The recent release of the film American Sniper has, if nothing else, furthered widened the divide between many Americans. While those who view Chris Kyle as the reincarnation of George Washington are singing the praises of Kyle and the movie, others have come to the opposite conclusion.
Of course, the American oligarchy via its mouthpiece mainstream media has firmly attempted to draw the battle lines – If you like Chris Kyle and American Sniper then you are firmly in the camp that supports the troops, loves your country, and opposes terrorism. If you do not view Kyle as a hero, then you are clearly in the camp made up of pinko-commies, socialists, and terrorist sympathizers.
And, of course, if you don’t think Chris Kyle was a hero, then you hate the troops.
But the truth is that Chris Kyle was not a hero. Chris Kyle was a murderer. He was also a war profiteer and a liar.
One need only look to Kyle’s past history and his own words to see the proof of that statement. In his book, American Sniper, Kyle repeatedly referred to the people whose land he invaded and whose families he helped kill as “savages,” regretting only that he was unable to kill more of them.
People ask me all the time, “How many people have you killed?” My standard response is “Does the answer make me less, or more, of a man?”
The number is not important to me. I only wish I had killed more. Not for bragging rights, but because I believe the world is a better place without savages out there taking American lives. Everyone I shot in Iraq was trying to harm Americans or Iraqis loyal to the new government.
I had a job to do as a SEAL. I killed the enemy – an enemy I saw day in and day out plotting to kill my fellow Americans. I’m haunted by the enemy’s successes. They were few, but even a single American life is one too many lost.
Kyle was proud of the “savages” he killed. Not only did he not regret it, he loved it. He wrote,
There’s another question people ask a lot: “Did it bother you killing so many people in Iraq?”
I tell them ‘No.”
And I mean it. The first time you shoot someone, you get a little nervous. You think, can I really shoot this guy? Is this really ok? But after you kill your enemy, you see it’s okay. You say, Great.
You do it again. And again. You do it so the enemy won’t kill you or your countrymen. You do it until there’s no one left for you to kill.
That’s what war is.
I loved what I did. I still do. If circumstances were different – if my family didn’t need me – I’d be back in a heartbeat. I’m not lying or exaggerating to say it was fun. I had the time of my life being a SEAL.
Kyle seemed to enjoy his torture of the Iraqi people boasting about his number of kills and having a great time chasing them with remote controlled hummers as they screamed, presumably thinking it was some kind of weapon being aimed at them.
Kyle also boasted of his ability to punch cattle so hard back home that he twice broke his hand. It should be noted that, abusing animals, of course, is one indicator of a psychopath.
After his stint in the US military, Kyle moved on to more lucrative pastures – the private sphere of war profiteering. Becoming the president of Craft International, a military tactical firm working with both the US military and law enforcement, Kyle continued to benefit off the wholesale slaughter of innocent people overseas and the increased police state here at home.
War profiteering was not enough, however, as Kyle was then turned loose as propagandist by erroneously claiming that he had once been in a bar fight with Jesse Ventura, whom Kyle claimed had insinuated he was happy about the death of Navy SEALs. Kyle claimed that he became angry with Ventura and punched him in the face. Ventura had been a vocal critic of the war in Iraq and painting him as a heartless criminal that rejoiced in the death of American soldiers served to denigrate both Ventura and other critics of the war. Ventura subsequently sued Kyle, but Kyle was killed before the court case was resolved. Ventura was then painted as a heartless troop-hater that sued a poor soldier’s widow. It cannot be overlooked that Ventura won the case and was awarded $1.8 million by a federal jury.
Now, with the release of American Sniper, Kyle is being portrayed as not only a victim of Ventura, but a genuine hero who exuded honor in his actions that were allegedly solely designed to protect Americans and the lives of his “brothers.”
But Kyle’s representation in the media is not only inaccurate, it is disgraceful.
Kyle was bloodthirsty. He was a murderer. And he was proud of his actions.
But Kyle has now become a symbol of “supporting the troops.” With the use of liberal blowhards like Michael Moore as the opposition, the die has been cast – you either love the troops and are a conservative or you hate them and are a liberal. In the mainstream media and, thus, in the minds of the vast majority of the American public, there is no in between and there is certainly no independent thought.
