The "Astronaut Conundrum" | Main | Times They Are A Changin' Open Thread - [Niedermeyer's Dead Horse]
January 11, 2014

Jake Tapper, Marcus Luttrell and Glenn Beck

No, it's not the start of a joke but rather the start of today's internet OUTRAGE!

Jake Tapper interviewed Marcus Luttrell and Mark Wahlberg about the movie version of Lone Survivor. A few minutes into it things got a little confrontational between Tapper and Lutrell.

TAPPER (voice-over): It's clear for Marcus Luttrell the battle, almost a decade ago, still cuts close to the bone today.

(on camera): One of the emotions I felt while watching the film is, first of all, just the hopelessness of the situation, how horrific it was and also just all that loss of life of these brave American men. And I was torn about the message of the film in the same way that I think I am about the war in Afghanistan itself. I don't want any more senseless American death and at the same time I know that there are dead people there and good people who need help. Was that intentional?

LUTTRELL: Well, I don't know what part of the film you were watching, but hopelessness really ever came into it. Where did you see that? We never felt like we were hopelessly lost or anything like that. We never gave up. We never felt like we were losing unless we were actually dead. That never came across in the battle and while we were fighting on the mountain and it was just us against them.

TAPPER: Hopelessness, just the sense of all these wonderful people who died. It seemed senseless. I don't mean to disrespect in any way but it seemed senseless, all of these wonderful people who were killed for an op that went wrong.

LUTTRELL: We spend our whole lives defending this country so you tell me because we were over there doing what we were told to do was senseless and they died for nothing?

TAPPER: No, I'm not saying that at all.

The full transcript of the exchange is at the link.

The Blaze picked it up and Beck himself got into it on Twitter last night so naturally...we're off and running.

A couple of thoughts...

Beck is either flat out wrong or dishonest when he kicked things off by saying Tapper "went after" Lutrell. Watch the video (the exchange starts around 3 minute mark).

Tapper wrote a book, The Outpost, about the courage and sacrifice of those who serve. I remember seeing notes on Twitter about how when one of the soldiers profiled in the book was awarded the Medal of Honor and a bunch of members of his unit were in DC for the ceremony they got together with Tapper for beer and pizza. Tapper is most certainly not an-anti troop reporter.

What he was expressing is something I think a lot of people agree with, myself included...an ambivalence about the cost of the war in American dead and wounded in exchange for...what? As Tapper acknowledged in his question there were bad guys that needed killing but they were killed at the cost of a lot of good men and women. Has the 12+ year effort to turn Afghanistan into something other than a hell hole been worth the cost? To consider that question is not to devalue the memory of those who died or what they accomplished. It's a necessary thing so that we as a country are better positioned to decide when to send men and women to war again.

Understandably as someone who fought and lost so much, Luttrell does not seem to share that ambivalence (though his certainty isn't universally shared among veterans).

I think this went off the rails in a couple of spots.


First, I would not have used the word "senseless" as Tapper did. The deaths of Luttrell's team members were not "senseless". They died doing an important mission. Sometimes that's the price sailors pay. They knew it when they joined the Navy and they really knew it when they joined the SEALs.

More importantly, their deaths while tragic and unimaginably painful for their family and friends made perfect "sense" because of the event that set it in motion. They could have killed the villagers who discovered them but they were noble men who willingly put their lives in danger rather than take the lives of innocents. These men were warriors and it made perfect sense to them that if they died, so be it, but they would die with their honor.

Again, I think Tapper's use of "senseless" was a poor choice. But given his body of work on Afghanistan it was not meant to be disrespectful of those who died or to diminish their service and sacrifice. It was also clear from the body language and tone of voice the last thing on Tapper's mind was "taking on" Marcus Luttrell.

I'm not sure where Luttrell got the idea that Tapper thought the deaths of his team members were "meaningless". It's clearly not in anything Tapper said. One thing to consider is these interviews are brutal in the best of circumstances. What happens is the film's stars sit in this studio all day, sometimes for days at a time and the interviewers are rotated in for 5 or 10 minutes or whatever the ground rules allow. It's brutal to answer the same question 39 times about some romantic comedy let alone the events that lead to the deaths of your closest friends.

