Theodore's World: Heroes matter: The real message of ‘13 Hours’

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January 25, 2016

Heroes matter: The real message of ‘13 Hours’

Heroes matter: The real message of ‘13 Hours’

With the just-released “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi,” director Michael Bay has transcended himself with an emotionally wrenching but inspirational action movie that honors the brotherhood of warriors and American heroism.

The movie is based on the true story “13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi” by writer Mitchell Zuckoff and the security team present at the Islmaist attack in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012.

That attack resulted in the deaths of four Americans, and the movie has been anticipated by conservatives as the film that will put the nail in the coffin of candidate Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, over her alleged inaction as secretary of state during the assault, and the subsequent coverup.

But like the book, the movie is apolitical. Hillary, mentioned barely at all in the book, is completely absent in the film. The focus is the firsthand experience of the warriors at the center of the storm — “when bullets flew, buildings burned and mortars rained,” as Zuckoff writes.

Brothers-in-arms Jack Silva, Tyrone Woods, D.B. Benton, Mark Geist, John Tiegen and Kris Paronto — all former Navy SEALS or Marines — had no direct knowledge of the politics that abandoned them to their fate; they knew only it was up to them to stave off enemy forces swarming the compound in which they, a handful of State Department civilians and Ambassador Chris Stevens — ultimately one of the four casualties — were holed up.

Bay told Fox News, “The politics got in the way of this great human story that happened, and this is really to honor these type of men that do this every day — that put themselves in harm’s way — that’s what this movie is about.”

He continued: “I’ve been friends with many, many SEALs . . . They’re very selfless, and this is a very tragic story. It avoids the politics.”

While it avoids an overt political statement, it nevertheless serves as a clear indictment of a political class that is often unappreciative of those selfless men of action.

That class is represented in the movie by the CIA station chief, a by-the-book bureaucrat dripping with contempt for the security team’s absence of diplomatic tact and lack of Ivy League credentials.

He is repulsed by their hyper-masculine physicality and ever-present weaponry. But when the outpost is overrun by Islamists who care nothing for diplomacy or an Ivy League education, the station chief is paralyzed by his inability to grasp the life-or-death nature of the emergency.

Tyrone Woods takes the wheel: “You’re in my world now.” That world is the arena of violence and action, not diplomacy and politics. It is an atavistic, uncivilized realm in which heroes thrive.

One is reminded of the familiar adage that people sleep peacefully in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf. The warriors in “13 Hours” were the rough men with guns in Benghazi.

But they are not mere action-flick caricatures. Director Bay effectively brings these men to life, drawing us into their personal lives as fathers and husbands eager to reunite with their families but compelled to stay in godforsaken hellholes, because that’s where heroes are needed.

Bay also captures the emotional toll it takes on those extraordinary men to fight from dusk to dawn, all the while only a bullet away from leaving their kids to be raised by another man, as Woods puts it.

These men accept that toll because they value service over self. They are the sheepdogs protecting their flock from the wolves.

In the movie, when Woods reminds his crew that they are not obligated to risk their lives by rushing in where angels fear to tread, not a man among them hesitates to commit. Heroism is the ultimate altruism.

By the end of the movie, the humbled CIA station chief confesses to Jack Silva, “I’m proud to know Americans like you.”

Wild Thing's comment..........

Excellent write up. I recommend this film highly.

Posted by Wild Thing at January 25, 2016 12:55 AM


Hoping to see the movie next Sunday.

Posted by: BobF at January 25, 2016 08:59 AM