Trending Topics:

‘American Sniper’ is an antiwar movie

Opinion
on 106 Comments

American Sniper is a powerful antiwar movie. It may also be important, in that it opens the U.S. public’s eyes to the tremendous trauma of the war among US veterans.

At the center of the film is a hollow man, Chris Kyle, played by Bradley Cooper. Kyle got the nickname The Legend because he killed so many supposed terrorists in Iraq, but he suffered great damage over four tours. The movie ends, of course, as Kyle’s life did: he was killed in 2013 by another veteran with PTSD at a shooting range. In the life of the film, Kyle’s murder seems a foregone conclusion. He lost his soul in Iraq.

The movie features Iraq veterans who were maimed by the war, displaying their grotesque injuries. One of them hits a target at a shooting range and says that he feels like he has his balls back. When has it been stated to such a wide audience that roadside bombs cost soldiers their testicles?

I am well aware that the film is despised on the left. Because the Arabs in the film are almost all faceless and called “savages”, because the violence has a video-game quality, because there is nothing about the architects of the war, and because the film may have contributed to a fearful climate for Muslims in the U.S. The last criticism is the most important. And it is only appropriate that the film’s makers try and alter that climate in public statements, because they are responsible to some small degree for every knuckledragging Islamphobe who sees the movie. But I don’t think the other criticisms are valid. This is a movie about an American small town boy who didn’t know better. It is told inside his frame, and that is fitting. Chris Kyle and the enlistees like him are real people mutilated by the Iraq war; this is a fine subject for a dramatic film. America needs to begin an accounting. On our site Eamon Murphy has faulted the film for the fact that it does not confront the U.S. with the human rights toll of its involvement in Iraq. He is certainly right that it doesn’t do so, but I don’t believe the film has such a responsibility. Forcing the U.S. to confront the human rights toll is a crucial political process that we among others have been engaged in. An artistic work doesn’t have to do everything.

Some say the film glorifies the sniper, that you cheer when he makes his kills. A friend said it was a great action movie. All I can say is, I didn’t feel that way. What Clint Eastwood and Bradley Cooper, a producer of the film, did for me was strip away all the glory of the glorious warrior. They did so by creating two hours of the grimmest cinema I have ever sat through. I cannot recommend the movie as a movie; there are few surprises in the story and absolutely no laughs, the scenery is soon claustrophobic. There is not one moment I would describe as entertaining. The segments back in Texas with Sienna Miller as the suffering wife on the phone to Chris Kyle or waiting for him to come back from his latest tour are tortuous. Miller does a superb job playing the tormented Taya Kyle. I don’t think there has ever been a tentpole film that so clinically describes the mental suffering of soldiers and their families. American Sniper makes Private Ryan look upbeat.

I saw American Sniper with a World War 2 veteran and when we came out of the theater he was raging. What were we doing in that country? We invaded them! They didn’t attack us. Of course they resisted the invasion. The men who dreamed up that war should be in jail. And we should have a draft, so that no one ever again sends young men off to suffer—and kill so many people.

I had the same feelings; and I believe Eastwood and Cooper wanted to have this effect on their audience. Their film holds up a mirror to the U.S. and says we are a society that adores violence. It contains many haunting and pointedly-political moments, notably the documentary-like scenes of maimed soldiers. Or when Debbie Lee, the mother of slain Navy Seal, Marc Lee, reads his last letter home at his burial and he smashes the idea of glory. “My question is when does glory fade away and become a wrongful crusade, or an unjustified means by which consumes one completely?”

Or in the last scene of the film, Chris Kyle goes into the kitchen to smooch with his wife before he takes the veteran who is going to kill him to a firing range to shoot. He’s holding a six gun and points at her playfully. Playfully? This man is the savage. And why is he taking four hours out of his weekend just to drive to and from a shooting range?

It is going to take America a long time to come to terms with the Iraq war. Some day they will make movies about chickenhawk neocons who pushed the war, some day there will be a flood of Iraqi movies about what the war did to their society, some day we will look back in horror on Islamophobia in the way we faced anti-Semitism, much later. For the time being there is American Sniper, about how America turned a simple Texas man into a monster.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

Other posts by .


Posted In:

106 Responses

  1. lproyect on February 15, 2015, 12:00 pm

    The left was certainly wrong in judging this as a gung-ho film. I doubt that many young people will want to enlist after seeing this, as was not the case with Tom Cruise’s “Top Gun” or more egregiously the Sylvester Stallone or Chuck Norris films of an earlier period.

    The film is very much in the “Hurt Locker” vein as well as any number of Israeli films that depict the victimizer as victim. In such films, Arabs are objectified as a kind of alien presence. They serve one and only one purpose, to make the hero (in some ways anti-hero) look like the disillusioned victim of circumstance.

    Unlike Ron Kovic’s “Born on the Fourth of July”, and Oliver Stone’s great film based on it, no memoir has emerged from the Iraq or Afghanistan war that can truly be called antiwar. The best thing I have seen is “The Pat Tillman Story”, a documentary about a pro football player killed by “friendly fire” in Afghanistan. I also recommend “The Kill Team”, another documentary about Afghanistan based on a true story that evokes Oliver Stone’s “Platoon”.

    Finally, I found “American Sniper” a flaccid affair, far less interesting than Eastwood’s twin films on Iwo Jima. If he wanted to be taken seriously as a filmmaker, he might have considered making one from the POV of one of those objectified “jihadists” who were fending off the Americans in a place like Fallujah. There was a Harper’s magazine article from about 10 years ago that interviewed just such a fighter. That was an exception to the rule.

    • ziusudra on February 16, 2015, 4:11 am

      Greetings iproject,
      ….if he wanted to be taken seriously as a filmmaker……

      I won’t go into quality Cinema, but keeping it simple,
      Eastwood always portrayed the good & the bad by taking
      the side of good. He’s quoted as saying:
      Extremists on both sides are assholes.
      ziusudra
      PS Thank you, Phil.

      • Mooser on February 17, 2015, 6:28 pm

        “Extremists on both sides are assholes.”

        Ah yes, if there’s one thing Eastwood positively celebrates in his films, it’s moderation.

  2. Mooser on February 15, 2015, 12:52 pm

    “American Sniper’ is an antiwar movie”

    “And we should have a draft, so that no one ever again sends young men off to suffer—and kill so many people.”

    Ah, good ol’ Clint. Be a cold day in hell before I put so much as a penny in that bastard’s pocket.

    By the way, which “cut” did you see?

  3. on February 15, 2015, 1:11 pm

    “…some day we will look back in horror on Islamophobia in the way we faced anti-Semitism, much later.”

    I must say, I am completely unaware of any time period in the USA where anti-Semitism was anywhere near as prevalent and violent as the current plague of Islamophobia that has largely been whipped up by Zionists.

    The current climate scares me greatly…and I am a white guy with no connection to Islam or Arabs.

    • just on February 15, 2015, 2:14 pm

      I have to agree with you there, Giles.

      You are a discerning and intelligent man, Phil. A lot of Americans are not. So you sat through your film experience, walked away with this reaction, pondered your emotions, and review the film here.

      Others do not possess your perspicacity, and have walked away with an entirely different p.o.v. It’s this reactionary, primed and Islamophobic cohort that creates the ‘problem’…

      • Marnie on February 16, 2015, 3:37 am

        “You are a discerning and intelligent man, Phil”.

