My apologies for not posting anything yesterday.....I was dealing with my 3rd favorite word at work..
And as much as I like blogging....I like sleep more...Lol, I will post more of my "Red Storm Rising" equipment tomorrow and through the weekend, I don't know how far it will go so we will find out together.
I shamelessly cribbed this off the "Angry Staff Officer", I got hooked on this guy by "Mac" so you can blame him.
Carl von Clausewitz famously wrote,
“War is the continuation of politics by other means.” In today’s
climate, it would be truer to say, “Star Wars is the representation of
politics by other means.” From the echoes of Vietnam in A New Hope
and company in the 1970s and ‘80s to the heavy-handed
anti-imperialistic tones of whatever those three movies produced from
1999-2005 were, American political climates have been reflected on the
Galactic stage. The newest installment, Rogue One,
breaks from this mold to offer what is perhaps the most realistic
depiction of national security and geopolitics perspective yet: a
fractured Rebel Alliance and an Imperial system that is riven by
In Rogue One,
the ancient Jedi holy city of Jedha is being mined for resources needed
to build the Empire’s new super-weapon: the Death Star. Jedha is
occupied by a Rebel Alliance splinter group called the Partisans — too
extreme for the other rebels — which is in constant warfare with
Imperial ground forces. In addition to the Partisans, Jedha is also home
to old devotees of the the Force, kicking around in search of something
of meaning. Patrols of heavily-armed Stormtroopers accompanied by light
armored vehicles, like the TX-225 “Occupier” ground combat tank and the
AT-ST, sweep the streets for dissidents. Needless to say, the city is a
powderkeg just waiting to go up.
Combat opens in a scene veterans of
the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan would recognize all too well – I got a
tad twitchy at that part – when an Imperial patrol hits a classic
L-shaped ambush in the streets of Jedha. Cloaked men running along the
rooftops initiate the ambush with explosive devices and a firefight
between Partisan and Imperial forces ensues. A recon patrol from the
Rebel Alliance gets swept up in this fight, as do two Force adherents.
Jedha gets torn apart by violence as more and more Imperial troops
arrive to put down the upstarts and protect the critical transports
carrying out the crystal for the Death Star’s laser beam.
Sound familiar? Holy city, home of
precious materials being pulled out of the ground that power war
machines, irregular warfare, insurgency, IEDs. Yeah, the situation on
Jedha could be seen as an allegory to the Middle East conflict at large.
The timing of the film was auspicious. At the same time as Rogue One was
being released in theaters, negotiations were ongoing between the
United Nations, the International Red Cross, Russia, the United States,
the Assad government of Syria, and a myriad of Syrian rebel groups. The
topic? What to do about the innocent people stuck inside the city of
Aleppo. In years of fighting between the Assad government and rebel
organizations, Syria has deteriorated into a human rights disaster, with
whole sections of cities entirely annihilated.
The Syrian civil war might not have
lasted this long but for the intervention of Russia, which provided
military aid to the Assad regime. Russian air power and advisors broke
the stalemate and began driving the Syrian rebel groups back. Before
this, many had assumed that the Russian air force could not sustain
long-term operations. Yet over Syria, Russian aircraft have been flying
hundreds of sorties at a scale that most did not think they were capable
of. While backing Assad, Russia has also been showing off its latest
technology, trying out new tactics, and testing its military’s
capabilities. And in doing so, has killed tens of thousands of innocent
Syrian civilians with unguided cluster munitions, indiscriminate
bombing, and intentional targeting of infrastructure. Testing its
military, Russia is destroying Syria.
Which bring us back to Rogue One.
Grand Moff Tarkin asks Director Krennic to demonstrate the power of the
Death Star’s laser, to prove the capability of the weapon system that
the Empire had sunk so much of its money into. Krennic complies,
destroying the holy city of Jedha in one massive blast – and with it,
the Partisans, the devotees of the Force, and thousands of innocent
people. The Star Wars universe has made us accustomed to the large-scale
devastation of cities and planets, but the destruction of Jedha stands
out as more cold-blooded than the rest, precisely because it was
destroyed by the very crystals that it provided.
The contrast between what Russia is
doing in Syria and the Empire’s destruction of Jedha is, most probably,
by chance. Because Star Wars is an epic narrative, we can often find
comparisons to our present issues inside it, just as we can with Homer’s
Iliad or Virgil’s Aeneid.
However, in our current political climate, the image of a Middle
Eastern-looking city being blown off the map by a weapon of mass
destruction comes with a bit more gravity, because the issue of nuclear
weapons being used was on the table this past election year in the
United States. We can hope that the image of the destruction of Jedha
was merely an unfulfilled fantasy for neocons hoping to see a nuke hit
Tehran and not the harbinger of something more dire.
In a more real way, it was a reminder
of the intricacies of warfare, foreign policy, and economics: none of
the three come in black and white, but the convergence of all three
means that innocent people die. Rogue One captured
the shifting sands of political and military upheaval that have gripped
the Middle East for the past two decades in a way that many
conventional pieces have not. And it more than met the qualifications
for being a good war movie – in fact, it might have been too good.