November 9, 2007, - 6:21 am

Be a Lion, Don’t See This Lying “Lamb”: The Mythology of Professor Redford

By Debbie Schlussel
Benjamin Disraeli–and later Mark Twain–said there are lies, damn lies, and statistics. But today, there are lies, damn lies, and anti-war movies.
The latest didactic, silver screen mythology emanating from Hollywood is “Lions for Lambs,” starring (and directed by) Robert Redford, Tom Cruise, and Meryl Streep, and in theaters today. The film’s rewriting of history and Middle Eastern religious dynamics is disturbing. And its statements about our military and alleged racism are unconscionable.
As Americans get more and more of their “history” from on-screen fiction, the fairy tales this film puts forth are dangerous in their blatant falsehood.


A constant theme throughout this boring movie is that American military and political leaders–a smug, right-wing caricature, Republican Senator played by Cruise and an Army commander played by Peter Berg–maintain that Sunnis and Shi’ites are working together against American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is something neither soldiers nor a liberal TV reporter played by Streep can believe.
Streep’s Janine Roth and two soldiers on whom the movie focuses constantly question this allegation as utterly preposterous. Reporter Streep tells Senator Tom Cruise she can’t believe that after centuries of fighting each other, Sunnis and Shias are suddenly working together against us.
The purpose of this constant on-screen ridicule of the notion of a Sunni-Shi’ite alliance against the West is to ridicule the Bush Administration’s positing of the same regarding Iraq. But, it’s not ridiculous at all.
Reality check: Sunnis and Shias have worked together against their common enemy–the West–for decades. That the movie questions this fact as preposterous is, well . . . preposterous. Here are just some of the many instances in which the two religious sects have, indeed, worked together in terrorist operations and plots against America:
* Intelligence reports and eyewitness accounts from the 1983 Hezbollah (Sh’ite) bombing of the U.S. Marine Barracks in Beirut state that P.L.O. (Sunni) operatives machine-gunned and shot at Marines as they tried to flee the barracks.
* Yahya Ayyash, HAMAS’ chief bombmaker who was known as “The Engineer” (and was a Sunni), received much of his bombmaking training from Hezbollah (Shia) in Lebanon. He repeatedly worked with Hezbollah for years before he was assassinated by Israel in 1996.
* The June 1998 bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia was a joint Al-Qaeda (Sunni)/Hezbollah (Shia) operation.
* In October 2005, then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair said that evidence ties Al-Qaeda insurgent IEDs in Iraq to Shi’ite Iran or Hezbollah. “There are certain pieces of information that lead us back either to Iranian elements or to Hezbollah,” he said.
* In July 2006, Assem Hammoud a/k/a Amir Al-Andalousi, a Shi’ite Muslim from a prominent South Lebanese family of Hezbollah supporters, was arrested in Lebanon, after a stint in Canada as the ringleader of an Al-Qaeda (Sunni) plot to bomb several PATH train tunnels between New Jersey and Manhattan and murder thousands of commuters. Several of his cousins in the Hammoud family in Dearborn, Michigan were convicted in cigarette smuggling and money-laundering for (Shi’ite) Hezbollah.
That the Shi’ite Assem Hammoud trained with Al-Qaeda at Ein El-Hilweh, a Sunni Palestinian refugee camp (a U.S. taxpayer/UNRWA-funded entity) in Lebanon, is yet more refutation of the “Lions for Lambs” myth.
* A July 2007 report by Chagai Hoberman of Israeli newspaper HaZofe quotes Israeli Security Services sources as saying that Hezbollah (Shi’ite) now controls Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades (Sunni) in the West Bank. The sources said that they picked up Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terrorists in West Bank cities, like Shechem, over the past several years, who received weapons, money, and training from Hezbollah. In addition, they say Hezbollah controls the terrorist group, now.
Then, there is the other constant lie throughout “Lions for Lambs”–that American soldiers fighting in Iraq are mostly minorities, who have no choice but to join up and die.
Sure, viewers are shown white commanding officers who command and watch from a distance, and who are viciously attacked as “pieces of s**t” and “lambs” leading lions in a monologue by a college professor played by Robert Redford. But the film centers on two minority soldiers–a Black and a Hispanic–who were Professor Redford’s students. We’re told that minorities have no choice but to join the military. “They play football to go to college,” Professor Redford admonishes one of his more privileged, slacker White students. They have no future or talent and are ridiculed by the White students on campus, so they must join up:

They weren’t naturally gifted students. . . . The first ones to sign up are the ones whose country doesn’t treat too well. The ones like you and me who went to good schools and were privileged like you and me, we’re the first ones to step back when the country’s looking for volunteers

lectures Professor Redford of Sundance University.
His White privileged slacker student responds that he doesn’t have to care about this

because I wanna live the good life because I’m smart enough.