To see such a murderer glorified by the mass media is nothing new. What is truly disgusting, however, is the reaction given to those who dare criticize the new Christ of killing. The complete rejection and borderline violent reaction to anything that resembles a hesitation to rush to war in this country is both frightening and extremely dangerous.
Much of this reaction has come from blowhard reactionaries and entertainment-based commentators. Yet, many average Americans have fallen prey to the culture of militarism and pro-war propaganda to the point that American Sniper has now become akin to what the Passion of the Christ was for Christians. Americans, so overcome with their worship of militarism and so devoid of the ability to tell fact from fiction are now reportedly standing up and giving ovations when the fictional Kyle kills the “bad guy” of the movie.
It is this grouping of individuals who have been the most vocal in their support for a war based on proven lies and virtually every armed conflict that bankers, corporate interests, and the US government have been involved in as well as those in which it may become involved in in the future.
To nearly half of the population, war is the answer. The question doesn’t matter. As Paul Craig Roberts wrote, “In the United States patriotism and militarism have become synonyms.”
The fact that their religion tells them killing is wrong is no matter. Their religion supposedly gives a pass for the orders of politicians and generals.
Torture is fine too. In fact, in the eyes of the Hollywood generation, the ability to torture is the hallmark of a true man. Any suggestion to the contrary is nothing other than sympathizing with terrorists and hating the troops.
And, of course, unless you yourself have served in the military and participated in combat you have no right to criticize Chris Kyle, the war, or foreign policy in general. In America, only military personnel or combat veterans are allowed to have an opinion. That is, an opinion on war and invasion. An opinion on sub-standard health care, combat pay, GI bill loans, mental health assistance, homelessness or other economic or health-related issues that pose as much of a danger to the lives of veterans as the war they came back from is reserved for academics, politicians, and commentators.
Yet, frankly, I am sick of hearing how I should not criticize the war or the horrendous acts routinely carried out by US military personnel unless I have taken part in the same acts. I do not have to go to war to know that killing is wrong. I do not have to experience the horrors of war to know that shooting children and old women is wrong. For someone to say that I do is nothing but a moral cop out on their part.
I will criticize foreign policy, the implementation, and the results of that foreign policy – as well as the perpetrators – any time I wish.
To suggest otherwise is akin to the tired and ridiculous adage “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain.” Yes, I can. And I will.
Furthermore, I will not leave it if I don’t like it. It is an absolute demonstration of hysterical irrationality to suggest that someone leave their home country – which they have every bit as much a right to inhabit as anyone who has worn a uniform – to leave that home simply because another individual who feels particularly entitled through Hollywood and incendiary political rhetoric disagrees with his opinion.
It is also ridiculous to suggest that criticism of foreign policy equals criticism of the individual soldiers fighting the battles on the ground.
The truth is clearly that wars are always started by people who are not forced to fight them. If they were, then wars would never be fought.
However, it is also true that those people who start wars do not fire bullets, drop bombs, or throw grenades. It takes men wearing uniforms – not suits – to do that. Unfortunately, all too often those men in uniforms are throwing grenades at people with whom they have much more in common than those men in suits. Unfortunately, those men in uniform are shooting people who have done nothing to them or their countrymen, but have had the tragic misfortune of being born in a place where natural resources or geopolitical interests can be found.
So, regardless of the well-meaning ideals or the best of intentions many soldiers may have when they sign up for service, we must not pretend that these men and women are fighting for us. As General Smedley Darlington Butler once stated, “I served in all commissioned ranks from a Second Lieutenant to a Major General. And, during that time, I spent most of my time being a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street, and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for Capitalism.”
Butler was one of the most decorated soldiers in the US military at the time and he had figured out the game. It was too late to change anything that had happened, but he figured it out. Many other soldiers from all ranks and all branches have had the same experience and come to the same conclusion– that what they thought they were fighting for at the time was nothing more than a lie and a business decision coming made at the top.
