American Sniper: Propaganda, Hero Worship of a Trained Psycho, Mass Murderer
By N Oji Mzilikazi
21 January 2015
Anyhow it is cut, sliced or diced, the Bush administration initiated and Coalition supported invasion of Iraq and deposing of Saddam Hussein was predicated on deliberate lies.
Iraq never posed a threat to America — was never a threat to American hegemony. Furthermore, America was not invited by dissident Iraqis and opposition forces in Iraq to support their struggle and/or to invade Iraq towards deposing Saddam Hussein, even if he was a despotic ruler.
The US-led invasion of Iraq was morally wrong, an unjustified and illegal war — and solely about reshaping power in the Middle East in the interest of Israel.
Adding insult to injury, the Iraqi defenders to the invasion of their country — one of the birthplace of civilization, were demonized and labelled insurgents — with full support from the media, as opposed to the traditional designation of “freedom fighters,” “resistance” or “patriots.”
On November 03, 2003, Melissa McCoy, Los Angeles Times assistant managing editor sent out a memo ordering its reporters to stop describing anti-American forces in Iraq as “resistance fighters.” While pointing out that this term is not inaccurate, in serving as a military mouthpiece, McCoy wrote, “It romanticizes the work and goals of those killing GIs.”
McCoy instructed them to use “insurgents” and “guerrillas” as descriptors.
Ironically, the Coalition army that invaded Iraq was comprised of troops from many countries — foreign fighters. Yet, fellow Muslims that came to Iraq’s aid were the ones depreciatively and negatively labeled “foreign fighters.” The aforementioned paragraphs confirming the cliché, “Truth is always the first casualty of war.”
Against the propaganda that America and its allies were the good guys bringing democracy to a backward nation, and Iraqis, including its women and children were in essence savages and potential terrorists and suicide bombers out to take American lives, US Navy Seal sniper Chris Kyle is credited with 160 confirmed kills during his four tours of duty. Kyle claimed much more, around 255 people.
The high body count earned Kyle the titles of “the Devil of Ramadi,” and “the deadliest sniper in US military history.”
Soldiers are trained to blindly follow orders. Obedience is dictated and reinforced by the creed: “Ours is not to reason why. Ours is but to do and die.”
Chris Kyle cannot be faulted. Chris Kyle did what he was trained for, and ordered to do. That is, carry out military-sanction killings, murders and executions.
Being a sniper; an assassin that sneakily kills people from a distance, even when government or militarily sanctioned is nothing to memorialise. Especially, in light of the lies we know were told, Iraq having no weapons of mass destruction, and American forces having no legal or moral mandate to invade Iraq.
Nonetheless, Kyle put ink to his exploits and penned the memoir, American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in US Military History.
Enter Clint Eastwood, who in zealotry of U.S. Republican patriotism felt bringing Kyle’s proficiency in killing patriotic Iraqis resisting western colonization to the big screen was the perfect entertainment pablum to reignite American exceptionalism and American military superiority —even with its make up storylines.
Adapted from Kyle’s autobiography, Eastwood’s American Sniper is nominated for six Academy Awards. Also, it delivered a record $105.3 million over the Martin Luther King Jr. four-day weekend.
The subsequent exposé of Kyle’s exploits in film, plus the accolades given to actor Bradley Cooper for his capture and portrayal of Chris Kyle elevated a trained psychopath, mass murderer, and hate-filled killer into hero, and role model for right-wing gun fanatics.
On account of the justification propaganda for killing “terrorists,” American Sniper could just turn out to be a powerful recruitment tool for the military.
In a world where popular and counterfeit images easily sway, testosterone-filled young males and youths with latent sociopathic or psychopathic traits could see being a sniper/the “way of the gun” and the training and the legality of its use — in combat, as just up their alley, and sign up.
Soldiering is honourable. Spy agencies, military infrastructures and a standing army are indispensable to the security and independence of a nation state. Soldering speaks to heart of citizenship — is an unspoken duty.
Nonetheless, as much as killing in service, defence of country, freedom, and democracy is par for the course; killing traumatizes — even those trained to kill. Only psychopaths are unaffected — have no qualms about killing, as well as enjoy killing.
Armed conflict/war/battle exposes soldiers to unimaginable horrors, the depravity of the human soul and night terrors; are transformative as it can turn the mild-mannered and considerate soldier into a monster; as well as be a catalytic agent for soldiers with psychopathic tendencies. It brings out the “devil” in them.
Soldiers are irrevocably changed — different, upon and after experiencing combat, and even from simply being deployed in a war zone.Combat deployment predisposes soldiers to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
PTSD is more than just an occupational hazard. (First responders and police officers are also subjected to PTSD.) PTSD impacts families and destroys lives.
PTSD engenders depression, paranoia, suicides, alcohol and drug addiction, including addiction to prescription drugs, domestic abuse, violence, the commission of crimes, killings/murders,and the ability to successfully hold down a job.
While killing/Chris Kyle is glorified in American Sniper, numerous veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been accused of or convicted for robberies and domestic violence and random murder.
10 infantrymen from the U.S. Army’s 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry regiment were accused of murder, attempted murder or manslaughter after returning to civilian life.
Research reveals that one in eight soldiers has attacked someone after coming home from a combat deployment.
Death is an inescapable aspect of life, yet the naturalness of its occurrence jars, distresses, pains, and often leaves permanent holes in hearts. And the devastation is much worse when murder/killing is the instrument.
People beyond America’s shores were thrust into mourning when President John F. Kennedy was felled by an assassin/sniper’s bullet. The event was so burned into the American psyche that folks can immediately recall were they were and what they were doing when they heard Kennedy was shot.
The finality of death have the sacredness and preservation of life hardwired in the civilized. For the sane and normal, killing is abhorrent. Thus, murders shocks.
Thus, the taking of life, even when accidental or justified (as in self-defence) distresses; tears at one’s soul, turns one’s stomach, mentally damages and scars — traumatizes. (As does the likes of rape, sexual assaults, robbery, surviving a murderous rampage or witnessing a killing.) For that reason there are vociferous and reasoned arguments against the death penalty in societies that laud democracy, and where it is the ultimate punishment for heinous crimes.
Civil society distaste for killings and egregious acts that offend to no end often result in the demolishing of the home of the killer/offender or site. Thus, the home where Allan Schoenborn stabbed and smothered his three children to death in British Columbia April 2008 is slated for demolition, as well the home of Adam Lanza, the Sandy Hook killer.
Since war is always an extremely sordid affair, truly “hell on earth,” and traumatizes, veterans tend to shy away from talking about (the) war(s), their experience; what they saw or did with anyone that didn’t serve, including loved ones and family. Clearly, Chris Kyle took pleasure in his exploits, as did Nick “Irv” Irving, the African-American Army Ranger sniper who earned the moniker “The Reaper.”
Irving’s life and kills are memorialised in, The Reaper: Autobiography of One of the Deadliest Special Ops Snipers.
The jingoism American Sniper engenders cannot but induce forgetfulness that George Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Tony Blair and company, ought to be made to answer for the invasion of Iraq and subsequent war crimes in the said invasion.