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The Ugliness of War
09/22/2002

We finally saw Black Hawk Down. Personally, I can't believe people "enjoy" such movies. Yes, it was well done, moving at points, and, of course, had extremely convincing special effects. This last quality brings home some of the necessary reality. Other movies romanticize such nightmares, but war is an ugly, frightening thing, and we should truly despise these despots who make it necessary.

And there's the key. Sometimes war is necessary. I found Black Hawk Down disturbing, but not so unreasonably disturbing that I would allow worse realities in order to avoid the use of the military. In fact, I would argue that such a reaction to the reality of Mogadishu played a role in creating our current international problems.

While not "enjoyable" in any sense having to do with comfort, such films constitute a service to our nation: So that we may never forget the horror that war really is, we must approach it as realistically as possible. I think many "hawks" understand that.

In fact, it occurs to me that the most "romanticized" movies about war are the anti-Vietnam movies of the past 30 years, some of which seemed nearly to present it as a long party during which some tragic heroes met their unfortunate ends, others of which brought the action home to the exciting "happening" that was the United States in those years. I'll have to give more thought to this seeming paradox, but I suspect it has more to do with differing perspectives on life in general than on war, specifically.

Posted by Justin Katz @ 12:53 PM EST