Monday, April 02, 2007

A Kinder Softer (and responsible) Soldier

One of the biggest movies from the past few months (and probably so far this year) has been "300" which, since it's release on March 9, has grossed US$180,000,000. In case you've been living in a hole, the movie is about a group of heavily outnumbered soldiers who sacrifice their lives for their country and what they believe in. "300" has performed very well at the box office and while a majority of the reviews have been favorable, from what I've heard (I don't read reviews), the film has been criticized for being overly violent, exaggerated and barbaric.

Well, I think it's just lovely that the 15 British sailors and marines who were captured by Iran have decided to show exactly how far the modern day soldier has come in comparison to their 480BC representations. Not only will they admit to their errors (substantiated or not), but they'll diagram their mistakes, with military precision, on a conveniently provided map (with pointer). Given the opportunity, they'll even write a letter and wax philosophical concerning troop withdrawal from other countries or condemn their own government for getting them into such a situation. The new 'sensitive' soldiers are also quick to remind everyone how friendly, informative and accommodating their captors are (and have been) because we wouldn't want to confuse them with the other folks from that region who cut off people's heads while they're screaming or use women and children as suicide bombers. In fact, I'm sure that at this very moment they're all sitting around, hand in hand-flowers in their hair, with their captors humming some Iranian version of "Kumbaya" while Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reads a poem about peace, love and everyone getting along (unless, of course, you're Jewish).

It really does my heart good to know that the military has evolved beyond the callous and unfeeling standard of, "Name, rank and serial number" and I can't, for the life of me, believe that some people actually think the British soldiers may have been coerced by threats into saying or writing the things that they have. Shocking! Everyone knows that soldiers are trained to ignore threats of personal harm and withstand inflicted pain for days and even weeks at a time in order to protect the greater good of that which they represent and while these new 'feeling' soldiers may have evolved to a higher and less barbaric plane of existence than their Spartan ancestors, I'm positive they still carry the same rigid faith in their leaders, their country and themselves.

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