Monday, November 24, 2008

A Marine Hero in Afghanistan 

From a report in the Marine Corps News on November 18, 2008:
FARAH PROVINCE, Afghanistan � In the city of Shewan, approximately 250 insurgents ambushed 30 Marines and paid a heavy price for it...

�The day started out with a 10-kilometer patrol with elements mounted and dismounted, so by the time we got to Shewan, we were pretty beat,� said a designated marksman who requested to remain unidentified. �Our vehicles came under a barrage of enemy RPGs (rocket propelled grenades) and machine gun fire. One of our �humvees� was disabled from RPG fire, and the Marines inside dismounted and laid down suppression fire so they could evacuate a Marine who was knocked unconscious from the blast.�

The vicious attack that left the humvee destroyed and several of the Marines pinned down in the kill zone sparked an intense eight-hour battle as the platoon desperately fought to recover their comrades. After recovering the Marines trapped in the kill zone, another platoon sergeant personally led numerous attacks on enemy fortified positions while the platoon fought house to house and trench to trench in order to clear through the enemy ambush site.

�The biggest thing to take from that day is what Marines can accomplish when they�re given the opportunity to fight,� the sniper said. �A small group of Marines met a numerically superior force and embarrassed them in their own backyard. The insurgents told the townspeople that they were stronger than the Americans, and that day we showed them they were wrong.�

During the battle, the designated marksman single handedly thwarted a company-sized enemy RPG and machinegun ambush by reportedly killing 20 enemy fighters with his devastatingly accurate precision fire. He selflessly exposed himself time and again to intense enemy fire during a critical point in the eight-hour battle for Shewan in order to kill any enemy combatants who attempted to engage or maneuver on the Marines in the kill zone. What made his actions even more impressive was the fact that he didn�t miss any shots, despite the enemies� rounds impacting within a foot of his fighting position.

�I was in my own little world,� the young corporal said. �I wasn�t even aware of a lot of the rounds impacting near my position, because I was concentrating so hard on making sure my rounds were on target.�

After calling for close-air support, the small group of Marines pushed forward and broke the enemies� spirit as many of them dropped their weapons and fled the battlefield. At the end of the battle, the Marines had reduced an enemy stronghold, killed more than 50 insurgents and wounded several more.

�I didn�t realize how many bad guys there were until we had broken through the enemies� lines and forced them to retreat. It was roughly 250 insurgents against 30 of us,� the corporal said. �It was a good day for the Marine Corps. We killed a lot of bad guys, and none of our guys were seriously injured.�
(Noted by Michael Ledeen at NRO.)

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Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Chronicles of Narnia, Prince Caspian #2 

In this earlier post I talked here about my reaction to the movie, Prince Caspian. My particular fascination with the film was the incredible use of technology. It still amazes me to see what can be done with human imagination allowed to reign free. Couple this environment with the technology we have available today and one enjoys a fantastic visual journey.

Others have seen the movie and posted their comments here and here. The author of the first review thinks the film producers took a bit too much liberty from the book but his kids loved it. We both agree that we need more films like this one. The second review indicates that the Prince Caspian story was weak and the movie makes for a better tale.

Take your pick of opinions but go see the movie, and take you kids.


Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Chronicles of Narnia, Prince Caspian 

Prince Caspian opened in movie theaters this weekend. It adapts for the big screen the fourth in a series of seven Narnia novels by C.S. Lewis.

The film includes all the special effects you would want: incredibly realistic talking animals, "living" creatures of all types (trees, water, etc.) . The ingenuity and creativity are simply amazing. Taking an author's words, in this case, those of C.S. Lewis, and making them come alive is a skill and talent we just assume is the norm - it's not.

The basic storyline is straightforward: Prince Caspian, the 10th in a line of Caspians, learns that his father was murdered by his uncle, the evil prince, Miraz. His tutor saves his life by helping Caspian escape from his uncle. As Caspian flees to the magic woods of Narnia, he gets hurt, uses a magic horn and unknowingly summons the four English children back to Narnia to fight the good fight because Caspian's people now have a chance to be set free from their oppressors.

This "war" movie like the blockbuster "Lord of the Rings" trilogy recognizes that it can be right to fight for truth, decency and to remove a tyrannical ruler. One hears the movie's characters debating whether or not they should make the fight; they conclude a chance for freedom is worth the risk. This movie's approach contrasts with the latest attempts by Hollywood to portray war as always wrong, especially with American civilians and soldiers as villains. These films have done very poorly at the box office. Perhaps this is because Hollywood does not understand that there are good fights and freedom must be defended, not taken for granted. Hollywood's bias showing Americans as bad guys simply doesn't go down well with us. Disney understands people will see war movies, even if fiction, when the good guys win.

C.S. Lewis, a WWI wounded soldier, truly understood the horrors of war but he also understood that tyranny was worse.

Update - May 18
First comment by someone on the left: "Comparing Caspian to an illegal invasion of Iraq. Good one!"

This is typical of people on the left. If you read the above post, there is no mention of Iraq, Afghanistan, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, WWI, etc. yet the commenter immediately jumped from "some wars" to concluding I'm talking about Iraq. This is the same way Democrat Presidential candidate, Obama responded when he automatically assumed Bush's comments about appease-
ment were directed at Obama. Frankly, one might conclude Obama really is an appeaser or he would not have reacted so strongly or quickly. Hmmmm

The comment author also has a unique definition of "illegal" war. The US Senate, including a majority of Democrats and Senator Clinton voted to support the Iraq invasion. Subsequent reports have also documented Iraq's ties with Al Qaeda and its role in training suicide murderers. In addition the US had the support of 43 coalition nations. We may disagree about the Iraq war but there was nothing illegal about it. Just because the Democrats want to find a way to trash our president, does not make denying reality ok.