There are many good combat movies. “Saving Private Ryan,” “Black Hawk Down,” “Gallipoli,” and “We Were Soldiers” spring to mind. Now comes “Lone Survivor,” a powerful story that opens an old wound for me regarding Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Last week, I wrote in my blog that Sen. Reid and I ought to go to the veterans cemetery in Boulder City and screen “Lone Survivor” together. We’d ask Nevadans who lost loved ones in the post-9/11 Middle East wars to join us. Then Sen. Reid could hold a Q&A session moderated by yours truly.
Sen. Reid didn’t respond. Not surprised.
As you may know, the flick “Lone Survivor” is based on a book by the same name. It chronicles a 2005 Navy SEAL Team 10 operation in Afghanistan. Operation Redwing set out to kill terrorist Ahmad Shah, but the SEALs stumbled upon innocent civilians, compromising the mission.
As they tried to return to base, they were ambushed and virtually wiped out.
I promise you, after seeing this film you will have a greater appreciation for Navy SEAL training, competence and American heroism.
The operation’s lone survivor, Marcus Luttrell, wrote the book. The team’s leader, Lt. Michael Murphy, posthumously received the Medal of Honor.
Anyway, had Sen. Reid taken me up on my offer, the first thing I’d try to do is give him a chance to publicly explain what he meant when he proclaimed the war in Iraq “lost.”
In my mind, it’s the worst thing Sen. Reid has ever said in his strange public life. Believe me, that’s saying a lot.
This is the guy who said he liked Barack Obama as a candidate because he was “light-skinned” and could speak “Negro” when he wanted to.
This is the guy who said he was glad for a new Capitol Visitor Center because visitors were smelly.
Other Reidisms include:
“Your dog is fat” to President Bush.
President Bush is a “liar.”
President Bush is a “loser.”
“Our system of government is a voluntary tax system.”
He said “Why would we want to do that?” during the government shutdown in response to the question, “If you can help one child who has cancer, why wouldn’t you do it?”
Regarding Obamacare, he said, “If you’re a senior, your doughnut hole is being filled,” and, “In fact, one of our core principles is that if you like the health care you have, you can keep it.”
And a favorite among Nevada journalists regarding Reid’s hometown newspaper, the Las Vegas Review-Journal: “I hope you go out of business.”
All of this illustrates that Sen. Reid is no silver-tongued devil, though I suspect some may want to argue the latter point when it comes to his “the war is lost” comment.
Sen. Reid at the very least owes Nevada veterans and families an explanation for why he called the war “lost” while men were on the battlefield and in harm’s way.
In his new book “Duty,” former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates says he was so “furious” with Reid he “shared privately with some of my staff a quote from Abraham Lincoln I had written down long before. ‘Congressmen who willfully take actions during wartime that damage morale and undermine the military are saboteurs and should be arrested, exiled or hanged.’”
Also in the book, Gates reveals that while the wars raged, Sen. Reid asked the Department of Defense to study irritable bowel syndrome.
Irritable bowels? Gates said he “didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.”
Neither do I, Mr. Gates. So I’m asking you, Sen. Reid: Explain yourself.
Reid’s silence invites anger and derision. So I’ll wait by the phone on behalf of a lot of Nevadans looking for closure.
C’mon, Harry. Show a little courage. Let’s go to the movies.
Sherman Frederick, former publisher of the Las Vegas Review-Journal and member of the Nevada Newspaper Hall of Fame, writes a column for Stephens Media. Read his blog at www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/sherman-frederick.