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October 22, 2007: The Redford Reduction

I haven't seen Robert Redford's Lions for Lambs yet, few have evidently, but that hasn't stopped Roger Friedman, who hasn't seen it either, from writing in its behalf as a brilliant and subtle anti-war film of sorts. Apparently the Republican owner of the Washington Redksins saw it and liked it and sent word to Friedman. One graph of Friedman's article caught my eye:

It [the film] also brings up, ever so gently, comparisons with the Vietnam War. Through Streep, Redford and Carnahan get their message in loud and clear. "World War II lasted less than five years," Streep says to a grinning - but not buffoonish - Cruise when discussing the length of the Iraq mission so far.

Hmmm... so the length of the Iraq War as opposed to WWII is supposed to be proof of the dubiousness of the current enterprise. Well, how about this? The total number of casualties in World War II was approximately 72,000,000, at least a hundred times Iraq, where attempts have been made consistently to lower the number of deaths. If we had decided to win the Iraq War by doing to Baghdad what we did to Dresden, Tokyo, Hiroshima, etc., would will still be in that war now? I would strongly doubt it. This comparison to WWII, often made by the anti-war crowd, strikes me as particularly invidious. The quotes from Redford at Harvard at the end of the article are also banal and predictable, but that it is to be expected.

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The cold war lasted 45 years. We spent trillions of dollars and men and women on both sides were killed in every day in that war. Why is that a better comparison with todays war than World War II? Because the left didnt want to fight that war either. More importantly, right up till the end they insisted that we would eventually lose what they called a senseless and futile war. Like most of history, facts presented themselves in a way that obliterated the logic of their bumpersticker slogans.

Had todays leftists been alive in World War II, they wouldnt have fought that war either and would have councilled that we find a way to co-exist with Hitler and his ilk.

Remember that before December 7th and before the Soviet Union was betrayed by their German allies, to the left, Roosevelt was a warmonger too.



World War II lasted less than five years?

I guess only if you're not Polish, British, French, etc. (I won't even mention Chinese.)

I guess that World War Two only started when we got involved - there was no war up to that point...


five years LOL

It's been over 60 years and all the troops still aren't out of Europe or Japan. About 50 years and counting for Korea.

Shoot, even the "War on Poverty" is over 40 years old with no end in sight.


Ah yes, I can just imagine the reaction to the firebombing of Sadr City.

In fact if we stop and think about the Russian Revolution and the Turks burning Smyrna I suppose we could say that WW1 went on for 8 years at least.


As for Tom Cruise's new movie, count me out. I don't need any lessons in political science from Tom Cruise or Robert Redford or Meryll Streep.


When I saw that movie advertised I said "That will be a pathetic anti-war movie, full of dumb cliches."

Is it bad when the best nod to the Iraq War in popular culture was on the comedy series "Scrubs", rather than any of the drivel aimed at being serious?

There are so many valid criticisms of the War, I don't understand why the anti-war side has to pick the dumb arguments instead.

Also, the War on Terror and the War on Poverty7 and the War on Drugs aren't really wars. They're catchy political memes designed to garner support through psychological manipulation... they'll last as long as it's useful to the politicians in power (Note this is not to say that 9/11, terrorism, poverty or drug abuse are not real, or dangerous... only that the slogans are hokey and designed to manipulate... just like "Lions for Lambs" appears to be).


I suspect that "Lions for Lambs" will barely earn a modest financial return---and it may even lose money. This seems to me another example of what we were discussing only the other day: Hollywood is dying! Investors have been played for suckers and encouraged to invest in ideologically premised films that are box office poison. My guess is that Robert Redford's "message" is not at all subtle. Most people in the audience are likely going to end up bored to death.

Robert Redford is also no longer a marginalized whack job who resides on the far left-wing of Democratic Party national politics. No, he represents the so-called center of the party. It is foolish to believe otherwise.


Well, what if WWII *hadn't* ended in 1945? What if Hitler had better exploited the German lead in jet-engine technology, thereby denying the Allies the control of the air, and the German military had done a more professional job of communications security, thereby negating the advantages we got from the Enigma intercepts? The war in Europe might have gone on until 1950. Would Streep have had us give up because it was taking too long?


HI ROG' -

HAVE U SEEN THE POSTER FOR THE FLICK?

LOOK AT THE PHOTO OF REDFORD.

IT'S SCARY.

WHAT HAS HE DONE TO HIS FACE?

AND I AM NOT TALKING ABOUT AGING, BUT SURGERY, IMPLANT, INJECTIONS, ETC.

VANITY. MONEY. AND IDIOCY. AND UGLY COMBINATION - LITERALLY AND FIGURATIVELY.


The age when a Redford/Cruise movie will measurely affect the American voter and the national political landscape has long passed.
The average movie goer [are they any out there?] cares not about two washed up old has beens; sex, fantasy, cartoons and car crashes are the norm and focus.

I agree with David; a modest financial return coming from theaters and DVDs a year out there.


Yeah, the owner of the Redskins is a really good judge of talent *cough*. I guess we know why the Redskins have sucked in recent years. The owner watches too many Redford films and not enough game films.


720,000 casualties in Iraq? You mean deaths, right? Based on what? The appalling Lancet article? 720K is a vastly overinflated estimate, and should not stand unchallenged.


