(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at:

Uh, “military contractor” is a euphemism for “mercenary”. We have come a long way as a nation if it is now socially acceptable to root for these people. Interesting

Tuesday’s carnival laid bare the strange and changing nature of the Benghazi obsession—the odd way it veers from sincere and mournful to maudlin and kitschy, the way it’s been instrumentalized. It was, in some sense, intended to be a memorial. People filtered into the stadium under giant waving flags on the stadium’s external jumbotrons. But once inside, they were greeted with the giant floating head of John Krasinski, better known as Jim from The Office, who plays the movie’s protagonist, a security contractor named Jack Da Silva.

When Jim was interviewed on the stadium’s immense on-field red carpet, as part of the pre-show, he spoke about working with the real-life Da Silva to develop his character. A man in front of me groaned. “Oh, so now we know that character doesn’t die,” he said. “Great spoiler, dude.” Yes: Jim from The Office spoiled Benghazi.

Things took a turn for the worse. Chris Cornell of Soundgarden rose to sing a song. Things again took a turn for the worse: He sang another. This one, he said, was “inspired by the people who fell and who stood their ground” in Benghazi. As Cornell sung his Benghazi song, footage from the movie played—jets, wrecked military equipment, handsome men in a foreign land. A Benghazi music video.

Then we dropped back from kitsch into reality: Three of the security contractors who were in Benghazi ascended the stage to speak. The crowd went wild. Back to kitsch: Members of The Band Perry rose to sing Amazing Grace, as a field of lit candles appeared on the screen above. To reality: Photos of the Americans killed in Benghazi began floating over the field: Ambassador Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, etc. The men next to me were having a debate about the Miami Dolphins.

…But if he is treated with a sense of contempt, so are all the Americans who don’t carry guns. The core group of contractors are peerless models of wisdom, bravery, compassion and perspicacity, which might have something to do with the fact that they told the story 13 Hours is based on. They are never wrong. They correctly assess the danger from the beginning, and they rise to every occasion, despite their dead-weight compatriots, who generally come off as dopes, either blind to danger or incompetent to the point of villainy.