13 Hours: A different take
Various and sundry nail-biters losing sleep over Michael Bay's just released 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, worried sick that it might pose a threat to the coronation (um, election) of Hillary Clinton as president of the United States, can relax. The movie actually does a good job of covering up the criminal incompetence of the Obama administration and its then secretary of state, the aforementioned H. Clinton.
Back in the day when movies weren't just glorified video games, it was made clear early on who the good guys were and who the bad. Westerns and crime stories pretty much followed this formula, even if the good guys weren't always perfectly good, nor the bad guys perfectly evil. Audiences rooted for the good guys and went home happy when they won and the bad guys died of lead poisoning.
So who are the good guys and who are the bad guys in 13 Hours?
The good guys are obvious. Who are the bad guys?
The first one to put in an appearance is Libya's former strongman, Col. Moammar Gaddafi, in power from 1969 to 2011. A grainy clip shows him being dragged away and summarily shot. Jubilation followed the tyrant's demise, U.N.-supervised free and fair elections were held immediately, and a pro-American government was installed dedicated to keeping a lid on terrorism throughout North Africa and beyond. Another fabulous Obama administration foreign policy success! Woo-hoo!
Yes, I know, pure fiction – just like all the other Obama administration foreign policy "successes" aided and abetted by then-Secretary of State H. Clinton, now, incredibly, running for president. That's not what happened at all in Libya after Gaddafi. ISIS thugs currently run the place.
Speaking of Madame, who we now know was one of the bad guys because she turned down request after request after request after request after…for additional security from Ambassador Chris Stevens. Does this come through loud and clear in the movie? To quote the commercial: not exactly.
What we get is maybe a three-second clip of Ambassador Stevens (Matt Letscher) expressing concern over inadequate security at his compound. That's it!
We get a short clip followed by lots and lots of action to make sure the audience doesn't pause to figure out who was really at fault that Stevens and others of his staff met with a violent death. In the blink of an eye, Clinton's criminal disregard for the lives of Americans disappears off the screen, never to be mentioned again – not even at the end of the movie, when we learn what happened to the protagonists.
We now know that U.N. ambassador Susan Rice – since promoted to head the National Security Council – was also one of the bad guys. Rice showed up on five networks the Sunday after the Benghazi attack with some absurd story about an anti-Islam video sparking the violence. Is that in the movie? Again: not exactly. In another three-second clip, we see D.S. Dave Ubben (Demetrius Grosse) expressing skepticism that the video had anything to do with the mayhem he and his comrades were facing. That's it! In the blink of an eye, Susan Rice, her State Department boss Hillary Clinton, and the entire Obama administration get another pass.
You might be tempted to think that the terrorists are portrayed as bad guys. You would be wrong. They come across as enemy soldiers – lethal and determined, to be sure, but nothing more than that. Islamic jihad? What's that? As the movie draws to a close, we are shown a field littered with bodies, with women clad in black crying over loved ones. There's even a shot of a child crying over his dead father. Moral equivalence is a card the left plays time and again. Michael Bay, Michael Moore, whoever.
There is one unambiguous bad guy in the movie, and he's an American. No kidding. He is the CIA officer in charge, "Bob" (David Constabile). Faced with urgent pleas to be allowed to go over to help Stevens, "Bob" tells the paramilitary crew to "stand down" several times. Thus, the movie places the death of Stevens and his staff squarely on the shoulders of a senior CIA officer – or, if you will, the CIA. Once again, the real culprits get a pass while the left’s favorite whipping boy takes the blame.
"Bob" tells the guys they can't go over to help Stevens because they have no jurisdiction, or something like that. Gee, we're supposed to think, ain't that just like a typical Washington bureaucrat – plays by the book, no matter what. That "Bob" might have had good operational reasons is not explored.
The movie is worth seeing. Just keep in mind that the fall guy shown on the screen is a ruse to deflect attention from those really at fault for the Benghazi disaster, which was covered up by the press to make sure Barack Obama was re-elected. That's not a story Hollywood will tell any time soon.