Thursday, March 21, 2013

Zero Dark Thirty

Last night, Scott and I watched Argo for the first time, and it was a great movie.  It was so highly awarded, we knew it would be, but it feels ironic in light of the movie we watched tonight…rarely has a film gripped me as tonight.

Zero Dark Thirty recounts some of the most significant events, still raw, in my yet short lifetime.  Our country was forever changed by 9/11, and the events spanning from this act of terrorism to the ending of Osama bin Laden, are perhaps some of the most significant in our nation’s, dare I say, world’s history. 

We were hesitant to watch Dark Thirty because of the outcry from many of the nation’s military that it is too soon – as in Argo, CIA agent Tony Mendez, was awarded the Intelligence Medal of Merit, but as the mission was classified, had to return it and never tell anyone.  Mendez heroism was secret for 17 years (1980-1997) before it was declassified and then President Clinton returned his medal.  These 17 years, plus the additional 15 (1997-2012) before the release of the movie gave time to redirect the offended parties’ attention and keep private both the way of operations in our nation’s intelligence as well as participating parties.  Thirty years’ time seems ample space.

But Zero Dark Thirty is not even two years away from the pinnacle incident;

the parties are still offended;

the participants are still alive (many of them) – and we have already been released enough information about their identities to put a target on every one of their backs.  We were hesitant to watch this movie for fear that it propagated the idea that we should know every detail of military and intelligence activity at the same rate we become informed of who won American Idol.  We value the lives of our military and intelligence and we desire to protect their identities – those who have fought to protect our lives and freedom – and we want to protect their methods from those who would use that information to harm them or our homeland. 

But still, we watched the movie.  And while the idea of sharing such information (names, locations, methodology) post-haste and then putting in on the big-screen for the world to view the offended party’s demise is, we believe, counterproductive to protecting our military and unfortunately, fuel for the fire of hatred of those who already hate us – this movie, this movie was………….perhaps….what our generation needs…what we need to see…what must be understood…

Zero Dark Thirty carefully retells the story, and they are gentle to both sides.  I find no propaganda or agenda – just reality of war, reality of the fruit of hatred, and relevant reality that must be understood by a generation who is largely detached from such realities, who rarely feels its effects, who can hardly understand the complex and grim interworking of terrorism and war.

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