The Last Samurai

Not rated yet!
Director
Edward Zwick
Runtime
2 h 34 min
Release Date
5 December 2003
Genres
Drama, Action, War, History
Overview
Nathan Algren is an American hired to instruct the Japanese army in the ways of modern warfare, which finds him learning to respect the samurai and the honorable principles that rule them. Pressed to destroy the samurai's way of life in the name of modernization and open trade, Algren decides to become an ultimate warrior himself and to fight for their right to exist.
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  • The Last Samurai

    [1]3,419 words

    Most modern cinema is essentially the re-enactment of the same story. A protagonist is born into a world containing racism, sexism, anti-Semitism or some combination thereof. After a lengthy struggle, which may involve overcoming deep seated prejudice and bias within oneself, the properly reconstructed hero overcomes whatever remnants of Tradition exist, and triumphantly sets the world onto the correct path towards ever greater Equality. The costumes and character names may change, but The Narrative is always the same.

    There is a variance of this plot, where the white hero is set on the road to enlightenment by a non-white who possesses the cultural authenticity, empathy, and soul that whites lack by their own inherently evil nature. The non-white helps the atomized Aryan come to a better understanding of himself, his place in the world, and, inevitably, his failed romantic life. Thus, the protagonist transcends his white identity to become an active soldier against his own people in the fight for ever greater equality. In so doing, of course, he proves his own moral and social superiority over his fellow whites. The contradiction between the previous two sentences, needless to say, is never noticed. When white advocates or anti-racists criticize such films as anti-white or condescendingly racist respectively, both groups are correct.

    The Last Samurai is a typical example of the genre, seething with over-the-top hatred of Western Civilization and stuffed with progressive racial fantasies. It’s Stuff White People Like comes to Japan, complete with SWPL entry number #11 [2] (Asian girls.) However, the movie inadvertently transcends itself in its defense of the moral code of the Samurai and the apology for a vanished society. Equality, economism, democracy, and modernity itself are savaged in the name of aristocracy and honor. The Last Samurai may be one of the most compelling defenses of Tradition and organic society Hollywood has ever produced. However, it’s only possible because the startlingly reactionary message of The Last Samurai is marinated in the contemptuous anti-Western hatred the Zeitgeist demands. It is simultaneously anti-white and anti-liberal and for that reason its intended message is confused and contradictory.

    The movie begins with a recounting of Shinto mythology about the creation of the Japanese home islands. The nation itself is a product of divine providence, with blood, soil, and the gods integrated into one whole. The narrator, Mr. Graham, tells us that he believes that Japan was really created by a group of brave men who willed it into existence – the samurai. We are introduced to the leader of the samurai rebellion, Katsumoto, who is mediating on a vision of a white tiger flailing at a circle of foes surrounding him. This foreshadows the white protagonist. As with all stories of this type, the white man’s redemption through self-hate is at the center of the tale.

    Captain Nathan Algren (Tom Cruise) is an American military hero who has returned from the Indian Wars with the Congressional Medal of Honor. A drunk, he’s been reduced to making rambling speeches about Winchester firearms in front of crowds of potential customers. An earlier version of the script [3] shows Algren haunted by the memory of his brother’s death in a Civil War battle. However, since having a hero loathe himself for participating in the butchery of evil Southern racists may lead to uncomfortable conclusions, the produced film limits the Civil War to a passing reference and changes the traumatic experience to Algren tormented by memories of killing saintly, peaceful, and enlightened Native Americans.

    Algren makes his last sales pitch in front of a horrified audience, with Cruise overdoing the clichéd “horrors of war” by moaning about the bodies of scalped troopers baking in the sun and holes being blown open in the fathers of children. After he demonstrates the accuracy of the rifle by firing over the heads of the terrified crowd, he bitterly thanks them “on behalf of those who died in the name of better mechanical amusements and commercial opportunities.”

    After he walks into the street, his old comrade Gant (Billy Connolly) greets him and tells him of a job opportunity. He drunkenly meets with his old commander, Colonel Bagley, whom he despises. Colonel Bagley tells him that Japan “has it in mind to become a civilized country” and wants “white experts” to train their army. The main Japanese figure behind the planned modernization is Omura, who enthusiastically wants modern weapons to crush a rebellion of Samurai, but secretly despises the Americans. “A nation of cheap traders,” he caustically remarks to an aide. Algren accepts the contract but makes sure to tell Bagley before he leaves that Algren may be willing to kill whoever he is ordered to for money, “but I’ll gladly kill you for free.”

    Algren arrives in Japan and finds a society in transition. While most of the people in the streets are dressed in traditional clothing, there are a few in Western garb. A deleted scene shows the samurai Uijo walking through the streets before being confronted by two Japanese men in top hats and tails. They refuse to show deference and mock him for his top knot, sword, and clothing. One even pokes him with a cane. Uijo instantly slices the man’s head off [4] and coolly walks on, while the other rolls onto his belly to show homage. We can expect that this scene was cut because this is what a society dominated by the samurai actually was – a rigid social order where a refusal to show deference to one’s betters could be punished by death. Modern cinema demands that the “good guys,” in this case the samurai, must be shown only as victims.

    Therefore, in the produced film, the samurai receive a more appropriate and modern introduction. Algren questions the translator Simon Graham on everything he knows about the samurai. When the Irish sergeant Gant mocks them for still wearing armor, Graham uses the usual cinematic trope of reminding the white man that while his ancestors were barbarians, the nonwhites were superior. In this case, we are told the samurai were the most cultivated warriors in the world while Europeans were presumably grubbing amidst the caves.

    Even though the training of the Japanese peasant conscripts has barely begun, Algren receives orders to move the army to confront a samurai force that is destroying Omura’s railway. The terrified peasants line up in the woods, the view shrouded by fog. The samurai, with terrifying masks and huge horned helmets, appear as demons out of the mist, their charge instantly breaking the conscripts’ line. Gant ignores Algren’s order to move to the rear and is killed for it. Despite refusing to use “cowardly” weapons like firearms, the samurai easily manage to defeat the rifle armed infantry. Algren meanwhile manages to slay several of the enemy, before being wounded and surrounded. He flails wildly with a spear he’s captured from an enemy that has a banner with a white tiger. Katsumoto approaches, recognizing the premonition. Wounded, Algren is about to be slain by a warrior in red armor, but at the last moment, Algren stabs him in the throat. Katsumoto saves Algren before he can be killed by the others and takes him prisoner.

    Thus begins Algren’s introduction to an idyllic and vanished world. First, of course, he must confront his own evil. The pathetic drunk suffers through alcohol withdrawal as he cries out for sake and is consumed by visions of slaughtering peaceful Indians. He also learns that he is being kept in the house of Taka, Katsumoto’s sister and the wife of the warrior in the red armor that he killed. When he finally recovers and is brought to Katsumoto, he cannot understand why is being kept alive only to have “conversations” so Katsumoto can learn about his enemy. Algren, the modern post-Western man that the movie has retrofitted into the past, speaks with shame and loathing [5] about his service with General Custer. Katsumoto meanwhile, is impressed that Algren has served with such a legend and envies Custer’s glorious death.

    The main contradiction of the movie is thus established. Katsumoto is a man who curtly ordered his sister to take in the man who murdered her husband. When she understandably objects and offers to take her own life, he orders her to “do what you are told.” The society is one of a firmly established patriarchy, with peasants obeying their masters, and a forthright embrace of warrior values. However, since it is non-whites doing it, the film never shows anyone rebelling against this, and instead emphasizes the beauty, dignity, and harmony [6] of an organic society. No one is opposed to this within Japan itself except for self-centered and greedy capitalists such as Omura, who, it is implied, is only this way because he has been corrupted by the outside world.

    The movie thus succeeds in creating a way to critique modernity while not associating with anything icky or reactionary like an authentic Western tradition. As we’ve all learned in our distinguished universities, “whiteness” is a social construct, and here it is defined as the leveling forces of capitalism, industrialization, and globalization. As Algren increasingly identifies with his new community, and with Taka and her children, he ceases to be white and becomes Japanese. When spring comes and he is returned to the Japanese government, he finds that in his absence the frightened peasants that he left behind have been transformed into a disciplined modern army, complete with artillery and Gatling guns. The transformed Algren, now enlightened about the evils of the West, reacts with disgust. He quietly refuses command of the new force and Omura perceives him as an enemy for the first time.

    Before the final struggle, there is a brief attempt to forge a peace between the old Japan and the new. Katsumoto is permitted to ride to the capital and meet with the young Emperor Meiji, who addresses him respectfully as his old instructor. Katsumoto frames his rebellion as a rising not against the Emperor, but against the Emperor’s true enemies. In a critical scene, the Emperor reveals that he doesn’t know what to do and begs Katsumoto to tell him the correct path. Katsumoto is thus faced with the classic problem of all reactionaries – the institution he has sworn to serve has become subverted, but the logic of his ideology prohibits him from taking command and thus destroying the principle of authority. Katsumoto prostrates himself and tells the Emperor that he must find the strength within himself.

    Alas, the Emperor, despite his divine nature, is not capable of such an act of courage. Katsumoto is maneuvered out of power when he refuses to relinquish his sword during a council meeting, which is technically against the law. The Emperor remains silent, refusing to defy Omura, who has become the real ruler of Japan. Arrested, defeated, disgraced, Katsumoto’s rebellion appears to be over.

    Instead, it is the white man who takes up his rescue and, of course, is responsible for further bloodshed. The translator Simon Graham helps Algren bluff his way past the guards by intimidating them, claiming Algren is in fact “the President of the United States” who has come to personally defeat the rebel army. While easily the funniest scene of the movie, the implication is that Japan is now so degraded that the President of a foreign power is somehow perceived as in command even by the Japanese military. Together with some of the samurai, Katsumoto is freed, but at the cost of his own son, who dies bravely in battle slaughtering rifle armed troops with bow and arrow.

    Returning to their hideaway, Katsumoto wonders aloud if the Samurai have become obsolete. With the zeal of a convert, Algren tells him that the role of a traditionalist warrior is somehow more necessary than ever and that he should fight back against the attack that is coming. Of course, this means that men will die in a futile struggle in the name of “honor.” While Algren was disgusted by Custer’s willingness to die for an abstraction, it is justified and even glorious for nonwhites to sacrifice their lives for a greater cause, and he is quite willing to lend his own sword hand.

    Algren and Katsumoto meet their foes in the field, but arrange their archers and swordsmen in such a way to draw their enemies into a trap. Algren tells Katsumoto about the Battle of Thermopylae, laughingly telling him that the defenders were “dead to the last man” in glorious combat by the end. It’s amazing what fighting for another people’s culture can do for the white man, as he grins in anticipation of his own sacrifice.

    By soaking the ground with flammable pitch and feigning a retreat, the samurai draw their enemies close and take away their advantage of superior weaponry. Having won a tactical victory, but knowing enemy reinforcements are on the way, Algren, Katsumoto, and the surviving warriors take to their horses for a final charge.

    The final battle scene [7] is a masterpiece. One is reminded of Faulkner [8] writing about Pickett’s charge, “This time, maybe this time with all this much to lose and all this much to gain…” They rip through a line of infantry that fail to stop the charge, Colonel Bagley impaled by Algren’s sword. Omura begins to panic, shrieking hysterically for the soldiers to load the “new guns”. The inexperienced Japanese soldiers fumble with the loading mechanism and the samurai draw ever closer, screaming their wild cry of battle frenzy. Any moment one expects to see the officers slice apart by the vengeful guardians of old Japan as the music swells to a crescendo. Suddenly, the music cuts off and the sickening mechanical clank of the Gatling guns shatters the sudden quiet. They are all cut down – Algren, Katsumoto, and the rest. We see that they weren’t even that close. The age of chivalry has gone [9], and that of sophists, economists, and calculators has succeeded, thanks to the new guns.

    Wounded, dying, Katsumoto crawls to Algren to request help in ending his own life. Omura shrieks for his troops to finish them off, but his own officers disobey, revolted by the dishonorable slaughter. Algren assists Katsumoto to commit seppuku, giving the samurai both an honorable death and a moment of total perfection as he dies. Awed by the sacrifice, the Japanese troops bow to their vanquished foes. Of course, as Algren (albeit wounded) is seemingly the only survivor, we are seeing the non-white masses prostrating themselves before the principled anti-racist. It is the ultimate liberal fantasy.

    Now that the rebellion has been crushed, the Japanese are poised to sign a trade agreement with the United States that will give great benefits to the Americans, as well as personally profit Omura. As the agreement is about to be signed, Algren limps into the imperial chamber to present the Emperor Meiji with Katsumoto’s sword. Deeply moved, the Emperor speaks, explaining that he dreamed of a powerful Japan with modern weapons and industries, but now that they have those things, “we must not forget who we are.”

    Cultural authenticity is then re-established with a capricious act of Oriental despotism. The Emperor suddenly tells the American ambassador that he will not approve the treaty. The ambassador is understandably outraged at this duplicitous behavior, while Algren grins, having successfully harmed the interests of his own country. Omura protests, only to be told that the Emperor is randomly seizing all of his property. If he feels shamed, the Emperor suggests, Omura can kill himself using Katsumoto’s sword. While modernity is here to stay, the greater nobility of the way of the sword, of patriotism, and of service to the Emperor is established by the sacrifice of the samurai, whose deaths have now been redeemed (thanks to anti-racist whites.)

    On a superficial level, one is tempted to simply dismiss The Last Samurai as a rip-off of James Clavell’s Shogun [10]. However, the film is distinct from Campbell’s story in its basic theme in two ways, aside from the obvious differences of setting, characters, and plot. First, while Shogun shows the glory of Japan’s traditional way of life, it also reveals the deviousness and backstabbing underlying the talk of honor and sacrifice in the same way as Game of Thrones [11]. The Last Samurai allows nothing to interfere with its portrayal of Traditionalist life. While we can perhaps chalk this up to naiveté or even liberal condescension, it is refreshing to see a forthrightly positive portrayal of an organic society.

    More importantly, The Last Samurai has genuinely bracing insights on the inherent evils of modernity and liberal capitalism. Even though democracy has justified its triumph in the name of “dignity” for every person, the film shows that everyone from a samurai to a peasant had a value and worth in a real society, “dedicating themselves to perfection” in all that they do. Under modernity, there are vulgar city dwellers parading in foreign garb, mocking their own traditions in the empty pursuit of status granted by an alien elite.

    The Last Samurai portrays the rot of nationalist identity once the primary value becomes money grubbing, but more than that, it show the even greater evil when nationalism (as a word) is married to money grubbing. Despite all the professions of loyalty, sacrifice, and power, the Japanese Army throughout most of the film is essentially a private security force for Omura’s corporate interests.

