And I Don’t Even Hate You…

Special Forces (or Forces Spéciales) is that rare beast, a French war movie. Yes, seeing the French army taking out bad guys might break a bit of fresh ground, but in all other respects this film follows every time-honored formula imaginable.

Special Forces is a really good movie. It has a story that does more than just give mindless gunfights while giving some really good cinematography.


“French and American soldiers worked together in Afghanistan for 12 years. Through this film, not only will American audiences see what they have but also perhaps it will show another side of the war in this land.

This movie shows more respect for the people fighting the war on terrorism than any of the one-man army movies ever will and it’s entertaining.

This movie is not about the fights or deaths that happen during the shootouts between the Special Forces team and the terrorist group. It’s about the bond that a Special Forces team has and what they will go through.

It’s about how in a dire situation only death can stop them from accomplishing their mission. Most of all it is a movie that actually depicts what a war is like, well closely like, instead of making it about an unbeatable, unbelievable team who can’t be taken down by anyone.

Special Forces leaves you with a true eagerness for life.

Special forces operations are not public knowledge. Soldiers don’t do politics. They fight.

It’s very difficult to find a comparable film as this that deals with the ‘War on Terror‘, where all we know about hostage rescue situations is from brief news reports, with the exact details being highly confidential so as not to jeopardize future missions.

If they are undertaken with anything like the efficiency and skill depicted here, it’s understandable why they succeed, with the speed, and ruthlessness and proficiency displayed being something, which only comes from hours of training and experience in similar missions.

Although Special Forces (original title Forces spéciales) doesn’t go into the nitty-gritty of who these men are, what their military background was or how exactly such a secretive operation functions, it (I imagine) accurately depicts incredible fitness, discipline and selflessness required from anyone who joins an elite military unit.

“The main job of Special Forces isn’t of course going to rescue hostages or prisoners, but they have the best experience, the best knowledge, the best preparation to do it. They have both the skills and the means.”

In the absolute, special forces’ goal is to be as silent, discreet and effective as possible without using a single bullet. They are not fight seekers, they are mission achievers. I believe they would find it a success. Sacrifice is a part of their job, just like firemen when they go rescue someone. They’ll do anything… even if it should cost them their life.

Physical training for operational performance is not a new concept. In fact, throughout history warriors and soldiers physically trained by performing various strength and conditioning exercises that later evolved into athletic events, such as boxing, wrestling and many track and field events.

However, unlike the modern day athlete, these soldiers were not training for specific sports. They were training to be stronger, more powerful, and agile than their enemies on the battlefield. Their superior athletic prowess was developed for the primary purpose of becoming physically prepared for battle. Ironically, the traits that we generally consider to be components of athleticism were requisite based on the demands of war. Thus, many of the first competitive athletes were actually soldiers.

“A soldier on duty doesn’t get caught up in making deals at the marketplace. He concentrates on carrying out orders. An athlete who refuses to play by the rules will never get anywhere. It’s the diligent farmer who gets the produce.” (2 Timothy 2:4-6, The Message).

Metaphors have a way of opening and expanding our understanding to a richer and fuller insight. These metaphors speak volumes to us today.

The Soldier is all about duty performed with diligence. Because of this he or she does not disengage from their post to pursue lesser things. They stand their ground, dressed in full armor, vigilant against any and all enemies.

The Athlete is all about performance executed with discipline. Because of this he or she competes according to the rules. No cheating, no cutting corners, no slacking off.

How many times have we heard professional and college athletes talk about “going into battle” or “preparing for war” prior to a big game? We expect highly paid athletes to be in outstanding physical shape and to have the best sports medical care possible when they step onto the field of “battle,” but what about our country’s true soldiers?

Of course, the stakes on the battlefield dwarf those on the sports field: Suicide rates among active-duty personnel are higher than ever, and in early 2009, for the first time in history, more service members killed themselves than were killed in action.

