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Save it for the Team Room

Eric Haney has made much out of his time as a member of Delta Force, America’s clandestine counterterrorism outfit.

Way too much, according to former Delta Force officers and operators, who say Haney has embellished his résumé and fabricated other parts of his military career on his way to becoming an acclaimed author and a key contributor to the CBS television series “The Unit.”

Now, as Haney’s star rises in Hollywood and throughout the mainstream media, those who served with him say they’ve had enough. They’re going public with withering critiques, describing Haney as a self-serving pretender seeking fame and money.

Can’t blame a guy for trying to pay the mortgage. Was here there? Yes. Was he all that? Maybe. Is he an out-right liar or is he telling ‘no s***’ war stories (everyone being guilty of the latter offense)? I don’t care about any of it as long as The Unit stays on the air.

Why?

There was a time when we made movies about Japs and Krauts and Commies and we weren’t meant to feel bad about it. Except for The Siege (pre- 9/11) and a caveated season of 24, where are the movies and TV shows about us beating this generation’s evil doers? Web sites and talk radio can go round and round on this issue all day long (and they do) but the bottom line is that if we’re not prepared to point out the bad guys and promote our victory over them, we’re setting ourselves up for failure.

I’m not talking about feel-good propaganda; I want realism intermixed with my military-themed entertainment. The Unit provides that in spades (shooting till your hands bleed and a desperate housewife at home – that’s the world of SOF alright). E-Ring used to do the same thing from another angle until it went on hiatus (the sets are bogus but the dynamics – if stylized – are real enough). Entertain people by all means, but show them the truth because not only can they handle it, they want it.

I don’t care how many channels of C-SPAN there are, they will never get the ratings of your average cartoon. People complain about the movie and TV industry and their inability to come up with new ideas. I think Celebrity Cooking Showdown is the latest tired mash-up (I’m waiting for the fusion of Pimp My Ride and Dr. 90210: Pimp My Wife). You want to dust off relics AND reach out to people with a meaningful message in an attractive medium; recycle Rat Patrol and Black Sheep Squadron.

Michael Tanji

Michael Tanji

Michael Tanji spent nearly 20 years in the US intelligence community. Trained in both SIGINT and HUMINT disciplines he has worked at the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, and the National Reconnaissance Office. At various points in his career he served as an expert in information warfare, computer network operations, computer forensics, and indications and warning. A veteran of the US Army, Michael has served in both strategic and tactical assignments in the Pacific Theater, the Balkans, and the Middle East.