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It's hell — and great box office

Street Smarts

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War movies have come to reflect and embody a contemporary American mythos. What do they tell us about ourselves?

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Anthony Miller of Peterson Air Force Base is a military psychologist

Have you had any direct exposure to war? I've done seven tours, including in Afghanistan, Iraq and Africa, and I've been a Green Beret.

What memories have most stuck with you? The camaraderie with my brothers and the guy who saved my life.

What's the best-ever war movie? Saving Private Ryan is as close as you get to the real experience of war — especially those opening scenes.

Are war movies the modern equivalent of the John Wayne Western? No. The modern war movie is much more realistic than the shoot-'em-up, bang-bang Westerns were.

Do Americans glamorize war and military force? No. America is the greatest country in the world and we expect to be protected by the greatest military in the world.

Where will this country's next big conflict be? Protecting Israel.

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Danielle Petree of Florence is a farm employee

To what extent have you been exposed to war? My grandfather was in World War II, but he never talked about it. I've also seen a little of war on TV.

What's the best war movie you've seen? The Men Who Stare at Goats, with George Clooney. War is depressing, but this is a war movie with a little humor in it.

Are war movies the contemporary equivalent of John Wayne or Gary Cooper Westerns? No. John Wayne is an American classic. War movies are just pumped out to make millions.

Do war movies glamorize war and glorify military power? Yes! Military action creates lots of jobs and billions in profit, even for people not in the military.

Given the chance, would you embed with soldiers at war? Yes. I'd like to get that firsthand, in-the-field perspective.

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Sean Patterson of Pleasant Valley is an Internet technician

Have you had any direct exposure to war? I have through my father, a veteran who suffers from severe [post-traumatic stress disorder].

Are war movies the modern equivalent of the old Western? No. War movies are more about drama than depiction of what actually happens in war. Westerns were more realistic.

Do war movies glorify the exercise of military power? Yes, 100 percent. It's get 'em young, when testosterone levels are high, and get 'em right over there to fight.

Where will this country's next big conflict be? My guess is North Korea.

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