Kristia Cavere Markarian
Warriors aren't trained to retire: A movie review of "13 Hours"
By Kristia Cavere Markarian
January 20, 2016

Riveting and enraging are two words that come to mind when describing the new film "13 Hours: The Secret Solders of Benghazi."

We know the ending, but here is a synopsis. On September 11, 2012, our embassy in Benghazi, Libya was attacked by Islamic terrorists. At a CIA compound less than a mile away, six military contractors bravely volunteered to come to the rescue of the Americans at the embassy. They were ordered to "stand down" while terrorists set fire to all the embassy buildings. By the time the six contractors were finally allowed to help the embassy, both Ambassador Christopher Stevens and Information Officer Sean Smith died from smoke inhalation. The Islamic terrorists then attacked the CIA compound all night and caused the death of two contractors, former Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods. The American military did not come to their aid during the entire situation.

The movie itself was extraordinarily well done. The cinematography was most impressive, the acting was pristine, and the scenery was authentic.

There was also a sufficient balance between conflict and calm, which is difficult to achieve in films with a primarily military focus. Brutal scenes of bullets and bombs were broken up with conversation and confessions from the Heroic Six who spoke about their children, missing their family, and wondering why they felt no fear in the midst of battles.

Three things are apparent from this movie:

First, the naiveté of our State Department borders on complete incompetence. From the Secretary downward, they showed an inability to protect American lives, especially on a known high-profile anniversary date. State Department staff exhibited complete indifference to both the American military and the contractors who protect them. "You're hired help," the Chief of the Benghazi CIA compound dismissively said to the six contractors. "There is no real threat here. We won the revolution for these people."

Second, the confusion of loyalty issues in Libya is indicative of the entire Middle East. The CIA was unaware of who to trust and which rebel factions were on whose side at which times, and who was switching sides when. As one of the military contractors stated, "They're all bad guys until they prove they're good guys."

Third, I was struck by the bravery of our soldiers. All six of the security contractors were ex-military men. In one of the most powerful scenes of the movie, during a lull between battles, a security contractor rushes to his room to hit "send" on a video he had recorded earlier telling his family how much he loved them, and then races to the rooftop to resume his watch. For that is the dichotomy of natural-born warriors everywhere: by leaving their families behind, they are best protecting their family from an approaching threat.

It is because of these courageous soldiers that after the initial feeling of rage at incompetence and paralysis of politicians and bureaucrats, I felt an overwhelming emotion of thankfulness toward our soldiers.

In one of the interruptions of violence in the film, two military contractors had a soft conversation as they kept their watch on the rooftops. One wondered why he kept coming back to the soldier life and accepting more deployments. "Warriors aren't trained to retire," the second soldier reminded him.

I highly recommend everyone seeing this film.

To all our warriors I send a heartfelt thank you, most especially to those whose soldier spirits never allow them to retire.

© Kristia Cavere Markarian


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Kristia Cavere Markarian

Kristia Cavere Markarian and her husband, Charles, are committed Christians. Her background is in finance, national security, and education. Everyone is welcome to connect with Kristia through Twitter and Facebook. On her website, she writes every weekday about faith & values, marriage & relationships, child-rearing, etiquette, current events, and all of life's joys:


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