    There is an obvious parallel to the American military, and to Smedley Butler’s passionate cry that his distinguished Marine Corps career was nothing but serving as a “high class muscle man for Big Business.” [12] If it is sickening to see the way of the sword and the pursuit of perfection replaced by the rule of gold, it is infinitely worse to see martial values in the service of international finance.

    Of course, the second way the film differs from Shogun is why the film is permitted to give this subversive message. Instead of a white man traveling amongst the Japanese as in Shogun, the film portrays the Japanese as essentially backdrops to the moral journey of the white man. That journey, of course, is away from his own “whiteness,” which is explicitly defined as modernity, capitalism, moral rot, and of course, alcoholism.

    During one scene, Colonel Bagley asks Algren, “Just tell me one thing, what is it about your own people that you hate so much?” Algren has no answer. However, we get a hint in his response to a samurai child who asks him why he, Algren, is willing to fight against the “white men” who are coming to destroy Katsumoto’s army. Algren responds, “Because they come to destroy what I have come to love.”

    Cut off from his own roots, with his own martial service in defense of “better mechanical amusements,” Algren turns to self-hate. It’s impossible to imagine his erstwhile Confederate opponents plagued by such doubts. With Traditionalism removed from Western Man, he seeks salvation in the Tradition of others, immersing, assimilating, and ultimately annihilating himself in the society of the Other. Thus the film ends with Mr. Graham suggesting that Algren ultimately found peace by living as a Japanese man, married to Taka and raising the children of his former foe.

    As we see the postmodern graduates of American universities throw themselves into the indigenous rituals of agrarian tribes or champion the causes of all oppressed peoples except their own, we find that Colonel Bagley’s question is still with us and deserves an answer. What is it about our own people that we hate so much?

    It’s that our people have been defined not by a culture, but by an anti-culture. In a cruel irony, “whiteness” has become a social construct, identified as export of junk food, junk culture, and junk values. Moreover, such “whiteness” should be hated. Cut off from ourselves and our past, we reasonably seek to identify with a real culture and a real people somewhere else.

    Of course, there is a solution. If Algren had said to himself that while it is nice to have modern technology and material prosperity, whites “must not forget who we are,” the film would have a real message of subversion. However, our enemies won’t make that movie, never mind concede that whites even can refer to themselves as we. Like Katsumoto, we must rise; rise against the institutions that have failed us, in the name of the triumphs of the past and future we demand. That said, unlike the noble but failed samurai warlord, we cannot be bound by the enemy’s rules.

     

    ...
    (Review Source)
  • The Lone Ranger
    (”The Last Samurai” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    loneranger

    [1]2,285 words

    The Lone Ranger never had a chance as a movie. The Wild West setting is akin to Auschwitz in the eyes of educated opinion. The existence of the Indian sidekick “Tonto” is an embarrassing reminder that whites once assumed they would be in leadership roles, with the Other tolerantly accepted as helpers. The clean-cut eponymous hero is a symbol of everything that the post-Western world has pledged to destroy. The character of the Lone Ranger is the hero of a despised nation that no longer exists.

    Of course, Disney might have spat in the face of the Zeitgeist and its directors by giving us a straight-up, old-fashioned Western adventure. That might have actually worked, and the sounds of dollars rolling in could have overwhelmed even the screeches of outrage. However, like everything else that Disney tries to do these days [2], The Lone Ranger tries desperately to subvert the very things that made it a cultural force. In its own way, it is the most anti-white, anti-American, and anti-Western (in both senses) movie of the year.

    It didn’t work. It was still criticized as racist. The Lone Ranger tries to be clever and critique its own fans. The result is a confused mess which no one came to see, and expected losses of about $150 million are just part of the cost of political correctness.

    We begin with a small boy entering a Wild West display at a San Francisco fair in 1933. Mercifully, as this is 1933, the kinds of fairs they had in San Francisco are the sort of things you can bring children to, unlike today [3]. The boy is wearing a mask, a cowboy hat, and even a toy gun, which would cause him to be arrested [4] and sent to counseling now.

    In any event, he encounters an aged Tonto standing as a kind of living wax piece, complete with a display sign that says “The Noble Savage.” Addressing the boy emotionally as “Kemosabe,” Tonto begins telling his story – which begins with the Lone Ranger and Tonto robbing a bank. “But they were good guys!” says the boy. Tonto explains that good men must occasionally do these things to fight evil. See everyone? They are being subversive and outlaws and changing your expectations. How clever.

    Backing up, we meet District Attorney John Reid coming in to on a train filled with singing Presbyterians. Prim, proper, and bumbling, he is the stereotypical spoiled “college boy.” When asked to join in prayer, he raises a copy of John Locke’s Two Treatises on Government and explains “This is my Bible.” This is the first of many takedowns of the Christian religion over the course of the film, a notable departure from the source material.

    Tonto is imprisoned on the train along with Butch Cavendish, a disfigured villain plotting his escape. When Cavendish makes his move, Tonto attempts to foil him. Cavendish’s accomplices raid the train to free him but not before Tonto has a chance to kill him. However, Reid stops Tonto, putting his faith in the judicial process. Predictably, Cavendish escapes.

    Most of the train’s passengers are eventually saved by John’s brother Dan, the very picture of a grizzled Western lawman. It’s also revealed that John is still in love with Dan’s wife Rebecca, and she is still in love with John. Dan and his posse ride out to apprehend Cavendish, and John tags along. Though he refuses to carry a gun, and wears a civilian style white hat, he is deputized an official Texas Ranger.

    The mission ends badly, as the entire posse is betrayed by their tracker. Dan is shot and John attempts to pull him to safety, while Dan tells him to take care of his wife, who “always loved him.” Of course, John is simply shot himself. He awakes only briefly to see Cavendish literally eating the heart of his older brother, and then dies.

    Tonto appears to bury the dead men but is stopped by a “spirit horse,” a white horse that is pawing at John’s body. In the first of several amusing interactions between Tonto and the horse, Tonto tries to convince the animal that the “great warrior” Dan is who he needs, but the horse is insistent. John is reawakened and told he is a spirit walker – a man who cannot be killed in battle. Though John keeps his faith in the law and the judicial process, he joins with Tonto to hunt down Cavendish, though Tonto has no confidence in him. In this film, we are told, Kemosabe means “wrong brother.”

    Here, the Lone Ranger is essentially created by Tonto. The transformation of the Indian “sidekick” to the center of the plot is an important point in the movie’s defense against the charges of “racism,” notably by Johnny Depp. Some of the film’s marketing has even gone so far as to make Tonto the actual hero. This “Lone Ranger” is prissy, clumsy, and incompetent. When he makes an incredible shot, or accomplishes some feat of riding, it’s suggested that it is the result of luck, Injun magic, or the horse. When he is wounded in the shoulder by an arrow, he gives a cowardly scream akin to Jim Carrey in the comedic farce Ace Ventura 2 [5]. The Lone Ranger is simply along for the ride – the white hero as social construct.

    The bulk of the plot is almost identical to, of all things, 1987’s Robocop. The obvious criminal baddies are only a smokescreen for the true villain – a rogue official within a powerful corporate interest [6] that the hero ostensibly serves. Here, it’s the railroad that is trying to build across Comanche territory. The peace treaty is supposedly breached by Indian raids on white settlements, and we even see an “Indian” raid on Rebecca’s house, as the tough frontier woman fires a rifle in defense of her son (and the “Indians” kill and scalp the family’s de rigueur friendly black worker). Of course, because Indian raids are just a racist myth, it’s revealed that it was actually Cavendish’s gang disguised as Indians. Furthermore, the gang is being supported by the railroad’s villainous owner, Mr. Cole, who is also interested in taking Dan’s widow and son for his own. Thus, capitalism, patriarchy, and whiteness are all united in a triumphant trinity of villainy.

    Nonetheless, Depp’s interpretation of Tonto is genuinely interesting. He plays with our expectation of Tonto as the stoic Indian warrior by mixing it with moments of deadpan humor and outright madness. Tonto constantly “feeds” a dead bird that sits on top of his head. He loots corpses but “trades” with them by leaving a small item on the body. His pronouncements alter between the seemingly profound, the obvious, and the nonsensical.

    The film achieves its one moment of absolute genius when the Lone Ranger and Tonto are captured by the Comanche. A relieved Reid thinks that Tonto’s people will help him, but instead he is told Tonto’s real story. Tonto found two white men and took them back to the village to be nursed to health. When the men heal, they notice Tonto has a rock of silver, and trade a cheap pocket watch for the location of the silver. Tonto returns to his village to find that the whites have slaughtered his tribe. His mind breaks, and he concludes that the silver is “cursed” and that the men are evil spirits. Rather than coming to terms with his gruesome mistake, Tonto loses himself into a world of magic, fantasy, and religious imagination. Though the film gives hints that he does indeed possess a kind of deep wisdom and terrible power, it’s also clear that he is at least somewhat insane.

    Of course, even the one thing the movie does right has to be mixed with cliché. Tonto’s real mistake was not killing the white men when he found them. As you might expect, the man who gave Tonto the watch turns out to be the local head of the railroad. All the whites in the movie are grasping, evil, and venal. Tonto repeatedly expresses his contempt for the Lone Ranger when angered, calling him a “white coward” when he puts his faith in the law rather than vengeance.

    When Reid knocks out Tonto to prevent an extrajudicial killing, Tonto awakes to find Chinese laborers staring at him. “Stupid white man,” he mutters and the Chinese nod sagely. Whites practically start a riot when Tonto enters a town, calling him a “heathen,” Army soldiers savagely berate “Chinamen,” and railroad officials are quick to praise drunken white workers that we rarely see doing any work, unlike the noble Third Worlders. Reid eventually breaks with Tonto, saying “I have a tribe.” Of course, once he realizes the corruption of the railroad and the government, he comes back. Not for the first time, abandoning the white “tribe” means cinematic salvation for the hero.

    As for the Army, Barry Pepper plays a Custer-like officer who leads the counter-attack against the Indians. When he is informed that he has killed Indians for no reason, he quickly determines to save his skin by aligning with the railroad and Cavendish and going along with the lie. The film features an Indian attack on Army troopers that begins [7] almost exactly like the downhill charge at Helm’s Deep in The Two Towers. Of course, now white American soldiers are cast in the role of orcs. The pseudo-Custer cries “For God and Country!” as the whites prepare to defend themselves, a sentiment we are supposed to sneer at. The Indians are defeated, not through martial valor but through Gatling guns, just like the Samurai are defeated by the Westernized Japanese in The Last Samurai [8].

    The person who will finally give the soldiers of the racist entity what they deserve is the Lone Ranger himself. When we finally hear that famous overture [9], it’s the Lone Ranger destroying the railroad to prevent the villain from getting away with his loot. This involves various maneuvers so Gatling guns can open up on the soldiers. So much for the Lone Ranger’s hatred of guns. The final scene is exciting and what we’ve come to see, but somehow boilerplate – at two-and-a-half hours, by the time the climatic train scene shows up, everyone is ready to go home. 

    Disney should consider itself lucky they even showed up. The Lone Ranger is a bomb of legendary proportions. Perhaps more importantly, it has been condemned as an overt product of white supremacy, with the formerly cool Johnny Depp a target of condemnation. After all, even the old “Lone Ranger” had a real Indian [10] in the role of Tonto. The filmmakers obviously intended to insult whites, America, and the franchise they were exploiting, but it didn’t work.

    As America becomes more explicitly anti-white, the propaganda grows less subtle, less intelligent, and more hysterical. We are only a few short years away from jargon heavy denunciations of whites as the running dogs of privilege or some other kind of pseudo-Stalinist boilerplate. On university campuses, we are already there.

    The result is that even when a film tries to be anti-white, it can’t help but be criticized as white supremacist if it shows white people (either as actors, directors, or characters) literally doing anything other than being killed. Django Unchained [11]was racist and controversial, not because it showed the graphic slaughter of white people, including women, but because it had white characters saying taboo words and white audiences may have been laughing at parts they weren’t supposed to. Similarly, The Lone Ranger fails because it has a white hero, even one that is mocked, and a white guy in a role as an Indian sidekick, Johnny Depp’s protestations of Indian heritage notwithstanding. As far as educated (read “controlled”) opinion goes, anything other than the forthright portrayal of Indians slaughtering whites simply isn’t good enough. As far as the Rachel Jeantels [12] of the world, who are the targets of our consumer economy, they simply can’t understand social criticism any more than they can read cursive script.

    One of the last scenes of the movie is the Lone Ranger triumphantly rearing his horse, and waving his hat, with the trademark cry, “High ho Silver! Away!” Prominently featured in the marketing as part of the hero’s image, here it is played for sarcastic, ironic laughs at the Lone Ranger’s expense, as Tonto lectures him, “Never do that again!”

    And yet, outside there was a display was set up with Lone Ranger merchandise. As if from another world, a small boy appeared with grandparents in tow, looking at the toys. To my utter astonishment, the boy was wearing a cowboy hat and looking with great excitement at the symbols of a bygone age, while his grandfather pointed out favorites. It was a scene in direct opposition to the hours of nonsense I had witnessed.

    It is the symbol itself of the Lone Ranger that wins the hearts of very young boys and old men, the legend of the American hero on the frontier who always does right. Disney seeks to exploit this, even as they trash it. This is also the reason those who hate our race hate the film, even though the film is an offering and contribution to their creed.

    Looking at an innocent boy who has to look two generations back for heroes, I felt a terrible sadness – and anger. For the studio executives attempting to profit off the people and values they despise, Butch Cavendish’s tactics would be too kind. I’d gladly rip out and eat the black hearts of those who are deliberately poisoning the culture. But I guess I’ll just have to settle for gloating over the box office receipts [13].

     

    ...
    (Review Source)
  • Counter-Currents/North American New Right Newsletter: May 2012
    (”The Last Samurai” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    [1]1,042 words

    Dear Friends of Counter-Currents,

    On June 11, Counter-Currents will celebrate our second anniversary of going online. We are also launching a major fundraising drive this month.

    May was another lively month for Counter-Currents. Thank you for making that possible.

    1. Our Readership and Web Traffic

    If you visited our website in May, you were just one of 56,323 unique visitors. These visitors paid us 111,533 visits, our highest number ever. The pages you viewed were among the 400,243 pages viewed in last month.