Sometimes it is a valid and useful exercise to bring up previous wars in discussing the current struggle against terror--but not in the way that the America Last crowd would have it.

We need to be reminded, over and over again, because we want to forget, that the war on terror is a struggle for our very civilization, a more serious totalitarian threat than the last world war. "Modern terrorism seeks to combine the annihilating power of Hiroshima with the nihilistic gospel of Auschwitz." Read the essay by the French philosopher Andre Glucksmann.

http://www.city-journal.org/html/17_4_modern_terrorism.html


Hmm, how many others write reviews without actually seeing the films? This brings to mind an idea for one heck of a practical joke.

Or a comedy plot. Wait, hasn't that been used?


"I agree with David; a modest financial return coming from theaters and DVDs a year out there."

I should add that this film might earn a modest profit---only if its stars agreed to work far below their standard fees. It is a sure money loser if someone like Tom Cruise receives his regular compensation. Lions for Lambs seems like a movie that is normally distributed to "elite" theaters also offering organic popcorn and cappuccino. The advertisements scream, "message movie." I can't imagine most Americans being interested in it.


The WWII comparison is so idiotic in so many ways, it really makes me want to retch. Does standing in the street make you a car?


"Had todays leftists been alive in World War II, they wouldnt have fought that war either and would have councilled that we find a way to co-exist with Hitler and his ilk."

They were ready to until Hitler invaded the USSR and turned all the American communists into fearless fighters in one day. Kissinger once pointed out the only absolutely accurate way to tell the communists in that era was to see what their position was on Hitler the day before the Nazi-Soviet Pact and then the day after the invasion. Lillian Hellman's play Watch on the Rhine was a victim of this double switch. Praised, then damned, then praised again. Interestingly enough, you cannot find this story on Google. You have to read one of the books on the communists in Hollywood during the war. Two good ones are Red Star Over Hollywood and Hollywood Party.


Yep --it's in the history books alright --it took Operation Barbarossa to put the American left into WWII. Had to save that future that Duranty of the NYT said "works".


"The total number of casualties in World War II were approximately 72,000,000, at least a hundred times Iraq"...

Roger -

you need to respond to TomTom's October 23, 2007 7:42 AM post re: "nearly 100 times":

http://www.rogerlsimon.com/mt-archives/2007/10/the_redford_red.php#c91121


"The total number of casualties in World War II were approximately 72,000,000, at least a hundred times Iraq"...

Roger -

you need to respond to TomTom's October 23, 2007 7:42 AM post re: "nearly 100 times":

http://www.rogerlsimon.com/mt-archives/2007/10/the_redford_red.php#c91121


I think--from what I've read, the UN reports and so forth, that the truth is closer to 1:1000 rather than 1:100. "Hundred" is off by a decimal place, IOW. But the point was made, at any rate, that anyone who gets their politics from Redford, Streep, & Cruise are probably pretty much beyond wanting to know the facts anyway.


"I guess we know why the Redskins have sucked in recent years. The owner watches too many Redford films and not enough game films."

If watching movies keeps him from bugging HOF Joe Gibbs, can Roger help make him a member of the academy?


The trailer seems stupid and OTN, IOW banal and predictable. If that's the best of the movie, forget it.

And I can't seem to stop looking at Redford's surgically enhanced eyelids.


The trailer seems stupid and OTN, IOW banal and predictable. If that's the best of the movie, forget it.

And I can't seem to stop looking at Redford's surgically enhanced eyelids.


World War II officially ended with the Treaty of San Francisco in the early 50s, almost precisely 20 years after the invasion of Manchuria that started hostilities.

*Our* combat phase lasted less than four years in WWII. In Iraq, our combat phase lasted 3 months.

During the long occupation of Germany, when an American soldier was killed, it was standard practice to set up an artillery piece and shell the offending town randomly through the night. The Geneva Convention did not outlaw such reprisals against civilian populations until 1949.

No one longs for a return to the harsher measures tolerated during WWII. My youngest son spent this past summer working for friends in Germany. A couple of years ago, my middle son lived with friends in Japan and went to school there. What does that tell you about the value of combining strength with respect for others, a formula that looks to be working perfectly well again in Iraq and Afghanistan?


I was already fed up with Hollywood before 9/11. Everytime I'd see a movie that the critics raved about, it always sucked. The more the critics raved, the more it sucked.

Between the preachy left wing politics, the pretentious crap being made by baby boomer and GenX directors, and all the bathroom humor and gratuitous sex scenes, I haven't stepped foot in a theatre or a video store in the past 4 or 5 years.

Robert Redford is a perfect example of what liberals like about other liberals. He appears intelligent, mature, deep thinking, self assured, etc. Rather than get involved in a pointed debate with conservatives, and actually have to defend their positions, most liberals prefer to take comfort in the fact that there's lots of other people who agree with them. Having a guy like Redford on their side makes liberals feel all warm and fuzzy.


The Iraq war lasted a few months and ended when Saddam's fascist government folded like a cheap tent. Since then, we've been fighting and winning the war against islamofascist terrorists and Iraninan proxies (a redundancy).


Robert Redford was partly correct when he said "The problem is not with the people that started this. The problem's with us." The problem is indeed with him and his friends--although he will go to his grave as clueless as he is today.


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