Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Red Tails versus...Obama?

Tuskegee Airmen

The George Lucas produced movie, Red Tails, tells the story of the Tuskegee airmen in World War II.   Lucas' first major film, Star Wars, contained very deliberate homages (Harrison Ford et al. blasting Imperial Star Fighters from the Milennium Falcon) to the Allied gunners in World War II bombers such as the B-17.   Red Tails is based on the true story of the 332nd fighter group that served in North Africa and Italy in World War II.

P-40 with Flying Tiger Markings (FHC Seattle)
The movie contains lots of aerial dogfighting sequences with P-40s and P-51s.  The film has the latest in digital special effects that you would expect from George Lucas.  Personally, I find digital effects suffer from overuse and seem "phony" compared to actual stunts.  Give me Tora, Tora, Tora over Pearl Harbor any day! Sadly, this movie about such an important part of history tends to be a bit soulless. The interracial romance is cardboard at best.  Red Tails is cliche-ridden and flat.  The movie features "operation Shingle" where the 332nd helped to provide vital air cover for the landings at Anzio but fails to point out the significance of the landings in the context of the Italian campaign.  Does Hollywood think that Americans are too dumb to realize that World War II was not won solely by Tom Hanks storming the beach at Normandy?

Double Eagle
Red Tails does, however, complement The Millionaire's Unit  (see earlier post, The Millionaire's Unit, 6/18/12) in interesting ways.  Both tell the tales of minority groups (the wealthy and Black Americans) who longed to fly and to serve in the American military aviation forces.  Robert Lovett was a Yale undergraduate gunner who flew bombing missions over Brugges in World War I.  Dr. Roscoe Brown (see video below) was a Tuskegee fighter pilot who shot down a German Me 262 jet fighter over Berlin in World War II. Only in America could these two men, different in so many ways, both be united in their expression of American military airpower (see earlier post, Duxford and...George Carlin, 4/30/12).  These two men represent two sides of the same coin -- surely a double eagle -- of American power and American exceptionalism.

Double Victory
The Red Tails DVD contains a supplementary documentary entitled "Double Victory" that is narrated by Cuba Gooding Jr.  Quite frankly, I found the documentary far more effective than the movie.  "Double Victory" was a term coined by the Pittsburgh Courier, a leading black newspaper, and refers to the victory over fascism abroad and over discrimination and prejudice against blacks at home during World War II.   Black officers were, for example, excluded from officer clubs.  German and Italian POWs sometimes received better treatment than the Black Tuskegee airmen.  Sixty-six members of the Tuskegee arimen were killed during World War II.

Eleanor Roosevelt at Tuskegee
Commander Kelly is delighted to cross the aisle and give a shout out to First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.  In March of 1941 she visited Tuskegee Army Air Field and asked to take a flight with one of the Tuskegee pilots. Although the Secret Service was anxious about the ride, flight instructor Charles A. Anderson piloted Mrs. Roosevelt over the skies of Alabama for over an hour.  She remarked to her pilot. "“I always heard that colored people
couldn’t fly airplanes,” but after her experience “saw no reason why blacks could not fly.”  She later did everything in her power to help them in that endeavor.

The US military was the first part of American society to be integrated and this was accomplished  by a World War II hero and Republican President, Dwight Eisenhower.  In his first inaugural Ike said, "I propose to use whatever authority exists in the office of the President to end segregation in the District of Columbia, including the Federal Government, and any segregation in the Armed Forces."  Moreover, it was Eisenhower who in 1957 dispatched the 101st Airborne division to integrate the public school system in Arkansas.  Double Victory, however, omits all mention of Eisenhower who was, of course, the overall theatre commander for the 332nd fighter group.

George Lucas is a self-proclaimed 1960's era San Francisco liberal.  Check out this interview with Charlie Rose in which he bites the hand that has overfed him...  George Lucas says, " I'm a very ardent patriot. But I'm also a very ardent believer in democracy, not capitalist democracy. And I do not believe that the rich should be able to buy the government. And that's just the way I feel."  Need I point out that this is the same George Lucas who contributed $33,100 to the Obama Victory Fund in 2008, $30,400 to the Democratic Committee Campaign Fund in 2008 and has given exclusively to Democratic candidates. George Lucas seems to despise the capitalist system that has heaped riches upon him! It upsets his "feelings" that some would attempt to buy political influence!

Near the conclusion of the documentary Double Victory a brief shot of President Obama is flashed before our eyes.  Finally, the Lucas agenda is on full display.  Lucas would have us believe that Obama is the apotheosis of the dreams of the Tuskegee airmen.  Red Tails, released in 2012 and screened at the White House amidst much fanfare, is an extended campaign film for Obama's re-election.

Commander Kelly with P-51D (FHC Seattle)
This simply will not work for several reasons.  First, the Tuskegee airmen served their country and risked their lives confronting fascism and racism.  Obama never served in the US military.  Second, the Tuskegee airmen saved allied lives by escorting allied bombers to their targets in a campaign partially conceived by Winston Churchill (Churchill said, "There is one thing that will bring (Hitler) down, and that is an absolutely devastating, exterminating attack by very heavy bombers from this country upon the nazi homeland.").  One of President Obama's first moves as President was to remove the  bust of Winston Churchill form the White House. (
Third, Double Victory makes  it clear that the Filmmakers hoped with Red Tails to inspire young black males, yet this is precisely the demographic that this administration has utterly failed to help.  According to the Wall Street Journal, "Black teens have had the worst of it, with their unemployment rate rising to 41.6% in April (2012) from 29% in 2007, faster than almost any other group."  Fourth, The Tuskegee airmen epitomize American exceptionalism while President Obama seems only able to offer the most tepid support for the concept ("I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.")  Finally, Red Tails recalls a significant part of US military and political history; President Obama recalls "Polish Death Camps."  (

World War II forced America to reappraise its attitudes about both race and gender.  Both the US civil rights movement and the women's liberation movement ("Rosie the Riveter" assuming traditional male roles in the workplace) owe a huge debt to World War II which proved to be a change accelerant.  It was the allied triumph over an overtly racist nazi Germany that forced America to re-evaluate its own racial attitudes.  It was World War II that, in a sense, broke the back of the 19th century.

Commander Kelly hopes that you will join us in working for a "Double Victory" over Obama and the Hollywood Left this fall!

Roscoe Brown -- Only in America!

You can now purchase Commander Kelly's 
first book, America Invades or on

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