     

    Month Unique Visitors Number of Visits Pages Viewed “Hits” Bandwidth
    June 2010 6,145 10,328 70,732 200,824 6.08 GB
    July 2010 9,387 17,329 119,254 348,172 10.01 GB
    August 2010 12,174 22,348 93,379 333,614 10.17 GB
    September 2010 17,063 34,510 147,051 580,550 16.39 GB
    October 2010 17,848 35,921 140,365 611,367 17.93 GB
    November 2010 26,054 48,336 171,833 915,553 26.39 GB
    December 2010 26,161 50,975 192,905 1,101,829 27.79 GB
    January 2011 28,583 60,005 198,249 1,736,067 34.06 GB
    February 2011 29,737 61,519 213,121 2,081,558 40.13 GB
    March 2011 29,768 62,077 220,053 2,485,001 52.21 GB
    April 2011 20,091 58,037 223,291 2,729,449 54.65 GB
    May 2011 36,596 78,103 274,841 1,334,472 47.59 GB
    June 2011 28,629 57,920 264,928 1,004,128 22.78 GB
    July 2011 30,186 66,093 416,309 1,952,047 71.23 GB
    August 2011 40,002 81,012 502,282 2,083,593 53.18 GB
    September 2011 45,427 88,782 422,902 481,909 11.67 GB
    October 2011 45,590 90,444 337,137 468,197 17.78 GB
    November 2011 44,445 88,824 330,664 339,521 14.22 GB
    December 2011 49,845 97,223 337,881 344,210 13.65 GB
    January 2012 56,633 107,644 408,373 433,736 21.38 GB
    February 2012 53,345 99,607 376,288 411,915 14.43 GB
    March 2012 55,572 106,029 441,170 475,719 16.36 GB
    April 2012 56,772 110,029 421,446 428,678 16.08 GB
    May 2012 56,323 111,533 400,243 404,483 15.70 GB

     

    As you can see, our traffic has remained pretty much plateaued since January. This has been our pattern: growth spurts, followed by a few months plateaued.

    2. Our Blog

    In May, we added 78 posts to the website, for a total of 1,752 posts since going online on June 11, 2010. We also added over 1,000 new comments.

    3. May’s Top Twenty Articles (with date of publication and number of reads)

    Our number one essay, Daniel Michaels on Stalin’s plan to conquer Europe, has been a perennial favorite since we first published it in April of 2011. Two other perennial favorites, Irmin Vinson on Hitler and Gregory Hood on Scarface, were in our top 10 yet again.

    Gregory Hood and Jef Costello each had three top 20 pieces, Jack Donovan and Greg Johnson each had two.

    Alex Stark’s first CC article made the top ten. It is the first, we hope, of many.

    Eight of our top 20 articles are about movies and television: Gregory Hood on Scarface, The Avengers, and The Last Samurai, Jef Costello on Dark Shadows, Fight Club, and Breaking Bad, Trevor Lynch on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (which has been in the top ten for 6 months now), and John Morgan on God Bless America. Since Hollywood and the television industry are the primary media of anti-white propaganda, racially conscious analyses of movies and TV are highly effective at drawing traffic and combating enemy propaganda. (See Trevor Lynch, “Why I Write [22].”)

    Two of our top ten articles were on comics and graphic novels: Christopher Pankhurst on “Civil War and The Big Lie” and Ted Sallis on “Marvel Comics, Ethnicity, and Race” (in German translation).

    4. Where Our Readers Are: The top 20 Countries

    Our web statistics program gives us a country-by-country breakdown of our readership. Here are the top 20 countries:

    1. United States
    2. Great Britain
    3. Canada
    4. Germany
    5. Sweden
    6. Australia
    7. China
    8. The Netherlands
    9. France
    10. Portugal
    11. Finland
    12. Japan
    13. Brazil
    14. Norway
    15. Spain
    16. Italy
    17. Poland
    18. Switzerland
    19. Russian Federation
    20. India

    5. Where Our Readers Are: The Top 20 Cities

    1. London
    2. New York City
    3. San Francisco
    4. Sydney
    5. Melbourne
    6. Stockholm
    7. Chicago
    8. Houston
    9. Lisbon
    10. Toronto
    11. Los Angeles
    12. Dublin
    13. Berlin
    14. Philadelphia
    15. Seattle
    16. Washington, D.C.
    17. Mexico City
    18. Vancouver, B.C.
    19. Montreal
    20. Athens

    Eight of our top 20 cities are in the United States. Four are on the West Coast of North America: San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, and Vancouver, B.C.. Three are in Canada: Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. Two are in Australia: Melbourne and Sydney. Eight of them are national capitals: Washington, D.C., London, Berlin, Stockholm, Lisbon, Mexico City, Athens, and Dublin.

    6. Upcoming Book Projects

    These are the titles that are at one stage or another in the editorial process. Beyond the first three titles, these are in only the roughest chronological order.

    11. Savitri Devi, Forever & Ever (June)
    12. Greg Johnson, ed., North American New Right, vol. 1 (June)

    Forever and Ever and North American New Right have been delayed from May 30 to June 20 publication dates, NANR because of problems with the proofs, Forever and Ever because of issues with the cover/dust jacket.

    13. Kerry Bolton, Artists of the Right: Resisting Decadence, ed. Greg Johnson (June)
    14. Trevor Lynch, Trevor Lynch’s White Nationalist Guide to the Movies (June)
    15. Juleigh Howard-Hobson, “I do not belong to the Baader-Meinhof group” and Other Poems (June)
    16. James J. O’Meara, The Homo and the Negro: Masculinist Meditations on Literature, Politics, and Popular Culture (June or July)
    17. William Joyce, Twilight Over England, with an Introduction by Greg Johnson
    18. Francis Parker Yockey, The World in Flames and Other Essays, ed. Kerry Bolton
    19. Saint-Loup, Hitler or Juda? A Second Nuremberg Tribunal
    20. Derek Hawthorne, Above the Clouds: Arnold Fanck, Leni Riefesnstahl, and the Metaphysics of Sex (on the German mountain films)
    21. Collin Cleary, L’appel aux dieux (French translation of Summoning the Gods)

    Counter-Currents has now taken over the Savitri Devi Archive’s Centennial Edition of Savitri Devi’s Works. The next volumes will be a new edition of And Time Rolls On, followed by The Lightning in the Sun. Other longer term projects include Anthony M. Ludovici’s Confessions of an Anti-Feminist: The Autobiography of Anthony M. Ludovici, ed. John V. Day, Julius Evola’s East and West: Essays in Comparative Philosophy, a new edition of Brooks Adams’ The Law of Civilization and Decay with an Introduction by Greg Johnson, and a collection of Alain de Benoist’s essays on Ernst Jünger.

    * * *

    Once again, I want to thank our writers, donors, and proofreaders; our webmaster/Managing Editor; and above all, you, our readers for being part of a growing intellectual and spiritual community.

    Greg Johnson
    Editor-in-Chief
    Counter-Currents Publishing Ltd.
    & North American New Right

     

    ...
    (Review Source)

Josh Neal1
No Apologies



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

⚠️ EDGY 🔥 CONTENT 🔥 WARNING 🔥 (NSFW?) ⚠️

🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻


  • Broken Arrow The Last Samurai - Anti-Whiteness and Confused Identity
    DONATIONS: https://streamlabs.com/heelturn1
    ...
    (Review Source)

Christian Toto1
Hollywood In Toto



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • ‘Trial by Fire’ Can’t Rally Behind Dern’s Performance
    (”The Last Samurai” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Trial by Fire Jack-OConnell-Laura-Dern

    “Trial By Fire” opens in Corsicana, Texas of 1991, where Cameron Todd Willingham (Jack O’Connell) is viewed by neighbors to be acting suspiciously while fleeing his home as it burns

    The post ‘Trial by Fire’ Can’t Rally Behind Dern’s Performance appeared first on Hollywood in Toto.

    ...
    (Review Source)