In other circumstances might Luttrell have seen where Tapper was coming from? Perhaps. Either way it led to a bit of tension and I think some genuine concern from Tapper. He's been on Twitter all morning defending himself. I've gotten into it with him about things before and he's pretty feisty in his engages. Right now he seems genuinely concerned that people think he disrespected Luttrell, the men who died that day or veterans in general.

One very important thing to consider...Tapper could have edited that out. This wasn't a live interview, it was taped weeks ago. He says he left it in because the divide between how civilians look at the war and how many veterans like Luttrell look at it is an important issue. For more on that, see this post from 2012...The Real 1%.

Airing that portion of the interview may help highlight that divide. throwing around incendiary charges like Beck did, doesn't.


digg this
posted by DrewM. at 12:42 PM

| Access Comments




Recent Comments
NZFrank with a M2: "495 I visited the plaza just to see the range in ..."

chavez the hugo: "496; thanks, whig. great info. ..."

Weasel: "I'm headed to bed - 'night! ..."

blake - used pronoun salesman: "Yo, Weasel, checking back in. Email sent regarding ..."

rickb223 [/s][/b][/i][/u]: "Oh come on. 500. ..."

Weasel: "The scope come fully defective from the manufactur ..."

Ex-ex: "Here's a link to consider: https://www.patriotsnet ..."

Weasel: "Posted by: whig at August 25, 2019 10:01 PM (hqUZK ..."

whig: "Weasel, Thanks for the all of the weekend firear ..."

Weasel: " I visited the plaza just to see the range involv ..."

NZFrank with a M2: "-------- That's the time to start claiming your ..."

NZFrank with a M2: " Oswald's 6.5 x 52 used a scope. Posted by: Mike ..."

Recent Entries
Search


Polls! Polls! Polls!
Frequently Asked Questions
The (Almost) Complete Paul Anka Integrity Kick
Top Top Tens
Greatest Hitjobs

The Ace of Spades HQ Sex-for-Money Skankathon
A D&D Guide to the Democratic Candidates
Margaret Cho: Just Not Funny
More Margaret Cho Abuse
Margaret Cho: Still Not Funny
Iraqi Prisoner Claims He Was Raped... By Woman
Wonkette Announces "Morning Zoo" Format
John Kerry's "Plan" Causes Surrender of Moqtada al-Sadr's Militia
World Muslim Leaders Apologize for Nick Berg's Beheading
Michael Moore Goes on Lunchtime Manhattan Death-Spree
Milestone: Oliver Willis Posts 400th "Fake News Article" Referencing Britney Spears
Liberal Economists Rue a "New Decade of Greed"
Artificial Insouciance: Maureen Dowd's Word Processor Revolts Against Her Numbing Imbecility
Intelligence Officials Eye Blogs for Tips
They Done Found Us Out, Cletus: Intrepid Internet Detective Figures Out Our Master Plan
Shock: Josh Marshall Almost Mentions Sarin Discovery in Iraq
Leather-Clad Biker Freaks Terrorize Australian Town
When Clinton Was President, Torture Was Cool
What Wonkette Means When She Explains What Tina Brown Means
Wonkette's Stand-Up Act
Wankette HQ Gay-Rumors Du Jour
Here's What's Bugging Me: Goose and Slider
My Own Micah Wright Style Confession of Dishonesty
Outraged "Conservatives" React to the FMA
An On-Line Impression of Dennis Miller Having Sex with a Kodiak Bear
The Story the Rightwing Media Refuses to Report!
Our Lunch with David "Glengarry Glen Ross" Mamet
The House of Love: Paul Krugman
A Michael Moore Mystery (TM)
The Dowd-O-Matic!
Liberal Consistency and Other Myths
Kepler's Laws of Liberal Media Bias
John Kerry-- The Splunge! Candidate
"Divisive" Politics & "Attacks on Patriotism" (very long)
The Donkey ("The Raven" parody)
Powered by
Movable Type 2.64