Movie Review: 13 Hours


13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

Last Sunday my wife and I caught the matinee performance of 13 Hours. As a war movie buff it reminded me of Black Hawk Down. It shares a lot of the same themes and is action packed. Although my wife and I liked the movie, it is not without its detractors. Washington Post columnist Ann Hornaday complains that the movie is political and then spends most of her movie review contrasting it with the recent Iran prisoner swap. I guess she misses the point that when the consulate is under attack, political negotiations like the Iran prisoner swap are no longer an option. When the security guards ran away during the firefight at the consulate, you are officially in the soldier’s world and that is what the movie is about.  The writers at Hot Air were not impressed with her “political” argument either. Surprisingly I found the movie to be less political than I expected. If the movie included a cameo of either the President or the Secretary of State asleep during the battle or Susan Rice on the talk shows blaming a movie for the consulate attack, it would have strayed from the script and become political. Instead it focused on the courage of six men to save the Ambassador and his staff despite a lack of State Department and military support.


Is the USA Looking for a Few Good Men in the NSA?

Every time I hear a official explain the NSA surveillance program I am reminded of the climatic scene in the movie, “A Few Good Men”. In this scene Kaffee is pressing Colonel Jessup as to whether he ordered his men to conduct an illegal training exercise, a “Code Red”, that resulted in the death of a marine, Santiago.

Col. Jessep: I’ll answer the question!

[to Kaffee]

Col. Jessep: You want answers?

Kaffee: I think I’m entitled to.

Col. Jessep: *You want answers?*

Kaffee: *I want the truth!*

Col. Jessep: *You can’t handle the truth!*


Col. Jessep: Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who’s gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinburg? I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago, and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That Santiago’s death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. You don’t want the truth because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way, Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon, and stand a post. Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think you are entitled to.

Tradecraft and 9,000 Year Old Beers

Last Saturday my wife and I watched Zero Dark Thirty. My wife hated it because of the long stretches of black screens. Since I knew the plot I found myself getting bored while anticipating the next scene. Although the acting and the script was well written, we did not get caught up in the movie. I ended up giving it three stars on Netflix. The one thing that fascinated me was the use of the word, tradecraft. In honor of the movie I will see how many posts I can write in a row that using the word tradecraft.

First off is a fun article on ancient brewing. Business Insider has a great slide show on an event, Here’s What 9,000-Year-Old Beers Taste Like, where the folks re-created ancient brews at The Bell House thanks to the World Science Festival. This is a great example of excellence in the brewing tradecraft. If you can use a little bit of forensic science to come up with palatable clone of the 9,000 year old brew, you are a darn good brewer. The Midas Touch beer was the most appealing of the ancient brews to me.