Posts Tagged ‘Chris Kyle’

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Chris Kyle built his reputation as a sniper during one of the most criminal operations of the entire occupation of Iraq, the 2nd siege of Fallujah.

This process, known as “moral disengagement”, is extremely common in militaristic societies. But what is fascinating about American Sniper is how these omissions survive in the face of overwhelming evidence of the crimes that Chris Kyle participated in. The fact that a man who participated in the 2nd siege of Fallujah — an operation that killed between 4,000 to 6,000 civiliansdisplaced 200,000, and may have created an epidemic of birth defects and cancers — can come home, be embraced as a hero, be celebrated for the number of people he has killed, write a bestselling book based on that experience, and have it made into a Hollywood film is something that we need to reflect on as a society.

More on the atrocities in Fallujah.

All hail the glorious mass murderers.

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by Steven Jonas

American Sniper has stirred up the Right (see Fox ”News” and etc.) and it has stirred up the Left. The Right sees the movie as one about a “patriotic American,” “doing his duty to protect our country and the freedoms it stands for.” The Right sees any critic of the film, as a commie, as a traitor, as “un-American,” if not “un-Christian” (for after all, sniper Chris Kyle was fighting the Muslims, wasn’t he?) The Left, and of course I include myself in that group, see the movie in much more complex, much starker terms, which I shall address.

In terms of the standard Right-wing propaganda lines, oddly enough, Kyle didn’t see himself as “fighting to protect the American way of life” at all. Rather, when asked a direct question on a Fox ”News” show, he said that he did what he did in order to protect his buddies. Then, there is the well-discussed historical fallacy that the Iraq War had anything to do with 9/11. The old canard that a representative of Saddam Hussein’s government went to Prague, Czech Republic, to meet with a representative from al Qaeda and that meant that they were hooking up has long since been disposed of as a unproven and unlikely rumor. Do you really think that a secular Hussein, already facing strong threats from the United States, would have formed an alliance with a religiously-based terror organization that had originally been formed in Afghanistan by the same United States? The historical distortions are a minor tragedy, but a tragedy nevertheless.

Then there are the questions that have been raised about the movie’s definition of heroism. There was a great 2001 film about the Battle of Stalingrad (one of very few US films about the Soviet role in winning World War II) called Enemy at the Gates. The hero is a Red Army sniper. The villain is a Wehrmacht sniper. But hero/villain depends very much whose side you are on, doesn’t it? It’s whose side he is on. To many U.S., he’s a hero, but a sniper on the other side he would a wicked villain, killing people with abandon.

Much more importantly, this film can be used to revive the whole argument about the invasion of Iraq, why it was done, what it has cost the U.S. in casualties, money spent, and major disruptions of our society (most of which go unnoticed), and the much, much higher toll of Iraqi dead, injured, and made refugees. What we are seeing now in terms of the turmoil of the Middle East, which was unleashed by the U.S./U.K. invasion. This is one of the major tragedies of our era. We need to re-visit the ultimate villains of the piece, the Bush/Cheney alliance and the people who worked for them. We need to revisit how the Bush/Cheneydrive to create permanent war, which was much more important to them than the drive for oil and bases, has put our nation into the perilous state in which it finds itself, and use the film to help us do that.

Then, another tragedy was of course that while Kyle was an operative, he was also a victim. He suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (who wouldn’t, having gone through what he went through, under orders) as did the vet who eventually murdered him. A majority of the vets of Iraq/Afghanistan suffer from some degree of diagnosed or undiagnosed PTSD. The suicide rateamong them is remarkable, about 22 per day.

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Finally, we should be saying to the Right, “what are you so excited about?” Despite the killing of service members like Kyle, the Middle East is a mess and the U.S. is in the middle of it. Should we really listen to the McCains and the Grahams who, though they won’t say it out loud, really think that the solution is “put more boots on the ground?” After all, before the 2008 elections, and after Bush was forced by the Iraqi government into negotiatingthe eventual U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, McCain was saying that the U.S. should stay there “for a hundred years.” If the U.S. should be “strong,” should be “tough,” just what is it that you on the Right have in mind, other than slogans? Where is the money going to come from? How are you going to convince the majority of U.S. people that it is in the U.S. national interest to go to war on the ground in the Middle East once again? And how many more Kyles and their murderers at home, how many more tragedies do you want to create? How many more people glorified for killing people from a safe, secure perch?

