Let me get this straight. You mean Hollywood just released “Stop Loss,” yet another in a recent spate of Iraq war movies, and as usual, attendance was dismal? Gee, I wonder why nobody’s going to see these movies?

According to Nikki Finke in his “Deadline Hollywood” column, an anonymous “studio source” provided this answer: “It’s a function of the marketplace not being ready to address this conflict in a dramatic way because the war itself is something that’s unresolved yet.”

Are you buying that? Okay, that might conceivably be a small part of it, but the studio source left out the other part, the more glaringly obvious part, the part that’s like the elephant standing in the middle of the lobby of the studio’s main office, whose presence no one can bear to acknowledge even as the line on the profit/loss chart continues to plummet.

And that part is — hang on to your hat for a startling revelation — that the Iraq war movies that have been released so far have all been overwhelmingly negative in their portrayals of American soldiers and the American mission in Iraq. “Redacted,” “Lions For Lambs,” “In the Valley of Elah.” They’ve all been relentless downers and they’ve all been unmitigated flops.

But wait a minute. Is “Stop Loss” as bad as all the others? Well, admittedly, no, and that’s even according to some conservative reviewers. The movie actually deals with a very legitimate issue that is worthy of debate. The title “Stop Loss” refers to a contractual provision that allows the military to extend a soldier’s tour of duty after he has already technically served his normal hitch.

Naturally, one of the main characters in the movie finds himself getting stop-lossed after he has returned home with every intention of leaving the service, which, of course, makes the military look bad. And, of course, other returning soldiers in the movie are depicted as damaged goods whose readjustment to home life is hampered by drinking, fighting and various bizarre behaviors, all of which are the presumed psychological costs of having been in combat in Iraq. More negativity. Has there ever been a soldier who served honorably in combat in Iraq and/or returned home without having been turned into an antisocial time bomb? Not according to Hollywood.

When are these filmmakers going to connect the dots? Do they really think this is what American audiences want to see? It may well be that the majority of Americans wish we had never gotten into this war, but that doesn’t mean they want to see the country’s finest young people depicted as rapists, murderers or even just run-of-the-mill, psychologically damaged basket cases returning from combat.

Insanity has been defined as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Does that mean that filmmakers in Hollywood have completely lost their marbles? No, not exactly. What it means is that there are those filmmakers in Hollywood who resolutely refuse to compromise their “art,” not to mention their radical leftist politics, in the name of the almighty dollar.

It’s all very noble in an artistic kind of way, but if they keep it up, some of them may soon be seen on the street holding signs that say “Will make antiwar films for food.”

So, movie goers aren’t “ready to address this conflict in a dramatic way?” Stop it, already. We’re plenty ready. We just want to see it addressed fairly. Message to Hollywood: If you want to make a movie about the Iraq war that does boffo box office, try depicting American soldiers as the noble freedom fighters that they are rather than as a bunch of brainwashed contract killers who are morally no better than al-Qaida.

Greg Strange provides conservative commentary with plenty of acerbic wit on the people, politics, events and absurdities of our time. See more at his website: http://www.greg-strange.com/.

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