Hugh Hewitt2
Salem Radio Network



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • Vince Flynn On Battling Cancer And His New Thriller, Kill Shot
    (”The Last Samurai” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    HH: Morning Glory and Evening Grace, America. It’s Hugh Hewitt. It’s quite a show today. Last hour Mitt Romney and Bishop Olmsted of Phoenix. This hour Mitch Rapp is back. Actually, Vince Flynn our friend is back. Vince, welcome back to the Hugh Hewitt Show. VF: Hugh, good to be back on! HH: Terrific Kill Shot is terrific – your new book. I’ve got it linked over at HughHewitt.com. Are you out on the road promoting it? VF: I’m holed up in a hotel room in New York City. I’ve been here since Sunday. I watched the Superbowl alone for the first time in my life as far as I can recall, and I’m doing the TV and the radio and all that fun stuff. HH: I hope you know that Mario Manningham is from Warren, OH, Vince and that no one associated with Minnesota at all had anything to do with winning the Superbowl. VF: (laughing). I didn’t even bother to think about it actually. HH: Vince Flynn, a couple of questions. First, you’re from Minnesota. If you were in Minnesota tonight would you go to the caucuses? VF: You know I haven’t been in a number of years and it’s kind of the neighborhood that we live in there’s no a lot of homes. There’s only about 300 homes. You know tonight might be kind of interesting. They meet at a little church called St. Anne’s, but the one I went to I walked away really frustrated. I’ve got to be honest. I walked out of the caucus and I turned to my roommate at the time and I said this is why politics is all screwed up. They were just crazy people. HH: Yep. VF: I think that’s probably changed. Turnout is a lot higher but if you don’t like the system, you better get involved and change it so I can’t complain. HH: Now, I’ll come back and talk politics a little bit later but first people really want to know Vince Flynn how’s your recovery going? Last time you were on you were in the middle of treatment for prostate cancer and you were doing better. How are you feeling? VF: I’m feeling good. I’ll tell you what, I was trying to get Kill Shot finished so I could stay on my fall pub schedule and I ended up in so much pain this summer that my doctors figured out that the bone-one of the bones in my pelvis was discinigrating so they said we’ve got to start radiation. So I went in and did the radiation and within two weeks I found relief. Now I’ve been pain free for about three weeks. My energy is slowly coming back and I feel good. I’m very grateful. I wake up everyday and thank the Lord for life. HH: In the acknowledgements for Kill Shot you have this line: “I like working with people I admire and trust and I like stability. When you find out you have cancer this philosophy takes on a much deeper meaning.” How so? VF: Well, you are surrounded by people who care about you instead of a bunch of complete strangers. I’ll never forget about a week after I was diagnosed I was down at the Mayo Clinic and I was talking with Dr. Kwan, my doctor, and we were walking through the hallways and I said Doc I don’t understand how people can go through this without faith and a spouse because Lisa has been there every step of the way. She’s just been fantastic. He said to me, Vince I got a phone call from a guy today-I’m sorry last week a guy came in and I had to break the news to him and he was a couple of years younger than you and it was way worse and it had spread over his whole body and I had to tell him. I said can we call anybody or do anything and he said my parents are dead and I’m not married. I wanted to reach out to the guy and he said because of ethics and so forth at the hospital I can’t give you the guy’s name or number. I still pray for that guy and I don’t know who he is but I pray for him. It just can’t imagine going through this without the support of friends and family and loved ones. The security of having all these people in New York that I’ve worked with for 13 years that I don’t have to worry about anything. That I know they are really pulling for me because not just that I make them a lot of money but that they like me and they care about me and my family it’s huge. It’s why I put this in the prelude or the acknowledgements and I really mean it. I’ve been saying for years I want to get through life with one agent, one editor, one publisher and one wife. I adore my wife and I trust my agent and editor and I have a great publisher and it makes life a lot easier. I’m not one of these people who thinks the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. It’s never been who I am. My mom and dad never allowed it. Be careful for what you wish for type thing! HH: Vince, how long have you been married? VF: Twelve years a couple of weeks ago. We were just in Mexico for our anniversary. We go every year. We had a fantastic time. HH: That’s terrific. Mitch Rapp would not lead someone to believe that you were the long-term marriageable type if Mitch Rapp was autobiographical at all. I knew you were. VF: I’m not! Obviously a part of me goes into every character but the problem with Rapp is he can’t doing what he does for a living it’s extremely difficult to have a normal marriage and relationship. What wife is going to support what he does (laughing). No, I don’t think he should go on this trip. There’s a good chance you’re going to die. HH: In terms of Rapp I was looking to see as I read Kill Shot aware of the interruption in your schedule and the disease and how you fought it and battled back. I was looking to see if Mitch was different. I don’t think he is. I think he’s the same Mitch and exactly where you put him kind of inserted him between the prequel and the series so that it makes sense here. Was that the plan all along was to build him back up to the present? VF: Yeah. I knew there was that missing decade when I started transfer of power that eventually I’d come back and I’d tell his origin story and there would be three or four prequels of Rapp in his 20’s. I’ve written two of them. They are going to be called the American Assassin series. Now for book 14 I’m going back to the here and now. Stuff with Iran and Pakistan is driving me nuts to not be out in front of it trying to predict what’s going to happen next. HH: It’s very interesting about the trick here and I talked to Bernard Cornwell about this with Richard Sharp is everything has got to make sense and thus far you’ve pulled that off. Was there anything that I missed that is a tricky – I can see questions that have to be answered eventually in book 3 and 4 of American Assassins but is there anything that you’ve written yourself into a corner on? February 8, 2012 – Vince Flynn HH: Morning Glory and Evening Grace, America. It’s Hugh Hewitt. It’s quite a show today. Last hour Mitt Romney and Bishop Olmsted of Phoenix. This hour Mitch Rapp is back. Actually, Vince Flynn our friend is back. Vince, welcome back to the Hugh Hewitt Show. VF: Hugh, good to be back on! HH: Terrific Kill Shot is terrific – your new book. I’ve got it linked over at HughHewitt.com. Are you out on the road promoting it? VF: I’m holed up in a hotel room in New York City. I’ve been here since Sunday. I watched the Superbowl alone for the first time in my life as far as I can recall, and I’m doing the TV and the radio and all that fun stuff. HH: I hope you know that Mario Manningham is from Warren, OH, Vince and that no one associated with Minnesota at all had anything to do with winning the Superbowl. VF: (laughing). I didn’t even bother to think about it actually. HH: Vince Flynn, a couple of questions. First, you’re from Minnesota. If you were in Minnesota tonight would you go to the caucuses? VF: You know I haven’t been in a number of years and it’s kind of the neighborhood that we live in there’s no a lot of homes. There’s only about 300 homes. You know tonight might be kind of interesting. They meet at a little church called St. Anne’s, but the one I went to I walked away really frustrated. I’ve got to be honest. I walked out of the caucus and I turned to my roommate at the time and I said this is why politics is all screwed up. They were just crazy people. HH: Yep. VF: I think that’s probably changed. Turnout is a lot higher but if you don’t like the system, you better get involved and change it so I can’t complain. HH: Now, I’ll come back and talk politics a little bit later but first people really want to know Vince Flynn how’s your recovery going? Last time you were on you were in the middle of treatment for prostate cancer and you were doing better. How are you feeling? VF: I’m feeling good. I’ll tell you what, I was trying to get Kill Shot finished so I could stay on my fall pub schedule and I ended up in so much pain this summer that my doctors figured out that the bone-one of the bones in my pelvis was discinigrating so they said we’ve got to start radiation. So I went in and did the radiation and within two weeks I found relief. Now I’ve been pain free for about three weeks. My energy is slowly coming back and I feel good. I’m very grateful. I wake up everyday and thank the Lord for life. HH: In the acknowledgements for Kill Shot you have this line: “I like working with people I admire and trust and I like stability. When you find out you have cancer this philosophy takes on a much deeper meaning.” How so? VF: Well, you are surrounded by people who care about you instead of a bunch of complete strangers. I’ll never forget about a week after I was diagnosed I was down at the Mayo Clinic and I was talking with Dr. Kwan, my doctor, and we were walking through the hallways and I said Doc I don’t understand how people can go through this without faith and a spouse because Lisa has been there every step of the way. She’s just been fantastic. He said to me, Vince I got a phone call from a guy today-I’m sorry last week a guy came in and I had to break the news to him and he was a couple of years younger than you and it was way worse and it had spread over his whole body and I had to tell him. I said can we call anybody or do anything and he said my parents are dead and I’m not married. I wanted to reach out to the guy and he said because of ethics and so forth at the hospital I can’t give you the guy’s name or number. I still pray for that guy and I don’t know who he is but I pray for him. It just can’t imagine going through this without the support of friends and family and loved ones. The security of having all these people in New York that I’ve worked with for 13 years that I don’t have to worry about anything. That I know they are really pulling for me because not just that I make them a lot of money but that they like me and they care about me and my family it’s huge. It’s why I put this in the prelude or the acknowledgements and I really mean it. I’ve been saying for years I want to get through life with one agent, one editor, one publisher and one wife. I adore my wife and I trust my agent and editor and I have a great publisher and it makes life a lot easier. I’m not one of these people who thinks the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. It’s never been who I am. My mom and dad never allowed it. Be careful for what you wish for type thing! HH: Vince, how long have you been married? VF: Twelve years a couple of weeks ago. We were just in Mexico for our anniversary. We go every year. We had a fantastic time. HH: That’s terrific. Mitch Rapp would not lead someone to believe that you were the long-term marriageable type if Mitch Rapp was autobiographical at all. I knew you were. VF: I’m not! Obviously a part of me goes into every character but the problem with Rapp is he can’t doing what he does for a living it’s extremely difficult to have a normal marriage and relationship. What wife is going to support what he does (laughing). No, I don’t think he should go on this trip. There’s a good chance you’re going to die. HH: In terms of Rapp I was looking to see as I read Kill Shot aware of the interruption in your schedule and the disease and how you fought it and battled back. I was looking to see if Mitch was different. I don’t think he is. I think he’s the same Mitch and exactly where you put him kind of inserted him between the prequel and the series so that it makes sense here. Was that the plan all along was to build him back up to the present? VF: Yeah. I knew there was that missing decade when I started transfer of power that eventually I’d come back and I’d tell his origin story and there would be three or four prequels of Rapp in his 20’s. I’ve written two of them. They are going to be called the American Assassin series. Now for book 14 I’m going back to the here and now. Stuff with Iran and Pakistan is driving me nuts to not be out in front of it trying to predict what’s going to happen next. HH: It’s very interesting about the trick here and I talked to Bernard Cornwell about this with Richard Sharp is everything has got to make sense and thus far you’ve pulled that off. Was there anything that I missed that is a tricky – I can see questions that have to be answered eventually in book 3 and 4 of American Assassins but is there anything that you’ve written yourself into a corner on? VF: (laughing). You know I’m on these darn hormones now which really affected my memory so if I have painted myself into a corner I will conveniently forget it! I will just write myself just right out of it. To the best of my knowledge, no I have not handcuffed myself. HH: That is very interesting. Paris is very big in Kill Shot. So I put the book down and I’ve only been there twice and I thought to myself gosh he’s not really a fan of Paris but he’s in love with the city so tell me what the relationship is with Vince Flynn. VF: Well it’s interesting – I’m not typically a fan of France. Here’s my love/hate relationship with France and I think it’s told in the story of the French Revolution and the American Revolution. You’ve got these guys all these great renaissance minds that help shaped our Constitution eventually come out of France and they affect Benjamin Franklin, they affect Jefferson and Madison and all this stuff goes into the American Revolution. They support us during the American Revolution and then they turn around and have one of the most heinous revolutions that the world has ever seen in the last 500 years at least and it’s ugly. Their revolution was ugly. Ours was definitely more civil and then the big problem I think most of us have is you then move onto World War II and we bail them out and then De Gaulle in the 50’s and 60’s treats us like we are second class citizens. I know you remember it well and then Reagan goes to bomb Libya and we send the F-111’s to go bomb and the French won’t let us fly over their air space and we lose a crew on the way back. That stuff really sticks in your mind. And with what I write about, I intentionally put it in this book that the French have had these little under the table agreements with the PLO and Hamas and Hezbollah and listen if you don’t blow anything up in our country we’ll kind of look the other way. You can come here and do some of your banking and recruiting and stuff like that. It’s frustrating and I think Sarkozy had been a lot better but the actual city of Paris how can you not fall in love with it. It’s probably the most gorgeous city on the planet. The people, I don’t know. HH: Could you go there and walk for example some of these left bank alleys. There is a fabulous segment in Kill Shot. VF: I walked those alleys but I did not go there for this trip. HH: I thought you must have gone. VF: First of all, I couldn’t have travelled because of my treatments, but I have a pretty good memory about that stuff and it’s just architecturally it is a phenomenal city. Every other block in Paris is a church that would be shrine in the United States. It’s a spectacular place. HH: In Kill Shot obviously people are going to be carrying it around now and trying to find every space you describe here and the churches that you describe. Has Rick Steve’s called you up and asked for rights to reprint Kill Shot yet? VF: No, he has not (chuckles). HH: When we come back from break America my guest is Vince Flynn once again a number 1 New York Times Bestselling author, the brand new book is called Kill Shot. It is the second in the American Assassin thriller which is the 13th or 14th Mitch Rapp book? VF: Well it’s twelfth Rapp book, it’s the thirteenth book. HH: All right. That’s how he phrases it. We’ll come back and talk it specifically and the issues that it raises. It’s linked over at HughHewitt.com, in bookstores everywhere, available at amazon.com. Vince Flynn is here don’t go anywhere or we will find you on the Hugh Hewitt Show ——– Twenty-one minutes after the hour, America. It’s Hugh Hewitt. Coming up next hour I’m going to replay for you my conversation with Mitt Romney. I’m also going to talk to Ryan Lizza of The New Yorker, but this hour I’m spending with Vince Flynn, internationally known thriller writer. His brand new book Kill Shot is in bookstores everywhere. Its available at amazon.com. Kill Shot is a terrific new read. I’ve already gone through it and my notes will reflect that. Vince, you said something in the last segment that was on my notes at the very end so I’m going to take them out of the order. On page 331 you reference specifically the policy of France to keep the carnage out of France. This is what the trick of this book was. This was the real policy in the 80’s in France. It may still be the policy there in 2012 and it iscorrupt and deeply devastating to the West and I’m glad you’ve taken it on, but explain to the audience when you say, “keep the carnage out of France,” what they were doing. VF: Well what did is that they would look the other way. It’s one of the reasons why they would not let Reagan fly the F-111’s directly over France and cut-off a massive amount of the trip and you know we had to go up and do mid-air refueling and again we lost one of the planes. These pilots for the Libyan raid were in the air for 22-hours or something like that. At the time a lot of people were upset. Again, you go back to World War II and Vietnam and a lot of other things and we really bent over backwards to help France and nobody could understand why they were-terrorism is evil and it’s wrong and people couldn’t comprehend why France wouldn’t just let us fly over their airspace for NATO allies and you can go right on down the list. What the rumor was at the time and it’s pretty hard to verify is that there was cash being exchanged between Suerte, which was the French Intelligence Agency and it turned into the DGSE, that these guys were taking cash and they were letting the PLO and other terrorist organizations come hang out in their country and basically giving them a safe haven. And their agreement was listen you pay us a little cash, we’ll keep the Americans and the Brits off your back. You can come here but don’t cause any trouble in France. That was their deal. I think a lot of it was probably shaped by what happened in Munich, but it’s not exactly, it’s nothing even close to an honorable course of action. HH: Well they’ve got a history of appeasement there which is second nature to them. We’ll come back to that in the second. You also reference in Kill Shot the Dreyfus Affair and that’s a lot of history for a thriller reader, but why did you think it was necessary to let people know what’s lurking in the background there? VF: I think the Dreyfus Affair is a fascinating story about how when powerful forces high up in government decide that they don’t like the reality of the situation. They look at something and they say holy crap this person has basically committed treason. You know