While “Lions for Lambs” wants to portray our fighting forces as strictly minorities and Whites as slacker frat boys who stay home, the two soldiers in the movie are commissioned men, who go upon graduation. And the fact is, the majority of those are White, not minorities. They all have college degrees, many of them graduate degrees. They are among America’s best and brightest, who chose to go to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan, instead of starting their promising careers in the comfort of home.
One of those is Sgt. James John Regan, a star on the Duke Lacrosse Team, who had a scholarship to go to law school and an offer to work at a financial company. Instead, he joined the Army Rangers and served double tours of duty in both Afghanistan and Iraq, earning a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart and several other medals. He was killed in action in Iraq, early this year. He was 26 and engaged to be married. His fiancee, Mary McHugh told Newsday that he felt it was imperative to join the Army and serve rather than taking one of the other safer, more lucrative offers:

He said, “If I don’t do it, then who will do it?” He recognized it as an option and he couldn’t not do it.

And there are so many other non-minority soldiers like him who made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan, contrary to this movie’s Redfordian claim.
But that doesn’t fit with the myth that Robert Redford, Ph.D. and the rest of the “Lions for Lambs” gang is selling.
If there is any truth to this movie, it’s the poignant heroism to the end displayed by the two soldiers portrayed in the film. But even that is not enough to justify the myths throughout this film.
At the end of the movie, Reporter Meryl Streep argues with her TV cable news network boss that Iraq is like Vietnam, and she doesn’t believe our efforts to succeed will work so she doesn’t want to report on them:

It’s like that song by The Who. “Meet the new boss. It’s the same as the old boss.” It’s the same as Vietnam all over again.

Streep’s network boss orders her to report on it:

Sounds like he [Senator Tom Cruise] has a plan to destroy the guys who attacked our guys. . . . Our viewers will believe that’s a good thing.

If only Hollywood believed it was a good thing.
And if only there was a single news exec for a major TV network news operation who ever uttered such a sentiment.

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14 Responses

Hollywood keeps churning out an endless stream of anti-America and anti-war movies. They’re box office flops. But lack of financial success hasn’t deterred producers from continuing to show our country in a bad light. Its like they say: bad news is good news and good news is no news.

NormanF on November 9, 2007 at 9:28 am

What did you expect from Hollywood? They want to get back to things that are really “important” to America. You know fighting for the rights of people whose sole unifying characteristic is their common sexual depravity. They have already undertaking their next sexual depravity group on HBO seeking a fair shake for people who engage in bigamy. Keep a look out for incest and beastiality next. Don’t worry they will have “new phobias” for that, so they can call you a bigot. Also, they can get back to attacking the “evil” people with initiative who made something of themselves, by “taking advantage” of the lazy and uninspired who they “walked all over” to get their money. Because as we all know, the only people who became rich the “right way” are the “highly educated” people in Hollywood. Here’s to hoping the writers’ strike goes on for months and months, so they can’t shove their PC BS down the throats of Americans for quite some time.

Ford Jones on November 9, 2007 at 9:33 am

First of all, Redford has had way too much plastic surgery. He looks like a freak. Tom Cruise is a mental case and Meryl Streep is a bore. I avoid Hollywood movies in general but especially with these three annoyances.
Does anyone go to these movies?

lexi on November 9, 2007 at 9:39 am

Debbie, your film reviews are superb. You’ve kept many of us from wasting our money on Hollywood propaganda trash flicks like this one. But more importantly, you are one of the few people in the media who see “radical” Islam (is there really any other kind?) as the true evil in the world. Thanks for your efforts. I wish there were many, many more like you out there..

