the truth behind ‘lions for lambs’

(Editor’s Note: The Washington Post and some other publications are predictably panning Robert Redford’s “Lions for Lambs” because it poses tough moral questions about the neoconservative agenda. In this guest review, historian Lisa Pease finds the movie compelling for those same reasons…)

the truth behind 'lions for lambs'from lisa pease: Lions for Lambs,” directed by Robert Redford and starring Redford, Tom Cruise, and Meryl Streep, opens this weekend. It is one of the few “must see” films of the year.

Through crackling dialog, splendid performances, and emotional sequences, the film seeks to elevate the national discussion not only on the war in Iraq, but on the Americans at home who have chosen neither to participate nor to protest.

The film’s Web site asks a question one must answer before one can enter: what do you stand for? The film itself asks a bigger question: What are you willing to do for what you believe?

The title of the film comes from a comment a German general offered in a letter during World War I. Impressed by the bravery of the British soldiers, if not their officers, who were often given their commission because of social ranking, not military prowess, he wrote, “Never have I seen such Lions led by such Lambs.”

And that’s the essential thrust of the film. Lions have put their lives on the line for a war that was sold by Lambs. Now, what are we going to do about it?