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[Image: The Capitulation of Granada by Francisco Pradilla Ortiz]

By Austin Ruse, Crisis Magazine, December 3, 2020

Austin Ruse is a contributing editor to Crisis Magazine. He is the author, most recently, of No Finer Time to be a Faithful Catholic (Sophia Institute Press, 2021).


Austin RuseIn the film Full Metal Jacket, which is set during the Vietnam War, there is a scene where a platoon of American soldiers is pinned down by a sniper. Two soldiers have already been hit. They writhe in pain, and perhaps death throes, out in the open.

The newly cristened platoon leader, “Cowboy,” tells his men not to try to save the wounded men. Instead, they must hunker down behind rubble. He says, “We cannot refuse to accept the situation.”

For many years, I took his admonition—not refusing to accept the situation—as a clear-eyed call to know what is really happening. This was a lesson for us in our troubled times. Recently, however, I watched the movie again, as if with new eyes. I see now that Cowboy tells his men that they must hunker down and accept the hunkering down, that the wounded men cannot be saved, and the sniper was in charge. The key word in his admonition is to “accept.”

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