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Culture

Issue: "Iraq: Bloody Ramadan," Nov. 29, 2003

An elusive enemy comes out of the day's fog and the night's darkness, wreaking havoc. If the good but flawed civilization under attack gives up, more destruction will ensue. Victory is essential, but it will come only with suffering.

That's the message not only of today's headlines but of Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, the film that is introducing Patrick O'Brian's terrific books to millions of moviegoers. Novels centered on naval combat two centuries ago speaking to the present: What a clear indication that fundamental questions of sin (and how to deal with it) still apply, as time goes by.

The movie near its start shows Captain Jack Aubrey asking, "What's the butcher's bill?" as he examines the human carnage after one short battle. That question is also asked later, when the cost is greater. At dinner, where weevils slightly different in length crawl on a table, Aubrey jokes about choosing "the lesser of two weevils," and it's clear that leadership requires a willingness to make that choice discerningly, and then carry through.

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Here's a film that dads should especially take their teenage sons to see, partly for the action and overall perspective but also because an underlying Christian sensibility is integrated into life and death: Those who have survived say the Lord's Prayer as they lower their dead and honored shipmates into the sea.

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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