        Seems like it. However, a lot of my family back in the old country saw the movie and “loved it” and for all the wrong reasons. This is probably a great movie for the redneck “yee-haw!”, gung-ho armchair “warriors” who haven’t seen anything south of their beer bellies for years and get off on the red, white and blue killing fields on “the other” people’s lands. I haven’t seen it and won’t, simply for the fact that it got the seal of approval from mi familia and a lot of other yahoos too. I guess Phil you are the exception.

      • Mooser on February 16, 2015, 11:42 am

        Where the hell do people, especially those who have served, get those funny ideas about the draft? First of all, are Officers” drafted? Isn’t every goddam Officer a true “volunteer”?

        So we are going to have a draft with no college deferment? With no medical deferments? No “essential defense business” deferments? With no openness or accountability in the “selection” process? A “Selective Service with no ‘selection’?

        It’s called the “Selective Service” for a reason. And if the power to conscript Americans is supposed to prevent wars, why have our largest wars been fought by conscript armies, led by volunteer Officers?

        And if anybody has any further irrational ideas about the usefulness of conscription, I can destroy them all in one sentence: The US Army once was set on drafting me!

      • CigarGod on February 16, 2015, 11:54 am

        They did draft me…and then they gave us all a test…and offered some of us a chance to become officers. But, we had to convert our 2 year hitch into a 4 or more year hitch, to get it. Amazing the seductive power of a promise of the authority to lord it over others…and you might even get shiny stuff for your chest. It makes you walk funny…a little like a rooster. Somewhere in the whole process…you forget you once has a soul.

      • Mooser on February 17, 2015, 3:08 pm

        Funny thing, I remember, when I was 1-A and I thought, headed for Viet Nam (where I probably would have defected to the North after my first taste of Pho) praying to God: “Help me, I don’t want to die a virgin!”
        But that doesn’t bother me any more.

        Anyway, if I’m not mistaken, volunteering for Officer Training for an enlisted man is not the same thing, a completely different career path, from, say “West Point” or “VMA” and high rank in the military.

      • Mooser on February 17, 2015, 7:16 pm

        Totally lost my train of thought there. What I was trying to say is that if the “World War 2 veteran” Phil saw the film with came out of the theatre calling for universal conscription, the film really works doesn’t it?

      • Citizen on February 18, 2015, 5:52 am

        Maybe the WW2 vet who attended the movie with Phil was just dismayed at the lack of interest in foreign affairs he sees in the younger generations, especially given the large footprint their country has outside its own borders? A military draft has a way of becoming like a lunchbox issue.

      • Mooser on February 18, 2015, 6:27 pm

        “A military draft has a way of becoming like a lunchbox issue”

        Hey, whatever, give the military a huge, conscripted (scuse me, ‘selectively’ conscripted) mass of soldiers. They will put it to use.

      • Mooser on February 20, 2015, 12:56 pm

        Might also mention that peace-time (oh, but it never quite is, is it, any more) military conscription leaves the country with lot’s and lot’s of people with basic military training, and probably, some training in specific areas and they can be quickly re-integrated into the active military as needed.

        You give them lives, they will use them.

      • just on February 16, 2015, 7:38 pm

        Thanks for that, jaspeace2day.

  4. CloakAndDagger on February 15, 2015, 2:05 pm

    Phil – you see subtle goodness in this movie. Not all people appreciate subtlety, and will walk away with the demonized view of “the enemy”.

    This movie does more harm than good.

  5. Donald on February 15, 2015, 3:22 pm

    The fact that you see it as anti war when you are anti war means nothing except that you project your own feelings on it. Pro war people do the same. I’ve read blogs where they loved this movie for showing what they saw as the truth –that our brave and selfless warriors were fighting pure evil. All you took from it was that it showed the cost of war for the troops. That’s the soft bigotry of low expectations–so it wasn’t a movie that made war seem fun. But a lot of right wingers know this,especially those who are vets. It’s some bizarre liberal fantasy that says only liberal anti war types understand that war is hell–the problem is that you can understand this and still think that “the enemy” is pure evil and we are pure good.

    The NYT today had an article pointing to studies which show that movies about historical events which contain inaccuracies leave people with false impressions even when they know better. There are teenagers and young adults who were small children when 9/11 happened and when we went into Iraq. They don’t remember Abu Ghraib. They will see this movie and they damn well will come out of it with false impressions about the history and they will think the only victims were the Americans who had to fight these savages. It is not an anti war movie if the only victims depicted are Americans–a pro war viewer will see it as the tragic cost that comes when we send our boys against demons in human form and don’t let them use all the force necessary.

    • Donald on February 15, 2015, 3:30 pm

      And no, I haven’t seen the movie,but every review I’ve seen is consistent with yours. So I have no intention of putting money into Eastwood’s pocket for making this crap, any more than I would pay to see Zero Dark Thirty.

      • marc b. on February 15, 2015, 3:59 pm

        And you’ve made the right connection. Like zerodark30, some flimsy ambivalence is all the opening hopeful lefty types need to embrace the film’s ‘anti-war’ message.

      • Mooser on February 17, 2015, 3:15 pm

        Well, I thought Phil’s review was a masterpiece of irony. But a doctor told me I have irony-poor blood, so I might not be a good judge.

    • Krauss on February 16, 2015, 4:13 am

      Donald, but the fact that people with different political opinions come out from the movie validating them(pro-war Republicans, anti-war liberals, muslim advocates concerned about Islamophobia etc) means that the movie does what art is supposed to do: make you think.

      That most people take that opportunity to validate what they already know/believe cannot be blamed on the movie. If everyone agreed what the movie was about, regardless of their political orientation, then what you have is not art but propaganda but that’s not the case here, because people disagree quite wildly about what the movie is, which is a sign of a good film, a form of art.

      I find your narrow-mindedness mildly pathetic. You should watch it yourself before attacking it, otherwise you’re just a lemming following the herd.

      • Donald on February 16, 2015, 9:02 am

        I don’t want to be the sort of lemming who gives money to filmmakers for making propaganda, Krauss. What you find mildly pathetic is mildly interesting, but not determinative. You ignored the issue that everyone who has been critical of the film (including Phil) has pointed out–it paints an inaccurate picture of the war, and no, you don’t have to do that to give the perspective of someone from the heartland. It gives the impression that 9/11 and Iraq were related. Like many American war movies, it shows the war in terms of good vs. evil and dehumanizes the Iraqis. I don’t have to give money to every movie of that sort that comes along to judge it, assuming that other people who have gone to it (and praised it in some cases) all describe the content in a consistent manner. Everything I’ve read about the content of the movie, from both fans and detractors, is consistent.

        You also ignored the point I made regarding the effect that an inaccurate movie has on people’s minds, which was described in the NYT Sunday review article I alluded to. I’m not very interested in movies about current events precisely because of this–people know so little about important issues as it is, that I don’t give a crap about pretentious claims like yours regarding “art” vs. propaganda. It’s bad enough that the news is slanted–when the entertainment reinforces the views of Iraqis that people get from Fox News then it just makes society that much more ignorant. I know you think you’ve made an intellectual point about art here, one that everyone has heard a million times, before, but the actual effect of this movie will be to reinforce Islamophobic tropes.

      • Donald on February 16, 2015, 9:19 am

        I wanted to reword one part of that, but I’m too late for the edit function apparently.
        “I’m not very interested in movies about current events” should read “I am usually bothered by movies about current events, precisely because they are apt to mislead people. Even if I happen to agree with the message, any factual inaccuracy or false impressions given will stick in many people’s heads.”

        I don’t want to get too personal here, though you opened the door there, but I get really tired of the fatuousness of movie critics who won’t criticize a film that deals in vicious cliches because they are too busy displaying their openminded attitudes. It’s not about how you can see an antiwar message in a movie that depicts Iraqis as monsters that send their children out to die. It’s about all the ordinary people who see a movie like this and it reinforces what American culture teaches them about our wars. I heard people saying exactly the same thing about the Vietnamese decades ago. What could Americans do in a war where even the children could kill you? So it becomes about our innocence. At best, the war is criticized because it sends good American boys to die in a region where everyone is evil. They aren’t good enough for the sacrifice of American lives.

      • kalithea on February 16, 2015, 3:30 pm

        @Krauss

        American Sniper is like that pop song Blurred Lines that also provoked a lot of controversy; pretending it glorifies women when in fact it objectifies women through light porn and through the lens of pure male fantasy.

        You can’t BLUR the truth pretending it’s art when in fact it’s pure propaganda masquerading as art. I’m sure the best propagandists are those who most effectively disguise or blur their propaganda into art. The mere fact that there’s controversy over it, doesn’t necessarily make it art over propaganda! And I’m sure glad some of us see through that. As for making people think; uhhh, the jury’s still out on that one. I’d like to poll what the American masses took from it, first. But I don’t have to, I have a good idea most didn’t see and even refuse to see what Phil believes he sees, and would ridicule it as unpatriotic. But no doubt Eastwood can bank on the latter having the last word.

        Either way though, he banks. When I think of this movie, I think this: Who took the bait and who didn’t. It’s obvious you’re in: hook, line and sinker!

        In America where the art of manipulation is king; getting at the truth becomes not so much a question of seeing, but seeing through.

        The war industry, the Holocaust industry and Hollywood – all milking the suffering of others and blurring the truth together with propaganda that all too often passes for art.

      • Mooser on February 17, 2015, 6:22 pm

        “just a lemming following the herd.”

        Nobody ever has a good word to say for lemmings. Lemmings do much more than just run off cliffs. They can be kept as pets, and they are social and gentle. I mean, just saying, and I won’t mention it again. And they are cute. But all anybody ever talks about is their unfortunate habit of jumping off cliffs in droves. You only have to do that once or twice and that is all anybody talks about, when your name is brought up. Maybe we could give it a rest.

        “In America where the art of manipulation is king; getting at the truth becomes not so much a question of seeing, but seeing through.”

        With you all the way on that, kalithea. The medium is the massage.

      • RoHa on February 17, 2015, 6:32 pm

        “Nobody ever has a good word to say for lemmings.”

        I do. They are wonderful things. Make your mouth pucker up if you try to eat them raw, but add a wonderful flavour to lots of dishes, both sweet and savoury. Squeeze the juice out, add water, a bit of sugar, ice, and you’ve got a refreshing drink. You can make a pie filling with them. (Top it with meringue.) And lots of other uses.

      • Mooser on February 18, 2015, 11:13 am

        “I do. They are wonderful things.”

        Thank you RoHa, for pointing out some of their other virtues. They don’t have to be just pets.

      • Philemon on February 18, 2015, 8:15 pm

        Not only do lemmings make good pets and good eating (although I wouldn’t trust Roha’s recipes myself), they have been unjustly maligned for years as suicidally inclined, and lacking the most rudimentary self-preservation instincts supposedly because of being in a herd.

        Aside from the defamation of character associated with accusing any rodent of being a “herd animal”, the allegations of their lack of mental balance by implying, in carefully edited filming, that they were a danger to themselves or others were clearly libelous.

        Any competent lawyer, if the lemmings ever saw fit to employ one to press their suit, could mulct Disney for substantial damages.

        http://www.snopes.com/disney/films/lemmings.asp

      • Mooser on February 20, 2015, 1:02 pm

        Lemmimgs live in colonies, a vast social and ecological network. Sometimes these colonies get too big and then there’s a lot of ‘this-colony-isn’t-big-enough-for-the-both-of-us” confrontations, and a part of the colony migrates. That can be very costly, just like human migrations, until the new colony is established.

        So that little slice of acetic acid, sugars, zest, pith and peel which tops off your ice tea may have come a long, long way to get to you.

        No, Zionists, you don’t want to seize on that analogy. No-one has ever heard of a vole colony which emigrated cause it got too small.

  6. Keith on February 15, 2015, 4:45 pm

    PHIL- “…Kyle’s murder seems a foregone conclusion. He lost his soul in Iraq.”

    Wow! Israeli storm troopers shoot and cry, whereas, imperial storm troopers stoically lose their soul. And the trauma! How can these Arabs be so cruel to force our sons and daughters to kill them by resisting our invasion? And that is the important thing isn’t it, how this whole empire business affects our troops! No use trying to depict how the destruction of Iraq affected the Iraqis, what with the clash of civilizations and all.

    Phil- “American Sniper is a powerful antiwar movie.”

    Are you joking? Hollywood has traditionally been a strong glorifier of war and militarism, creating the mythology which enables empire. Only rarely does it deviate such as the LATTER stages of Viet Nam AFTER the business community decided to terminate that particular imperial adventure. Currently, empire is on a rampage fully supported by Hollywood’s glorification of militarism. There is very little chance of a truly anti-war movie at this point in time. I continue to maintain that Hollywood and the rest of the entertainment media, including video games, play a bigger role in manufacturing consent than even the news media.

    • kalithea on February 16, 2015, 2:27 pm

      Kyle didn’t lose his soul in Iraq; he lost it in his own country, the USA, way before going to Iraq. The culture of hubris, war and military prowess is a culture devoid of conscience to begin with.

      • Mooser on February 17, 2015, 3:27 pm

        Oh fer Gawd’s freakin sake, what is the American movie industry especially good at? Simulating violence, whether personal (fist) small arms, explosion, military, what have you. How many years of obsessive craft and industry technical development have gone into that?

        The plot and all the rest of it is just a hackneyed mello-dramatic framework to hang the incidents (with the proper emotional set-up) of simulated violence. The weapons, and the simulations of firing, injuries and death are the real stars of the movie.

        And I think a lot of the “plot” will be cut as the movie ages, leaving the “pay dirt” , audience-reaction will refine the rhythm and pacing of the violence to achieve maximum profits.

  7. eGuard on February 15, 2015, 4:51 pm

    Sure, it’s an anti-war movie. That’s clarified to those xM visitors then. Convinced.

  8. JLewisDickerson on February 15, 2015, 10:24 pm

    RE: “I am well aware that the film [i.e., “American Sniper”] is despised on the left. Because the Arabs in the film are almost all faceless and called ‘savages’, because the violence has a video-game quality . . .” ~ Weiss

    MY COMMENT: One has to wonder whether Craig Hicks (who murdered three young Muslims near the University of North Carolina campus) saw himself as an “American Sniper” of sorts. I wonder if he had seen the film yet, and/or had begun “obsessing” over it.

    SEE: “Chapel Hill shooting: Craig Hicks watched shooting rampage film Falling Down obsessively, IBTimes.co.uk, February 12, 2015
    LINK – http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/chapel-hill-shooting-craig-hicks-watched-shooting-rampage-film-falling-down-obsessively-1487769

  9. CloakAndDagger on February 16, 2015, 12:45 am

    For me, “Avatar” was a great anti-war movie – which is why it didn’t clinch the Oscar.

    • Citizen on February 16, 2015, 6:42 am

      Avatar was a cowboys v Indians flick, with the Indians heavily romanticized. Clint didn’t redo Enemy At The Gates, for sure.

  10. Walid on February 16, 2015, 6:25 am

    I haven’t seen the movie but I’ve read enough about it to know that I shouldn’t bother. Phil is an idealist and this is why he saw it as he wanted to see it; he almost has me feeling sorry for the killing machine that has 164 confirmed kills to his credit. Ramzy Baroud has an interesting article about this vile movie that he dovetails into the Chapel Hill triple murders :

    “,,, The episode of dehumanisation is long, complex and protracted; also, quite clever, for it involves billion-dollar media outfits and Hollywood itself, which already has an awful track record regarding negative and stereotypical representation of Arabs and Muslims.

    The outcome is a whole industry that is predicated on double standards and half-truths.

    Imagine if a member of the Iraqi resistance, an Iraqi sniper, if you will, killed 164 US soldiers, who were armed to the teeth and present in his country as part of an invading force.

    Imagine an Arab country financing a massive movie production detailing the story of that Iraqi sniper, portraying him as a hero, and US soldiers as savages.

    How would US media, government and audiences react?

    It would be an Arab-bashing fest. Few, if any, would dare rationalise his deed, suggesting perhaps that he was a man defending his own country. What would be emphasised thoroughly is the “savage nature” of the Arabs and their innate hate for America and its noble values. The whole Arab creed would be brutalised, those who made the movie, and those who celebrated the heroics of the sniper.

    An American Sniper, however, is not a fictitious illustration of a point, but a bloody reality, itself a representation of the killing of millions of Arabs and Muslims in America’s wars.

    Even relatively muted criticism of the evil deed of Chris Kyle – the hero of the reality-turned movie, The American Sniper, who made a 164 confirmed “kills” during his four tours in Iraq because they were “savages” who deserved to die – were shut out by a massive outcry from media and members of society. American killers are heroes, regardless of what they do or stand for…

    … But Hicks, who walked into the flat of three students in Chapel Hill, NC and shot them, execution style, was not a Muslim. He comes from Christian heritage. He is not black or brown, but white. His name is not Ahmed, but Craig.

    That changes everything.

    Neither the police nor the media would describe his crime as a hate crime, let alone terrorism, although his terrorism is unique in a way. His type resides on the top of the food chain in terms of race, gender and other criteria. Yet, somehow he is politically frustrated. Go figure.

    He is not a member of a radicalised generation born into oppression, foreign invasion, poverty and other untold humiliation. If that was the case, one can, at least to a degree fathom the hate, deconstruct the anger, or even rationalise that violence is a natural outcome of a certain reality.

    Hicks is of the Fox News demographic, gun touting unreasonably and immeasurably angry, white American. Self-proclaimed atheist or otherwise, it matters little.

    Police and media whitewashing

    To add insult to injury, the Chapel Hill police reacted mere hours after the terrorist act saying that an “ongoing dispute over parking may have led to a triple shooting”. The media embraced the statement with little questioning. That was clearly Hicks’ statement to the police, which was adopted as fact. The term terrorism was completely absent from mainstream media discourse…. ”

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article41005.htm

    • just on February 16, 2015, 7:04 am

      Thanks for that, Walid.

      I agree with Ramzy Baroud~ his entire article is a must read.

    • Citizen on February 16, 2015, 7:08 am

      In Enemy At The Gate, the Soviet sniper hero was a part of the defense of Stalingrad. The German sniper was a part of the invading force. Compare Clint’s dueling snipers. Who’s the invader?

  11. Scott on February 16, 2015, 7:58 am

    I agree with Phil’s take after seeing the movie. Also, on the point whether it dehumanizes Arabs, I would say no: Kyle’s Arab counterpart, a Syrian former Olympian marksman, is depicted rather more heroically than Kyle even–he too is shown with his wife (an act of equivalence which is probably unrealistic) and is very effective at shooting the Americans who have invaded an Arab country.

    • Donald on February 16, 2015, 9:47 am

      Maybe Phil should close the blog down and ask Clint to do a movie about the experiences of an Israeli sniper in the Gaza War. So long as some Hamas fighter were shown as competent, it would be an artistic masterpiece and an effective method of explaining to ordinary Americans what the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is all about from an Israeli sniper perspective.

      • Keith on February 16, 2015, 11:14 am

        DONALD- “Maybe Phil should close the blog down and ask Clint to do a movie about the experiences of an Israeli sniper in the Gaza War.”

        Bullseye!

    • kalithea on February 16, 2015, 2:16 pm

      Really? But as I stated below, there is all kinds of pathos towards the wounded American soldier and practically nil with the massive destruction and loss of life caused by those soldiers and their healthy counterparts.

  12. CigarGod on February 16, 2015, 9:31 am

    I don’t know, Phil.
    Seems like you are looking for the silver lining…with a magnifying glass.
    The narrow and shallow nature of the film reminds me of a video game…which makes me worry about another dimension this film could inhabit. Some of these games make billions…far more than any blockbuster film. Doesnt that mean a greater reach into our society…and…isnt that where a lot of our drone pilots come from? Isnt this film just in time to boost recruitment numbers for Obama’s new open-ended global war?

  13. Mooser on February 16, 2015, 11:48 am

    I’ve just always hated Clint Eastwood, and avoided any contact with anything he’s done, especially as a director. That man has done more damage to the American male psyche then Norman Mailer!

    • kalithea on February 16, 2015, 2:12 pm

      That man has done more damage to the American male psyche then Norman Mailer!

      I really like this analogy.

      • Mooser on February 17, 2015, 5:50 pm

        “That man has done more damage to the American male psyche…”

        Not that I, personally can claim to have enough of that to get it damaged. I hadn’t thought of that.

        Maybe I will go to see a Clint Eastwood movie, if I can really ‘man up’ enough.

    • retired on February 17, 2015, 11:15 am

      Maybe, maybe not. A huge portion of my boomer cohort always want and wanted to be Rowdy Yates, Dirty Harry, and Josey Wales. Mailer was always something for the EastCoast intellectual crowd, and not even close to an archetypal figure, much as he might have desired it.

      • Mooser on February 17, 2015, 2:39 pm

        ” and not even close to an archetypal figure, much as he might have desired it.”

        You are right, about Mailer. But all it took was the repetition of those three names“Rowdy Yates, Dirty Harry, and Josey Wales.” and I started grinding my teeth. I can’t afford that, I have few left.

      • retired on February 17, 2015, 5:36 pm

        I know. Some of us never grow up. Vaya con Dios.

      • Mooser on February 18, 2015, 6:33 pm
  14. kalithea on February 16, 2015, 1:49 pm

    I agree with others that you’re projecting, specifically, your humanity and idealism onto this film while most Americans are flocking in droves to yet another piece of war pornography that they can’t get enough of and that’s why this film is a problem.

    Kyle is not Kurtz and Iraq is not some savage jungle that turned a fine man into a savage or a monster. But Kyle does personify a heart of darkness, no doubt about that. Here’s where I depart from Eastwood and even Stone who’s real intent was to depict the barbaric indecency of war: it’s not Iraq, Afghanistan or Vietnam that created the monsters Kyle or, Lt. Col. Kilgore in Apocalyse Now; it’s the U.S.! It’s in the American jungle devoted to military supremacy where such monsters are bred and therefore the actual “Heart of Darkness” is American.

    These soldiers already had hate, disdain, hubris and imperial supremacist ignorance drilled into them before they departed on their mission of destruction; which is in fact an invasion of vengeance against what ended up being a majority of innocents. These monsters were spawned in a country that glorifies its global military prowess and domination with the largest military footprint on the planet in modern times and perhaps even in history. These soldiers go out on their mission same as terrorists prepared to go out in a blaze of gratuitous violence spraying as many heathens, with bullets and depleted uranium and taking as much life with them as possible if necessary.

    Fallujah was Iraq’s ground zero for American vengeance against a country that had nothing to do with what happened to the Twin Towers. And in the simmering ashes of Fallujah, ISIS rose up like a terrifyfing creature spawned in bomb waste.

    I just can’t fathom how anyone would consider A-S an antiwar film when most of the American public are salivating all over it like it’s porn. The vast majority will never see it your way and well-intentioned and probably not, Eastwood, is giving them exactly what they crave and fuelling the war machine all in one.

    This A-S phenomenum reminds me of the time I was commenting on an article on Huffpo about American soldiers desecrating Afghan corpses with urine. 90% of the comments praised this grotesque act and from the monikers I noticed as well a lot of servicepeople posting for the first time justifying such indecency.

    Comparing this film to Nazi propaganda does this film justice, because it’s nazi-like to drool at military prowess in mass killing and it’s naive to imagine that Americans are getting into it much below that depraved surface.

  15. BillHaywood96 on February 16, 2015, 1:56 pm

    The essay provides interesting balance, but not everyone takes the movie as a cautionary tale about the misuse of soldiers in unnecessary wars. From a student of mine on FB: “I stopped breathing (multiple times). I cried. I do not pray for our guys and gals in the military enough. I am proud to have men and women like Chris Kyle serving our country.”

    What many people take from the movie is not that bad wars hurt our veterans even more than we understood, rather, that we owe more than we realized to PTSD victims for protecting us. Their hardships deserve more gratitude. Their suffering makes the purposes of war too sacred to question.

    I agree there’s something to be said just for putting the extent of hardship on the record. But that alone can easily lend support to American wars as challenge them. The film fits very easily into a powerful tendency among some veterans to hype the necessity of our wars so that their suffering gets more credit. I prefer a narrative of apology: We owe veterans not thanks for fighting unnecessary wars, but our penance for sending them.

  16. kalithea on February 16, 2015, 2:06 pm

    Please post my edited version that was again zapped away in transmission:

    I agree with others that you’re projecting, specifically, your humanity and idealism onto this film while most Americans are flocking in droves to yet another piece of war pornography that they can’t get enough of and that’s why this film is a problem.

    Kyle is not Kurtz and Iraq is not some savage jungle that turned a fine man into a savage or a monster. But Kyle does personify a heart of darkness, no doubt about that. Here’s where I depart from Eastwood and even Stone who’s real intent was to depict the barbaric indecency of war: it’s not Iraq, Afghanistan or Vietnam that created the monsters Kyle or, Lt. Col. Kilgore in Apocalyse Now; it’s the U.S.! It’s in the American jungle devoted to military supremacy where such monsters are bred and therefore the actual Heart of Darkness is American.

    These soldiers already had hate, disdain, hubris and imperial supremacist ignorance drilled into them before they departed on their mission of destruction; which is in fact an invasion of vengeance against what ended up being a majority of innocents. These monsters were spawned in a country that glorifies its global military prowess and domination with the largest military footprint on the planet in modern times and perhaps even in history. These soldiers go out on their mission same as terrorists prepared to go out in a blaze of gratuitous violence spraying as many heathens, with bullets and depleted uranium and taking as much life with them as possible if necessary.

    Fallujah was Iraq’s ground zero for American vengeance against a country that had nothing to do with what happened to the Twin Towers. And in the simmering ashes of Fallujah, ISIS rose up like a terrifying creature spawned in bomb waste.

    I just can’t fathom how anyone would consider A-S an antiwar film when most of the American public are salivating all over it like it’s porn. The vast majority will never see it your way and well-intentioned and probably not, Eastwood, is giving them exactly what they crave and fuelling the war machine all in one with so much pathos over the wounded soldier and practically zero for the hundreds of thousands of victims of this vengeful invasion.

    This A-S phenomenon reminds me of the time I was commenting on an article on Huffpo about American soldiers desecrating Afghan corpses with urine. 90% of the comments praised this grotesque act and from the monikers I noticed as well a lot of servicepeople posting for the first time justifying such indecency.

    Comparing this film to Nazi propaganda does this film justice, because it’s nazi-like to drool at military prowess in mass killing and it’s naive to imagine that Americans are getting into it much below that depraved surface.

    • kma on February 17, 2015, 11:21 pm

      Kalithea,
      Your comment (either version!) is a superb piece. Your point brings the bigger picture into focus so nicely. Terrific.

      on a separate note, I appreciate that Phil is mature enough to be disagreed with once in a while with grace.

  17. Pixel on February 16, 2015, 4:24 pm

    The kids I know who volunteered and ended up over there just wanted a college education.

  18. MRW on February 16, 2015, 8:53 pm

    Read this veteranstoday.com article about it. Interesting details.
    http://www.veteranstoday.com/2015/02/16/neo-the-strange-death-of-an-american-sniper/

    • retired on February 19, 2015, 11:19 am

      Yes, very interesting. A refreshing alternative viewpoint. Thank you.

    • just on February 19, 2015, 4:02 pm

      Thanks, MRW.

      Mr. Duff makes things infinitely more clear. It makes so much more sense than the other ‘story’.

  19. Dan Crowther on February 16, 2015, 9:14 pm

    I’m a former Marine, who lost some friends overseas, and so I say this was the utmost sincerity – FUCK THIS.

    This “oh, our poor soldiers” stuff is beyond tired. The poor naive kid from small town America who lost his soul in Iraq.. what utter bullshit. He had a blood lust – so did I. So does ANYONE who goes through scout sniper school. Do you know what you chant on training runs in Infantry school? It’s all kill kill kill, blood blood blood. So please disabuse yourself of the idea that these guys aren’t whole heartedly on board with senseless killing. I can’t STAND reading these Jimmy Carter moments from Americans. Oh poor us. Fuck that.

    Fuck Chris Kyle. Fuck Clint Eastwood.

    Semper Fidelis,
    Dan

    • Walid on February 16, 2015, 9:20 pm

      WOW!

    • just on February 16, 2015, 9:34 pm

      I’ve heard the same from people close to me that ‘served’, Dan.

      Respect. Thank you for saying it.

    • Citizen on February 17, 2015, 6:39 am

      What I learned in army basic training shortly after I turned 18 was, stabbing and shouting “Spirit of the bayonet, KILL! Spirit of the bayonet, KILL!” 3 of those in my training unit were given the choice to become officers. I was told I was the first recruit in the history of Fort Knox to turn down officer training school. Those were the days when future conscription hung over every able-bodied male high school grad’s head–unless they could afford to go to college or had connections to join the national guard. I never had any blood lust. On the up side, during rifle training I learned I needed eye glasses, learned why the high school green board had been so blurry….

      • CigarGod on February 17, 2015, 10:22 am

        As I have published here in the past…I had all the opportunities/options…including buses to mexico and canada…where i would be housed and helped with employment. Yet, i still took my “step forward.” A young man’s mind is often just waiting for a host to take up residence in it.

      • Citizen on February 17, 2015, 11:22 am

        @CigarGod

        What’s an old man’s mind often waiting for?
        How about a young and old woman’s mind?

      • just on February 17, 2015, 1:49 pm

        Thanks for sharing that, Citizen.

        “A young man’s mind is often just waiting for a host to take up residence in it.”

        Ain’t that the sad truth, CG. Thanks for that.

  20. joer on February 17, 2015, 5:08 am

    Personally, I don’t think I’ll ever take two hours out of my life to see a Clint Eastwood movie. He said everything he has to say in Dirty Harry…everything else is commentary. Besides, nothing is more cringe worthy to me than when a perfectly fine entertainer like Jerry Lewis, Stephen Spielberg, or Woody Allen decides to show the world his serious side.

    And it is hard for me to get past the fact that the movie is based largely on fiction. It would be like if Jane Fonda made a movie about a fictional Charles Manson, a sensitive older folk singer who was trying to mentor wayward teenagers, but he was unsuccessful-and guilt ridden he couldn’t stop the murders. No matter how good the film was, I’d be wondering why Jane made this movie in the first place.

    Then there is the whole thing about feeding into anti Muslim violence….Sure, Birth of A Nation was about the character of Nathan Bedford Forrestor, and the plight of ex-slaves didn’t really have anything to do with his bravery…but a lot of black people were lynched in the climate that film helped create.

    • Citizen on February 17, 2015, 11:24 am

      How about Clint’s movie about the old car?

      • joer on February 17, 2015, 3:22 pm

        From what I can tell, Citizen-since I didn’t see the movie-it’s about Dirty Harry as an angry old man…and The Bridges of Madison County is about Dirty Harry stopping off during a road trip to bang some housewife.

    • Mooser on February 17, 2015, 2:59 pm

      “He said everything he has to say in Dirty Harry…everything else is commentary.”

      Thank you for that! Made my day!

  21. Citizen on February 17, 2015, 6:54 am

    I didn’t see the movie. Is there any scene, just one moment in it, where somebody has heard the view the Iraq war was a fraud in the inducement? Is that issue addressed at all, maybe just in passing, as part of the context, as the audience watches the protagonist go on his four tours of duty?

    • Mooser on February 17, 2015, 2:58 pm

      “I didn’t see the movie.”

      Citizen, I’m not sure, with Eastwood, that there is a “real” movie. There will be a multiplicity of cuts, each crafted to special regional or demographic groupings, digitally varied in real time from the latest algorithms as they are fed to the theatres.

      • Citizen on February 17, 2015, 3:02 pm

        Did U see the movie? I think it’s important if Clint left out even a single reference to Shrub’s fraudulent war. I mean, the audience didn’t need that in WW2 movies, but now?

      • Citizen on February 18, 2015, 5:55 am

        Did they do that with Anatomy Of A Murder and The Best Years Of My Life?

      • Mooser on February 18, 2015, 11:37 am

        “Did U see the movie?”

        Citizen, I think the movie has no content beyond a paced series of simulated violent episodes of one type or another. Oh, they probably threw some sex of one type or another in there, too.

        “where somebody has heard the view the Iraq war was a fraud in the inducement?”

        From Director Clint Eastwood? Nah, I doubt it.

    • Scott on February 17, 2015, 9:50 pm

      Yes, kind of. One of the officers in Kyle’s unit says something alluding to the inability of distinguishing the good and evil of it. He dies. Hs parents are antiwar at the funeral. Not really specific about the neocons lying us into the war, unfortunately.

      • Mooser on February 18, 2015, 11:44 am

        “One of the officers in Kyle’s unit says something alluding to the inability of distinguishing the good and evil of it. He dies.”

        That’ll teach that son-of-a-bitch not to lose faith in the cause! No wonder he died.

  22. Citizen on February 17, 2015, 7:52 am

    Seems our American hero sniper is sometimes given to lying, or at least, embellishment–like Brian Williams: http://mpmacting.com/blog/2014/7/19/truth-justice-and-the-curious-case-of-chris-kyle

  23. Citizen on February 17, 2015, 8:28 am

    What would have been a better film on this sniper? http://mpmacting.com/blog/2014/12/27/american-sniper-a-review

  24. gamal on February 17, 2015, 9:21 am

    what is the purpose of portraying Arab women and children as active, savage or otherwise, combatants. Its not a war movie, these are not wars but colonial police actions, what army was Kyle fighting?

    This is not the WW2 movie where through redemptive violence our hero becomes a man, evil is defeated, order reestablished and bitches demurely compliant, this is imperial conflict, where our tortured hero confronts horror an endless boiling mass of primitive hostility, there is no redemption, only betrayal by the authorities and the great moral burden our white man carries, disillusion and self destruction, everything is defiled, especially our intimate world, it is a way of culturally processing the inevitable moral injury resulting from being a bunch of murdering thieving moralists and barbaric civilizors, it seems to have purchase oddly, I’ve seen the trailer that is sufficient, it could only appeal to histrionic self pitying fascists.

    Days of Glory (Indigenes) (2006) is much better, but its French not Hollywood shit.

    • Citizen on February 17, 2015, 11:25 am

      How’d you like The Young Lions? Inglorius Basterds? Tank? Exodus? All Quiet On The Western Front? Red Badge of Courage?

      • Mooser on February 17, 2015, 3:41 pm

        This entire idea of a “film” which is a known quantity once the “final cut” leaves the directors hands needs to be entirely discarded in the digital age. A film is much more like a work in constant process today.
        A reviewer knows what he or she saw in the version of the work, of the film they saw. But they can’t know any more if other audiences will see the same film, as the film (well, I guess it’s just data on a hard drive today) is modified, truncated, formatted for different markets (don’t forget dubbing, translations) and (it’s marketers hope) further refined in light of audience-reaction and other later input.
        And all done digitally.

  25. PilgrimSoul on February 18, 2015, 7:11 pm

    I wish this website would have the courage to carry Chris Hedges’ review of this toxic and loathsome film. Although I liked the honesty in Phil’s take on it, the way he saw it is not the way a great many other people have experienced it.

    You saw it as an antiwar film, Phil, because you’re an intellectual. But literally hundreds of thousands of working-class and rural white men will see it as the acting-out of the highest and most noble thing a man can do. What these men love is the precision of the gun itself, and the act of killing someone. The fact that insurgents (and Arabic-speaking people generally) are represented in dialogue as “dirt” makes it morally neutral, but the true enjoyment for many viewers–even those in Iraq, I’ve heard–is in the killing.

    The American men who see this film–and the Americans that lined the road to honor this man’s last trip to the bone-orchard after his pathetic death–tend to see this film as a validation of a growing and dangerous idea in America, the idea that killing Muslims is the highest good to which any real man can aspire. All that angst–the loss of the soul that Phil refers to–simply makes it more authentic, and therefore all the more transcendent. This film is to American gun culture what Triumphe des Willens was to Nazi propaganda, the latter of which was also “just a movie,” but one with a highly calibrated purpose. The main difference between the two is that Eastwood’s incitement is to some extent unconscious, but like Riefenstahl his films are almost always highly profitable.

    • Citizen on February 19, 2015, 8:39 am

      @ PilgrimSoul

      Clint’s total film talent wouldn’t make a miniscule mole on the toe of Riefenstahl’s film genius. Otherwise, your comment is insightful.

      • Mooser on February 20, 2015, 1:07 pm

        “Riefenstahl’s film genius”

        And she hadn’t a fraction of the tech and technique today’s filmmakers have at their command.

  26. just on February 18, 2015, 8:07 pm

    Holy moley~ Professor Cole is finally on MSM, on Chris Hayes wrt Iraq/ISIL/Bush, etc.!

    Chris is doing a fine job of revisiting the debacle of “Western” intervention.

    ‘We’ve done an awful lot of killing’, etc.

  27. michelle on February 19, 2015, 1:35 am

    .
    has there ever been an act/depiction of war/violence
    that to peacefilled mind(s) was any but anti-violence
    .
    no matter how justified we all know there’s a better way
    .
    true heros don’t kill
    .
    G-d Bless
    .

  28. just on February 19, 2015, 3:10 pm

    Highly recommended reading:

    “In the age of the all-volunteer military and an endless stream of war zone losses and ties, it can be hard to keep Homeland enthusiasm up for perpetual war. After all, you don’t get a 9/11 every year to refresh those images of the barbarians at the airport departure gates. In the meantime, Americans are clearly finding it difficult to remain emotionally roiled up about our confusing wars in Syria and Iraq, the sputtering one in Afghanistan, and various raids, drone attacks, and minor conflicts elsewhere.

    Fortunately, we have just the ticket, one that has been punched again and again for close to a century: Hollywood war movies (to which the Pentagon is always eager to lend a helping hand).American Sniper, which started out with the celebratory tagline “the most lethal sniper in U.S. history” and now has the tagline “the most successful war movie of all time,” is just the latest in a long line of films that have kept Americans on their war game. Think of them as war porn, meant to leave us perpetually hyped up. Now, grab some popcorn and settle back to enjoy the show.

    There’s Only One War Movie

    Wandering around YouTube recently, I stumbled across some good old government-issue propaganda. It was a video clearly meant to stir American emotions and prepare us for a long struggle against a determined, brutal, and barbaric enemy whose way of life is a challenge to the most basic American values. Here’s some of what I learned: our enemy is engaged in a crusade against the West; wants to establish a world government and make all of us bow down before it; fights fanatically, beheads prisoners, and is willing to sacrifice the lives of its followers in inhuman suicide attacks. Though its weapons are modern, its thinking and beliefs are 2,000 years out of date and inscrutable to us.

    Of course, you knew there was a trick coming, right? This little U.S. government-produced film wasn’t about the militants of the Islamic State. Made by the U.S. Navy in 1943, its subject was “Our Enemy the Japanese.” Substitute “radical Islam” for “emperor worship,” though, and it still makes a certain propagandistic sense. While the basics may be largely the same (us versus them, good versus evil), modern times do demand something slicker than the video equivalent of an old newsreel. The age of the Internet, with its short attention spans and heightened expectations of cheap thrills, calls for a higher class of war porn, but as with that 1943 film, it remains remarkable how familiar what’s being produced remains.”

    much, much more @ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-van-buren/war-porn_1_b_6713332.html

    • lysias on February 19, 2015, 3:34 pm

      That awful Pearl Harbor movie, having been made with significant DOD support, opened in May 2001. Somebody knew something was coming.

      Filming of the 24 TV show began in March 2001.

      Obviously, planning for both must have begun considerably earlier.

      • just on February 19, 2015, 3:50 pm

        That’s really very ‘interesting’, lysias.

    • Citizen on February 19, 2015, 5:49 pm

      Ha, the imperial Japanese were nice guys?

    • Kris on February 20, 2015, 12:53 am

      That’s a great article by Peter Van Buren, just. Thanks for the link. I loved this part:

      “So here’s a question: if the core propaganda messages the U.S. government promoted during World War II are nearly identical to those pushed out today about the Islamic State, and if Hollywood’s war films, themselves a particularly high-class form of propaganda, have promoted the same false images of Americans in conflict from 1941 to the present day, what does that tell us? Is it that our varied enemies across nearly three-quarters of a century of conflict are always unbelievably alike, or is it that when America needs a villain, it always goes to the same script?”

  29. Citizen on February 19, 2015, 5:53 pm

    So what’s deceptive about that old movie about the Imperial Japanese?

    • lysias on February 20, 2015, 11:27 am

      It’s certainly not true that Japan intended to conquer the world. They wanted to establish themselves as a major power among other major powers by setting up their Greater East Asian Coprosperity Sphere. Nothing that the U.S. hasn’t done with its Monroe Doctrine and expansion into East Asia. Nothing that all other great powers have not done.

      The Japanese certainly committed atrocities in the Pacific War. And so did the U.S.

      Pearl Harbor was regarded as a betrayal. A strong case can be made that it was deliberately provoked by the U.S. Anybody who knew anything about Japanese history would have known of the likelihood of a Japanese surprise attack. I was a naval intelligence officer myself, and it was definitely part of my job to study military history.

      The kamikaze pilots were not suicidal maniacs. They were the bravest of the brave. Pearl Harbor was a tactical masterpiece on the part of the Japanese, even if it turned out to be a strategic disaster. However, it was understandable. By the economic blockade, Japan had been faced with a choice between a Hail Mary pass and its downfall as a great power. And great powers do not willingly commit suicide.

      • retired on February 20, 2015, 12:27 pm

        Bravo. Anyone who has studied the history of the Imperial Japanese Navy will appreciate its valor, ingenuity, and expression of kokutai. In this regard, we can remember Admiral Yamamoto as one who counseled the Japanese government to never attempt a war against the United States, which he knew well. Imperial Japanese Army hotheads and assassins prevailed in this argument. So Admiral Yamamoto did his duty, as a true Bushi.
        A story prevalent in Japan these days is that the US government hunted him down, because he was part of a conspiracy in Japan to sue for peace.

  30. Walid on February 20, 2015, 3:15 am

    Someone else at al-Akhbar that doesn’t agree with Clint Eastwood’s and Phil’s idealistic view that it’s an anti-war movie:

    ” On the Joy of Killing Arabs and Muslims: From Fiction to Reality

    American Sniper” has become the second highest grossing R-rated film of all time on the domestic US film market. The financial and critical success of the film shows how startlingly normal it has become to dehumanize and vilify Arabs and Muslims in American fiction. This ultimately seeps into reality, as it did in the cold-blooded execution of three Arab Muslim students in their homes by a white atheist terrorist, or the incineration of a 13-year-old boy by a US drone strike.

    The citizens of the United States have spoken. They have done so in the most democratic way possible within the American context — through their wallets.

    Today, “American Sniper” is the second highest grossing R-rated film domestically, earning almost $283 million since its nationwide release on January 16.

    The average cost of a movie ticket in the US is estimated to be around $8.12. Given that average, we can roughly estimate that around 34.85 million people — almost 10 percent of the total American population, or around 27 percent of Americans who voted in 2012 — paid to watch “American Sniper.”

    … Why do I bring up “American Sniper” long after other, much more refined writers have tackled the film? Allow me a moment to explain.

    I am a proponent of the idea that the consumption of fiction (what is being consumed and how it is consumed) can be a useful indication of the sociological sentiments of a populace. On that basis, we can deduce a few things about the American public from the success of “American Sniper.”