Many of these soldiers have begun speaking out about the results of the tragic consequences of blatant and repetitive stupidity of the American populace and the treachery of its “leaders” both on the victim population as well as the soldiers themselves. These men and women are the true heroes. In fact, they are heroes twice over – once for putting their lives on the line for something they believed in and twice, after realizing that the cause was wrong, for speaking out in an attempt to stop it from continuing and from ever happening again. The second time around, of course, instead of finding a “band of brothers,” they find derision amongst many of their own peers who simply cannot admit that they had been duped.
There are still other soldiers who regardless of their conclusions, do not begin speaking out against the war or even becoming spokesmen for it – they become drug addicts, alcoholics, depressives, or even kill themselves. These veterans, who are trotted out and called “heroes” and thanked “for their service” one day a year, are shunned and hidden for the other 364 days. This is because they show the underside of war. Instead of college degrees, big new trucks, and middle class houses, they have homeless shelters, crackhouses, and filthy hospitals. They have traumatic brain injuries. They don’t have the John Wayne X Factor anymore. After all, young people aren’t inspired to rush to war by crippled old men – they are inspired by flashy movies and braggarts.
Clearly, in the minds of those who promote war – both at the top levels and at the bottom – some veterans are more equal than others.
The question of military service aside, however, the most vociferous proponents of war tend to be those with no military service behind them at all. In other words, the biggest warmongers – besides those at the higher levels of society who organized the war to begin with – are often those who stand no chance of being affected by it. From the comfort of their own home, they call others “cowards” and “unpatriotic” knowing full well they will not be the victims of the massive eating machine marching overseas.
But neither will they be the perpetrators. That would require too much genuine courage and effort. Instead, these individuals will live vicariously through 18 year olds who are not considered old enough to drink alcohol in their own country but old enough to be shipped off to kill and be killed in someone else’s. The loudmouth back home, however, will watch the war from afar in the safety of his home, the comfort of his couch, and his ever-expanding waistline.
The loudmouth back home will continue to brag about his friends and his relatives who served in the war as if he had done so himself. He is perhaps brave enough to attempt to bully someone he considers a panty-waist peacenik but not to pick up a rifle and shoot the enemy that he claims threatens his way of life.
The truth is that he is a coward. He is loud. But he is a coward nonetheless.
The truth is that he is the one destroying his way of life as well as the lives of countless others who are the victims of his vapid, pathetic, lack of masculinity for which he must overcompensate by his goading high school graduates into signing up for a living hell.
Still, he will have the gall to argue that, “If you haven’t served in the military, keep your mouth shut.” But if he wants to follow that statement to its logical conclusion, then he’d better pick up a rifle himself and stop asking someone else’s children to do it for him. He should put his money where his mouth is.
These arguments, however, are only ever intended to work to promote war – not stop it. It is blind nationalism, blind patriotism, and blind repetition at its best. It has worked since the inception of nations and even before. There is no reason to believe that it will stop working now.
Killing people who have done nothing to you is wrong and, in the end, your motives are largely irrelevant – it is still wrong.
Some have no regrets. They revel in their kills. They are a special breed of psychopath that will go far in today’s society. Others cannot bring themselves to face the results of what they have done.
Others still, have realized the consequences of their actions. They realized they have made mistakes. While nothing can change those mistakes, resisting the truth, avoiding personal responsibility, and hiding behind veils of patriotism will ensure that they continue to happen.
Chris Kyle, of course, was of the former variety.
There are military veterans all across the country who still fight their battles daily. There are others who grapple with the results of their actions but who are also fighting to awaken others to the fact that war is, indeed, a racket. They are the heroes – not Chris Kyle. These men and women are truly fighting for the American people, not promoting the slaughter of innocent people from the flickering light of a flat screen.
America’s priorities are entirely skewed. Years of Hollywood propaganda and oligarchical domination have seen to it that certain things are not discussed, people are separated from one another, and dialogue is always stopped short. When the United States is done being used as a battering ram for the world oligarchy, its militarism will come back to haunt it. It has no other choice. It has been the same with every empire.
I wish I could say that it’s not too late for ours but, to be honest, I’m no longer so sure.
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