Preface: LtCol S.x MacTemplar -Shadow Warrior

Where to begin? It seems that war is just too big of a topic for Hollywood to handle in 90-110 minutes. Go figure. I know I can’t do it justice in 300-plus pages, either, but it will be more accurate than anything Hollywood can dish up.

I suspect what people want from Hollywood is to take the viewer from innocent civilian to battle-hardened soldier and back again. Do we really want Hollywood to tell us about Charlie’s war in Afghanistan or are we more interested in the conflicts within the soul of the Lion of Panjshir?

Modern war movies seem to be more about telling the story within the story. The other problem with movies is that there is no smell, except of popcorn and spilled fountain drinks. Try to imagine the real smells of war. Then smell the “imagined” ones of fear and death. Do death and fear have a scent? Is it a bad thing if you don’t know the answer to that question?

We are all fascinated with war. It is tribalism at its worst and unveils the darkness within each of our souls. That is why scenes from The Deer Hunter are so hard to watch. We realize that war can take good, decent, and normal people to dark places from which they never can fully return. The movies that touch us the most are those that teach us new ways to think about the common man turned warrior. What makes him take on these unbearable loads? Imagine the burden of command, the weight of a nation upon your very flawed and weak mind and body.

What if, after great personal sacrifice and loss, your president gives away with the stroke of his pen the victory soaked in the blood of your friends and the Marines who believed in you enough to follow your not-always-perfect orders?

Why is war hell? you ask. War is hell because of how the Ruling Class mocks the sacrifices of our warriors. Then there is survivor’s guilt thrown in for good measure.

The best modern war movies do not try to explain war or even human nature. What they do is try to provide a glimpse into the impenetrable psychic conflicts that modern warfare weighs upon the American grunt. One reason that Saving Private Ryan did not really work after the opening scenes is because Tom Hanks was miscast in his role as an infantry officer. He could not and did not give us any sense, other than a shaking hand, of what it is like to order good men to their deaths. The only relief from the burden of command in combat is one’s own death, but in dying what if your replacement is an even more flawed human specimen?

In other words, you have asked me, the Soldier, to go to places and do things for you there that you cannot do for yourself. I have been there and done things as ordered. I am forever changed and not always for the better.

Before spending nearly 30 years in the defense of the greatest nation on Earth’s history, I enjoyed the life of a carefree vagabond with nine lives to give. Now I battle 24/7/11 with tyrants. Tyranny is a beast that cannot be killed but only brought to heel.

Your dilemma is whether or not to accept me as I now am or pretend that you have nothing to do with what I have become. I did not start out this way. I know freedom is not free and that our nation is worth the sacrifice but at what human cost? There is no butcher’s bill too great, physically and/or psychologically, we are unwilling to allow our warriors to pay.

Finally, how do you make sure that America will remain worthy of my efforts to defend her? Will I be mocked in the end by my fellow citizens turning the greatest nation on Earth into something that was not worth fighting, killing, and dying for?

22 thoughts on “Preface: LtCol S.x MacTemplar -Shadow Warrior

  1. “That is why scenes from The Deer Hunter are so hard to watch. We realize that war can take good, decent, and normal people to dark places from which they never can fully return.”

    Director Michael Cimino did a brilliant job splitting that movie in half.
    Part I: You fall in love with these guys and totally relate to their civilian lives. Suddenly, at the beginning of Part II you see them captured by the VC and thrown into water cages where they are fighting off rats. That, unfortunately, is only the beginning of their hellish experiences.

    I’ve seen all the modern war movies and along with Sniper, I thought it was particularly adept at trying to explain the horrors of war. But of course I would bow to your interpretations here.

    Liked by 3 people

        1. Yes but you can choose to carefully form your opinions or just go along with the conventional wisdom which is more often than not bassackwards.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. P.S. The other war scenes that are particularly difficult to watch are those depicting WWI. I’ve always been critical of FDR’s reluctance to get us involved in WWII (I believe Hitler could have been stopped before Prague thereby saving millions of lives), but I understand his antipathy towards World Wars.

    Liked by 2 people

        1. Take a look if. I enjoyed it though one of the two heroic grunts was ridiculously plump for the role. It actually became a distraction for me at some point. My gf tells me to calm down when I start pointing schtuff out to her.

          Liked by 2 people

  3. Speaking of FDR and Hitler, I am reminded of George H.W. Bush’s decision to chase Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait and then leave him to his own devices. Let’s examine the recent fiasco in Afghanistan as well. When will our govt learn that evil only metastasizes and has to be eliminated and/or threatened immediately in order to save lives?