what? They are guilty but it’s going to be too embarrassing if we try them so let’s try this other guy that nobody cares about because he’s Jewish. It turns into an international affair and this poor guy Dreyfus ends up getting sent off to Gianna to serve out 5 years or 6 years in one of the worst penal colonies on the planet and some people back in France keep working and they finally prove his innocence. That story you are obviously familiar with it. I just think is just a great-it reads like fiction. You think how could this happen? This stuff and you follow Washington this stuff happens all the time. Where are the honorable men? I don’t know if you saw that we decided, we the Congress and the White House, decided we were going to prorate combat pay down to a day-by-day basis when these guys are in the theatre. Who are they? If you were in there for a week, they gave you the whole month. Now they are going to pay you 7 days. HH: I did not see that, Vince. Wow! VF: Yes, it just happened the other day. Here’s the problem: These guys because of the Super Committee they are now looking-we got to cut out all this money out of the Pentagon because that was part of the Super Committee agreement. Well, the last place to start cutting money right now is with our men and women in the military who start at about $18,000 a year. They don’t get paid any overtime and you know how hard they work especially these Special Forces and Special Operators-the SEALS-there isn’t a SEAL out there that’s put in less than-they put in 60, 70, 80-hour weeks. They don’t get paid a dime. San Diego bus drivers get paid more than SEALS do. HH: Have you seen Act of Valor yet, Vince? VF: I’ve seen the preview for it. It looks very interesting. HH: I’ve seen the whole movie and you’ll love it given the guys you run around with. You will think this the greatest movie every because it is when it comes to the realistic depiction of what they do. VF: Hugh, my point is we keep hearing how our politicians are going to be leaders and were going to lead. If you guys are going to lead, why don’t you cut your pay by 10%. Why don’t you cut your Coke and flower budget. What Nancy Pelosi spent $800,000 on flowers that one year when she was speaker of the house? Their staffs keep getting bigger and bigger and they keep giving themselves raises and they have the gall to go nickel and dime our troops who are in a combat zone. It’s just infuriating. HH: There is also in Kill Shot-talking with Vince Flynn his brand new novel is out today. Kill Shot is available at amazon.com. It’s in bookstores everywhere. There’s an old, old priest and he works with the resistency he helps France the best he can and say on page 97, “the priest had seen first hand the horrific results of appeasement”. I’m glad that you put that in there because it remain the scar on France’s honor that they really never really want to talk about. VF: No, they don’t. It’s like the Minnesota Vikings losing four Superbowls (laughing) it’s just painful! There’s nothing good. The Buffalo Bills-it’s something that you can’t live down for the rest of your life. HH: And so does this book do well in France? I mean have you heard anything yet-you must have a large. . . VF: It hasn’t been published in France yet. The English version is in some of the Essenix book stores over there but the French write-I think it comes out next month. That might be interesting because there are some good French people in the book it’s not like they are all jerks. HH: But the DGSE isn’t going to like this book much! VF: No, they aren’t. They have a different – France is a different country. Just look at it from the monogamy standpoint. They think it’s fine if men and women both have dalliances-if they have affairs. It’s part of their culture. Now obviously, not all French people buy into that, but it’s socially acceptable to the point where they are not shocked when they find out that their political leaders are having affairs. HH: Now the DGSE is the CIA of France and it is pretty-it was very corrupt in terms of the side deals for many years and everybody knew-in fact, all of the French government was very corrupt. Do you still think it’s that way? Do your sources tell you that it’s still that way? VF: My sources do not have an answer on that. I asked one of them and his response was the media has a handle of the DGSE and because there is more transparency it’s harder for these guys to take cash, but I find it hard to believe that these guys still don’t take some money when they are overseas and they are doing stuff. They are a-the French have some big problems. I think I’ve made a comment on your show before. I am all for legal immigration but we are very lucky to have a bunch of Catholic Mexicans to our southern border. France’s problem is that they have a bunch of Islamic Radical Fundamentalists across the Mediterranean and they’ve allowed a lot of them to come in and given them citizenship and they are creating all kinds of problems for the country. HH: I’ll be right back with Vince Flynn. His new book is Kill Shot. Mitch Rapp is back and with all the vigor you’d expect. Kill Shot available in bookstores. I’ll be right back. ——– Thirty-four minutes after the hour, America. It’s Hugh Hewitt joined this hour by Vince Flynn, bestselling author extraordinaire and another number one bestseller is out today, Kill Shot is the latest in the American Assign thriller series. It’s the second prequel from Mitch Rapp. I got to mention in my notes here Vince Flynn, you talk about the hideous Pompidou Centre. I’m glad that you’re as open with your opinions on architecture as you are on espionage. VF: (laughing) Well, in that town and in that district, you’ve got all this magnificent architecture that building looks like the biggest pile of you know what I just don’t understand it. HH: (laughing) Okay, you’ve got Mitch Rapp at one point I love this bit of trade craft. He needs to find a mule in essence so he goes down and he hangs out with the small time down druggies of the left bank, is that real trade craft as related to you or is that how you would like it to work? VF: Well, you know I’ve heard so many hilarious stories over the years from retired operatives who are-you have a few cocktails with them down in DC or other parts of the country and they start to tell you some really funny stories about stuff they did back in the day. It sometimes is something that they’ve been taught and there’s other times where they just go with it. They are just flying by the seat of their pants and if an opportunity arises, they take it. HH: I just re-read Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Honourable School Boy and Smiley’s People and I was looking for an eye on trade craft. They are set roughly 10 years prior to Kill Shot and some of this stuff that le Carre uses is very reminiscent of the details-different kind of stuff but down to the details. Are you consciously working at trying to add more trade craft into these books because people like it? VF: Yeah. In this-when I sat down to write this one even more so than American Assassins I had it in my mind I was such a fan Robert Ludlum’s in the Born series and the Gemini Contenders and all that stuff that he wrote in the 70’s and 80’s and I thought I want this to be kind of a homage to Ludlum. I want it to have that feel that a Ludlum novel had and I’ve been compared to Ludlum before so I don’t know how much-my other books consciously or subconsciously are similar with Ludlum’s, but I love the way that Robert told a story. So that’s what I sat down and tried to do and because it’s Rapp alone for a large part of this book, battling terrorists in his own government and all kinds of people you have to-the best way to let the reader understand the paranoia and the understandable paranoia of the main character is to show them how thorough they must be in everything that they do so that they don’t get caught. HH: Yep. I don’t know if you’ve even seen the preview yet. Denzel Washington has a new movie coming out where he plays a CIA agent who is obviously at war with his own agency and I saw the preview after finishing Kill Shot and said well Vince has timed this nicely. VF: So here’s what’s interesting: We were in negotiation with him last late November, early December. Ed Zwick was brought on to direct American Assassin and they-we went out and gave a 15 million dollar offer to Denzel and we said we want you to play Stan Hurley. He and his people read it and they came back and said we love it but you know what we just wrapped a movie that is pretty similar to what this book is so we’re going to pass. HH: He’d be a great Stan Hurley. So, where is the movie right now? That was my next question. VF: Well, the movie is in an interesting spot. I gave them a one-year extension last spring to bring on Ed Zwick who did The Last Samurai and a bunch of other good things and Marshall Herkovitz and so all of a sudden Ed bails in December because Denzel says no so Ed says I’ve wanted to do this film about the Great Wall for the last 10 years so he leaves to go do that. Now we don’t have a director and the clock is ticketing. CBS films has until the end of April to get this thing off the ground. Now they are rushing around trying to find another director, actors and it’s going to be interesting. HH: This must be very-you know you’re in charge of your own life when you’re writing a book and you’ve got no control at all when it’s Hollywood, do you? VF: None. Well I’ve got great producers and CBS Films has been good to me. They consult-I don’t get surprised by anything. They pick up the phone and they tell me what’s going on and I’m very grateful for that. Lorenzo Di Bonaventura, Nick Wechsler, who are the producers have been-gosh, I’ve been with those guys for about seven years now and they’re trying their hardest to get a Mitch Rapp film made and I kind of have that attitude that when the time is right, it’s going to happen and before then I’m going to try and not get too frustrated. HH: Good policy. Vince Flynn is my guest. He’s coming right back. Don’t go anywhere except maybe to buy Kill Shot at your local bookstore. It’s linked at HughHewitt.com or go to VinceFlynn.com his website. ———– Welcome back, America. It’s Hugh Hewitt. Vince Flynn is my guest this hour. Coming up next hour I’m going to replay my conversation with Mitt Romney which if you were here in the first hour you heard. Plus, Ryan Lizza of The New Yorker is swinging by to talk about the new swing voters so don’t miss next hour. Vince Flynn, let’s talk about Chet Bramble who is a central character to Kill Shot, very complicated character, very surprising, I’m not going to give anything away here. How long did Chet Bramble wonder around in Vince Flynn’s mind taking shape? VF: You know the Chet Bramble deal-he was in the last book and what he-you are so good! I was not planning on making this admission but because it’s you, I’ll give it up. The character is based on a guy that I played football with in college. HH: Oh! On your side? VF: He was a little off his rocker. HH: Was he a middle line-backer? VF: Yes, he was. HH: There you go! VF: And he actually had a great personality and he could be as nice as you could imagine one minute and then the next minute he was absolutely screwing whoever he needed to screw to get whatever he wanted and break every rule. I was raised to play football the clean way and this guy would try and gouge people’s eyes out in the pile and say all kinds of things about their mother and (laughing) HH: Well here’s . . . about Chet Ramble the back story is the family member that he has to defend and so you make him ambiguous from the beginning. VF: Yeah. He-it’s really hard to condemn a child so I wanted to tell that story so people could see a human side to Chet because he was in the book such a monster and such a jerk that he’s too easy to hate. So, I wanted to go back and show what he was like as a kid and how he grew up and make him a little bit more sympathetic-or least an ambiguous character so the reader wasn’t entirely sure how much they should hate this guy and if in the end he would find salvation or not and that’s of course we can’t get into that but I have had more fun in the last two books writing jerks. Hurley in American Assassin I think his dialogue and his character-you won’t here me say this very often because I don’t like to talk about my own writing but that’s definitely some of the best writing that I’ve ever done. HH: Hurley is a terrific character. I was curious on my notes here does he exist or have you heard about him? Not in a composite sort of way. VF: Hurley? HH: Yeah. VF: Yeah. I do know someone that’s very much like Hurley (laughing). The guy is an absolute character. He was a SEAL and he was a take no crap, tough as nails guy who let me see, when I met him I was probably 33-34 and this guy was already 60 years-old. I was in really good shape and this guy I wouldn’t have dreamed of taking a shot at him. HH: It’s a fascinating . . . VF: He could tear me and my four brothers apart in 30 seconds. HH: I hope that the agency has people there working for them. Let me ask you about the less than flattering journalistic duo of Bernstein and Jones and your assessment of those who now want no one to know that they used to take a little money under the table or they got helped out along the way and it was very common practice for the agency to do that and boy do networks hate for that to be known. VF: They can’t stand it and you’re right there was a lot of people over the years that have been rumored to take some cash on the side for the CIA, do some favors but I wanted to have some fun with that because in this day and age what a lot of people forget is I don’t care if it is talk radio, writing books for a living, being a reporter, there are some massive egos involved. There are good people and there are bad people and people somehow lose the sight. Journalists are not referees. They are not independent. They are not unbiased. They are people who want to be loved, who want to advance their career and many of them are willing to sensationalize and do all kinds of things to please their bosses to advance their career. That’s going to be a theme that I’m going to return to. HH: Oh, I love that theme. I think . . . VF: It frustrates me that people actually think and fewer and fewer people think by the way that for instance NBC News is an unbiased news organization, but you have to be very skeptical of everything that you read in the New York Times and the Washington Post and you always have to think what is their motivation? What are they doing? What’s their political bias? HH: And every journalist has a back story. We never learn it and every one of them comes from somewhere and done some things that they don’t want people to know about. That’s why I love these characters. I must speak up. We are on the air right now in Orlando, Vince. Page 248: “It was part of his legend that Kennedy had meticulously prepared Orlando was vanilla. People visited but were hard pressed to actually know anyone who grew up in the city that Disney built. The metropolitan area had grown from several hundred thousand people to over a million and in just two decades it was still expanding. Tourism and retirement communities were the anchors of the local community. They both attracted a lot of workers from out of state. It was home to the University of Central Florida, the second largest university behind Arizona State which according to Rapp’s legend was his alma mater. The fast growth of the population , the transient nature of the work force gave Rapp a near ideal cover.” It’s a wonderful back story but on behalf of the people of Orlando when are you doing a book signing down there? (laughing) VF: (laughing) You know what the equivalent is? You’ll get this because the west coast has their Orlando and it’s Las Vegas. HH: Oh, you bet. VF: How many people have you ever met who grew up in Las Vegas? HH: You’re right, but I think the Orlando people are going to say that they are much less transient than the Vegas people are. When did you figure out Rapp’s legend was going to be Orlando? Was that years ago? VF: I didn’t until I sat down to write this book. HH: Ok, so you just had to invent him in the real time and in the real place. VF: Well, no. I went back to that time when Kennedy had recruited him I looked at it and I thought they’ve got to figure something for this guy in case he runs into people. The Orlando legend was-it’s usually easier to have somebody be from a big city because there is too much confusion, the variables are such that you’re only one of ten million people in New York City so it’s going to be really hard for somebody to say I should have known you. If you say they’re from Toledo, Ohio it’s a whole other ballgame. HH: You are absolutely right and that’s why it’s wonderfully written. I had never really thought about where you would put the legend. We have 30 seconds until break, Vince. A legend is? Explain it to the audience. VF: Well a legend is a back story so you are a CIA operative. You have to have a cover that you have to memorize so that when you are being Joe Hewitt overseas you can’t be Joe Hewitt from Columbus, Ohio. You have to be a whole new person. HH: And that is the legend and how you get one is described in Kill Shot. One more segment with Vince Flynn. Don’t go anywhere, America. It’s the Hugh Hewitt Show. ——– Fifty-five minutes after the hour, America. It’s Hugh Hewitt. Vince Flynn has been my guest this hour. His brand new book is Kill Shot. You’re going to love it. It’s available in bookstores everywhere, at amazon.com. Vince, I want to finish in our three minutes talking about the Central Intelligence Agency. You write a lot about this, it’s place in D.C., the hierarchy within it and how it operates. How do you think General Petraeus is doing there? VF: Well, you know I know him and I have a lot of respect for the guy and so I’m not going-I’ll let my motives be known to your audience ok? I like General Petraeus. He was a great General, very dignified career in the Army. I personally don’t think he’s the right one to be running Langley. HH: And why is that? VF: Because of his Army experience. It’s two completely different things nor would I expect a career CIA officer to go run the Pentagon. This is something that you probably understand Hugh, but there are turf battles in Washington that you could write a soap opera about. The Pentagon budget, the CIA and the Intelligence budget and people are home towners. You come out of the Army and you come out of West Point and you are going to have certain biases towards the military and I know this personally from talking to General Petraeus. He and I had a very interesting conversation one time about the difference between a Navy SEAL sniper shooting a guy from a half-mile away vs. a predator drone, firing a hell fire missile into a mud hut and the way I couched it was let’s find a terrorist, they are in a city and we go whack him with a SEAL sniper and he was emphatically against that. He said no we can’t do that. That’s against our Constitution and we can’t do it and I’m thinking so what’s the difference between hitting him with a hell fire missile out of a predator where we might end up killing – there’s going to be some collateral damage vs. a clean shot by a SEAL team sniper. I don’t fault the General for this, it’s the world that he has come out of. HH: Interesting. That’s going to be in the next book. I’m sure that’s going to be interesting! Let me conclude by asking you how tense the world looks to you right now. VF: Oh Hugh, I’m not happy. Iran-I just started that book How To You Kill Eleven Million People? and it’s right up your alley. It’s very philosophical and he goes back and talks about the holocaust and how there were all these signs and everybody ignored it. I’m looking at Iran right now and week doesn’t go by where the Ayatollah or Ahmadinejad or somebody else stands up and says you know let’s kill all the Jews and wipe Israel off the face of the planet. HH: Yes, the clock is ticking. VF: This thing with Israel – how could anybody blame them, they have to attack at some point. HH: They can’t be blamed. Vince Flynn, thank you my friend. Kill Shot is the new book. It’s linked at HughHewitt.com. Stay tuned, America. It’s the Hugh Hewitt Show. VF: (laughing). You know I’m on these darn hormones now which really affected my memory so if I have painted myself into a corner I will conveniently forget it! I will just write myself just right out of it. To the best of my knowledge, no I have not handcuffed myself. HH: That is very interesting. Paris is very big in Kill Shot. So I put the book down and I’ve only been there twice and I thought to myself gosh he’s not really a fan of Paris but he’s in love with the city so tell me what the relationship is with Vince Flynn. VF: Well it’s interesting – I’m not typically a fan of France. Here’s my love/hate relationship with France and I think it’s told in the story of the French Revolution and the American Revolution. You’ve got these guys all these great renaissance minds that help shaped our Constitution eventually come out of France and they affect Benjamin Franklin, they affect Jefferson and Madison and all this stuff goes into the American Revolution. They support us during the American Revolution and then they turn around and have one of the most heinous revolutions that the world has ever seen in the last 500 years at least and it’s ugly. Their revolution was ugly. Ours was definitely more civil and then the big problem I think most of us have is you then move onto World War II and we bail them out and then De Gaulle in the 50’s and 60’s treats us like we are second class citizens. I know you remember it well and then Reagan goes to bomb Libya and we send the F-111’s to go bomb and the French won’t let us fly over their air space and we lose a crew on the way back. That stuff really sticks in your mind. And with what I write about, I intentionally put it in this book that the French have had these little under the table agreements with the PLO and Hamas and Hezbollah and listen if you don’t blow anything up in our country we’ll kind of look the other way. You can come here and do some of your banking and recruiting and stuff like that. It’s frustrating and I think Sarkozy had been a lot better but the actual city of Paris how can you not fall in love with it. It’s probably the most gorgeous city on the planet. The people, I don’t know. HH: Could you go there and walk for example some of these left bank alleys. There is a fabulous segment in Kill Shot. VF: I walked those alleys but I did not go there for this trip. HH: I thought you must have gone. VF: First of all, I couldn’t have travelled because of my treatments, but I have a pretty good memory about that stuff and it’s just architecturally it is a phenomenal city. Every other block in Paris is a church that would be shrine in the United States. It’s a spectacular place. HH: In Kill Shot obviously people are going to be carrying it around now and trying to find every space you describe here and the churches that you describe. Has Rick Steve’s called you up and asked for rights to reprint Kill Shot yet? VF: No, he has not (chuckles). HH: When we come back from break America my guest is Vince Flynn once again a number 1 New York Times Bestselling author, the brand new book is called Kill Shot. It is the second in the American Assassin thriller which is the 13th or 14th Mitch Rapp book? VF: Well it’s twelfth Rapp book, it’s the thirteenth book. HH: All right. That’s how he phrases it. We’ll come back and talk it specifically and the issues that it raises. It’s linked over at HughHewitt.com, in bookstores everywhere, available at amazon.com. Vince Flynn is here don’t go anywhere or we will find you on the Hugh Hewitt Show ——– HH: Twenty-one minutes after the hour, America. It’s Hugh Hewitt. Coming up next hour I’m going to replay for you my conversation with Mitt Romney. I’m also going to talk to Ryan Lizza of The New Yorker, but this hour I’m spending with Vince Flynn, internationally known thriller writer. His brand new book Kill Shot is in bookstores everywhere. Its available at amazon.com. Kill Shot is a terrific new read. I’ve already gone through it and my notes will reflect that. Vince, you said something in the last segment that was on my notes at the very end so I’m going to take them out of the order. On page 331 you reference specifically the policy of France to keep the carnage out of France. This is what the trick of this book was. This was the real policy in the 80’s in France. It may still be the policy there in 2012 and it iscorrupt and deeply devastating to the West and I’m glad you’ve taken it on, but explain to the audience when you say, “keep the carnage out of France,” what they were doing. VF: Well what did is that they would look the other way. It’s one of the reasons why they would not let Reagan fly the F-111’s directly over France and cut-off a massive amount of the trip and you know we had to go up and do mid-air refueling and again we lost one of the planes. These pilots for the Libyan raid were in the air for 22-hours or something like that. At the time a lot of people were upset. Again, you go back to World War II and Vietnam and a lot of other things and we really bent over backwards to help France and nobody could understand why they were-terrorism is evil and it’s wrong and people couldn’t comprehend why France wouldn’t just let us fly over their airspace for NATO allies and you can go right on down the list. What the rumor was at the time and it’s pretty hard to verify is that there was cash being exchanged between Suerte, which was the French Intelligence Agency and it turned into the DGSE, that these guys were taking cash and they were letting the PLO and other terrorist organizations come hang out in their country and basically giving them a safe haven. And their agreement was listen you pay us a little cash, we’ll keep the Americans and the Brits off your back. You can come here but don’t cause any trouble in France. That was their deal. I think a lot of it was probably shaped by what happened in Munich, but it’s not exactly, it’s nothing even close to an honorable course of action. HH: Well they’ve got a history of appeasement there which is second nature to them. We’ll come back to that in the second. You also reference in Kill Shot the Dreyfus Affair and that’s a lot of history for a thriller reader, but why did you think it was necessary to let people know what’s lurking in the background there? VF: I think the Dreyfus Affair is a fascinating story about how when powerful forces high up in government decide that they don’t like the reality of the situation. They look at something and they say holy crap this person has basically committed treason. You know what? They are guilty but it’s going to be too embarrassing if we try them so let’s try this other guy that nobody cares about because he’s Jewish. It turns into an international affair and this poor guy Dreyfus ends up getting sent off to Gianna to serve out 5 years or 6 years in one of the worst penal colonies on the planet and some people back in France keep working and they finally prove his innocence. That story you are obviously familiar with it. I just think is just a great-it reads like fiction. You think how could this happen? This stuff and you follow Washington this stuff happens all the time. Where are the honorable men? I don’t know if you saw that we decided, we the Congress and the White House, decided we were going to prorate combat pay down to a day-by-day basis when these guys are in the theatre. Who are they? If you were in there for a week, they gave you the whole month. Now they are going to pay you 7 days. HH: I did not see that, Vince. Wow! VF: Yes, it just happened the other day. Here’s the problem: These guys because of the Super Committee they are now looking-we got to cut out all this money out of the Pentagon because that was part of the Super Committee agreement. Well, the last place to start cutting money right now is with our men and women in the military who start at about $18,000 a year. They don’t get paid any overtime and you know how hard they work especially these Special Forces and Special Operators-the SEALS-there isn’t a SEAL out there that’s put in less than-they put in 60, 70, 80-hour weeks. They don’t get paid a dime. San Diego bus drivers get paid more than SEALS do. HH: Have you seen Act of Valor yet, Vince? VF: I’ve seen the preview for it. It looks very interesting. HH: I’ve seen the whole movie and you’ll love it given the guys you run around with. You will think this the greatest movie every because it is when it comes to the realistic depiction of what they do. VF: Hugh, my point is we keep hearing how our politicians are going to be leaders and were going to lead. If you guys are going to lead, why don’t you cut your pay by 10%. Why don’t you cut your Coke and flower budget. What Nancy Pelosi spent $800,000 on flowers that one year when she was speaker of the house? Their staffs keep getting bigger and bigger and they keep giving themselves raises and they have the gall to go nickel and dime our troops who are in a combat zone. It’s just infuriating. HH: There is also in Kill Shot-talking with Vince Flynn his brand new novel is out today. Kill Shot is available at amazon.com. It’s in bookstores everywhere. There’s an old, old priest and he works with the resistency he helps France the best he can and say on page 97, “the priest had seen first hand the horrific results of appeasement”. I’m glad that you put that in there because it remain the scar on France’s honor that they really never really want to talk about. VF: No, they don’t. It’s like the Minnesota Vikings losing four Superbowls (laughing) it’s just painful! There’s nothing good. The Buffalo Bills-it’s something that you can’t live down for the rest of your life. HH: And so does this book do well in France? I mean have you heard anything yet-you must have a large. . . VF: It hasn’t been published in France yet. The English version is in some of the Essenix book stores over there but the French write-I think it comes out next month. That might be interesting because there are some good French people in the book it’s not like they are all jerks. HH: But the DGSE isn’t going to like this book much! VF: No, they aren’t. They have a different – France is a different country. Just look at it from the monogamy standpoint. They think it’s fine if men and women both have dalliances-if they have affairs. It’s part of their culture. Now obviously, not all French people buy into that, but it’s socially acceptable to the point where they are not shocked when they find out that their political leaders are having affairs. HH: Now the DGSE is the CIA of France and it is pretty-it was very corrupt in terms of the side deals for many years and everybody knew-in fact, all of the French government was very corrupt. Do you still think it’s that way? Do your sources tell you that it’s still that way? VF: My sources do not have an answer on that. I asked one of them and his response was the media has a handle of the DGSE and because there is more transparency it’s harder for these guys to take cash, but I find it hard to believe that these guys still don’t take some money when they are overseas and they are doing stuff. They are a-the French have some big problems. I think I’ve made a comment on your show before. I am all for legal immigration but we are very lucky to have a bunch of Catholic Mexicans to our southern border. France’s problem is that they have a bunch of Islamic Radical Fundamentalists across the Mediterranean and they’ve allowed a lot of them to come in and given them citizenship and they are creating all kinds of problems for the country. HH: I’ll be right back with Vince Flynn. His new book is Kill Shot. Mitch Rapp is back and with all the vigor you’d expect. Kill Shot available in bookstores. I’ll be right back. ——– Thirty-four minutes after the hour, America. It’s Hugh Hewitt joined this hour by Vince Flynn, bestselling author extraordinaire and another number one bestseller is out today, Kill Shot is the latest in the American Assign thriller series. It’s the second prequel from Mitch Rapp. I got to mention in my notes here Vince Flynn, you talk about the hideous Pompidou Centre. I’m glad that you’re as open with your opinions on architecture as you are on espionage. VF: (laughing) Well, in that town and in that district, you’ve got all this magnificent architecture that building looks like the biggest pile of you know what I just don’t understand it. HH: (laughing) Okay, you’ve got Mitch Rapp at one point I love this bit of trade craft. He needs to find a mule in essence so he goes down and he hangs out with the small time down druggies of the left bank, is that real trade craft as related to you or is that how you would like it to work? VF: Well, you know I’ve heard so many hilarious stories over the years from retired operatives who are-you have a few cocktails with them down in DC or other parts of the country and they start to tell you some really funny stories about stuff they did back in the day. It sometimes is something that they’ve been taught and there’s other times where they just go with it. They are just flying by the seat of their pants and if an opportunity arises, they take it. HH: I just re-read Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Honourable School Boy and Smiley’s People and I was looking for an eye on trade craft. They are set roughly 10 years prior to Kill Shot and some of this stuff that le Carre uses is very reminiscent of the details-different kind of stuff but down to the details. Are you consciously working at trying to add more trade craft into these books because people like it? VF: Yeah. In this-when I sat down to write this one even more so than American Assassins I had it in my mind I was such a fan Robert Ludlum’s in the Born series and the Gemini Contenders and all that stuff that he wrote in the 70’s and 80’s and I thought I want this to be kind of a homage to Ludlum. I want it to have that feel that a Ludlum novel had and I’ve been compared to Ludlum before so I don’t know how much-my other books consciously or subconsciously are similar with Ludlum’s, but I love the way that Robert told a story. So that’s what I sat down and tried to do and because it’s Rapp alone for a large part of this book, battling terrorists in his own government and all kinds of people you have to-the best way to let the reader understand the paranoia and the understandable paranoia of the main character is to show them how thorough they must be in everything that they do so that they don’t get caught. HH: Yep. I don’t know if you’ve even seen the preview yet. Denzel Washington has a new movie coming out where he plays a CIA agent who is obviously at war with his own agency and I saw the preview after finishing Kill Shot and said well Vince has timed this nicely. VF: So here’s what’s interesting: We were in negotiation with him last late November, early December. Ed Zwick was brought on to direct American Assassin and they-we went out and gave a 15 million dollar offer to Denzel and we said we want you to play Stan Hurley. He and his people read it and they came back and said we love it but you know what we just wrapped a movie that is pretty similar to what this book is so we’re going to pass. HH: He’d be a great Stan Hurley. So, where is the movie right now? That was my next question. VF: Well, the movie is in an interesting spot. I gave them a one-year extension last spring to bring on Ed Zwick who did The Last Samurai and a bunch of other good things and Marshall Herkovitz and so all of a sudden Ed bails in December because Denzel says no so Ed says I’ve wanted to do this film about the Great Wall for the last 10 years so he leaves to go do that. Now we don’t have a director and the clock is ticketing. CBS films has until the end of April to get this thing off the ground. Now they are rushing around trying to find another director, actors and it’s going to be interesting. HH: This must be very-you know you’re in charge of your own life when you’re writing a book and you’ve got no control at all when it’s Hollywood, do you? VF: None. Well I’ve got great producers and CBS Films has been good to me. They consult-I don’t get surprised by anything. They pick up the phone and they tell me what’s going on and I’m very grateful for that. Lorenzo Di Bonaventura, Nick Wechsler, who are the producers have been-gosh, I’ve been with those guys for about seven years now and they’re trying their hardest to get a Mitch Rapp film made and I kind of have that attitude that when the time is right, it’s going to happen and before then I’m going to try and not get too frustrated. HH: Good policy. Vince Flynn is my guest. He’s coming right back. Don’t go anywhere except maybe to buy Kill Shot at your local bookstore. It’s linked at HughHewitt.com or go to VinceFlynn.com his website. ———– Welcome back, America. It’s Hugh Hewitt. Vince Flynn is my guest this hour. Coming up next hour I’m going to replay my conversation with Mitt Romney which if you were here in the first hour you heard. Plus, Ryan Lizza of The New Yorker is swinging by to talk about the new swing voters so don’t miss next hour. Vince Flynn, let’s talk about Chet Bramble who is a central character to Kill Shot, very complicated character, very surprising, I’m not going to give anything away here. How long did Chet Bramble wonder around in Vince Flynn’s mind taking shape? VF: You know the Chet Bramble deal-he was in the last book and what he-you are so good! I was not planning on making this admission but because it’s you, I’ll give it up. The character is based on a guy that I played football with in college. HH: Oh! On your side? VF: He was a little off his rocker. HH: Was he a middle line-backer? VF: Yes, he was. HH: There you go! VF: And he actually had a great personality and he could be as nice as you could imagine one minute and then the next minute he was absolutely screwing whoever he needed to screw to get whatever he wanted and break every rule. I was raised to play football the clean way and this guy would try and gouge people’s eyes out in the pile and say all kinds of things about their mother and (laughing) HH: Well here’s . . . about Chet Ramble the back story is the family member that he has to defend and so you make him ambiguous from the beginning. VF: Yeah. He-it’s really hard to condemn a child so I wanted to tell that story so people could see a human side to Chet because he was in the book such a monster and such a jerk that he’s too easy to hate. So, I wanted to go back and show what he was like as a kid and how he grew up and make him a little bit more sympathetic-or least an ambiguous character so the reader wasn’t entirely sure how much they should hate this guy and if in the end he would find salvation or not and that’s of course we can’t get into that but I have had more fun in the last two books writing jerks. Hurley in American Assassin I think his dialogue and his character-you won’t here me say this very often because I don’t like to talk about my own writing but that’s definitely some of the best writing that I’ve ever done. HH: Hurley is a terrific character. I was curious on my notes here does he exist or have you heard about him? Not in a composite sort of way. VF: Hurley? HH: Yeah. VF: Yeah. I do know someone that’s very much like Hurley (laughing). The guy is an absolute character. He was a SEAL and he was a take no crap, tough as nails guy who let me see, when I met him I was probably 33-34 and this guy was already 60 years-old. I was in really good shape and this guy I wouldn’t have dreamed of taking a shot at him. HH: It’s a fascinating . . . VF: He could tear me and my four brothers apart in 30 seconds. HH: I hope that the agency has people there working for them. Let me ask you about the less than flattering journalistic duo of Bernstein and Jones and your assessment of those who now want no one to know that they used to take a little money under the table or they got helped out along the way and it was very common practice for the agency to do that and boy do networks hate for that to be known. VF: They can’t stand it and you’re right there was a lot of people over the years that have been rumored to take some cash on the side for the CIA, do some favors but I wanted to have some fun with that because in this day and age what a lot of people forget is I don’t care if it is talk radio, writing books for a living, being a reporter, there are some massive egos involved. There are good people and there are bad people and people somehow lose the sight. Journalists are not referees. They are not independent. They are not unbiased. They are people who want to be loved, who want to advance their career and many of them are willing to sensationalize and do all kinds of things to please their bosses to advance their career. That’s going to be a theme that I’m going to return to. HH: Oh, I love that theme. I think . . . VF: It frustrates me that people actually think and fewer and fewer people think by the way that for instance NBC News is an unbiased news organization, but you have to be very skeptical of everything that you read in the New York Times and the Washington Post and you always have to think what is their motivation? What are they doing? What’s their political bias? HH: And every journalist has a back story. We never learn it and every one of them comes from somewhere and done some things that they don’t want people to know about. That’s why I love these characters. I must speak up. We are on the air right now in Orlando, Vince. Page 248: “It was part of his legend that Kennedy had meticulously prepared Orlando was vanilla. People visited but were hard pressed to actually know anyone who grew up in the city that Disney built. The metropolitan area had grown from several hundred thousand people to over a million and in just two decades it was still expanding. Tourism and retirement communities were the anchors of the local community. They both attracted a lot of workers from out of state. It was home to the University of Central Florida, the second largest university behind Arizona State which according to Rapp’s legend was his alma mater. The fast growth of the population , the transient nature of the work force gave Rapp a near ideal cover.” It’s a wonderful back story but on behalf of the people of Orlando when are you doing a book signing down there? (laughing) VF: (laughing) You know what the equivalent is? You’ll get this because the west coast has their Orlando and it’s Las Vegas. HH: Oh, you bet. VF: How many people have you ever met who grew up in Las Vegas? HH: You’re right, but I think the Orlando people are going to say that they are much less transient than the Vegas people are. When did you figure out Rapp’s legend was going to be Orlando? Was that years ago? VF: I didn’t until I sat down to write this book. HH: Ok, so you just had to invent him in the real time and in the real place. VF: Well, no. I went back to that time when Kennedy had recruited him I looked at it and I thought they’ve got to figure something for this guy in case he runs into people. The Orlando legend was-it’s usually easier to have somebody be from a big city because there is too much confusion, the variables are such that you’re only one of ten million people in New York City so it’s going to be really hard for somebody to say I should have known you. If you say they’re from Toledo, Ohio it’s a whole other ballgame. HH: You are absolutely right and that’s why it’s wonderfully written. I had never really thought about where you would put the legend. We have 30 seconds until break, Vince. A legend is? Explain it to the audience. VF: Well a legend is a back story so you are a CIA operative. You have to have a cover that you have to memorize so that when you are being Joe Hewitt overseas you can’t be Joe Hewitt from Columbus, Ohio. You have to be a whole new person. HH: And that is the legend and how you get one is described in Kill Shot. One more segment with Vince Flynn. Don’t go anywhere, America. It’s the Hugh Hewitt Show. ——– Fifty-five minutes after the hour, America. It’s Hugh Hewitt. Vince Flynn has been my guest this hour. His brand new book is Kill Shot. You’re going to love it. It’s available in bookstores everywhere, at amazon.com. Vince, I want to finish in our three minutes talking about the Central Intelligence Agency. You write a lot about this, it’s place in D.C., the hierarchy within it and how it operates. How do you think General Petraeus is doing there? VF: Well, you know I know him and I have a lot of respect for the guy and so I’m not going-I’ll let my motives be known to your audience ok? I like General Petraeus. He was a great General, very dignified career in the Army. I personally don’t think he’s the right one to be running Langley. HH: And why is that? VF: Because of his Army experience. It’s two completely different things nor would I expect a career CIA officer to go run the Pentagon. This is something that you probably understand Hugh, but there are turf battles in Washington that you could write a soap opera about. The Pentagon budget, the CIA and the Intelligence budget and people are home towners. You come out of the Army and you come out of West Point and you are going to have certain biases towards the military and I know this personally from talking to General Petraeus. He and I had a very interesting conversation one time about the difference between a Navy SEAL sniper shooting a guy from a half-mile away vs. a predator drone, firing a hell fire missile into a mud hut and the way I couched it was let’s find a terrorist, they are in a city and we go whack him with a SEAL sniper and he was emphatically against that. He said no we can’t do that. That’s against our Constitution and we can’t do it and I’m thinking so what’s the difference between hitting him with a hell fire missile out of a predator where we might end up killing – there’s going to be some collateral damage vs. a clean shot by a SEAL team sniper. I don’t fault the General for this, it’s the world that he has come out of. HH: Interesting. That’s going to be in the next book. I’m sure that’s going to be interesting! Let me conclude by asking you how tense the world looks to you right now. VF: Oh Hugh, I’m not happy. Iran-I just started that book How To You Kill Eleven Million People? and it’s right up your alley. It’s very philosophical and he goes back and talks about the holocaust and how there were all these signs and everybody ignored it. I’m looking at Iran right now and week doesn’t go by where the Ayatollah or Ahmadinejad or somebody else stands up and says you know let’s kill all the Jews and wipe Israel off the face of the planet. HH: Yes, the clock is ticking. VF: This thing with Israel – how could anybody blame them, they have to attack at some point. HH: They can’t be blamed. Vince Flynn, thank you my friend. Kill Shot is the new book. It’s linked at HughHewitt.com. Stay tuned, America. It’s the Hugh Hewitt Show. ]]>
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  • Vince Flynn Updates On His Cancer Battle, and What Really Happened In Abbotabad, Pakistan
    (”The Last Samurai” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    HH: It’s been almost two weeks since bin Laden met his end at the hand of a Navy SEAL team and other special operators. And from almost the moment that that report was received by me, I began to think about who would I like to talk with about that killing of bin Laden. Of course, the first nominee would be W., President George W. Bush, and I get to do that tomorrow night in front of a live audience in Dallas. And then the second person was Vince Flynn, America’s preeminent master of the thriller, the creator of Mitch Rapp, his number one, bestselling book, American Assassin, remains very high at the top of the charts. It’s the first of the Mitch Rapp tales. And thanks to his generosity of time, Vince Flynn joins us now. Hello, Vince. VF: Hugh, great to be on the show, buddy. And I’ll take number two to W (laughing). HH: (laughing) I am looking forward to tomorrow. I think he’ll be cagier than I hope you’ll be with me. I think you’re going to be pretty straightforward on this thing. VF: I’ll be very straightforward. Yeah, I saw him at a dinner party in Minneapolis last September, and he has really loosened up. But he will not…I mean, he’s loosened up in the sense of how relaxed he is. But if somebody asked him a question that he doesn’t want to answer, he just says nope. HH: Yeah, I’ve run into that before. VF: And now he’s not president, he’s really good at it. He just says nope, not going to do it. HH: And so that might, I might get a couple of those tomorrow night. But we’ll set the table, at least, right now. Perhaps W. is listening. www.vinceflynn.com, America, I’m going to refer to his website a couple of times. And I want to start there, Vince. Before we talk about bin Laden, you had posted news at www.vinceflynn.com that you’ve had a health challenge yourself. Update the audience on how you’re doing. VF: Well, I feel good. And weird enough, I was talking to Duane before we went on the air, I was on tour last fall, and I hadn’t been feeling good, and I was at dinner with you and Duane and some friends out on the West Coast, and it was really the low point. And up until then, I thought I had prostatitis, and I was being treated by doctors. But something was wrong that night. I mean, I was in pain that I hadn’t been in, you know, ever. And went and spoke at the Reagan Library that next night, and then got on a plane and went back to Minneapolis, and went in and within days was informed that I had advanced metastatic prostate cancer, which was like getting hit with a sledgehammer. For the first 36 hours, we didn’t know what, my wife and I basically huddled in our bedroom like we had the flu, because we couldn’t tell the kids anything, because there wasn’t any good news. I mean, I didn’t know if I was going to make it to Christmas. HH: Right. VF: And it’s amazing how quickly things can turn around. We ended up, I’m fortunate to live only an hour and fifteen minutes from the Mayo Clinic. And I ended up down there like five days later in front of a genius named Eugene Kwon, who looked at me and said, you know, you might not feel like it, but you’re a blessed guy. Two years ago, we couldn’t have done anything for you other than try to placate this. But now, we can kill it. And worst case scenario, I’ve got five to ten years, and I plan on doing a lot better than that. So I feel good. I’m on hormone therapy, which I am going to have to write a book about at some point. I’m basically a 45 year old man going through menopause. HH: (laughing) I’d read that book. That would be interesting. VF: (laughing) I now understand what women go through. The side effects are hot flashes and some other things, irritability. HH: I’m so impressed that you’ll be public with it, though. A lot of men don’t do it. I’m grateful that you do, so that people know this is a disease that can be treated, cured, and recovered from. VF: Well, and you know what? I’m old school Catholic, and I’m a big believer in prayer. And I’m not a Bible thumping kind of guy, but I absolutely believe that the more people who are out there praying for me, the better off I’m going to be and my family’s going to be. And I don’t see what good it does to hide from a problem like this. I don’t enjoy going out in public and having to talk about cancer. I don’t enjoy going out in public with people wanting to tell me their worst cancer story as if somehow that’s the kind of mind frame I want to put myself in. But it doesn’t, it’s not how I operate. It’s never good…I do a fair amount of talking to high school kids, by the way, and I always tell them, never run from your problems, because the longer you do, the worse it gets. It’s better to meet this stuff head on, and get focused, and wrap your mind around it. And you know, Hugh, the hardest thing for me the first six to eight weeks were these hormones. I have a pretty strong mental edge. You know, I’m kind of a type A guy. HH: Yup. VF: And these hormones had me coming and going in ways I couldn’t control my emotions. And one afternoon, I’ll never forget, I sat in my office, and I’m not a big crier. You know, my father raised all four of my brothers and I, you know, my dad told us when we lost a playoff game once when I was about 12 years old, and my dad, one of my other brothers started crying. And my dad pulled us out of the huddle and he said if I ever see you guys cry on a basketball court again, you’re done. HH: There is no crying in baseball or basketball, yeah. VF: Yeah, there’s things in life that are worth crying about, and this isn’t one of them. Well, I sat in my office and cried for an hour and a half. And I allowed myself to do something that I have not since allowed myself to do, which is sit there and go down these dark corridors where I imagine my own funeral, and my kids…and you can’t do that. It’s just, there is no…all it does is, I think it weakens you immune system, and it puts you in such a vulnerable place that it does no good for you or your family. So I got through that stage. The hormones have been, other than the hot flashes and some side effects, they’re fine. I mean, I’ve got a good friend, Dr. Mike Nanny right now, who’s got a brain tumor. So I like to say put things in perspective. I get out of bed every day, I thank God I’m alive. I thank God that I don’t have to watch my wife go through this or my kids. And when I hear people complain about things that aren’t problems, I sometimes will tell them you should go down to Children’s Hospital for a day, and see what problems are really like. HH: That is a great encouragement to people, Vince Flynn. I’ve got to ask you, what do you think of the American medical system since it’s so much in the headlines, now that you’ve been in its grip for a year? VF: Well, you know, I’m in an interesting position, because the Mayo Clinic is not, it’s not a public hospital. HH: Right. VF: It’s a private clinic, and it’s funded chiefly by donations by extremely wealthy people who are constantly billed and billing. I couldn’t be more impressed with my doctor, Bill Utz, here in Edina, who’s also in private practice, and Eugene Kwon in the Mayo Clinic. I mean, I’m in…Hugh, I’m a research guy. You know that. That’s why I come on your show. HH: Yup. VF: So when this hit, you know, I reached out. And Roger Ailes put me in touch with Michael Milken, and I got on the phone with Milken and his top research guy, a guy named Dr. Howard Sewell, and I said to him here’s where I am, I’m down at the Mayo Clinic, and they breathed a sigh of relief, and they said you know what? There’s only the top two hospitals in America for what you have, are Sloan-Kettering in New York, and the Mayo Clinic. HH: Wow. VF: And Eugene Kwon is a genius, and you need, that’s exactly where you need to be. So that’s a great burden that I don’t have to sit there and worry am I with the right guy. And these, both Utz and Kwon have been amazing, and I have not had that experience of problems. I mean, other than (laughing) you really start to get sick of being probed and scanned all that other stuff… HH: Oh, I’ll bet. VF: You just kind of…it can be depressing, and then…because you think this is where people go to die at hospitals. Then you realize no, a lot of people go to hospitals to get cured. So you kind of got to flip it around. And I’ve been lucky so far. HH: Our friend, Hitchens, told me before he became incapable of talking that being sick is hard work. And you’re a worker. You’re a type A guy. What did…did you give up writing? Are you back at it now? VF: No, you know, I’m back at it. I’m working on the Haig project with Brian Haig, I’ve got some exciting stuff going on out in Hollywood. It looks like we’re going to shelve Consent To Kill, which we’ve been working on for the last three and a half years. Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Amy Baer, who runs CBS Films, they loved American Assassin, which is the prequel. HH: Sure. VF: You know, that’s the, this is the original story of Mitch Rapp. They loved it so much, they said let’s shelve Consent To Kill, let’s do American Assassin. And they just got Ed Zwick and Marshall Herskowitz to agree to write and direct. And I was just out in L.A., and I spent a couple of days with these guys, and they are smart. They get geopolitics, they get that there’s good guys and bad guys out there. And Zwick did The Last Samurai, which I thought was just a phenomenal movie, as well as… HH: Yup. VF: …Blood Diamond and a bunch of other stuff. I mean, really talented guys. So we haven’t inked the deal yet, but we’re really close. And so I’m working on that, I’m trying to work on the next Rapp novel. And I’m trying to (laughing), you know, beat this little cancer thing. HH: So you did not slow down. We’re not going to slow down, either, America. I’m coming right back with Vince Flynn. We’re going to talk about bin Laden. And by the way, Memorial Day, one of Vince’s novels, is one of the most eerie foreshadowings that you would want to have ever read. You get a hundred pages of it free, by the way, download over at www.vinceflynn.com just for joining up at Facebook. You’ll know what I mean. – – – – HH: All right, Vince, I don’t think, some in the audience may not know that the reason Mitch Rapp is so successful is you work hard on the research. You know so many people in the community of special operators, you do so much time in and around them, that you have a very unique perspective on what happened two weeks ago. Let’s just start with the general question. Where were you? What did you think when the killing of bin Laden was announced? VF: We found out late Sunday night. Not to name drop (laughing), I had just returned from our annual spring fling at Rush Limbaugh’s joint with the Ailes family, and the Michaels, and the Ohlmeyers, and Joel Surnow and Colleen, you know, the creator of 24. And it’s an interesting weekend to say the least, and got the news, and was ecstatic, very happy. As the media began to fall all over themselves, I was horrified by several things. I mean, these are men and women who are, you know, many of them have Masters degrees in journalism from supposedly out finest schools, and they get paid to cover the Pentagon and the CIA. And I’m hearing them run around repeating things like 40 Navy SEALs raided the compound. And right away, I’m saying to myself, that number doesn’t work. I’ve never known the SEALs to work with a 40 man strike force. And then they’re saying Blackhawk helicopters, and I didn’t know about the stealth birds yet, but on missions like this at night, they fly Pave Hawks, which you know, advanced avionics, NAP-of-Earth flying, all that stuff. So they were getting all these little things wrong. And the one thing that I knew they weren’t paying attention to was what led up to this, what had to have taken place on the ground. And in the last couple of weeks, I’ve filled in the blanks on it, and it’s a pretty fascinating story, and one that I, for the most part, had right from the get-go, and it’s that, you know, the CIA, their national clandestine service, they’ve had guys on the ground in Abbottabad since last August. HH: Yup. VF: Now I will give President Obama credit. He signed off on this. He said to these guys, the CIA came to him with the information on the couriers. And they said we’ve tracked him to this compound. Here’s what makes this compound interesting. It has no IT, or no phone lines going into it. And it’s the only house in the neighborhood that does not have phone lines or IT lines. So it kind of sticks out like a sore thumb. It’s got these unusually high walls, you know, the whole deal. So what we do, and we do this very well, is the national reconnaissance office moves a satellite in overhead, and we start to monitor the place. And we notice that there’s a guy that takes a walk on most afternoons in this joint, and the national reconnaissance office, nobody’s giving them any credit for this, these guys are so good, they figure out by the shadow how it falls from the Sun at this time of the year, that this guy that is taking these walks every day is over six feet tall. And he takes these walks by himself, paces back and forth. So they’re starting to go all right, this is interesting. So President Obama signs off, sends in the team, along with some guys that the CIA calls SAD, or special activities division, and they’re former Delta Force operators. HH: Okay. VF: And they go in riding shotgun. These guys go in with the most advanced electronic surveillance equipment probably on the planet, at least in terms of what we have, which that’s a risky thing. You know, if this safe house goes down, and anybody gets their hands on this stuff, we’ve just, who knows where, what’s going to happen to it. They had microdrones that they did not use out of fear that they would lose one, you know, that it would fall into the compound in the middle of the night, and they’d wake up the next day and find it and blow the whole deal. So they start doing their surveillance. Here’s the most interesting part that I’ve heard so far, and it’s just common police work. One of the biggest breaks in the story came from the local grocer. They get to know the grocer, they start talking to the grocer about the neighborhood and what’s going on, and this and that, and the grocer ends up mentioning that he delivers food to this compound every week for 25 people, and they’re not Pakistanis. They’re all Arabs. And one of the women, in fact, dresses in the Yemeni fashion. And the CIA knows that Osama married a 14 year old Yemeni bride two years ago. So all of this starts to kind of get, it gets pieced together into this intelligence mosaic, where they’re going man, there are too many points here that are starting to line up. I originally was convinced that they had a voice print on him, and it was confirmed to me yesterday that they never got that voice print. HH: Let me ask you if you’re surprised, Vince. In Memorial Day, in this very spooky foreshadowing, you have three bad guys on the ground, and they’re ID’d by satellite. Are you surprised that, you know, we’re supposed to be able to see the seams on a fastball. They couldn’t get the facial on OBL from the bird? VF: No, because what I heard was they couldn’t get the angle, where he walked, with these walls, and he wore his headdress, that they couldn’t get the exact facial on him from up that high. And they were smart. You know, they built this thing right. He, the CIA couldn’t get an angle to get a photo into the compound. I mean, they handled this thing really coolly. You know, they knew they had the couriers. So the question is, is he in there? And they just kept monitoring and monitoring, and again, one of the big tip-offs was this girl dressed in Yemeni garb. HH: Yeah. VF: How many, she’s 16 now, or whatever, how many Yemeni women are in Abbottabad, Pakistan? It’s not a common thing, with a bunch of other Arabs behind a wall with no IT lines, no phone lines, walls that are built in such a way that nobody can see from blocks away. So they just kept piecing it together. And the other thing that I find pretty interesting, it doesn’t really surprise me, I was told that near the end here, it was DCI Panetta and Secretary of State Clinton who pushed the hardest to not tell Pakistan, which I find fascinating. HH: I do. In fact, that’s also in Memorial Day, where you just cannot trust the ISI. VF: No. HH: You’ve got the Pakistani colonel, and they’ve got different divisions within it. And so they’re the ones that went hard-nosed on that as opposed to Gates. I’m surprised by that, too. VF: Well, and so the pushback that I got, and it was in a more generic sense, it was that DOD pushed back. Now that doesn’t mean Gates, specifically. That could be individual secretaries, that could be the chairman of the joint chiefs. And if you understand our precarious supply lines in and out of Afghanistan, the DOD has every right to be the ones to be the most concerned if this relationship goes south. HH: Yup. VF: We’ve got a lot of military personnel in Pakistan that are logistics people getting stuff off of ships, over land, and into Afghanistan. HH: When we come back from the break, I’m going to talk about the specifics of the mission that night, what Vince Flynn thought about them as they’ve been revealed to us, and how he might fill in some of the details that are not being filled in, including it wasn’t just the SEALs. I talked with General Boykin last week. A lot of people involved in this operation. Vince Flynn knows that community, we’ll talk about what he knows, what he suspects. – – – – HH: Time to talk about SEALs, Vince. I had a chance to see the SEAL movie which the studios are falling over each other to get now. I’ve seen the print of it. And so I have a little bit better appreciation of how complex this is. But when I went back and read Memorial Day, you’ve got Air Force special tactics teams, you had Ranger battalions, you had SEALs, you had Delta involved. This operation, the bin Laden kill team, it sounded just like SEALs, and that didn’t sound right to me. What does it sound like to you? VF: Well, that was my confusion when they were throwing the 40 number out there. But here’s where it does make sense. Well, let me back up a second. This unit, SEAL Team Six, Dev Group, whatever you want to call it, they keep changing the name, it falls under the command of what is called the Joint Special Operations Command. And attached to that are Delta Force, SEAL Team Six, the 1st Ranger battalion, excuse me, the 75th Rangers, and a bunch of other specialized groups – Air Force, Army helicopter pilots, most famously. I knew right away that the guys who were flying these birds were more than likely the guys from SOAR, which is the Special Operations Aviation Regiment, the 160th. And that is where President Obama went last week to congratulate everybody. And these were the pilots who were featured in Black Hawk Down, by the way. These are the guys who wait until it’s a stormy night, and it’s pouring rain, and they say let’s get in the helicopters, and fly 50 feet off the ground. HH: Yeah. VF: I mean, they’re just amazing at what they do. So first of all, it was Army helicopter pilots flying those helicopters. The medics, and let me back up, because there’s…let me walk you through what I heard in terms of how this thing unrolled. HH: Okay. VF: First of all, the two Pave Hawks, which are the advance avionics, and now they’ve got the stealth technology, they take off, and they’ve got 12 SEALs in the back of each of them. Now this makes complete sense. A 24 man SEAL strike team is a very typical number to assault. And let’s not forget that these guys have always been good, but they’re exceptionally good now, because for the last nine years, they’ve had a lot of practice. HH: Right. VF: …in Afghanistan and Iraq. And so these guys go in first. The Chinooks stay at the border and circle, because they obviously, they don’t have the stealth, those helicopters are huge, and they haven’t figured out a way to put any stealth technology on them. Now if you’ve ever talked to an F-117 Stealth pilot? HH: And I have not. VF: They’ll tell you… HH: (laughing) Okay… VF: Well, they will tell you that that bird, they call it a fighter, but it really isn’t. It’s a bomber. It’s a pig, because when you start to do, when you start to put stealth technology on an airframe, what you do is you lose your precision control. You lose some of your lift, you lose a lot of the sharpness of the aircraft. So when this, we found out that one of the copters, one of the choppers went down, because these guys never want to land if they don’t have to. The rule of thumb is they fast rope out. The little birds, they’ll set them down, because they can get up and down so quick. But in general, they do not want to set these things down. So when I heard that we lost one, my immediate…I had two reaction. The first one was it hit a wire. You know, this is not exactly OSHA-friendly country. HH: Right, right. VF: There’s wires all over the place. So my first thought was they hit a wire. And then my second thought was they actually, for some reason, decided to land, and misjudged it, and hit the back wall of the compound. What I confirmed yesterday was what my third theory was, was that when these guys are coming in at 160 miles an hour, 180 miles an hour hot, and they have a maneuver where they flare up, meaning they drop the tail end, and they bring the nose up to brake. And then they go level and the ropes go out, and they fast rope down. Now remember how I said with stealth technology you lose some of that precision of stick? HH: Yup. VF: Well, you also lose some lift, because part of what they’re doing with this new stealth technology is they are directing air from the engine through the tail rotor, for maneuverability. So what happened is they stalled. They went in and they did that flare up maneuver, and the engine stalled. And they just, this pilot, who these guys are, they’ve got major cajones, you know, to not panic in a situation like this… HH: Of course. VF: …set the thing down in the compound. The tail end hits the wall and snaps off. HH: Hold that thought. I come back with Vince Flynn. I’m going to ask him next, did he think there was any chance that they were going to bring bin Laden back as a captive on this mission. – – – – HH: Vince, first question about the mission itself. What do you think the odds were that bin Laden was going to come out of that house trust up like the characters in Memorial Day for subsequent interrogation? VF: About 1%. HH: And why is that? VF: We wanted to avoid a show trial. I mean, you think about, as a novelist, you’re constantly running through these scenarios. And you know, I’ve got to tell you, on night number two, I couldn’t resist the idea that he was, you know, floating on a container ship somewhere in the middle of the Indian Ocean having his fingernails pulled out, because that, by the way, burying the body at sea was absolutely ingenious. You cannot give this guy a shrine. But you know, we take him, we imprison him, and if Holder, that moron had his way, you know, we’d put him on trial in New York City. Now imagine all the suicide bombings we’d have, and the killings of American tourists to try to do that. This was the best, cleanest way. And I don’t know if you saw the 60 Minutes interview last week, but President Obama said it perfectly when he was asked about people criticizing him for killing him. And he said anybody who doesn’t think that this guy didn’t get what he deserved basically needs to have their head examined. HH: Now Vince, I wonder if your novelist’s eye, when they picture of the Situation Room was released, and Eric Holder wasn’t in it, if your novelist’s eye noticed that, and if immediately started thinking about Peggy Stealey and all the other DOJ wienies you’ve created over the years? VF: (laughing) It did. I absolutely did. And why…you know, I find it very interesting that nobody from the Justice Department is in this. HH: You bet. VF: I mean…well, here’s another interesting tidbit I learned. So the Chinooks that come in? HH: Yup. VF: There is a, apparently, there is a top field surgeon, and two field medics on one of those birds. And I have been told that they were not on the operation to help give medical aid to bin Laden or any of his people. They were on the mission solely to help any of our people who got hit. And the other fascinating deal, which this is pretty cool, the CIA had a six man exploitation team that came in, equipped with scanners. And they went through this place, because you know, the rationale is you’re not going to hide, you’re not just going to leave valuable information sitting on a nightstand, although it appears maybe he did, which just kind of boggles the mind. But five years into this, your security procedures get a little lax. HH: Yup. VF: But these guys went in, they scanned every wall, every floorboard, they had the dog in there sniffing for explosives. You know, they rightly…their biggest fear was this whole damn thing was going to blow up. HH: Yup. VF: And it was going to kill the whole strike team. So this thing, one of the biggest…and not enough people are saying this, all right, that a lot of people deserve credit, from the President, his national security team, all the way down, and including a lot of men and women who are no longer working for the government or the CIA, and specifically guys like Jose Rodriguez and Rob Richer, and the guys who ran the enhanced measures program, and the rendition program. That is where this stuff all started. If those programs were not in place, if W. hadn’t signed off on those, we would have never found these couriers, and we would have never found bin Laden. HH: You know, John McCain is out arguing that point, and I’ll play that next hour. But he’s out arguing that point. I don’t think anyone can actually argue that point, Vince Flynn. Do you? VF: No, here’s my problem, Hugh, and you should look this up sometime, because McCain wrote an op-ed in Newsweek four or five years ago, maybe longer. And he said, and I respect why he is against enhanced measures, okay? Being a POW, he has a unique perspective on it. But he said torture doesn’t work, and the example he gave was they used to ask me who the fellow pilots were in my squadron, and I would give them the starting offensive line for the Green Bay Packers. Listen, that’s not the way the CIA works. These rendition programs, if you talk to the people who ran them, and enhanced measures, they are like good attorneys in a courtroom. They do not ask a question that they don’t already know the answer to. And they’ve got these hooked up, they’re sleep deprived, they’re going through everything, and they, you give them the starting lineup for the Green Bay Packers, and they punch it into their database, and Google says this is the starting lineup for the Green Bay Packers. HH: Right. VF: You know, it doesn’t work this way. HH: Any doubt in your mind, Vince, that we did use information developed from enhanced interrogation techniques to get this? VF: There’s no…Hugh, I said it on your show years ago. I have been saying this forever, that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, we waterboarded the heck out of him, and you can go back and check your tapes, I’m pretty sure I said it on your show. I know I said it on O’Reilly, I’m talking years ago, that this guy ended up spilling the beans to the point where he literally was up on a white board with a marker diagramming the organizational structure of al Qaeda… HH: Yeah, you said that here. VF: …and telling us where their banks were in Germany, where their cells were. It was a font of information. HH: But now are you surprised, in Memorial Day, one of the things that Rapp does when they grab the guys from Pakistan is they exploit it quickly so that they don’t drain the bank accounts, they don’t move the safe houses. Were you surprised we knew about this so quickly, and didn’t keep the lid on longer? VF: You mean in the real world situation? HH: Yeah. VF: The thing that does absolutely surprise me, and you must give credit to Leon Panetta, the CIA and the national security team, is that nobody leaked this. It is the part of the story that actually surprises me more than, other than Hillary Clinton being the one leading the charge to not tell Pakistan, it’s the part of the story that just blows me away. HH: But how about not, just waiting two days, Vince? You’re not criticizing the President, and I understand that, but are you surprised that we found out the night of the operation across international television?’ VF: That it was actually him, you mean? HH: Yeah. VF: No, because…well, they had everything…everything was pointing to the fact that it was him. Now on 60 Minutes, the President said they were 55% sure. I don’t want to be disrespectful here, but I’m going to have to call B.S. on that. That number was closer to 80. You don’t go into Pakistan…and the other deal was this. 80% sure it was Osama bin Laden. They were 100% sure the couriers were there. They were 100% sure that they would be able to grab computers and hard drives, and reel intel out of this place. – – – – HH: Thanks to Vince Flynn for spending this hour with me. www.vinceflynn.com, the amazing American novelist. Vince, my last question is this. You have spent a lot of time over the last ten years putting yourself in the mind and in the place of the good guys. But you’ve also had to imagine the bad guys. And there’s a scene in Memorial Day, Al-Yamani is the bad guy there, the bin Laden figure, where he knows people are coming for him. What do you think bin Laden was thinking, and when he heard the sounds of whatever he heard crashing in the walled compound? VF: Here’s what people forget. We’ll all human beings. If you are fortunate enough to become a father or a mother, and you have been, gone through that period in your life where you’re sleep deprived, and you’re woken up in the middle of the night and you remember just how out of your mind you are, this guy was woken up at 3 in the morning out of a dead sleep. And I don’t think he had any idea, probably for the first minute or two, what was going on. And then he realized holy crap, this is it. And I am surprised that he didn’t grab a gun and go out in a blaze of glory. I’m very surprised that his own bodyguards didn’t shoot him, because you do have to look at the theory, or the possibility that we would have grabbed him and waterboarded him. HH: Yup. VF: And so that part does surprise me. But I will say this. You know, you keep hearing this 40 minute operation on the ground deal? Have you ever seen how fast these SEALs move through a house? HH: Right. VF: I’m telling you right now, it was, 40 minutes was from the time they crossed the border to the time they shot him in the head. HH: And last question, Vince, are you amazed at Memorial Day, and how well it matched up with what happened? VF: Well, you know what’s weird? There was an operation that was cancelled five years ago that was virtually right out of Memorial Day. And I find out later through some people, Stan McChrystal, Petraeus, they’re all big fans of the books, Porter Goss, that they, that Memorial Day inspired them to put together and operation that they were going to do a very similar objective. They thought it was all Zawahiri, they were going to go over the border. I don’t know if W., he wouldn’t go near touching this thing, but I’ve been told Rumsfeld wouldn’t give it the green light. HH: Interesting. VF: So it’s, you know, I don’t know. ]]>
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