American Sniper review

This is an older post I made a couple years back on another site. Figured I’d bring it over here, and salvage what I could of conversations that I had in response to it. I say “salvage” because at least one of those whom I was arguing with no longer has an account on the site this post was made on, and so all his comments have been deleted. Well, at least the responses to his comments are there.

Rated: 3/5

So the first time I watched this movie, I thought it was a fairly entertaining modern warfare flick. Didn’t know anything about Chris Kyle himself. But after the film, as usual, I tend to read other reviews. And if I’m really interested, I look up more details on the movie itself. Well, first I heard about the fake baby scene(s), which I thought was hilarious. Then I heard about several people trashing on the film, and on Kyle himself. That angered me. But I can’t critique the critics without educating myself more on what they’re bitching about. They may know something I don’t. So I bought and read the novel this movie is adapted from. I finished it in a few days, and rewatched the movie. Here’s my thought on the film itself.

Did I think the movie could have been made better? Definitely. In my opinion, it didn’t do enough to capture the essence of what it was going for, in that Chris Kyle preferred serving his country and protecting his brothers in arms more than being with his family, and the struggles he made in and out of combat to give up being a SEAL and make an effort to readjust to civilian life. First off, the references in normal life compared to his time in combat, mainly when it came to the sound of the drill. Or him staring at a blank television. That was all good, when it came down to showing how difficult it is to pull yourself out of combat mode and figure out a way to relax. But the thing is, the film didn’t capture that obsession Kyle had with wanting to keep deploying effectively, mainly after the 4th deployment. Now, bear in mind I’m writing this with the knowledge from the novel in my head. Kyle still felt like he had more to do, that he still had a responsibility to his brothers in arms overseas, because the ultimate reason he kept fighting was to protect all of them. To better capture this, it would’ve been nice if Kyle never killed that sniper Mustafa (because, in reality, he not only didn’t kill him, but never encountered him in combat in any way, shape or form). Then he would’ve felt that he needed to go back to kill the guy to protect the troops. Pulling him away from that would have been much more effective at capturing that feeling he had of why he needed to keep going back.

I guess I mine as well as talk about how good of an adaptation the film is compared to the novel while I’m at it. It’s not a great adaptation. For the first 30 minutes it is. But after that, it adds in so much stuff that wasn’t in the novel and distorts so much historically that it becomes a movie less about Chris Kyle’s experiences and life and more about being a solid modern warfare thriller that Chris Kyle just so happens to be in. In the novel, Kyle mentions this Mustafa sniper, and says he never came across him, but he got taken out by other American snipers in some other location. In addition, Kyle never saw any guy who drilled people to death, literally, with a drill. Plus Kyle wasn’t really a sniper until his second deployment if I remember correctly. Those are the three major things the film changes, but there are a bunch of other historical elements that got distorted left and right.

With that said, I’m not angry about it. The novel is chock full of combat experiences that it would be impossible to capture even half of them in a single film. The only way Kyle’s story could be done justice is if it was made into a miniseries of at least six 1-hour episodes. So I enjoy the movie more as a modern warfare film than as a Chris Kyle film. But it does have plenty of little subtle dialogue exchanges and other elements (the Punisher skull symbol) that shows it is at least aware of these novelties. The action is good, the tension is great, and it gets a lot of elements right when it comes to the realism of modern warfare. How they fire the guns, how they do Direct Action (DA), among other things. But it’s not perfect, because it also got some things wrong. Not majorly wrong, but some points are questionable. The main one when it comes to mind is when Kyle seems to do a 12 hour overwatch. I seriously doubt that would happen. That’s why there are multiple snipers who do shift rotation. But if it did happen, that was one thing Kyle didn’t mention in his book. I’m not a combat vet, I’m just speaking from what I’ve read.

And the CGI wasn’t that great. And baby doll.

Overall, despite those issues, I was still entertained by the film. It generally (and I’m talking a wide margin of error here, don’t go expecting accurate nitty gritty details) gets Kyle’s story right in terms of how he was raised, his obsession with serving his country and military buds, the stress of war, and re-adjusting to civilian life. Again, it’s better as a modern warfare flick that focuses on a single central character than a Chris Kyle flick, and I can watch it with that in mind. Could’ve been better, but it also could have been much worse, especially if Spielberg directed it. There, I said it. If you thought Eastwood’s vision was historically inaccurate, you should look more into what Spielberg would’ve done with it. It’s just speculation though, and I could be wrong.

 

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Alright. My “Critiquing the Critics” reviews are never made unless I read something by someone about a movie I like that got under my skin. Some of these fuckers (who I hope read this) got so far under it that I was driven to shell out money for the book, get myself to read the entire thing in a short amount of time, and shell out more money to get another ticket (though to be fair, I used a gift card the 2nd time around and I would love to see this movie overtake The Hunger Games at the box office). So here’s to you, you soft skinned peace and love cherry virgin hypocritical cunts.