Finally, this is a movie designed to make certain U.S. feel good about the War on Iraq, based on the false idea that it was in response to 9/11 and that, as Kyle was recorded as saying in the movie, the Iraqis are “savages.”  Is it not a tragedy that it has become the best-selling war movie of all time?  Another victory for Cheney/Bush and their War to End All Peace.

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Postscript:  This column drew an unusual number of comments for one of mine, almost all supportive, and many adding important additional perspectives.  If you would like to see them, please go to the published column at:http://www.truth-out.org/buzzflash/commentary/the-american-sniper-takes-a-shot-at-history-and-turns-it-into-deadly-jingois


This is Dr. Jonas’ Commentary No. 304 for BuzzFlash@ Truthout. Steven Jonas, MD, MPH is a Professor Emeritus of Preventive Medicine at Stony Brook University (NY) and author/co-author/editor/co-editor of over 30 books. In addition to being a columnist for BuzzFlash@Truthout he is the Editorial Director of and a Contributing Author to The Political Junkies for Progressive Democracy (http://thepoliticaljunkies.org/), and a Senior Editor, Politics, for The Greanville Post, (http://www.greanvillepost.com/). Dr. Jonas’ latest book is The 15% Solution: How the Republican Religious Right Took Control of the U.S., 1981-2022: A futuristic Novel, Brewster, NY, Trepper & Katz Impact Books, Punto Press Publishing, 2013,http://www.puntopress.com/jonas-the-15-solution-hits-main-distribution/, and available on Amazon.

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‘Getting aid past US snipers is impossible’

 April 16, 2004

We are hearing that the death toll is around 880 civilians, and that within the first few days 86 children were killed.


…Food and medical aid is now arriving but the problem is getting the aid around the city. A lot of it is delivered to the mosque, but then getting it to the hospitals, past the American snipers, is proving to be impossible.


…The main hospital apparently has been destroyed by bombing and the second largest is covered by US snipers – the Iraqis call it sniper alley.


We saw two kids arriving with their grandmother, they had all been wounded by gunfire, they said by American snipers, while they were trying to leave their house to flee to Baghdad. An elderly woman with a wound to the head was still carrying the white flag she had been holding when she was shot. They were all saying it was American snipers shooting – and we know that the US is using armed marines on rooftops to hold the parts of city they are controlling.


At the checkpoint leaving Falluja towards Baghdad, women and children have been trying to leave, but in cars driven by men (women don’t drive here) so they weren’t allowed out. They are not letting men aged 14 to 45 – of “fighting age” – leave the city.

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Media Coverage Fails on Iraq: Fallujah and the Civilian Deathtoll

The 50,000 citizens who either chose to remain in [Fallujah] or who were unable to leave were trapped by Coalition forces and were cut off from food, water and medical supplies. The United States military claimed that there were a few thousand enemy insurgents remaining among those who stayed in the city and conducted the invasion as if all the people remaining were enemy combatants.

Burhan Fasa’a, an Iraqi journalist, said Americans grew easily frustrated with Iraqis who could not speak English. “Americans did not have interpreters with them, so they entered houses and killed people because they didn’t speak English. They entered the house where I was with 26 people, and shot people because [the people] didn’t obey [the soldiers’] orders, even just because the people couldn’t understand a word of English.” Abu Hammad, a resident of Fallujah, told the Inter Press Service that he saw people attempt to swim across the Euphrates to escape the siege. “The Americans shot them with rifles from the shore. Even if some of them were holding a white flag or white clothes over their head to show they are not fighters, they were all shot.” Furthermore, “even the wound[ed] people were killed. The Americans made announcements for people to come to one mosque if they wanted to leave Fallujah, and even the people who went there carrying white flags were killed.” Former residents of Fallujah recall other tragic methods of killing the wounded. “I watched them [U.S. Forces] roll over wounded people in the street with tanks… …This happened so many times.”

