- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 20, 2002

Odds for Oscars

"Back in January, my hunch was that the Oscar smackdown would be between Ridley Scott's 'Black Hawk Down' and Ron Howard's 'A Beautiful Mind,' pitting Hollywood's notion of inspiration for our times (even massacres have heroes) against Hollywood's notion of eternal verities (love conquers all, and aren't all eggheads bonkers by definition?). Between them, I gave Opie's sappy but intermittently flavorful movie the edge, mainly because, to its credit, Scott's phenomenally detailed re-creation of battlefield chaos doesn't conceal that the Rangers' valor in Somalia didn't accomplish squat and also, less to its credit, doesn't find that fact bothersome. Then again, with Frodo playing George W. Bush to Gandalf's cosmic Donald Rumsfeld, that smasheroo 'The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring' had inspiration and verities both, so what do I know?"

Tom Carson, writing on "The Fellowship of the Wrong," in the April issue of Esquire

The good guys

"Hollywood has long been mired in a quagmire of cynicism about the Vietnam War. The new film 'We Were Soldiers' is, happily, a different story and a far richer one. Mel Gibson stars as Lt. Col. Harold G. Moore, who in 1965 led 450 men of the 1st Battalion of the 7th Cavalry, named after Custer's old unit, into … the la Drang Valley, near the Cambodian border, in the Central Highlands of what used to be South Vietnam. …

"Like Custer at the Little Big Horn, Moore and his men discover they've encountered a huge enemy force. Immediately they are surrounded by some 2,000 regulars of the [North Vietnamese] Army and hanging on for dear life. … In the next three days, 234 men of the 1st Battalion would be killed. …

"The fundamental reason audiences can accept the Americans of 'We Were Soldiers' as the good guys is that America at her best stands for that which is universally good. …

"I think the Founding Fathers understood something that tyrants despise and fear: Patriotism works best (as do films with patriotic themes) when love of country is transcended by love of God, lest the state become supreme and citizens become obedient subjects, and the individual ceases to exist. When battle is done, when love means shedding blood for the man next to you, and the dead are buried and the wounded healed, love is what remains."

J. Richard Pearcey, writing on "We Were Soldiers," Thursday in Boundless at www.boundless.org

Thanks, America

"The charade of Yasser Arafat as peacemaker is over.

"It's no longer a matter of Arafat saying one thing and doing another. His evil words and deeds now match one another.

"Last week, for instance, Arafat's 'Voice of Palestine' Radio referred to the March 9 suicide bombing in a Jerusalem restaurant and massacre at a Netanya tourist hotel as part of the boss' 'heroic martyrdom operations.' …

"Americans can no longer pretend Arafat's war against Israel is somehow disconnected from Osama bin Laden's terror campaign against the U.S., either. It is one in the same struggle, as even a cursory perusal of Arafat's Fatah Web site shows.

"'American imperialism is set to cause chaos again in 2002,' blares one editorial. Another promotes the pro-Taliban, anti-American party line. Always Washington and Jerusalem are linked. …

"Understand that Fatah is Arafat's own creation. … And the U.S. bankrolls Arafat to the tune of $100 million a year.

"That's a nice way to thank the U.S., isn't it?

Joseph Farah, writing on "Stop the murder and hatred," Monday in World Net Daily at www.worldnetdaily.com

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