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Brian Evankovich

Hollywood and War, Then And Now
By Brian Evankovich
Apr 13, 2004 - 11:53:00 PM

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I'm a big old time radio show fan - the mystery, comedy, news and drama programs on the radio back before there was TV, for those of you who didn't know there ever was such a thing - and have amassed quite a collection.

Recently I had the chance to listen to a tape of the 1943 Academy Awards. There was nothing special about it, since the format the Oscar broadcasts has changed little over the years, though there was less Hollywood self-indulgence than we're used to.

One big different from modern Oscar broadcasts - especially in the last two years since we've been at war in Iraq and Afghanistan - was the attitude toward the military, the war, and those involved (in case you didn't notice, in 1943 we were fighting World War II). There were comments such as "Say a prayer for our boys over there" and a big point made by the presenters that the broadcast was going overseas, so they had to do a good job.

What kind of attitude have we seen from Hollywood toward our current war? Shame on you, George Bush; it's a war for oil; there are no WMDs; it's another Vietnam; we're only killing innocent civilians.

And oh, by the way, we support the troops.

That last one I can't figure out. How can an opposer of military action in the Middle East say they support the troops without supporting the policy? You can't have it both ways. Example: if somebody who works for a tobacco company hears how evil tobacco companies are, how they're working to poison our children, yet is only working as an accountant or doing something other than participating in the so-called corruption of the innocent, how do you think they feel? Not so hot. And saying, hey, we're only talking about the executives, I know you don't have anything to do with it so I'm on your side - you're just a poor working man, after all - won't make much difference. Because the individual involved won't be able to separate the two.

Nowadays, you'll look in vain for actors like Jimmy Stewart and Robert Montgomery and Alan Ladd, who gave up their Hollywood careers to serve in World War II. I shook my head in reading a recent item about how Oscar-winner Gwyneth Paltrow (half an actress at best) is going to raise her new baby in London because she doesn't like the current "over-patriotic" climate in the United States. She'll come home to make more movies, though - shocker.

Mainstream broadcast journalists love pointing out how many American troops have been killed, and give Ted Kennedy more attention than he deserves for saying Iraq is Bush’s Vietnam.

The Iraq situation is frustrating. The credibility of the administration, now that the WMDs have proven non-existent, is fading fast; hearing Colin Powell recently say, golly gee, even after my big UN presentation, maybe there weren't any WMDs after all, shucks, hasn't helped.

The media and liberals want Iraq to become another Vietnam because they want Bush to fail; they want the streets of Iraq littered with the corpses of American troops so they can tell us how America failed.

How have we gone from Jimmy Stewart to Gwyneth Paltrow? From say a prayer for our boys over there to shame on you, George Bush?

Our enemies in the Middle East hate the United States and have no problem taking violent action because of it. That makes all of them a threat. That threat needs to be eliminated; right now, we're eliminating the threat in Iraq. If we don't unify as a country and get behind the war effort, warts and all, there won't be anything to argue over because the Islamafascists will have turned this country into a shooting gallery rivaled only by Israel. The only reason they haven't already is because our troops are overseas killing them.

In a way, we're fighting a two-front war: the military side, and the socio-political debate. Which is turning out to be just as fierce a fight as the shooting war. With stakes just as high.

So say a prayer for our boys over there, and don't forget local and federal law enforcement working within US borders. The fight isn't over yet.

Brian Evankovich lives in California.

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