Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Spring Fund Drive: Keep CounterPunch Afloat
CounterPunch is a lifeboat of sanity in today’s turbulent political seas. Please make a tax-deductible donation and help us continue to fight Trump and his enablers on both sides of the aisle. Every dollar counts!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Boycott Mel Gibson’s We Were Soldiers

Kenneth Turan’s review of ‘We Were Soldiers’ on March 1, had the courage to pan the film as simple-minded and devoid of historical context. He was right on both counts, but I must add the movie also lies massively about the historical event itself. The book on which this stinker of a movie was based, ‘We Were Soldiers Once…And Young’, was written by one of the battalion commanders, and a journalist who was on hand for most of the LZ X-Ray battle. While the book itself was simple minded and devoid of historical context, it is, at least, brutally clear on what went down.

The movie, on the other hand, completely changes the end of the story. In the movie, after Mel (The Patriot) Gibson and his men of the First Battalion/Seventh Cavalry (1/7) kill all the North Vietnamese in the neighborhood, they left the field of battle as battered but victorious heroes, leaving nothing behind but a pile of dead Vietnamese. In reality, 1/7 was relieved by a column of troops from Second Battalion/Seventh Cavalry (2/7), who two days later were decimated in an intense ambush while moving to LZ Albany. The official count of American casualties from 1/7 was 49 dead and 124 wounded, and from 2/7 was 155 dead and 123 wounded. Thus, the movie has the temerity to end on a victorious note after only one quarter of the American fatalities had been inflicted.

Why did they do this? Randall (Pearl Harbor) Wallace–producer, director and screen writer–could have easily ended the movie as he began it. The movie began with a short segment of a deadly ambush on a French column in the same valley ten years earlier; it should have ended with at least a passing reference to the dying that happened after Mel Gibson’s character left the battlefield. The audience would have perhaps left the theater with a much different taste in their mouths, and a much more accurate understanding of the historical truth. However, apparently Mr. Wallace was more interested in a little flag waving, and wanted to send the audience home with a patriotic buzz.

This film should have been named ‘Big Fat Liar’, but I understand that name has already been taken.

Paul Cox served in Vietnam from 1969-1970 as a USMC grunt. He is a member of Veterans for Peace, Chapter 69 San Francisco, CA.

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
May 25, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
A Major Win for Trump’s War Cabinet
Andrew Levine
Could Anything Cause the GOP to Dump Trump?
Pete Tucker
Is the Washington Post Soft on Amazon?
Conn Hallinan
Iran: Sanctions & War
Jeffrey St. Clair
Out of Space: John McCain, Telescopes and the Desecration of Mount Graham
John Laforge
Senate Puts CIA Back on Torture Track
David Rosen
Santa Fe High School Shooting: an Incel Killing?
Gary Leupp
Pompeo’s Iran Speech and the 21 Demands
Jonathan Power
Bang, Bang to Trump
Robert Fisk
You Can’t Commit Genocide Without the Help of Local People
Brian Cloughley
Washington’s Provocations in the South China Sea
Louis Proyect
Requiem for a Mountain Lion
Robert Fantina
The U.S. and Israel: a Match Made in Hell
Kevin Martin
The Libya Model: It’s Not Always All About Trump
Susie Day
Trump, the NYPD and the People We Call “Animals”
Pepe Escobar
How Iran Will Respond to Trump
Sarah Anderson
When CEO’s Earn 5,000 Times as Much as a Company’s Workers
Ralph Nader
Audit the Outlaw Military Budget Draining America’s Necessities
Chris Wright
The Significance of Karl Marx
David Schultz
Indict or Not: the Choice Mueller May Have to Make and Which is Worse for Trump
George Payne
The NFL Moves to Silence Voices of Dissent
Razan Azzarkani
America’s Treatment of Palestinians Has Grown Horrendously Cruel
Katalina Khoury
The Need to Evaluate the Human Constructs Enabling Palestinian Genocide
George Ochenski
Tillerson, the Truth and Ryan Zinke’s Interior Department
Jill Richardson
Our Immigration Debate Needs a Lot More Humanity
Martha Rosenberg
Once Again a Slaughterhouse Raid Turns Up Abuses
Judith Deutsch
Pension Systems and the Deadly Hand of the Market
Shamus Cooke
Oregon’s Poor People’s Campaign and DSA Partner Against State Democrats
Thomas Barker
Only a Mass Struggle From Below Can End the Bloodshed in Palestine
Binoy Kampmark
Australia’s China Syndrome
Missy Comley Beattie
Say “I Love You”
Ron Jacobs
A Photographic Revenge
Saurav Sarkar
War and Moral Injury
Clark T. Scott
The Shell Game and “The Bank Dick”
Seth Sandronsky
The State of Worker Safety in America
Thomas Knapp
Making Gridlock Great Again
Manuel E. Yepe
The US Will Have to Ask for Forgiveness
Laura Finley
Stop Blaming Women and Girls for Men’s Violence Against Them
Rob Okun
Raising Boys to Love and Care, Not to Kill
Christopher Brauchli
What Conflicts of Interest?
Winslow Myers
Real Security
George Wuerthner
Happy Talk About Weeds
Abel Cohen
Give the People What They Want: Shame
David Yearsley
King Arthur in Berlin
Douglas Valentine
Memorial Day
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail