guys! Some of us have feelings and memories of battles fought and friends lost that we would rather not talk about until years later. War is hell – yes but there are times when some that realize the need put their lives, not just their words on the line. The founding people of this country lost most of what they had in the fight for freedom while some just sat and watched and complained and pointed fingers at the people ‘doing something’. Sadly, our country has always had a fair number of those who just want to sit in the comfort of their world and poke fun and ridicule at those who have the backbone and desire to ‘do what is expected’. I have raised my children with the idea that if they enjoy the rights and blessings of this country then they also have a debt to the country to preserve those freedoms, rights and blessings. Nine years in university learning earning three degrees taught me that there are alot of ‘profs’ who just like to complain and point out the flaws of others without really knowing what life is like outside of their ‘realm’ of teaching without practical in-field applied knowledge. The blather spewed by the likes of EminemsRevenge is only a throw-up of the same old ‘talk without applied realism’ and knowledge of the real sacrifices made for him to make such one sided statements. It always makes me smile when a person tells me that they ‘understand all aides’ and then say something that demonstrates that they are totally clueless of the facts and only relying on hear-say or tired old ‘complain lines’. Real life is about doing not just talking and criticizing – a battle that some find too difficult to engage in!

Grundy on October 25, 2006 at 4:21 pm

To eluril: The warrior who fights on the battlefield and experiences the wages of war speaks with authority not ‘thought’. To say that, “All truth is discoverable by reason” is simply not true and shows your lack of ‘life knowledge and experience’. There are a great many things that can be learned ‘by reason’ but the best teacher and educator is experience and the final lessons taught are at the hands of being involved. Your statements belie a person that would rather give thoughtful reasoning while the world goes to hell in a hat basket unless some who see things as they are act to do something to solve the situation. I have always found that the ‘back seat of life’ is inhabited by talkers while the front seat is for the doers who see things as they really are not just perceived. How is life in the back seat?

Grundy on October 25, 2006 at 4:54 pm

Yes I understand that experiences can teach. Experience IS one part of reason. I just meant that he has no greater philosophical knowledge about the entirety of the human experience of war than someone who comes at it from a different perspective. I don’t like how you belittle me by saying I just watch the world go by. Absolutely not true. I stand by my statement that being a soldier does not give one the right to say that their opinion is truth and no others apply. Sounds quite fascist to me.
In any case, Eastwood (and before him James Bradley) did tons of research talking to soldiers about their experiences. So I would say that the story of Flags of Our Fathers is grounded heavily in their experiences. Art is an expression of emotion, not experience, although that can be involved obviously. Many great films and works of art about war were not done by soldiers, but they are powerful nonetheless.

eluril on October 25, 2006 at 5:06 pm

It’s somewhat surprising to me that no one has mentioned James Bradley’s previous book, Flyboys. Most of the same complaints being made here about Eastwood’s film Flags of Our Fathers were made about the earlier Bradley book. This suggests to me that Eastwood has probably been faithful to the newer book, but I’ve neither read that book nor seen the film.
It’s unfortunate that frank and honest treatment of a subject should automatically be dismissed by some as Hollywood “liberalism” or anti-war propaganda. Debbie’s mocking comparison of an Eastwood film to the phony productions of that charlatan, Michael Moore, is just ridiculous on its face. It’s the same Clint Eastwood who produced, directed and starred in Heartbreak Ridge and Absolute Power, after all. He’s about as far as you can get from anti-war or politically correct sentiment. Eastwood’s obvious intent is to bring unvarnished truth (for a change) to a usually highly romanticized subject, Unforgiven being a prime example of this. Flags of Our Fathers apparently is more of the same, and I think that’s a good thing.
I certainly agree with some of the comments here about the left-leaning and anti-American nature of the Hollywood elite. But I am confident you will never see anything of that description from Clint Eastwood. Much is in the eye of the beholder, of course.
Debbie, save the Michael Moore cracks for Michael Moore, where they belong. You seriously diminish yourself when you try to apply them to Clint Eastwood.

