American Sniper seeks to lionize a monstrous war crime, the lethal effects of which are still being felt today by ordinary Iraqis whose lives have been impacted in horrific ways that we in the sheltered West could not even imagine.
Thirty-two million dollars.
That’s the obscene amount of money North American moviegoers spent this past Super Bowl weekend to see the new film ‘American Sniper.’
The Iraq war blockbuster has earned over $300 million since its release in November 2014.
If these numbers tell us anything, they speak to the seemingly irreversible degeneration of intelligent or critical thought among the populations of the United States and Canada, where American Sniper has made the brunt of its profits. The fact that millions of people paid money to have their heads filled with American war propaganda highlights a deep-seated dysfunction within society that is cause for concern.
As many critics have observed, the film’s protagonist Chris Kyle, the US Army’s “deadliest sniper” in history, is uncritically portrayed as a ‘war hero’ and great bearer of good fortune for those ‘freedom-yearning’ Iraqis who ‘welcomed’ American soldiers into their country with ‘open arms,’ as US propaganda tells us. Only they didn’t – the Iraqis bitterly resisted the American occupation every step of the way, and rightly sought to expel the invaders upon sight.
The opening action sequence of the film shows Kyle take aim at an Iraqi woman and her son who, apparently in a state of desperation after US ‘shock and awe’ bombardment decimated their city, intend to lob a grenade at occupying US forces approaching them. Kyle shoots and kills the mother and son, to great cheers from audiences across the US. “Oorah,” chant ignorant and trigger-happy Americans who salivate over violent depictions of this nature. “Way to get dem Ayrab teeerrorists,” shout an assorted brew of Fox News blowhards and Republican knuckleheads.
In a recent video posted on YouTube, freedom activist and Iraq war veteran Adam Kokesh documents the mind-blowing ignorance of American moviegoers who watched American Sniper. Kokesh deconstructs the staggering cognitive dissonance of several unfortunate interviewees as they exited the theater, asking them tough questions about the dubious morality of Chris Kyle’s actions as a sniper whose army had invaded another country based upon false pretenses.
Many of the interview subjects parroted the rather pathetic jingoistic platitude that Kyle was a hero because he fought in Iraq to “defend his homeland.” Besides the essentially cowardly nature of a sniper who picks off targets from afar, Kyle was in no way, shape or form ‘defending his homeland.’ As Kokesh calmly explains to them in the video, Kyle was a quintessential invader of someone else’s homeland – Iraq. Kokesh further notes that the Iraqi mother and son ‘villains’ that Kyle shoots down in the opening action sequence of American Sniper were in fact the heroic defenders of their homeland from an aggressive, destructive foreign occupant. American jingoists have turned the truth abruptly on its head.
Another common fallacy echoed by American Sniper enthusiasts is that the Iraq war was fought for some ‘grand and noble cause’ of ‘delivering Iraqis from the shackles of a dictator.’ Hussein was indeed a tyrant, one the Americans were quite happy to work with and assist in his gaseous onslaught against Iran in 1980. Throughout the 70s and 80s, Hussein was Washington’s cat’s paw in the region, and as such received generous gifts of weaponry from his patrons in the White House. So in reality, the ‘removing a tyrant’ pretext, which seems to be a fallback position since the ‘WMD’ mythology was exposed as a cruel hoax, doesn’t logically pan-out considering US support of said dictator decades earlier. America has absolutely no moral high ground to condemn the actions of a despot, let alone seek to remove one from power on a two-faced moralist premise whilst propping up other ‘friendly’ autocrats across the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Even under Saddam’s dictatorship, Iraq was a much more stable and prosperous country than it is now after the ‘great liberation,’ the results of which has been nothing but misery and despair for millions. The only ‘terrorists’ present in Iraq were Washington’s foot soldiers – the US Armed Forces, the US Air Force and the US Marines who besieged the sovereign Arab country with a merciless and bloodthirsty mission to ‘punish’ Hussein and his people for displeasing the self-anointed monarchs of planet earth in the White House.
In an op-ed about American Sniper, analyst Finian Cunningham writes that “indulging ‘heroes’ like Chris Kyle, [has] the insidious effect [of glorifying] American war-making.” Cunningham contends that the film “reinforces American narcissism about its ‘exceptionalism’ as a nation that is intrinsically good, superior and which has the prerogative to wage wars wherever it deems necessary for its ‘national interests’ regardless of international law or morality.”
Indeed, American Sniper seeks to lionize a monstrous war crime, the lethal effects of which are still being felt today by ordinary Iraqis whose lives have been impacted in horrific ways that we in the sheltered West could not even imagine. Chris Kyle and his heinous sharpshooting undertakings in Iraq illustrate a microcosm of the problem of American militarism as well as the malignant mindset that gives rise to professional killers of his caliber who populate the US military.