“13 Hours” The Benghazi Movie

Dallas hosted the world premiere of the movie “13 Hours” earlier this year and in true Texas style it was bigger and better than any other premiere ever! “13 Hours” depicted the attack in Benghazi where 4 Americans died, and is the story of the 6 brave men who, against orders, went in to save as many lives as they could.

The free event brought in a huge crowd and was intended to honor veterans from beginning to end. Here is one look at the premiere and the men “13 hours” depicted and honored.

Joe Pappalardo

…The world premiere

The first ever public showing, held before thousands packed into a quarter-full AT&T stadium, included musical performances and live interviews. The tone was refreshingly subdued, without an overload of over-the-top patriotism. It would have been easy to lard the presentation with military recruitment videos, tenors belting sappy patriotic tunes and maybe an appearance of a live bald eagle. (I’ve seen all these things at defense industry conferences and corporate military appreciation events.)

Instead, the focus remained on the men who fought and died at Benghazi. “These are the superhero movies we should be talking about,” said actor John Krasinski, on stage before the audience, who rewarded the line with applause. Even Chris Cornell, who wrote the movie’s theme song, dedicated the two songs he performed to veterans.

The crowd – which included four survivors of the battle depicted on screen, their families, Medal of Honor recipients and (Bay said) the man who shot Osama bin Laden — certainly qualified as pro-military.

But that’s not to say they were pro-CIA or supporters of the Obama administration’s Middle East policies. The biggest applause lines in the movie came at the expense of the CIA, personified by the always-able actor David Costabile (Gale Boetticher in Breaking Bad). His doughy, bureaucratic CIA chief is the living embodiment of foreign policymakers dabbling with forces beyond their control, in over their heads and requiring the warrior class to get them out of it. The biggest claps at the stadium came when one former Navy SEAL turned CIA contractor growls to the CIA chief: “You’re not giving orders anymore, you’re takin’ them. You’re in my world now.”

You might be wondering, at this point, if the heroes of the movie are really contract employees working for the CIA, mercenaries instead of actual troops. The answer is yes. The “secret soldiers” of the movie’s title are former Navy SEALs who quit the military and took positions with the CIA to provide security for nerdy operatives.

They are boots on the ground when Washington doesn’t want to put boots on the ground. Using them enables clandestine activity without full commitment in nasty places. It also fosters a paramilitary mindset that blurs lines between intelligence agencies and the military. Most germane to the movie, this melding of intel and for-hire special ops enables administration wonks to get in over their heads, as happened in Libya…

As is the case with many battles, this one was lost before it began. The CIA operation in post-Gadhafi Libya was high risk and played for high stakes, but the Obama administration bungled it with half measures. By the time the bullets and mortar shells started flying, the grim outcome was already ordained. If they had extra security on the ground, air power on call or less concern with the optics of post-regime change Libya, this event — and this movie — would have ended differently. – via Dallas Observer

The Goal of the “13 Hours” Movie

Here is another look at the premiere to give us perspective on the goal of the film for the director, Michael Bay, and the men who fought in the battle.

…The event, which was free and open to the public, included appearances by the film’s director, Michael Bay, and the film’s stars, including John Krasinski, James Badge Dale and David Costabile, as well as some real-life surviving soldiers. The film, adapted by screenwriter Chuck Hogan from the book of the same name by Mitchell Zuckoff, follows the story of six elite ex-military operators assigned to protect the CIA during an attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012. Four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, were killed in the attack, which became — and remains — a political hot-button issue. The goal for the film was simple, according to Bay. “We tried to make you feel like you’re there,” he said Tuesday…

For those who really fought on the ground in Libya, watching 13 Hours was a visceral experience, not the least because they had a hand in helping Bay achieve authenticity. “When I first saw it and walked out of the theater, Michael asked me, ‘What do you think?’ and I said, ‘I feel empty,’ ” said Kris “Tanto” Paronto. “When [what] I meant was I relived it, I went back there … and I realized how much I miss the job. When the movie was over, it felt like that life was ripped away from me again. That’s what I needed to feel. So I’m very happy — they got it right.” – via star-telegram

Have you seen “13 Hours” yet?