War. Guns. Terrorists.
Do I really have to call “SPOILERS” on a movie about an event thats been in the news for years?
Probably. There’s a lot more than what the news covered.
BQB here with a review of 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi.
Hello 3.5 readers.
I’m just going to say it. I almost thought about not writing this review because I do my best to keep this blog non-political. This blog is about books, writing, and my adventures as a magic bookshelf caretaker forced to launch a writing career in order to satisfy the whims of a maniacal alien overlord known as the Mighty Potentate.
All hail the Mighty Potentate.
But – it is a movie. And it is a pretty good one. And I do write movie reviews soo…here it goes.
However, before I begin, please remember that whether you’re a Democrat, or a Republican, or a member of some other party, please know that I still want you to like me and more importantly, I want you to spend lots and lots of money on the books I one day hope to put out whenever I get around to writing them.
Where to start? The whole situation was a mess. After Qadaffi, the country’s dictator, was ousted, Libya descended into chaos (well, much more chaos than usual) with rival gangs vying for territory and control.
There were two U.S. locations in Benghazi involved – a State Department compound and a CIA site.
It became pretty clear that Libya was becoming so dangerous that U.S. personnel needed to either leave or more security forces had to be added.
Neither happened. Instead, the government sent Ambassador Chris Stevens, a high level target for terrorists, to stay at the State Department compound. According to the film, the U.S. government felt that the time was ripe for diplomacy with Libya (they’ll like us because we helped get rid of Qadaffi!) and that additional security would send an unfriendly message to the Libyans (because, you know, Libya is world renowned for its hospitality.)
Long story short, a group of CIA security contractors (John Krakinski from the Office and that guy who plays Pornstache on Orange is the New Black were the only actors I recognized) travel to the ambassador’s residence (when it is under attack) in an attempt to save Stevens.
SPOILER ALERT FOR PEOPLE WHO DON’T READ NEWSPAPERS OR WATCH CNN – Stevens dies when the ambassador’s residence is set on fire. The CIA contractors manage to save Stevens’ security detail.
The group returns to the CIA location and whammo the terrorists start attacking there. The contractors spend a long ass night fighting off wave after wave of attackers. Perhaps I didn’t pay as much attention to the press coverage as I should have, but I never realized just how intense and long that battle was, so props to the security forces for fending off the bad guys for so long.
By the end of it all the deceased included:
Ambassador Chris Stevens
Information Officer Sean Smith
CIA Operatives Glenn Doherty and Tyrone Woods
From the movie, its clear that there were many acts of bravery, these dudes taking on all kinds of heat from all sides all night and its something I certainly couldn’t have done.
Now here comes the hard part.
It is clear that were a lot of bad decision made by the powers that be. And something I never realized from the news coverage – that CIA location had a whole helluvalot of people working there without much security.
A small security force fended off a much larger terrorist attack and saved the day but holy crap, had they not done so a lot of people would have been slaughtered. Way too many people being protected by too few.
They should have either been allowed to clear out or been provided with additional manpower. More help should have arrived sooner when the attack began. Throughout the movie, theres help nearby that can be deployed, but all kinds of ridiculous, bureaucratic nonsense intervenes.
Is this opinion I’m about to say popular? Probably not. But here it goes. You, the public, were totally lied too. Bad decision making let this whole mess happen and then the government tried to cover it up with some nonsense that it was a spontaneous protest over an anti-Islamic video that got out of control and could never have been predicted.
Sigh. Yeah. Protestors don’t have mortars. Protestors don’t have training. Protestors aren’t heavily armed with AKs and so on.
The government really should have just been straight with people and been like, “Yup. We screwed up. Here’s what we did wrong and here’s what we’ll do so it doesn’t happen again.”
Another issue the film raises that we didn’t hear much about in the media – a number of good Libyans did come to the security team’s aid. Some fought along side with them in the attempt to rescue the ambassador. Others provided them with information “i.e. don’t go that way there’s bad guys over there, etc.” A Libyan interpreter who could have left at the start sticks with the team till the end.
And after the attack, over a hundred thousand Libyans held a demonstration to state they did not support the attack.
Soo…ok…the Middle East is a place of great turmoil, but it should be remembered that not everyone there is a total dick.
As for the election…Hilary did get up and make the statement, “What difference does it make?” i.e. was it an attack or was it a protest over videos. I’m sorry. It does make a difference. Government needs to be honest with people.
Does that mean Trump is any better? No. I have misgivings about a candidate who feels “schlonged” is acceptable vocabulary for the leader of the free world.
To break my non-political rule just this once, this may be the election where South Park’s admonition that all elections come down between the choice between a douche or a turd sandwich is truer than ever.
Hell, it might be the first election where I don’t even vote.
But…you should vote for whoever you want and still feel welcome in my 3.5 readers club. And more importantly, you should a) not hate me for briefly dipping a toe into political waters for purposes of a movie review and b) more, more importantly, buy lots of copies of my future books that have yet to be written.
Finally, one issue the movie points out to take away from all of this. There’s a tendency in the media to treat wartime security contracts like crap, like they’re evil cutthroat mercenaries or something but its obvious that they also do a lot of good and in this case, prevented a lot of people from being killed.