Chris Kyle was not a murderer. He was a hero.
The military sniper’s story came under fire last week after Clint Eastwood’s biographical war drama American Sniper was released in theaters. Critics have called it many things, many of which I am not fond of. Some have called it pro-war. Others have called it “bigoted.” Filmmakers Michael Moore and Seth Rogan also fired shots at the film, with Rogan comparing the film to the Nazi propaganda seen in the third act of Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds.
Coming from the guy who almost blew America up with his controversial film The Interview, which fantasized about killing North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, I can’t say I care much for his opinion.
Since the conversation sparked intense debate over the nation, Moore and Rogan has since redacted their statements, apologizing and claiming they were taken out of context. Their supporters, however, have not silenced themselves, and continue to persist saying that the film is a dishonest piece of propaganda that glorifies a murderer that shot and killed not only Iraqi men, but also women and children during the Iraq war.
It’s important to note, both sides have merit to their opinions. Both sides have their perspectives, and both have evidence to back up their claims.
The critics have claimed that Kyle was not as remorseful in real-life as he was depicted in the movie. That he felt no shame in killing Iraqi men, women and children, and would probably kill more if he needed to. This is supported by the fact that he used very blunt descriptions and vocabulary in his book, with one sentence reading “I hate the damn savages.”
He’s been confirmed as the most lethal sniper in American history with an estimated 255 kills, 160 of them being confirmed by the Pentagon. His first few pages in the book opens on him shooting a child and his mother. There is no fighting the horrible things he’s done in Iraq: Kyle has described the events himself in text.
At the same time though, the supporters of Kyle’s story have equal leverage on their perspectives. He felt no remorse with his kills because he was always shooting in defense of his brothers in uniform. The woman and her child that he shot were both going to blow up a convoy with a hidden grenade, which blew up shortly after they dropped it. The many seemingly-innocent Iraqi’s after that were also visibly going to initiate violence against the military, whether they were picking up a bomb, or aiming an RPG.
If you’re focused on how many kills he’s made, think also about how many lives he’s saved. He shot an estimated 255 enemy kills in Iraq. If each one was going to attack a group of military soldiers, how many fathers do you think were able to go home because of him?
We have a much bigger issue at hand here than just who is right. Our culture is so quick to attack and criticize our military, when they’re the ones fighting so that we can have the right to attack and criticize. In the midst of moral ambiguity and political correctness, men and women are on the other side of the world fighting and dying for our rights. Their last concern is being politically correct. Freedom isn’t free.
So if you want to criticize Kyle or the book and movie, American Sniper, be my guest. But understand that Kyle shot from the barrel and died from the barrel so you could have that right.
– David Dunn