Preliminary estimates as of December of 2004 revealed that at least 6,000 Iraqi citizens in Fallujah had been killed, and one-third of the city had been destroyed.


…The International Committee for the Red Cross reported on December 23, 2004 that three of the city’s water purification plants had been destroyed and the fourth badly damaged. Civilians are running short on food and are unable to receive help from those who are willing to make a positive difference. Aid organizations have been repeatedly denied access to the city, hospitals, and refugee populations in the surrounding areas.


…In late October, 2004, a peer reviewed study was published in The Lancet, a British medical journal, concluding that at least 100,000 civilians have been killed in Iraq since it was invaded by a United States-led coalition in March 2003.

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Fallujah, the Information War, and U.S. Propaganda

An ambulance with two neat, precise bullet-holes in the windshield on the driver’s side, pointing down at an angle that indicated they would have hit the driver’s chest (the snipers were on rooftops, and are trained to aim for the chest). Another ambulance again with a single, neat bullet-hole in the windshield. There’s no way this was due to panicked spraying of fire. These were deliberate shots to kill people driving the ambulances.


The young marine tells us that men of fighting age can’t leave. What’s fighting age, I want to know. He contemplates. Anything under forty five. No lower limit.”


…”‘The logic is: You flatten Fallujah, hold up the head of Fallujah, and say “Do our bidding, or you’re next,”‘ says Toby Dodge, an Iraq analyst at the International Institute of Strategic Studies in London.”

In other words the American assault on the Iraqi city of Fallujah was the greatest act of terrorism perpetrated so far in this millennium.

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 Testimonies of Crimes Against Humanity in Fallujah

http://wp.me/pwAWe-4Hr

All Articles Tagged “American Sniper”

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Max Blumenthal:

Chris Hedges:

Killing Ragheads for Jesus

“American Sniper,” like the big-budget feature films pumped out in Germany during the Nazi era to exalt deformed values of militarism, racial self-glorification and state violence, is a piece of propaganda, a tawdry commercial for the crimes of empire.

Michael Moore:

Michael Moore pours gas on his ‘American Sniper’ firestorm

“Well, who would know better about hating our troops than those who supported sending them into a senseless war Iraq in the first place? And, for 4,482 of them, a senseless, unnecessary and regrettable death,” he wrote.

“If you supported that invasion, if you voted for George W. Bush and the Republicans and Democrats who backed this war, then you are the ones who have some ‘splainin’ to do. Not me. You.”

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Rolling Stone:

‘American Sniper’ Is Almost Too Dumb to Criticize

Sniper is a movie whose politics are so ludicrous and idiotic that under normal circumstances it would be beneath criticism.

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American Sniper and the Savage Problem

Allan Wayne says:

The book begins with Kyle shooting a woman who was holding a grenade. He saw her “blinded by evil” because she wanted to kill marines and did not care if she injured nearby people, or maybe her child. It was his duty to shoot her. So he did. He would not shoot a child, he says.

But for Eastwood, that was not good enough. In the movie, he decides to have the mother give the grenade to her child, and send him on a suicide mission. A mother that hands her child a live grenade must be unspeakably evil. In a split second, Kyle kills them both.

Eastwood magnifies the mother’s evil, and shows that Iraqi are not just textbook or paperback evil; but really really evil. Evil enough to justify the wordsavage.

I would add that there is nothing “evil” about resisting an occupying army. The entire Iraq fiasco is drenched in this ridiculous imperial myth that resisting invaders is the same thing as “terrorism,” which no stretch of the definition can support. Terrorism is political violence directed at CIVILIANS (most of what the US did in Iraq and Afghanistan, by the way), not at an invading army.

Film Review American Sniper

Racist goobers are pumped up for more killing. America is uglier than ever. Thanks, Clint.

American Sniper: anti-Muslim threats skyrocket in wake of film’s release

American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee writes to Bradley Cooper and Clint Eastwood requesting action as threat complaints triple