Neil H. on October 25, 2006 at 7:39 pm

The Navy got a huge lift at an important time for their Naval Flight Officers Program by cooperating with “Top Gun” for the recruiting benefits. The Marines tried for the same result but were HORRIFIED by the time they saw “Heartbreak Ridge”. Certain parts were a huge slap in the face to them, like when Eastwood as a DI slugged one of his recruits. Someone might be able to shed light on this but wasn’t Heartbreak Ridge an Army battle during the Korean War?
Whatever flak Eastwood gets he deserves!

code7 on October 25, 2006 at 10:28 pm

Eastwood laments that perhaps we are most “creative” when making war? He has had more wives and out of wedlock children than a welfare mom so I suppose he should know about being creative or perhaps “pro creative”.
Fact is, the Japs of the 1930s and 1940s were the Muslim fanatics of their day, raping and killing everyone in their path in the name of the emperor (as oppossed to Allah) The death rate of allied POWs under Jap control was 50% due to starvation and medical experiments. OTOH the death rate of allied prisoners under German control was less than 5%. They (Japs) behaved like animals and deserved to be treated as such until they got their heads on straight via military defeat. They loved their kids and sent home sentimental messages? Isn’t that SPECIAL! Big deal. Hitler loved his dog. Does that make him any less of a butcher?
In war, the goal is to kill as many of the enemy it takes to make them stop. There is no time for panty waist second guessing. We didn’t take Jap POWs sometimes because they carried grenades or had mutilated our comrades? Too damn bad. I think we should do the same in Iraq and Afganistan.

Samoyed on October 25, 2006 at 11:05 pm

I don’t know what you all mean by liberal, but my definition is to stick up for the working man and that includes labor unions when they do more than just stick up for the laziest among us. I’m no fan or endless welfare for lazy blacks, latinos and white trash, but realize there are some people in this world who got a bad deal and need some help. There are plenty of fat cats stirring up the pot that make the rest of us normal folk blame each other for every god damn thing while the fat cats laugh and laugh and take it all. Maybe we should stop saying liberal or conservative and talk about what we all want. I bet it’s pretty much the same for everyone. Or do you let TV man and politicians define who you are and what you want?

As to my opinion about wars, this liberal thinks the Japanese were savage and brutal and that they continue to white wash their history disgusts me. I take every chance I can to tell anyone who sees them as poor victims of the A bomb that they are full of shit. Just say, “Explain Nanking??” That the Chinese growth in power is scaring the living shit out of Japan gives me some satisfaction. Funny how history can’t quite be written away when your victims are still around. Japs are shaking in their boots about China, don’t you doubt it.

The Germans seemed to have owned up a bit more to their shameful past, but again, if any German dares to preach to me about the US being militant or imperialist, I simply say, “Well, you started it dumb ass, or your chicken shit grand parents. If you didn’t let a fucking mad man brain wash your whole country we would have never came over in the first place.” Or if they are French, remind them on how they had the biggest army in the fucking world and got their asses handed to them in a month or two. God Damn Italy too. My family lost a lot of relatives in Greece during that war, but you know what, they fought. The lame ass Italians couldn’t handle them, so the Germans came in and made it very rough.

I read a lot about WWII and sometimes when I think about what our US men did, for us and for their buddies, I honest to God start tearing up. Were they perfect, did they do some things that were also savage and brutal? Of course god damn it, it was war. However, you put the US army or Marines against any other in WWII and they treated civilians and their enemies better than any. The Japs are a different story. There were no rules fighting the Japs. How could you blame any Marine for not going insane fighting against a suicidal group of maniacs? I don;t know how they did it, but we should never forget.

Deke on March 20, 2010 at 4:35 pm

As the son of a WWII veteran I can see the purpose of the movie, and for all the men who gave their lives in what >they hoped was the war to end all wars! It didn’t however.The photos of the NYC fire fighters conveys this same message. Billy Eisengrein, The brother of a friend, and his fellow NYC Firefighters show that this Country continues to emphasize the courage of all of our policeman and firefighters

Chuck Boyer on August 25, 2011 at 1:58 am

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