Thoughts from the ammo line

Ammo Grrrll has a tip: MIDWAY! DO NOT MISS IT! She writes:

I really do not go to movies in a theater. We are appalled by most of the braindead twits in Hollywood and do not care to help pay for their relentless attacks on everything we value – America, masculine male men, the military, cops, fossil fuels, Christianity, observant Judaism, the rule of law, capitalism, free speech, secure borders, Israel, and the like.

But when two of your best friends invite you to go to dinner and a movie, you don’t want to come off as a fanatical jerk, either. Especially when the movie in question was Midway. I did not look at any of the reviews before going. It does not matter to me what some hipster Intersectional Studies major a third my age thinks about anything. My husband, the novelist Max Cossack, did point out before we went that the Reviewers as an aggregate had given it a pathetic 42% favorable rating, while the audiences had given it a 92% favorable rating!

Now since I have seen it, I skimmed a few of the predictable reviews. One of the most enraging to me, written by some lame-o whose name does not matter, claims that “there was no one in particular to root for!” That speaks volumes. How ‘bout AMERICA, fool?

Yes, not only did the American good guys have the temerity to win, but there was not a single scrawny woman superhero using her tiny fists to dispatch someone the size of The Rock. Oh, there were heroic women aplenty besides the tireless medical personnel. The heroic women were the brave wives of the sailors and airmen who kept the home fires burning, waiting for their men to survive every mission, praying for miracles, and bearing loss with dignity and pride. As the granddaughter of a Gold Star Mother, I know something of the life-altering cost of that kind of sacrifice.

For my entire life, of course, I had heard about the cowardly and devastating attack on Pearl Harbor. When you’re a kid, you picture some planes fly over, sink some ships and glug, glug, glug, down they go. That actual humans were involved does not register. Yes, I realize that was hopelessly naive. In Midway, the Pearl Harbor attack was relentless and horrific, though the movie mostly shows us that through heartbreaking small details rather than gore.

The movie failed to sugarcoat the Pearl Harbor attack, the Battle of Midway, and the egregious war crimes of the Japanese. Certainly in the modern era, I had never seen that emphasized before. All Americans were supposed to feel immense guilt over Hiroshima; that was the only “atrocity” one could mention aloud. Never mind that it probably saved a million American lives had a landed invasion of Japan been necessary, and a great many Japanese lives as well, conceivably many times what were lost from the atomic bombs.

You can see why the left-leaning reviewers would give this movie only one or two stars out of five. In the movie, great toxic male heroism is not only on constant display, but the dreaded American INDIVIDUALISM as well. Individual effort not only mattered; it was decisive.

Oddly for a modern movie, with one exception definitely in context, there were no f-bombs, and no subplots with gratuitous sex and nudity. Whether that is a positive or negative is up to you, but once the Battle of Midway commenced, this audience member felt like she was in peril every harrowing minute and sex was not much on my mind. Truth to tell, what transpired, what those incredible patriots did, was really almost impossible to absorb.

For some deep background on the Battle of Midway, I turned to my friend, Tony — that’s Ernest F. “Tony” Peluso, Lieutenant Colonel, United States Army (Ret.) to most — or as the commenter family knows him — TonyP173. He was kind enough to share many edifying thoughts with us. I will put his words in quotes lest anyone mistakenly believe that I am any kind of authority on this subject.

“The Battle of Midway was, in my opinion, the decisive battle of the whole war, and the high water mark for the Japanese Empire. The fact that the dive bombers were able to take out the first three carriers was a total fluke. Until that time, the Japanese were beating the holy hell out of us, and we hadn’t laid a glove on them. After Midway, and because of our singular industrial potential, the Japanese could not compete in replacing the lost carriers, and went on the defensive. 

“Less well considered is how Midway affected the war in Europe. Had we LOST the Battle of Midway, the Japanese would most certainly have invaded Hawaii. Though we now know that they had no plans to invade the continental USA, they had already taken islands in the Aleutian Chain. So they could have easily threatened the USA, raided, and harassed. I don’t see how FDR could have sold a Germany first policy if the West Coast were threatened. As a result, and because we were woefully unprepared to fight WWII, we could NOT have sent the 8th Air Force to England to begin the daylight precision bombing. A little known sad fact: there were more KIAs in the 8th Air Force in WWII, than in the entire USMC in the Pacific, which in no way minimizes those great sacrifices, of course, but gives us some perspective.  

“Without the early sacrifices in blood and material, which inhibited the development of super weapons (like jet aircraft and V1/V2 rockets, let alone an atom bomb), there could have been no invasion of North Africa, let alone France. This means that Hitler could have fielded jet aircraft in large numbers by late 1943, and that would have changed things enormously. He could have begun building V2s in large numbers, and — unconcerned by a possible second front in the west — could have dealt far more effectively with the Russians. 

“So, it’s plausible that the Allies could have lost the war with Germany (or been unable to beat Germany decisively) because America had to focus its resources on Japan first. This is not far-fetched. As you know, I think everything happens for a reason, and the Midway victory is one of those miracles that change history.”

Thanks so much, Tony. Anyway, the movie is great. I know this hasn’t been a laugh riot of a column, but sometimes, we must speak of more serious things to remind ourselves of the legacy we inherited and its price tag. Midway really is the kind of movie that should be seen in a theater, but heck, most flatscreen TVs nowadays are roughly the size of movie screens. So even if it leaves the theaters, do not miss it. Woody Harrelson does a particularly good job as Admiral Nimitz. My Uncle Leland (USMC) gave his life in the Pacific and his nephew, my brother, served on the aircraft carrier Nimitz in the Mediterranean.