Tom Cruise is an idiot.
Recently, Cruise equated acting to being a soldier in Afghanistan. His comment was in the context of a deposition against media outlets. He was commenting upon his inability to see his daughter Suri while shooting. “At least on this last movie, that’s what it felt like. It was brutal.”
Clearly Cruise has never been a soldier. Furthermore, it is also clear that he does not have any family or friends in the armed forces. I would go so far as to say that he does not read the paper.
Acting as rough as fighting? Only if..
He had to worry about IEDs taking off a limb.
He had to watch a friend and colleague take a bullet in the head, when they are trying to go after insurgents hiding among villagers.
He has to worry about his family at home: whether his pay ($35K for a staff sergeant with 6 years experience) will be enough to cover the mortgage. (Cruise can get $25 million per film.)
He has to come home and struggle PTSD.
He has to worry every day about the possibility of being seriously injured or killed.
I’m sorry that he was unable to see his daughter for a hundred days. Contrast that with the average Army deployment of an entire year.
Cruise has made millions from his films. If he really wanted to be in his daughter’s life, he has more than enough assets to take a few years off. Many actresses do just that.
For Cruise to compare his acting career of that of a soldier shows an amazing lack of understanding of what real people go through. It is an affront to our troops.
The problem is, I am convinced that Cruise is only an extreme example of a very real phenomenon: people who underestimate the difficulty of being a soldier. People who pay lip service to the military’s sacrifice, but who are willing to turn to military solutions to international problems at the drop of a hat.
I think that no one should urge war on the country that has not themselves served in active combat. You should know what it is that you are asking of young men and women.
I have always said that the best way to honor the troops is to not send them into quagmires unnecessarily in the first place, as well as take care of their families both while they are deployed, and after they get home.
The first step, however, is not to equate creating entertainment with risking life and limb every day at the command of the government.