As Marine Corps vet Karl Marlantes writes in What It Is Like to Go to War, “Warriors must touch their souls because their jobs involve killing people. Warriors deal with eternity.” To understand how the military is forging the modern warrior is to learn from these men who must be both violent and sensitive.

Just as in sports training where peak performance is achieved through physical training, mental preparedness and nutritional support, military training requires the same.

“We have elite athletes all over this post who have put their lives on the line for this country, why wouldn’t we give them the very best.”

Soldiers are Warriors. A Soldier on the battlefield is akin to professional athletes at the top of their game. Success in both professions demands physical performance optimization. The difference is that in order for a Soldier to optimize performance, he must possess the speed and mobility to get there, the strength and power to do the job and the endurance to complete the mission.

Physical readiness training (PRT) is a daily opportunity to build the valuable Soldiering skills of strength, power, speed and agility required to help Soldiers meet their mission. Providing emphasis on a variety of physical tasks enables commanders to observe the full physical readiness of the unit.

However, just like any solid idea it sometimes takes a little bit of time for “common” knowledge to be overturned and then for it to rock established guidelines. It seems like the value of sports training is finally being embraced by our military.

“The strength of a nation, therefore, depends upon its material wealth, supported by the character and abilities of the people who compose it–their intelligence, sense of justice and responsibility, physical fitness, and moral stamina. When the people possess these qualities in high degree, they will make the nation, which they compose, a strong one.

History shows that among communities where physical education has been either neglected or misused, a general enervation has prevailed, causing even the ruin of the nation itself.

Whatever form our future training of boys, girls and young men and women in this country may take, it is greatly hoped that we will not again fall into the habit of slighting the body as we were on the point of doing when the war forced us to realize its importance as the basis of our national strength.

We are accustomed to regard ourselves, as a Nation, as healthy and rugged…but when we look at the facts as they are revealed by the statistics on rejection, a very large proportion of our manhood is far below par.

The demands of war are varied, endless, and merciless. To satisfy these demands, you must be fit.  Your task is to do the things, which, if you did not do them, would have to be done by men taken from the fighting ranks; men whose presence in the battle line may mean victory, whose absence might mean defeat. You must be able to do these.

We can learn a valuable lesson from the dramatic changes in attitude relative to the importance of physical training that occurred in many combat units shortly after the United States entered WWII.

Most importantly, when a soldier is injured, there is greater benefit in treating the whole health of the person rather than just patching up the injury and sending you back out into combat.

The physical vigor of our citizens is one of America’s most precious resources. Throughout our history we have been challenged to armed conflict by nations, which sought to destroy our independence or threatened our freedom…our growing softness, our increasing lack of physical fitness, is a menace to our security.  The stamina and strength, which the defense of liberty requires, is not the product of a few weeks’ basic training or a month’s conditioning.  They come from bodies, which have been conditioned by a lifetime of participation in sports and interest in physical activity.

Every war in which the US has been involved since 1860 has revealed the physical deficiencies of our soldiers during the initial mobilization…casualties in initial engagements were attributed to the inability of our soldiers to physically withstand the rigors of combat.

The success and general efficiency of every military establishment is, in a very large degree, dependent upon the physical fitness, en- durance, and condition of the individual units of which it is composed.

In all history the relation between intellectual, political, and physical superiority has been a constant.

Nations have passed away and left no trace, and history gives the naked cause of it–one single, simple reason in all cases; they fell because their people were not fit.

Live and Learn.  We All Do.

Thanks for reading. Please share 🙂

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About julia29

Hi. My name is Julia El-Haj. I am a Hall of Fame Athlete, an MBA, Professional Certified Marketer, Certified Youth Fitness Trainer, a Specialist in Sports Nutrition and a licensed Real Estate agent. I gave up my "seat at the table" to be home with my 3 children because that's where I was needed most. I blog about everything with Wellness in mind.
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