I know it’s been a while since I’ve commented on Movie Mondays, but to be honest, I just haven’t seen that many movies lately.
Last weekend, I had a 2 hour stint free, and I went to see 13 Hours, the “true” story of the attack in Benghazi Libya which has provoked more than a little outrage at the current Secretary of State.
I knew it wasn’t going to be too political, but it seems like those responsible for laying out the story have been politically motivated in some sense, and the narrative seems to be lost with many Americans. Working in and around several countries in the Middle East I thought I’d just go and see what all the hype was about, and I was impressed.
The Basic Story
Anyone who has followed Benghazi from news outlets to Congressional hearings has an opinion on what happened. Luckily, Director Michael Bay, put together a seemingly accurate account of what happened the night of September 11, 2011. It seems pretty logical that America should be well aware of attacks memorializing the biggest Terror attack on U.S. soil (9-11), but it seems the authority responsible for protecting Benghazi were security “light” that day.
The basic story is:
America had a secret CIA base in Benghazi at the time collecting Intel for America concerning the Libyan conflict. After Gaddafi was gone Libya spun into a wild west with arms to the hilt.
At the same time, The State Department tried to open a Diplomatic outpost to begin rebuilding relationship with the west.
The CIA base hired ex-special forces soldiers for the security detail
The State Department had a handful of security from Libya and a couple of guys to protect the Ambassador, Chris Stevens.
On the night of September 11, a mob of pro-Islamic-extremists stormed the State Department compound resulting in the death of two State Department officials and several Libyans working on the outpost grounds.
Then the story begins…
CIA Black Ops
One of the most compelling parts of the story for me was the fact we had this CIA black operation going on in Libya. I wasn’t aware of the secrecy component of the story, and the need to make sure no one knew that operation existed.
As I watched I just wondered, What would America do if it found a secret intelligence compound from Iran that existed in Dallas Texas? And maybe there is such a thing. I’m not really privy to any intelligence trade craft, so it seemed like an innocent question. I just don’t know how long an open carry society would allow that place to continue.
In any event, the ex-military-special ops guys heard the State compound being attacked, and the story really picks up steam. The decision on whether or not to support the State Department, or the black CIA compound was at the crest of the problem. Who protects who when everything starts going wrong? And then, who has the authority to call in help when imminent take over happens?
The American Soldiers
I’ve seen a lot of movies portraying Soldiers with missions that seem impossible, and most are a little far-fetched. With the endorsement of the contractors from Benghazi, this movie is supposed to have the closest narrative to what really went on.
After the movie ended, I sat in the quiet of people getting up out of their chairs to walk out, and found myself just praying.
I prayed for the families who have to endure this war-like lifestyle. It must be incredibly hard to watch a husband, a father, a brother, or a son leave to go into harm’s way.
I also prayed for the soldiers. I know most who join the military do so out of extreme sacrifice. They want to serve for the protection of the country, and many times find themselves in a quagmire asking themselves why? how? and when? only to come up with strange unexplainable answers.
I prayed for Libya. It must be so hard to watch a life you knew turn into a life of political, economic, and religious turmoil.
Overall, I just thought how impressive these men are to sacrifice themselves for the protection of others.
The Libyan Mothers
I was having lunch with an old friend Saturday night, and he said, “you know the part that really struck me. It wasn’t a big special effect scene, but rather; a short insignificant B-roll where the mothers of the Libyans who died on the battle field mourned over the loss of their sons. ”
So many times we look at war from a win vs. loose perspective. And although history proves some conflict to eliminate evil (i.e. WWII) war is full of loss on both sides of the battle field.
Death and loss are easy to justify when you play a video game and have multiple lives, but when it’s your son or daughter, father or brother, it’s as deep a loss no matter what uniform you wear or allegiance you pledge.
In conclusion, I would suggest you go see 13 Hours. The story seems accurate. The writing holds true to the book. The actors kept a realistic dialogue without succumbing to the easy cheesy short lines of humor. And I promise you’ll come out with a different perspective from the one you had going in.