There was a time in our cultural history when being called an 'elite' was actually a compliment. In the past, it was a status that had to be earned and therefore was respected. That all changed when symbolism over substance and the personal is political became the new normal. Under today's political correctness, elite status is only an entitlement conferred upon those with the right connections.
Our military hasn't been exempt from this toxic tendency. As we were painfully reminded once again this week, military personnel standards today are at shamefully low levels.
This week's feature takes us back to the day when the military turned boys into men and men into elite fighting units. In 1968, The Green Berets told the story of a commando unit and its exploits during the Vietnam War and the film made that name a household word.
The Green Berets is the story of Col. Mike Kirby (played by John Wayne) who agrees to embed cynical, anti-war reporter George Beckworth (played by David Janssen) into his commando unit and show him the true nature of the Vietnam War. The film was a resounding success in spite of anti-war Leftists---like Hilary Clinton and John Kerry---who were trying desperately to get the film suppressed. The Green Berets had some very graphic depictions of Communist atrocities; along with the sacrifices and sufferings of the Vietnamese people in their struggle for freedom.
It's fairly safe to say that if a top-ten list of films most hated by the Hollywood Left were ever compiled, The Green Berets would be a shoo-in to make the cut. This film became something of a rallying-point for Americans who favored US intervention in Vietnam. The theme song became a #1 hit and the book based on the film was a bestseller. As we noted above, the actual Green Berets were not well-known to the American public until this film was released. The Pentagon previously were somewhat adverse to realistic portrayals of US Special Forces (for security reasons). The political climate of the Vietnam War changed their minds---especially since Left-Wing propagandists were suggesting that military secrecy was concealing war crimes. John Wayne actually got special permission directly from President Lyndon Johnson to gain military assistance in The Green Berets' production.
In spite of the negative press---almost all of which is politically motivated---in our opinion The Green Berets is probably the best Vietnam War movie ever made. The overall storyline is fairly standard for war movies; other than as commandoes, there is more asymmetrical-type warfare depicted than in WW2 epics like Battleground or Korean War epics like Pork Chop Hill. This film is more concentrated on Special Operations carried out behind enemy-lines or close-support with frontline troops. Despite the tense political climate in which the film was made, there is very little political dialogue. One of the producers' great innovations was to debunk Beckworth's anti-war prejudices simply by bringing him face-to-face with what the realities were on the ground.
It wouldn't hurt the Pentagon Pajama-Boys to watch this film though; so they can see what real soldiers used to look like.
Many Vietnam veterans---those who actually served on the frontlines---agree that The Green Berets is really one of the more accurate portrayals of the realities of actual life on the front. The best way to enjoy this movie is probably by DVD since it's not offered on free sites currently.