PDMac60 on November 9, 2007 at 9:53 am

Another timely example of “preposterous” intercourse between Sunni (Saudi and AQ) and Shia (Iran) can be found in MEMRI’s item today…

steveb1 on November 9, 2007 at 11:07 am

I have not and will continue to not see these anti-american diatribes spewed out by these arrogant hollywood phoney americans.

whosebone on November 9, 2007 at 11:53 am

In addition to the current offerings of lies by hollywood have you noticed the press release from CAIR? They are absolutely livid about the endorsement of Rudy G. by Pat Robertson and demand Rudy decline his endorsement. lol! Guess good ol’ Pat musta struck a nerve! I wonder how long it will take hollywood to come up with a smear movie for those who publicly speak out against Islamic extremists and defend America. I’ll give em a hint…… were all militia members lol! keep the great work with these reviews.

boodabear on November 9, 2007 at 12:12 pm

Didn’t the Daily Kos call the movie “Extraordinary”?

barrypopik on November 9, 2007 at 12:12 pm

Thanks for the review, even though as soon as I see the names Tom Cruise, Meryl Streep, and Robert Redford I wouldn’t see it, anyway.
What a surprise, Tom “Master Thespian” Cruise playing the truthful crusader.
Funny hearing Redford casting himself as a college professor. “Look at me, I’m smart!”
“At the end of the movie, Reporter Meryl Streep argues with her TV cable news network boss that Iraq is like Vietnam, and she doesn’t believe our efforts to succeed will work so she doesn’t want to report on them:”
Is it a reporter’s job to make judgement calls on what to report?

Jeff_W on November 9, 2007 at 12:23 pm

Ethical reporters wouldn’t be making those kinds of biased judgments about news coverage, but there are few ethical journalists today. Just this week, we had a great example of media bias with the non-coverage of Maj. Gen. Fil’s announcement that al-Qaida no longer has a presence in Baghdad. Pardon the self-promotion, but I have a blog entry on it, if anyone’s interested:

mechmorph on November 9, 2007 at 1:09 pm

The dead moon circus really thinks they’re that slick to pass this boring flick by on us. Sorry but…they struck out. I am soooo not interested in learning how to hate my country.

Squirrel3D on November 9, 2007 at 2:11 pm

what really gets me about this movie is the sense that while confessing indirectly to every sin the right accuses the left of, they still feel it is their obligation and rank to continue in their insanity and ridiculous paradigm.
of all the ways to get his point across redford stands in front of a captive audience as a leftist prof- but to is world thats the only place anyone can change things?!! i mean, he takes himself rightout of the armed services equation and says its not worthit to join and work your way up?!!
then he turns around and says that whitey doesnt serve?!!
liberals with money are even more out dey minds..
having stated before that i have extensive daily contact with america’s future at u of m (taxi driver) not only are kids in complete denial of the worlds reality, they will be penalized by these same “professors” if they dared think else. not only that but they are KIDS at their age and with their exposure to what? Mtv and ho’s?
but what people fail to realize is that behind all the blabbery and liberal noise there is a huge rotc class at uofm (where darth vader aka. j e jones earned his butterbars).
the libs wasted 40 million bucks on this propaganda and its sad to think of what amazing movies couldve been made instead of it.
hopefully the strike will cripple hwood and the web will start bringing better films out for us to actually enjoy instead of suffer

playertwo on November 9, 2007 at 3:41 pm

First of all, I can’t understand why anyone would watch the crap coming out of Hollywood lately. I have to resort to watching classics when I order rental DVDs – things are that bad. I honestly feel sorry for you, Debbie, for having to sit through this tripe to write a review. I think I’d rather spend an afternoon getting my nipples pierced first.
I find it amusing that the likes of Robert Redford, Meryl Streep and Tom Cruise think they know what the “common” man wants in terms of entertainment. They live so far in la-la land that they have no idea what ordinary people are thinking and feeling. I don’t jet set around the world. I don’t have maids cleaning up after me or nannies watching my kids. I think I have been in a chauffeur driven limousine once in my life. It just goes to show how full of themselves they are and what they are full of comes out of the back end of a sickly bull.
I wonder when Hollywood will wake up and realize THEY are the reason people around the world hate us because their perception of our lifestyle is based upon the crap that comes out of Hollywood. Good grief, even I would feel it necessary to condemn the “West” if movies out of Hollywood were the only thing I had to base my opinions on. They portray us as immoral, money grubbing, violent evil-doers. Finding a sweet movie like Secondhand Lions is like sifting for a gem out of tons of river rocks. Now movies are all about gore, blood, greed and sex. No wonder the world hates us!

The_Kat‚Ñ¢ on November 11, 2007 at 1:07 am

What’s even more depraved about this movie is that it opened on Veteran’s Day weekend. Could they have any less respect? Redford is a POC, not that that is news to any of us. I guess it’s a bad thing to join the military to advance one’s social standing. SO poor minorities should just stay poor and in the ghetto? Is that what Redford is trying to say? I hate these people. Instead of seeing this movie, I’ll go to the Vietnam Wall instead to see real Americans.

Minnie Mouse on November 12, 2007 at 1:31 am

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