Fury -- an American Movie
Once in a while there emerges from the Hollywood production line of drivel a film noteworthy and deserving special attention. The currently-playing Fury is a story of an American tank crew spearheading through Germany late in WWII. Every American should see this movie, especially the academic boobs in the White House who never served in the military but now make decisions like waging a halfway, sort-of, semi-war against ISIS and sending our troops to fight Ebola in Africa, two misguided uses of our armed forces.
Unlike so many others, this film seems realistic in depicting the chaos and urgency under enemy fire, though the pounding impact of live rounds on armor in the film is much louder than the “whack” of rounds passing through the thin skin of helicopters we flew in Southeast Asia long ago.
There are several reasons Fury is worth seeing. It is not an uplifting film, and it is devoid of the glory that only Hollywood can inject into a war story. It does, however, convey to the audience the ugly brutality of war, the unfair and unforgiving nasty business of killing that leaves permanent scars on cities, landscapes and souls, and how it inflicts on our own troops monotony, fatigue, stupidity, terror, filth, hunger, brushes with death and utter despair. Every American should watch closely and absorb to remember what we send our troops to endure when we commit them to hostilities.
The more perceptive moviegoer might notice examples in this film of the vast number of places for enemy concealment and the folly of depending solely on air power, as the White House is presently doing in attacks on ISIS. No matter how much bombing and pounding from the air and artillery, taking and holding ground to defeat an enemy is the dirty, miserable job of boots on the ground, even in our modern world.
There is a scene in the film of summary execution of a German SS prisoner, something to irritate deep thinkers imagining the glee of liberal writers inserting their moral equivalence of both sides in the war. The reason that scene didn’t bother me is I know there were many times in the European campaign when our forces were moving too fast to take prisoners and couldn’t take the risk of leaving them to fight again, so they killed them. Call it murder if that makes you feel better, but that dark necessity pales in comparison to the systematic evil of the Nazis. Americans were the good guys but following the rules was not always possible. Welcome to the real world of war while the public back home was fed the idealized version.
Unfortunately, these days the idealized version of war seems to be nation-building with rules of engagement designed to win news media points while tying the hands of and escalating the risk to our own troops. We would be far better served, in my opinion, if we avoided optional wars like Iraq and Afghanistan, keeping our powder dry until bad guys like ISIS come out from under their rock to threaten the civilized world, and then without warning use our armed forces to squash them like a bug. We should stop all the public threats by presidents, use our military power only when provoked, and make our enemies whisper to each other in trembling fear around their campfires, “Whatever you do, don’t provoke the crazy Americans.”
As it is, the American public is weary from wars we didn’t have to fight just when an enemy has emerged that we must fight and our neophyte president mixes politics with military strategy and foolishly advertises to our enemy he is taking ground troops off the table, relying on air strikes. In a perfect world our politicians would be veterans who realize hell-on-earth is unleashed when opposing armed forces meet to tear each other to pieces, and that half – measures just get more of our own killed while overwhelming force tends to get the nasty job done quickly.
Terry Garlock can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.