Clint Eastwood is a Republican. He is the Republican ex-mayor of Carmel, California and has never been known as a hippie or a peace activist. It is basically assumed that Eastwood is one of the more pro-war people of the Hollywood sect, but that is apparently an incorrect assumption. It is also assumed that his new movie Flag of Our Fathers is a pro-war tale of bravery and heroism. That is how the ads make it look, anyway.
Flag of Our Fathers tells the story of the famous photograph from Iwo Jima depicting six soldiers raising the flag after a 35-day battle during WW II. Three of those in the picture died in the battle and the other three were brought home to make publicity tours while the fighting at Iwo Jima continued. It is a photo used to inspire pride in the American fighting forces and a very powerful image.
One cannot help but feel pride in seeing these battle-weary soldiers straining to raise the flag as a symbol to all the others fighting that progress is being made. I can imagine the adrenaline rush those on the ground looking up must have felt seeing Old Glory in the midst of the carnage. It would seem a similar image is needed in today’s growing discontent with the wars in the Middle East, but do not look to Eastwood’s new film to provide the 21st century Iwo Jima moment because that is not what his new film is about.
I have not seen the movie yet, but am only going on interviews with Clint Eastwood and reports on the movie for this point of view. He sees comparisons between Jessica Lynch and Pat Tillman with the soldiers at Iwo Jima and how they were used. He tells Newsweek that Lynch "... was just a teenager. The military and their publicity people decided she had to be Wonder Woman, gunning down tons of people with her machine gun, when she didn't fire a shot. They desperately wanted her to be that."