Michael Bay’s Benghazi movie, 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, hasn’t yet hit theaters, and already we’ve been treated to an almost textbook example of sneering leftist disrespect for martial valor. After the hard-Left response to Lone Survivor and American Sniper, we should be used to this, but it’s always instructive to observe how some on the Left actually view those who’ve laid down their lives (and lost friends) in service to their country. Andrew O’Hehir, writing in (where else?) Salon, screened 25 minutes of the movie, met some of the men who fought desperately to save American lives, and then proceeded to hit every single thoughtless stereotype of leftist thinking about jihad and the men who confront it.
Of course we had to learn that Islamic terrorism is no big deal:
Maybe the dazed and jaded atmosphere of this event was just about the sensory overload of midtown Manhattan in December, or maybe it reflected the general Trumpian mood of fear and delusion in a country that may finally have snapped the last tether of sanity. Consider Friday’s New York Times poll, with its all-time high numbers for Trump and its finding that Americans perceive terrorism as the No. 1 threat to the nation. Even after San Bernardino, terrorist attacks committed by Muslims have killed fewer than 50 people in the United States in the years since 9/11. Meanwhile, 35,000 people commit suicide every year, and close to 100,000 die from mistakes made by medical professionals. Several thousand people die every year by falling off ladders. It is more likely that you or I will die this year by drowning in the bath, being electrocuted by a home appliance or colliding with a deer than that Muslim fanatics will murder us.
And what of his regard for the men on the ground — the “American private-sector mercenaries?” Well, they just bore the press:
Anyway, at Friday’s event three members of the “Annex Security Team” depicted in the film – the ex-military CIA contractors who tried to rescue United States ambassador J. Christopher Stevens after the diplomatic mission in Benghazi was overrun – joined us to eat shrimp-and-onion canapés and infinitesimal grilled cheese sandwiches in the paving-stone restaurant. For whatever reason, only a handful of my press colleagues even pretended to be interested in them.
And what about O’Hehir’s view? Here’s his version of a charitable take on Marine Mark Geist:
I don’t really know why I want to claim some fundamental decency for the guy; he answered my questions courteously, but I don’t have any idea what’s in his heart. No doubt Benghazi conspiracy buffs like Cable Guy have enabled Geist to earn a living since he got back from Libya, and when you consider that he nearly died on a rooftop thousands of miles from home for reasons no one will ever be able to explain, I don’t think we can begrudge him that.
Why did Geist nearly die on that rooftop? He laid down his life to save his fellow Americans. Defending American civilians abroad is a noble calling. Surely even a thoughtless Leftist can understand the need to protect American diplomats and intelligence personnel doing their work on dangerous ground.
Want to know how some on the Left interpret conservative interest in Benghazi? Gender has something to do with it:
Benghazi is not the same as Donald Trump, but it nourishes the climate of all-purpose paranoia that has allowed Trump to grow so big so fast, like some especially horrible tropical fungus. Talking to Mark Geist reminded me that even if I think Benghazi barely merits discussion in the history of American foreign-policy disasters or worldwide episodes of chaos and carnage, it is nonetheless something that really happened and can plausibly be linked to Islamic extremism. It is precious to the nationalistic right for those reasons, and because it seems to illustrate several important themes: the ubiquitous hostility of the Arab-Muslim world, the lonely courage of the American soldier (or, in this case, the American private-sector mercenary), and the feminized and corrupt nature of Big Government and its factotums.
No, Benghazi is not “precious” to conservative Americans. It’s an outrage. We’re rightly in awe of the men who fought against overwhelming odds, but we think it’s important to understand exactly how the most powerful nation on earth — led by all the best liberal policy wonks — left its own people so exposed in a hostile land. We want to know why the world’s most expensive and best-equipped military couldn’t come to the aid of Americans under fire. We want to know why our leaders lied to us in the aftermath of a deadly attack. And we want to know why some of those same leaders continue to boast about the Libyan intervention as if it represented “smart power at its best.” The controversy has nothing to do with masculinity and femininity and everything to do with moral integrity and strategic wisdom.
As for the movie, I don’t expect it to answer the big questions about Benghazi any more than American Sniper resolved controversies over the Iraq War. Stories of courage — American courage — are worth telling. The men at Benghazi have taken their place beside our nation’s most courageous warriors, and it honors them to tell their tale. The trailer is below: