How Sean Penn won the war

The Washington Times Weekly - - Culture, Etc. -

On Memo­rial Day, as Amer­i­cans hon­ored their war dead, per­haps a smidgen of our time should have been spent re­flect­ing on the un­her­alded and fear­less war­time an­tics of Sean Penn.

Yes, that Sean Penn: Hol­ly­wood ac­tor, di­rec­tor, tough guy and agent provo­ca­teur in Amer­ica’s time of peril — a man his­tory, no doubt, will credit with an as­sist in bring­ing democ­racy to Iraq.

It is now time for Mr. Penn to end his ser­vice to his coun­try and com­mit to the next chap­ter in his life. He has done more than enough. Amer­ica sim­ply doesn’t make medals for Mr. Penn’s kind of ser­vice. Nor would he ac­cept them. Now he must come clean and take on the next chal­lenge of his ca­reer: Bring the rest of Hol­ly­wood to Amer­ica’s aid by cre­at­ing an army of un­der­ground pa­tri­ots.

With a Demo­crat as com­man­der in chief, it’s now or never for Tin­sel­town to get the pa­tri­otic bug.

Since his friends and po­lit­i­cal al­lies don’t read this col­umn, I feel comfortable out­ing the left­wing ag­i­ta­tor as an un­sung patriot in the war on ter­ror­ism. I know that other en­ter­tain­ment me­dia out­lets are work­ing this block­buster story and that the main­stream me­dia is still fig­ur­ing out how to play it. Like in his Os­car-winning act­ing, Mr. Penn has bro­ken all the rules.

In late 2002, Mr. Penn toured Sad­dam Hus­sein’s Bagh­dad with his cam­era and of­fered the Pen­tagon pre­cise lo­ca­tions for bomb­ing. “Shock and Awe” was a rous­ing suc­cess to a great ex­tent be­cause a coura­geous and hum- ble ac­tor put coun­try first and used a pli­ant me­dia to cre­ate a be­liev­able char­ac­ter: an an­gry Hol­ly­wood ac­tor turned an­ti­war ac­tivist and ci­ti­zen jour­nal­ist.

There’s a rea­son we call him Amer­ica’s great­est ac­tor: We all be­lieved it!

Who else could he have got­ten a cam­era into Sad­dam’s me­di­a­con­trolled coun­try right be­fore we went to war? Count­less lives were saved be­cause Mr. Penn iso­lated Ba’athist strongholds and made sure that hos­pi­tals and nurs­eries were spared.

In a pro­fes­sion in which rep­u­ta­tion is ev­ery­thing, Mr. Penn has been will­ing to sac­ri­fice his own to en­sure the good guys won and that mil­lions of Iraqis were eman­ci­pated from un­speak­able hu­man rights hor­rors. The me­dia would have cru­ci­fied him if he were open to mak­ing mil­lions of Iraqis free. So in­stead he went un­der­ground. Deep un­der­ground. Times are too com­pli­cated for a straight­for­ward hero — so we got an edgy, post­mod­ern one. Cool.

Those who know him well say Mr. Penn is mak­ing amends for the sins of his fa­ther. Leo Penn was an ac­tor-turned-di­rec­tor who was black­listed as a com­mu­nist. Mr. Penn, ashamed that his dad took the side that per­pe­trated some of the great­est evils of the 20th cen­tury, is giv­ing back to his coun­try. He’s thank­ing us all for his fam­ily’s lav­ish life­style in Mal­ibu, Cal­i­for­nia, USA.

Mr. Penn has spent a gen­er­a­tion por­tray­ing his pub­lic self as a nar­cis­sis­tic, petu­lant, pugilis­tic and in­suf­fer­able left­winger, but in fact he is a ra­tio­nal, even-keeled gen­tle­man and a de­voted tee­to­tal­ing devo­tee of fam­ily val­ues.

What makes his se­cret life all the more re­mark­able is that he didn’t learn th­ese skills at Lan­g­ley, Va. — CIA Head­quar­ters USA. He is an auto-di­dact — a self-taught mas­ter of dis­guise. He’s not just a method ac­tor, but a method spy as well.

Those trips to Venezuela and Cuba weren’t what you think. Who else could have drawn at­ten­tion to the plight of for­merly pros­per­ous na­tions that have suf­fered greatly un­der so­cial­ist and com­mu­nist dic­ta­to­rial rule?

That fa­mous photo of Mr. Penn in post-Ka­t­rina New Orleans in a boat pour­ing wa­ter from a plas­tic cup? While the rest of the me­dia blamed the fed­eral gov­ern­ment for the Cat­e­gory 4 hur­ri­cane and its af­ter­math, that pic­ture made clear that the real dam­age was done well be­fore the storm hit when bil­lions of dol­lars were wasted by klep­to­crats. The photo ar­tis­ti­cally con­veyed that the hard­ship was caused by Mother Na­ture and a cor­rupt Louisiana Demo­cratic Party ma­chine.

There was also the time that the mighty lib­eral re­ported his car stolen — in it were not flow­ers and gra­nola but a Smith & Wes­son and a 9mm Glock hand­gun. This in­ci­dent hap­pened not long af­ter his wife, Robin Wright Penn, and their chil­dren were threat­ened by armed car­jack­ers in a sep­a­rate in­ci­dent. Noth­ing bet­ter tells the young and cyn­i­cal that a man’s first obli­ga­tion is to pro­tect his fam­ily — and that there’s a pretty im­por­tant amend­ment that comes right af­ter the first one.

Move over, Charl­ton He­ston, the NRA has a cooler-than-thou spokesman.

And why did he take on the movie role of Har­vey Milk, the first openly gay man elected to pub­lic of­fice in Cal­i­for­nia? And why did he de­liver that in­co­her­ent “com­mie, homo-loving son­sof-guns” Os­car ac­cep­tance speech? Why, to draw at­ten­tion to the fact that Pres­i­dent Obama, “an el­e­gant man pres­i­dent,” holds an anti-gay-mar­riage stance, of course. Bril­liant!

Celebri­ties like to pay lip ser­vice to causes, but rarely do so by putting their lives in peril. And even more rarely do they do so in the name of the United States of Amer­ica, not on their own be­half. On Memo­rial Day, while most Amer­i­cans med­i­tated on the ul­ti­mate sac­ri­fice that men and women have made for our coun­try, per­haps we should have taken a mo­ment to think about Sean Penn, too. In no small way, he helped us win a war.

An­drew Bre­it­bart is the founder of the news Web site www.bre­it­bart.com and is co-au­thor of “Hol­ly­wood In­ter­rupted: In­san­ity Chic in Baby­lon — The Case Against Celebrity.”

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

It’s time the tale was told: Sean Penn, Amer­i­can hero.

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