    Americans love worshipping their heroes, particularly if their heroes are affiliated with a military entity, and even more if said heroes are killing nefarious Arabs.

    The fact that “American Sniper” is loosely based on the biography of Chris Kyle, a routine liar and notorious bigot, who relished in the killing of ‘savage Arabs,’ inviting no hesitation from the film’s producers, director, and actors, speaks volumes about how valuable Arab lives are to the average American mind.

    Clint Eastwood, who directed the movie, laughably argued that “American Sniper” was inherently an anti-war movie. He argued that the film made, “the biggest anti-war statement any film can make.” Then again, Eastwood once ranted against an empty chair during a Republican National Conference in 2012 so we can excuse him for any deluded statements he makes.

    The film itself is such a fantastical distortion of reality that it shrugged aside and white-washed everything regarding Kyle, especially in terms of what he thought about war.

    Kyle was never anti-war. He loved war. He wrote that he wished he could have killed more Arabs, and saw the killing as part of doing God’s work. This was exactly who he was. He wrote this clearly in black and white in his book, the book that was adapted into “American Sniper.”

    Yet, after being run through that magical processing plant that is Hollywood, Kyle has been transformed into a larger-than-life tragic hero, and the apologist myths surrounding the brutal Anglo-American invasion of Iraq are once again perpetuated, enhanced, and absorbed.

    Much can be gleaned from the fact that “American Sniper” was showered with award nominations, despite the fact that the film is not original, is not a technical masterpiece, and is neither ground-breaking or thought-provoking.

    … There is an almost prescribed holiness to “American Sniper,” where in effect the movie has become a de facto litmus test for American patriotism. Its stellar financial and critical success shows how mainstream and absolutely lucrative it is to be anti-Arab and anti-Muslim in America. The vehement (and arguably pathetic) defense of the film is extraordinary, to the point that even the US First Lady Michelle Obama felt the need to defend “American Sniper.”

    How incredible. A film, based on the life of a bigoted liar, who relished killing Arabs, is embraced and elevated. It is human. Emotional. Brimming with pain. Oh, how sad it is that this bigot was killed by another American veteran. What a brave man he was. Hark. Sob…. and scene.

    This is only one tiny aspect of the colossal “Military-Entertainment Complex” that permeates Hollywood, the video gaming industry, comic books, television, and other forms of US entertainment, which, as documented by American academic Jack Shaheen, has a special, long history with regards to Arabs and Muslims.

    This state of American storytelling bleeds into reality.

    One can point to the recent case of the Chapel Hill murders in North Carolina, in which a 46-year-old white atheist man went into his neighbor’s apartment and shot three American Muslims — Deah Shaddy Barakat (23), his wife Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha (21), and her sister Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha (19) — in the head, one after the other.

    Not only did the American media take their sweet time to report the story — and only after there was a massive social media campaign that forced them to pay attention — but also no mainstream media institutions used the words, “terrorism” or “terrorist” in their analyses. We all know that if a 46-year-old American Muslim executed three white atheists, it would have automatically resulted in the ubiquitous use of the word “TERROR” in every headline from New York to Los Angeles, and London to Tel Aviv.

    And that brings us to the extraordinary audacity of the local police, who announced that they are considering a “parking dispute” as the motive behind the execution, despite the fact that the white atheist terrorist’s Facebook page, and statements by the victims’ families, indicate otherwise.

    (If the Chapel Hill murders were due to a ‘parking dispute’, then surely we should consider the notion that Zionists ethnically cleansed Palestinians over a ‘landscaping dispute’, or that the Charlie Hebdo attackers killed people because of ‘artistic differences’).

    Underlying the devastating terror in Chapel Hill is a mammothian system of harassment, vilification, and abuse directed towards Arabs and Muslims — as well as the many other non-white communities — within US borders and elsewhere.

    Let’s be viciously honest here: in American mythology and reality, the only good Arab or Muslim is either dead or blindly submissive to the political, sociological, and economic narratives advanced by the American state.

    This is the blunt truth today, a truth that was once eloquently articulated by a 13-year-old Yemeni boy, Mohammed Tuaiman al-Jahmi, thousands of miles away.

    He said: “In their eyes, we don’t deserve to live like people in the rest of the world and we don’t have feelings or emotions or cry or feel pain like all the other humans around the world.”

    Jahmi is absolutely right… So hauntingly right that he was incinerated to a crisp by a US drone about a week after he made the above statement.

    http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/joy-killing-arabs-and-muslims-fiction-reality

    • ziusudra on February 20, 2015, 5:45 am

      Salam Walid,
      Shocran,
      Ma’Salam.
      ziusudra

      • Walid on February 20, 2015, 12:12 pm

        Thanks, ziusudra, your name reminds me that history began at Sumer. Some say it didn’t; what do you say?

      • Mooser on February 20, 2015, 1:10 pm

        What a great idea for a movie: “The Sumer of ’42”

    • just on February 20, 2015, 9:29 am

      Thanks, Walid. It’s a very good article.

      I linked to this article about this child days ago:

      “A 13-year-old boy killed in Yemen last month by a CIA drone strike had told the Guardian just months earlier that he lived in constant fear of the “death machines” in the sky that had already killed his father and brother.

      “I see them every day and we are scared of them,” said Mohammed Tuaiman, speaking from al-Zur village in Marib province, where he died two weeks ago.

      “A lot of the kids in this area wake up from sleeping because of nightmares from them and some now have mental problems. They turned our area into hell and continuous horror, day and night, we even dream of them in our sleep.”

      Much of Mohammed’s life was spent living in fear of drone strikes. In 2011 an unmanned combat drone killed his father and teenage brother as they were out herding the family’s camels.

      The drone that would kill Mohammed struck on 26 January in Hareeb, about an hour from his home. The drone hit the car carrying the teenager, his brother-in-law Abdullah Khalid al-Zindani and a third man.”

      http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/feb/10/drones-dream-yemeni-teenager-mohammed-tuaiman-death-cia-strike

      If you haven’t already done so, I humbly suggest that you read the article that MRW linked to above @ February 16, 2015, 8:53 pm:

      http://www.veteranstoday.com/2015/02/16/neo-the-strange-death-of-an-american-sniper/

      • Walid on February 20, 2015, 11:47 am

        Thanks for the veteranstoday article, just, I hadn’t seen it. The description of what the real Kyle was about and his numerous lies reminded me a lot of the trashy Charlie Hebdo affair. For all we know, maybe the boasted 164 kills are more of his lies. Any wayyou look atit and from any angle, it’s an ugly movie about an ugly subject and even uglier is how the American public is swallowing it. Very unflattering. Americans are now worshipping a killer.

      • just on February 20, 2015, 12:17 pm

        Agreed and you’re welcome.

        I am grateful that MRW linked to it so that I could read another perspective~ one that is missing in all of the almost exclusively positive coverage of the blockbuster, the concomitant & sensational murder trial, and the Oscars.

        (Sure seems like the timing was carefully planned by Hollywood!)

  31. retired on February 20, 2015, 9:45 am

    Thank you Walid. The article was written with a smoldering indignation, entirely justified, against a monstrous apparition. American Yahoo/Mammon.

    I too along with just above urge you, and all God’s children, to read the article referencing the circumstances of Kyle’s demise:
    link to veteranstoday.com http://www.veteranstoday.com/2015/02/16/neo-the-strange-death-of-an-american-sniper/

    Vaya con Dios

Leave a Reply