Friday, March 2, 2012

A Warrior('s) Ethos

I saw Act of Valor again tonight.  It kind of shocked me that the critics rated it so low (30%)  Viewers gave it a much higher rating.  Was some of the banter Canned?  Yup.  But you could see a genuine respect and admiration between the LT and his Chief.  You can also see the compotency and professionalism of those involved.  These are REAL US Navy SEALs.  The Assaults are real.  Trust me that the tactics are as real as it gets.  Everything you see is 100% as real as you can get in a movie.

The scary part about this is not that it might be fiction, but that the plot over all was frighteningly close to things that might and worse have happened.  Yes the SEALs win in the end, but the terrorist plot, and the methodology, even who the terrorists are, is frighteningly closed to reality.  The Drug Cartels are that bad.  The torture shown is used.   Believe it or not these things are not a joke.  That this is fictionalized should not even enter into one's mind, these plots are real.  You are still in danger. 

But one of the things that really crystallized in my mind, is that SEALs SWCCs, Special Forces (Green Berets), Rangers, 160th SOAR, TACPs, PJs and MARSOC are actually not special.  Before you get angry, you need to realize the only thing that separates them from any other Soldier Sailor Airmen or Marine, is a mentality.  That SEAL that you see on screen took the same oath of enlistment as I did.  I fully admit I am not as hardcore as they are, but that doesn't stop a part of me from wanting to join them.  Also, when you watch the movie you'll notice something, even when they're running for their lives, they are always moving toward something.  They move with a purpose, and with confidence.  The move swiftly, and never let up until their mission is completed.

I figured out after my second viewing why Hollywood doesn't like this movie.  Its because they can not understand what a Warrior is.  A Warrior is not some child flailing about, or a fool whining to the ether or anyone who will listen.  A Warrior does not bemoan the whims of fate that make his mission suck.  They all suck.  You can either embrace the suck, or you can go home. 

Some intellectual said "truth is the first casualty of war".  But one can not lie to your superiors, subordinates, or oneself.  In War, a lie will kill you quick, and will undo any good you achieved.  If you lie about your abilities, either in boast or to put yourself down you will harm yourself and your unit.  If you lie to your subordinates, you will break the sacred trust that is required to preform your mission.  If you lie to your superiors, they will lose faith in you, and you will be worse than useless, you will be a liability.  Worst of all however, is if you lie to yourself.  If you psyche yourself up for a mission, and are filled with doubt, you will choke.  You will freeze.  When your teammates, or Battle Buddies need you most you will be unable to do the mission.  If you are not certain your mission is worthy of your absolute level best then you should never have been there in the first place.

Perhaps this statement is true if you referring to how you are dealing with your enemy.  No Soldier ever fights fair.  They'll take every advantage they can get, and exploit every weakness they can find.  If you have an unfair advantage, if your enemy isn't prepared for the world of hurt you're about to bring down upon them good.  After they surrender you can show mercy, but until they quit the fight, you will act with speed and violence of action.  That is what the mission requires.  That is what you do. 

A Warrior offers no excuses and accepts none.  There are no "bad days".  You'll be tired, hungry, sore, and lonely.  Suck it up and Drive On!  This is a Code.  And Ethos that many have tried to capture.  The Army's Warrior Ethos, is simply a chopped up Ranger Creed, and while it is stirring, it is meant for those troopers who do hold qualms about the mission.  The SEAL Creed, The Rifleman's Creed, The Medic's Creed, the NCO or Officer's Creed, all are pretty long winded and try to capture the same thing.  The true Warrior Ethos.  There's one problem.  Warriors are not Men of Words, but of Action.  People in our society are drifting father and farther from this ideal, and giving more power to what is said than what is done.

If you are a Warrior, you must live your life as a Man (or Woman) of Action.  You must be True to yourself and your comrades.  You must give your all, always.  You must never accept defeat, or show Fear to your enemy, rather you should inspire Fear in them, and make them accept defeat.  Never give in to Doubt.  What will be will be, the only thing you can do is fight like hell.  If you are a Warrior my words will ring true.  If you are not, my single-mindedness  of purpose when it comes to War will make you uneasy or afraid.  When it comes right down to it, you're either a Warrior, or you are not.  There is no in between.

Charlie Mike Warriors!

4 comments:

The Constitutional Insurgent said...

You're surely not surprised at movie critics are you? These are the people who raved about 'The Artist".

I use critics for movie selection all the time....whichever film they dislike, are the one's I intend to watch.

77 11C20 said...

If you read some of the reviews you would see they didn’t like the movie more for the message than the filmmaking. It seems the showing of the military in a good light with none of the negative stereotypes of military personnel is not “real” in their opinion. There must be doubts on the mission and leaders, they must be damaged. The real warriors are never seen by them. They know only from the stories of the screw ups that get all the press today. The others are never talked about except in the terms that the “won” some medal. The have the preconceptions and they will never understand the rest of the military because they have not severed and probably do not even know one who has. The enemy is the enemy, it is not politically correct, it is based on what’s really out there.

Argent said...

Metacritic shows the critics were quite negative. The user rating was higher but not that much of an endorsement either. It looks like the main complaint of regular users is bad acting.

I'll probably not get to see this movie, it'll never make it here.

I'm with you on the action part. Action demonstrates real commitment to words. We have too many skilled word-spinners who cannot actually make anything of them.

You really think they never lie? I think that's terribly naive, especially for one who has served. Sure you point out something on the importance of truth in particular areas but you stretch the idea well past breaking point.

The Mad Medic said...

DO they lie? Sadly yes. There's always someone that lies either CYA or in boast of their accomplishments or playing down others.

As I said those people are a liability and most pay dearly for it. Go read Rpdgers Rangers standing orders. He is the "founder" of the current incarnation of the 75th Ranger Regiment. These guys avoid lying to eachother for good reasons. Any good unit will