    Trump was the sole exception because he was one of the few presidents to understand the nature of human aggression.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Liz, I think you are far too charitable to members of the ruling class. The problem isn’t that they don’t understand evil. The problem, in too many cases, is that they are evil. I totally include GW Bush in that description. He used the 20th anniversary of 9/11 to speak out against “domestic terrorists” ie, anyone who attends a Trump rally. He said that we are just as bad as the Taliban. He isn’t stupid, Liz. He knows that what he is saying isn’t true.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I truly didn’t interpret his remarks as evil, simply ignorant. I also know he was shocked and appalled by the attack on the Capitol because he comes from a family that adheres to strict social codes.

        You and I could agree on the Clintons however!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. You are far too charitable, Liz. The Bush family are many things, but they are not ignorant. If they really are as ignorant as you say, then they have no business being in charge of the post office, never mind the country. That kind of ignorance is unforgivable. We cannot continue to forgive it.

          I am sorry, I do not take kindly to being compared to Islamic terrorists. Poor little GW Bush was shocked by people milling around the Capitol? If he is that easily shocked, then he has no business in any position of power.

          I guess you could argue that the Clintons are worse, but the Bush family has been covering for and enabling the Clintons for decades. They are not ignorant, Liz. You are far too kind.

          Like

  4. Decades ago, I lived next door to a family of 4. The man of the house had been in the infantry during the Vietnam war. His wife was congenial, a woman who put on a smile and made it appear she had the perfect family. We didn’t know the hell they were going through. He would have PTSD episodes so violent the children would hide under their beds. After I moved out of the area, I found out that he hung himself in the basement of their home.

    His children were so scarred by their childhood that his son ended up in juvie and then in the military. He ended up in prison later. His daughter drifted from one man to another, having children along the way, and never could quite get herself together.

    One person’s trauma rippled across generations.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “There is no butcher’s bill too great, physically and/or psychologically, we are unwilling to allow our warriors to pay.”

      “Why is war hell? you ask. War is hell because of how the Ruling Class mocks the sacrifices of our warriors.”

      I don’t have all the answers. I don’t know how to cure PTSD, but the total apathy with which our ruling class treats Veterans cannot possibly be helping them. There are right now Veterans living in the streets, and the ruling class are wringing their hands, worried about how to take care of the “refugees” from Afghanistan. They never mention Veterans. This is why I say that they are evil. They are not stupid. They are evil.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree, “…the total apathy with which our ruling class treats Veterans cannot possibly be helping them.”

        Nurse Riley tried to warn us during Desert Storm about soldiers being deployed with questionable medications and vaccinations. I had a neighbor with Desert Storm Syndrome and was privy to what she went through. The VA tried to sweep it under the rug and denied soldiers adequate treatment. Many were put on psychotropic medications for mental illnesses. And now, what is a reason given for wanting gun confiscation? Mental health “issues” which are determined by whether or not someone has taken psychotropic meds.

        “Stupid” doesn’t know what it’s doing.
        “Evil” plans ahead for a merciless takeover.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. “If they really are as ignorant as you say, then they have no business being in charge of the post office, never mind the country. ”

    You said it! The Don is very unique for a politician because of his experience with some of the toughest and most ruthless people in this country. This is why I never vote for career pols. They don’t have a clue about the real world.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Hollywood has to allocate at least 50% of all movie time to Diversification, so by the time they work in the Asians, blacks, ghetto’s, Gays, Vegans, Transvestites, and the obligatory anti-Trump stuff, they could not do a short documentary about Grenada.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. “This is why I never vote for career pols.”

    P.S. I did want to mention some that I regret supporting, however:

    Mitt Romney was a superb businessman but quite disappointing as a politician and Ross Perot made a mockery of the presidency by running simply because he had a grudge against G.H.W. and literally handed the WH to Bill Clinton. Yes, I voted for both but am most dismayed about Perot because he had ulterior motives. Romney didn’t disturb me until he became a senator.

    So, not to be repetitive… but I believe we can’t say it enough:

    Trump was an unusual candidate and president in many ways. He was fearless and dedicated to the best interests of his country as opposed to his political career. And I despise Twitter for cutting off his account because he was only expressing what many of us were saying. In fact, we delighted in it! I’ve always compared him to the character Howard Beale in the film Network who inspired people to hang out their windows and shout “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.” 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

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