A Different Take on American Sniper and the Chris Kyle Controversy
Bill Mahar spoke critical of Chris Kyle and the film American Sniper on his HBO show Real Time. He stated:
“I read some of the quotes from the real Chris Kyle. He said, ‘I hate the damn savages’ (talking about the Iraqis) ‘and I’ve been fighting and I always will. I love killing bad guys. Even with the pain I loved what I was doing.’
Note that Kyle also wrote that “he and many people referred to the Iraqis as savages.”
Bill Mahar received some pushback from guest panelist Bret Stephens of The Wall Street Journal who said:
“What I saw was a movie that treats what veterans and soldiers go through in a way that was subtle. It was not just about war, it was about PTSD, it was about what the wives of soldiers go through. And, by the way, the ‘savages’ he’s talking about aren’t ordinary Iraqis. The savages are Al Qaeda killers who put drills into children.”
Another panelist, comedian Bill Blurr also disagreed with Maher’s arguments, saying, “you can’t sum up a man by one quote taken out of context.”
Lets look at other quotes from Kyle to see if we can put some things into context. In his book, he recounts telling an Army colonel, “I don’t shoot people with Korans. I’d like to, but I don’t.”
Here’s another one of Kyle’s quotes that may hit a little closer to home:
“Me and another sniper travelled to New Orleans (after Hurricane Katrina), set up on top of the Superdome, and proceeded to shoot dozens of armed residents who were contributing to the chaos.”
Supposedly either he killed 30 or between him and his buddy they killed 30 looters or possible legally armed residents in New Orleans.
After numerous reporters and news organizations were not able to corroborate Kyle’s New Orleans story in addition to another story he told about killing two would be carjackers, one can conclude he may be lying to hype up his already “ultimate bad ass” image. Nonetheless, I think it is an eye opening statement to make about killing “looters” after Hurricane Katrina. I wonder in his mind what a looter looks like. Something tells me it’s not white in appearance.
To date no one has an exact number of how many people were shot and killed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina or whether or not some of the confirmed killings may have been racially motivated. So again there is no proof if Kyle’s Katrina account is true or not.
I understand that American Sniper is based on Chris Kyle’s memoir which means it takes great liberties with actual events. American Sniper is not a documentary, so again I get it. However, critics have called the movie US war propaganda while the others have said the film uses Kyle’s memoir to tell a more important story about the real effects of war, not just on soldiers but also their families.
Either way, I personally don’t have the authority to question Kyle’s heroics or patriotism but that hasn’t stopped the outspoken former Navy Seal and governor Jesse Venture. Venture stated “A hero must be honorable, must have honor and you can’t have honor if you’re a liar. There is no honor in lying,” Ventura told The Associated Press. Ventura was awarded $1.8 million in a defamation lawsuit against the Kyle estate. This was a result of an appearance Kyle made on Fox News where he stated that he punched Ventura in the face after words were exchanged.
Ventura went onto to call the film propaganda because it conveys the false idea that Iraq had something to do with the 9/11 attacks. “It’s as authentic as Dirty Harry,” he said, referring to fictional movie series starring Clint Eastwood, the director of American Sniper.
Another thought as to why the film is so popular with some Americans concerns a point of view that I think is being over looked.
Chris Kyle is a hero to many not simply because he served in the military, went on missions and performed his duties superbly as assigned. He is a hero because he was able to do what many white people (supremacists) wish they could do. Kill brown people with impunity.
I’m not saying this for the sake of being controversial but because I believe it to be truth.
Many feel this film has increased sentiments of Islamophobia. The ADC (The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee) said a “majority of the violent threats we have seen over the past few days are result of how Arab and Muslims are depicted in American Sniper.”
Within post-racial America, on any given day, law enforcement and military personal make racists comments as it pertains to people of color on message boards and on social media. It has been documented for years now that white supremacists and Neo-Nazis operate within law enforcement and within the US military. Vile racists comments about every person of color who has recently been killed by police is readily available for viewing by anyone on the internet. Likewise anyone can find just as many negative comments about Muslims and the Islamic faith.
Since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, over 130,000 civilians have been killed with tens of thousands injured. Not savages, or Al-Qaeda evil doers but Iraqi civilians. 130,000 Iraqis didn’t kill themselves. I find it hard to believe that white supremacist or Neo-Nazi attitudes didn’t play a role in some of the 130,000 deaths.
When describing natives from the island of Caribe, Christopher Columbus said “savage cannibals, with dog-like noses that drink the blood of their victims.” Centuries later, the murderous tyrant he killed and terrorized thousands throughout the Caribbean and Latin America would be honored with Columbus Day in the United States with respective holidays of Día de la Raza and Día de las Américas throughout the Americas.
I don’t bring up Columbus to say Kyle is just like him, I’m using this one example to say how America has historically glorified war and excused violence and terrorism against people of color.
Should America honor a man that wants to shot people with Korans? Jesse Venture stated “a hero must be honorable and you can’t have honor if you’re a liar. If there isn’t honor in lying, should America honor a man that is possibly lying about killing Katrina looters? On the other hand should he be celebrated for possibly killing who he perceived to be Katrina looters? In the minds of many White ‘Christian’ conservative Americans he should absolutely be celebrated. Something tells me in the coming months or years, state Republicans and Tea Partyers will introduce bills to commemorate April 8th (Kyle’s DOB) as Chris Kyle’s Day. I think this would be perceived as an in-your-face to Muslims, liberals, critics of the film and the Iraqi war.
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