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
January 18, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
Star Wars Revisited: One More Nightmare From Trump
John Davis
“Weather Terrorism:” a National Emergency
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Sometimes an Establishment Hack is Just What You Need
Joshua Frank
Montana Public Schools Block Pro-LGBTQ Websites
Louisa Willcox
Sky Bears, Earth Bears: Finding and Losing True North
Robert Fisk
Bernie Sanders, Israel and the Middle East
Robert Fantina
Pompeo, the U.S. and Iran
David Rosen
The Biden Band-Aid: Will Democrats Contain the Insurgency?
Nick Pemberton
Human Trafficking Should Be Illegal
Steve Early - Suzanne Gordon
Did Donald Get The Memo? Trump’s VA Secretary Denounces ‘Veteran as Victim’ Stereotyping
Andrew Levine
The Tulsi Gabbard Factor
John W. Whitehead
The Danger Within: Border Patrol is Turning America into a Constitution-Free Zone
Dana E. Abizaid
Kafka’s Grave: a Pilgrimage in Prague
Rebecca Lee
Punishment Through Humiliation: Justice For Sexual Assault Survivors
Dahr Jamail
A Planet in Crisis: The Heat’s On Us
John Feffer
Trump Punts on Syria: The Forever War is Far From Over
Dave Lindorff
Shut Down the War Machine!
Glenn Sacks
LA Teachers’ Strike: Student Voices of the Los Angeles Education Revolt  
Mark Ashwill
The Metamorphosis of International Students Into Honorary US Nationalists: a View from Viet Nam
Ramzy Baroud
The Moral Travesty of Israel Seeking Arab, Iranian Money for its Alleged Nakba
Ron Jacobs
Allen Ginsberg Takes a Trip
Jake Johnston
Haiti by the Numbers
Binoy Kampmark
No-Confidence Survivor: Theresa May and Brexit
Victor Grossman
Red Flowers for Rosa and Karl
Cesar Chelala
President Donald Trump’s “Magical Realism”
Christopher Brauchli
An Education in Fraud
Paul Bentley
The Death Penalty for Canada’s Foreign Policy?
David Swanson
Top 10 Reasons Not to Love NATO
Louis Proyect
Breaking the Left’s Gay Taboo
Kani Xulam
A Saudi Teen and Freedom’s Shining Moment
Ralph Nader
Bar Barr or Regret this Dictatorial Attorney General
Jessicah Pierre
A Dream Deferred: MLK’s Dream of Economic Justice is Far From Reality
Edward J. Martin
Glossip v. Gross, the Eighth Amendment and the Torture Court of the United States
Chuck Collins
Shutdown Expands the Ranks of the “Underwater Nation”
Paul Edwards
War Whores
Peter Crowley
Outsourcing Still Affects Us: This and AI Worker Displacement Need Not be Inevitable
Alycee Lane
Trump’s Federal Government Shutdown and Unpaid Dishwashers
Martha Rosenberg
New Questions About Ritual Slaughter as Belgium Bans the Practice
Nicky Reid
Panarchy as Full Spectrum Intersectionality
Jill Richardson
Hollywood’s Fat Shaming is Getting Old
Nyla Ali Khan
A Woman’s Wide Sphere of Influence Within Folklore and Social Practices
Richard Klin
Dial Israel: Amos Oz, 1939-2018
David Rovics
Of Triggers and Bullets
David Yearsley
Bass on Top: the Genius of Paul Chambers
Elliot Sperber
Eddie Spaghetti’s Alphabet
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail