- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Actor John Krasinski said it’s “a shame” that people on both the left and right have used his movie “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” to politicize the tragedy that left four Americans dead.

In the Michael Bay-directed film, Mr. Krasinski plays one of a six-member team of CIA security contractors who defended an American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, during a Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attack. Conservatives like Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz have used the film to criticize then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, while liberals have dismissed the movie as propaganda meant to damage the Democratic front-runner.

“I think it’s a shame that a movie like this would be used so much as a political football,” Mr. Krasinski told The Daily Beast in an interview at the Sundance Film Festival. “Now, I’d be naïve to say that people weren’t going to take this politically. If that was your agenda, and you wanted to see this movie politically through your own lens, you were going to do that whether we want you to or not. And that’s your right. What I don’t think is fair, and what I think is a shame — and actually I’ll go so far as to say a total dishonor — is to not at least acknowledge what this story is: acknowledging these six guys. These six guys need that acknowledgement, and they represent the men and women who serve all around the world. So by just taking this as a political football of ‘this movie is a total propaganda piece,’ you are robbing people of the ability to see what these men and women are actually going through.

“I am actually slightly disgusted at the idea that applauding our military has become a political thing rather than universal,” he said. “It’s universal. That should be an immediate acknowledgment, and then all the political opinions, conversations, and punditry is part of the process. I would never say we shouldn’t talk politically about stuff — as long as step one is acknowledging these guys and what they went through that night.

“I don’t care if you’re Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, or Hillary Clinton herself,” Mr. Krasinski continued. “All of them can safely say that if the movie succeeds in portraying these guys as heroes, then that’s an important thing that we should all acknowledge. Now here comes my political spin on it: even Ted Cruz, for him not to say it acknowledges our heroes but to make it about that night and connecting it to Hillary, you’re allowed to do that, just say how heroic these guys are first. Give them their due. And then say, ‘And now I’m going to talk to you about how it relates to Hillary Clinton.’ But for the most part, that’s not what’s happened.

“The truth is, we should all be proud of these guys, and the moment you politicize it, the more you’re moving us toward a world that I don’t want to be living in; a world where people want to score political points at all costs,” he said. “On either side, this is what I hope people learn: In moments like this, when we’re talking about the military, don’t score points. We should all be on the same page.”

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