Peter Maas from The Intercept:
https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/01/08/clint-eastwood-ignores-history-american-sniper/

The problem is that the film makes no attempt to tell us anything beyond Kyle’s limited comprehension of what was happening. More than a decade after America invaded and occupied Iraq, and long after we realized the war’s false pretense and its horrific toll, we deserve better. There’s a dilemma at work: a war movie that is true of one American’s experience can be utterly false to the experience of millions of Iraqis and to the historical record. Further, it’s no act of patriotism to celebrate, without context or discussion, a grunt’s view that the people killed in Iraq were animals deserving their six-feet-under fate.
[…]
If Cooper, the film’s star, means what he said about its lack of politics, he fails to understand how war movies operate in popular culture. When a film venerates an American sniper but portrays as sub-human the Iraqis whose country we were occupying—the film has one Iraqi who seems sympathetic but turns out to be hiding a cache of insurgent weapons—it conveys a political message that is flat wrong. Among other things, it ignores and dishonors the scores of thousands of Iraqis who fought alongside American forces and the hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians who were killed or injured in the crossfire.

Despite the fact that I said the film isn’t completely accurate at making an account of Kyle’s experience during his deployments, it is still a film that tries to tell his story from his point of view, and only his point of view. So why the demand to show both sides of the war?

Well it’s simple really. People have come to realize that politicians put soldiers in Iraq for reasons that aren’t completely justifiable to say the least (oil, rebuilding the nation as one of democracy, WMDs [which did end up being BS], response to 9/11 (though there wasn’t a clear connection), finishing what was started in the Gulf War, support in congress and by 70% of Americans). So it’s a sort of “American guilt” reason (especially with that last reason in parenthesis) that the, um, “insurgents” should also be seen as sympathetic, so that the American military isn’t glorified. While I do agree that films should be made that address those issues, a film like this shouldn’t be one of them. Is it really so wrong to make a film from a lone individual’s perspective, whether it’s on the moral high or low ground? I think not. How many would bitch about a movie that was made from a suicide bomber’s perspective (which has been done before)? How about from an insurgent’s perspective? Would that make people feel better? Would that wash away this American guilt complex people tend to have? Nope, it would still be there.

Hell, I can even give a half-assed example on building an argument against a film that glorifies American soldiers too much. Inglorious Basterds. What about the German’s? Surely not all Germans/Nazis are evil, and the film doesn’t do much to give their side the screen time it deserves? Fuck the American soldiers who killed all those Germans in the bar who weren’t hurting anybody and just wanted to have a good time.

See what I mean? Of course, that’s a bullshit argument because most Nazi’s were bad people because of their views on Jews, among other things, and Americans were perfectly justified in going to war against them. But on the other hand, you could argue that the political regime and poor economy/government bred people to be that way who could have turned out much different under different circumstances and under more ethical leadership. Even so, they were doing bad things to good people, and so the American’s got involved. You could argue that politicians made U.S. troops get involved in a war they probably shouldn’t have been involved in, or that the personnel are too bloodthirsty to be justified in their killing. But regardless, in general, they were killing people who deserved to be killed. Why were the Basterds in Germany? To kill Nazis. Why? Because they kill a lot of Jews and innocent civilians who wished no harm on them, which last I checked in morally wrong, even if Jews are annoying people. Are the Nazi’s generally bad people? Pretty much.

So back to American Sniper and Chris Kyle. Why was he in Iraq? Because he felt a duty to protect his country from the people who threaten it, primarily people like those who hijacked those planes on 9/11. Was he doing the right thing while he was in the Middle East? In his mind he was, though he originally wanted to fight against those who were responsible for the twin towers rather than go after those in Iraq. Was he right in killing the insurgents? I’d say the better question is was he wrong in killing the insurgents? Were the insurgents generally bad people? I myself haven’t exactly researched every single historical detail as to why American’s were doing anything other than going after Osama Bin Laden, so I can’t be positive about that. But when it comes down to Chris Kyle’s actions, governmental politics aside, I believe they were justified. Not just because he was protecting other American troops, but because he saw evidence that the insurgents he was killing were bad people, and that they had a fucked up belief system. Here are some quotes from the book American Sniper:

“The people we were fighting in Iraq, after Saddam’s army fled or was defeated, were fanatics. They hated us because we weren’t Muslim. They wanted to kill us, even though we had just booted out their dictator, because we practiced a different religion than they did.”

“The fanatics we fought valued nothing but their twisted interpretation of religion. And half the time they just claimed they valued their religion — most didn’t even pray. Quite a number were drugged up so they could fight us.”

“I have a tape somewhere showing a father and a girl in a house that was being searched. They were downstairs; for some reason, a flash-bang went off upstairs. On the video, the father hides behind the girl, afraid that he’s going to be killed and ready to sacrifice his daughter.”

“They were cowards, who not only would hide behind women and children, but probably hoped we’d kill the women and children, since in their minds it helped their cause by making us look bad.”

