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1-30-15 Two words... PDF Print E-mail

By Debra Sweet

Well-timed to coincide with the U.S. escalation of war on Yemen (with new drone strikes) and in Iraq & Syria (with U.S. bombing runs the Pentagon now acknowledges are killing civilians) comes the film "American Sniper."

Two words could not more concisely convey the hubris, arrogance and brutality of the U.S. global war on terror.

That this film has been super hyped, and drawn record box office receipts has to be acknowledged as a big problem in this society. Only a month after the most significant uprising of domestic protest in decades against police killings of black and brown youth "under the color of authority," a global George Zimmerman/Darren Wilson is doing a number on people's heads.

The real Chris Kyle

Chris Kyle, a Navy Seal sniper who did four tours in Iraq, officially carried out 160 "kills" according to the military, and claimed 255 died at his hand, as he shot from as much as a mile away. Clint Eastwood directed the bio picture of his highly scripted life, which came out this month. The Washington Post investigated some claims Kyle made in a 2012 book — including that he had personally killed 30 armed New Orleans residents from his perch on top of the Superdome — and could not verify them. But of Iraq, he verifiably said, he wished "he could have killed more."

Whether you've seen the film, or not, it's important to know what people are saying about this influential war propaganda. Best, see it and join in struggling over why hero does not equal "killing savages."

Ross Caputi, a veteran of the Iraq war, and organizer of The Fallujah Project, working to bring justice to people damaged by the U.S. occupation, called Kyle "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."

Noam Chomsky asked “What was the patriotic, pro-family film that so entranced everyday Americans? It’s about the most deadly sniper in American history, a guy named Chris Kyle, who claims to have used his skills to have killed several hundred people in Iraq.”

“In [Kyle's book American Sniper], he describes what the experience was like, so I’ll quote him. His first kill was a woman, who walked into the street with a grenade in her hand as the Marines attacked her village. Chris Kyle killed her with a single shot, and he explains how he felt about it.”

“‘I hated the damn savages I’d been fighting,’” Chomsky said, quoting Kyle. “‘Savage, despicable, evil — that’s what we were fighting in Iraq. That’s why a lot of people, myself included, called the enemy savages. There was really no other way to describe what we encountered there.’”

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