Tuesday, January 20, 2015

A Veteran’s View of ‘American Sniper’

The film exposes the incomparable distance we’ve created (and irresponsibly allowed to grow) in this country between what is now essentially a warrior class and everyone else. It’s tearing open a shameful national boil of a discussion that’s been bubbling below our collective skin for far too long. And with that, it performs an exceptionally important public service in a way only film can.
I haven't yet seen this movie. Budgets being what they are, I'll have to wait for one of my daughters to "treat me," as they often do. Some readers who have posted comments elsewhere on this blog about all veterans being "mercenary murderers in service to the empire" will have noticed that such comments most often don't make it past my delete key. (The same goes for those who declare that all cops are evil.) Considering that my own son did three tours of Iraq beginning with the 101st ABN DIV during the invasion and one of Afghanistan this is understandable, I would think, and not for petty personal reasons. It is largely because I know what they do not, having lived through those years with a son in harm's way and experiencing our own learning curve of feckless government policies. I know too much. The human tragedy of it fills me, sometimes, when I think of what my son and his buddies had to endure -- what they gave so willingly -- with so little result. And as a result I curse the evil bastards who provoke the unnecessary wars with their pride and their craving for other people's property and liberty. Any honest war movie is perforce an anti-war movie because war is so horrible, so tragic, so wasteful. The thing is, Capt. John Parker could have, and likely would have, been described by these same doctrinaires as a "mercenary murderer in service to the empire" for his participation in the French and Indian War. There are, however, some things worse than war, as Capt. Parker knew, as we should all know, and sometimes wars are forced upon us. Should that happen in this country, within this country, and amongst us, in our streets and in our homes, I know that some of those same doctrinaires will be bloody well glad that we have a more than few "mercenary murderers in service to the empire" on our side when push comes to shove. There is no such thing as a free lunch and no free passport to some lands. Our sons and daughters who have fought in these wars know that intimately. They paid in hard coin -- the hardest of coin -- for that knowledge. I suspect that when I do see this movie, that will be the truth that hits home most keenly.


Anonymous said...

I hear from members of my extended family who served in the "teams" that the "Kris Kyle Story" is right up there with Jessica Lynch for truth. As one man who served with team 6 from 99' to 2007 told me "you shouldn't believe all the bull shit you read" He was really pissed off when the book came out and said the following "If any of the crap in that(book) was true Kyle would have violated the National Security Act and his weak ass would be setting in Portsmith Brigg RIGHT NOW" His comment to me about the Movie? "Made up Hollywood BULL SHIT" When asked about the truth all he would say was "real SEALS don't talk about operational details"

Dad29 said...

Any honest war movie is perforce an anti-war movie because war is so horrible, so tragic, so wasteful.

Also see, e.g., the poetry of Wilfred Owen.

Anonymous said...

As a veteran and a former peace officer, I believe the real issue is not what Chris Kyle did in Iraq. The real issue is would these specially-trained military types do the same thing at, let's say, Bundy Ranch? This is what weighs on my mind, given the current attitude of the Leviathan towards us Serfs.

Dakota said...

I took my son to see American Sniper last weekend. Because I already basically knew the story line I was set to see how Eastwood portrayed this American warrior. It was done actually quite brilliantly and had few surprises, although I had no idea Chris was that old and managed to survive seal training. This alone should tell anyone that he was a tough bugger.

I can only imagine the private hell that you endured having your son on multiple deployments as did Chris' wife and family. I do not think I could have survived it without being PTSD myself.

My biggest shock of the movie amazingly came at the end of the movie. The last portion is the funeral of Chris Kyle and it is all actual footage and there are some credits that are rolling as this is happening...... not one person got up early to leave!!! When the screen went to nothing but credits people began to file out of the theatre in very orderly fashion and "NO ONE" was talking, it was this eerie silence that I have never experienced at the end of a movie. This lasted into the hallway and into the mens room. I have spoke to my friend in Albuquerque who said that the theatre stood in unison and clapped but did not speak. I must say that I thought of starting to clap but the somber mood that I was in it did not seem proper at the time to me so I did not and neither did anyone else.

Anyone that knows me can vouch for the fact that I do not go to movies as I refuse to support Hollywood. I changed this policy however from time to time for movies that I deem OK and this one is definitely OK. I wanted to show my support for Chris' widow and children, and the American fighting man who always does his duty even under terrible circumstances. I hope you get to see the movie soon Mike, I will be interested in your thoughts also.