“The place [Ramadi] was a mess. There was no functioning government, and it was beyond lawless. Foreigners entering the city were instant targets for killing or kidnapping, even if they were in armored convoys. But the place was a worse hell for ordinary Iraqis. Reports have estimated that there were more than twenty insurgent attacks against Iraqis every day. The easiest way to be killed in the city was to join the police force. Meanwhile, corruption was rife.”

“I realize that a lot of the problem has to do with the screwed-up culture in Iraq. These people had been under a dictatorship for all their lives. Iraq as a country meant nothing to them, or at least nothing good. Most were happy to be rid of Saddam Hussein, very happy to be free people, but they didn’t understand what that really meant — the other things that come with being free.”

“The situation and plan were a lot more complicated than I can sum up. But to us on the ground, all of this was irrelevant. We didn’t give a damn about the nuances. What we saw, what we knew, was that many people wanted to kill us. And we fought back.”

So it can be argued that the film didn’t show enough of this so that the audience could better understand Kyle’s feelings towards the fanatical insurgents in general. But if the movie did do that, I’d imagine the people who are already pissed off at the movie would be even more pissed off, even though this stuff actually happened.

Sure Kyle may have been involved in warfare in a country that may not be perfectly justified for U.S. involvement. But from his point of view, he was doing the right thing. He was killing the insurgents to protect his other men, and because he was following orders. He was killing people who were trying to kill American troops, people who did despicable things. I don’t see anything wrong with that. Whether or not American troops should have been there in the first place, that’s an entirely different matter, something that is beyond the scope of the movie and beyond the scope of the book. Take those Vietnam war films like Platoon. It focused more on the soldiers and their stories and developments rather than on the war as a whole. Same deal with We Were Soldiers (though it did show the opposing side’s view from time to time); it was more about the battle rather than if they were in the war for all the right/wrong reasons. The difference between those movies and American Sniper is that those two movies are obvious enough about their anti-war message that just about everyone will get it when they see them. I personally believe people are hot about this movie not just because of there being a lack of anti-war messages in the film (which in this day and age many have come to expect), but also because the issue of U.S. involvement in the Middle East is still a hot topic. And that, in my opinion, is being unfair with what this movie is trying to be.

Ayden:
http://letterboxd.com/ayden/film/american-sniper/
I’ve never seen a movie that glorifies violence quite like this. It’s brutal, unrelenting, jingoistic and simply poor storytelling.

Movies like this are dangerous. If you think ISIS and North Korea are the only ones capable of making propaganda, you better think again. This is American propaganda at its finest; slick, palatable and pompous.

And to the people who say Chris Kyle is a hero; hiding on a rooftop and shooting people (innocent or otherwise) in the back of the head does not make you a hero.

I won’t argue about poor storytelling, because there are some good arguments on why that is the case. But glorifying violence and propaganda, that’s another matter. First of all, when it comes to sniper shots, the majority of them are to the body, not the head. Second of all, Kyle never viewed himself as a hero, and never claimed to be a hero. Third of all, insurgents had snipers too. Fourth, how does the film glorify violence exactly? I doubt it was doing it when the kid was getting drilled or when we saw Kyle’s friend in the hospital, so I’m assuming you mean when insurgents were getting shot. I noticed, Ayden, that you rate Inglorious Basterds pretty high. Hypocrite. That film can be argued to glorify violence just as easily as American Sniper. What’s the difference, that Iraqi insurgents should be viewed with more sympathy than Nazis? No, that doesn’t cut it. And fifth, propaganda. Considering how it shows that Kyle was a bit fucked up when he was at home away from the war, and that friends get killed in war, I seriously doubt that. The movie doesn’t do enough to make the army seem like a great time to be propaganda. If I’m missing something, what is it? If this isn’t a good counter to your statement, tell me why not.

Egg MacGuffin:
http://letterboxd.com/followtheblind/film/american-sniper/
Only Americans could venerate the leader of a murderous death squad rampaging through a foreign land uninvited with the express purpose of executing fellow human beings and who has no other noteworthy accomplishments to his name, nor any higher aspirations than military service.

No other noteworthy accomplishments. Not even the Heroes Project?

Willaim Tell (comment in Auteur’s review):
http://letterboxd.com/auteur/film/american-sniper/#comment-1100992
American Sniper portrays the war solely from the American perspective, actually leaving all political or social reasons completely out of the picture, and paints Kyle’s personality as a hero, without questioning his ethics, morals or considerations. It exalts militarism, state violence and racial self-glorification, without once exploring any worthwhile aspects of wartime. It does not “stick to facts and events” and it does not avoid “subjective opinions”, although it is made to seem so. An absolutely horrific movie.

What’s the point of showing Kyle’s actions if there is no light upon his own beliefs or intentions or convictions, his opinions on political events and attacks?!

According to his book, he proudly believed that killing Iraqis was a good thing, apparently he even wished to have killed more or “all” of them, and that that gave him pleasure. In the end, I think Kyle was a racist, violent man, and so the film, for not portraying him as such, ends up condoning his actions and beliefs. That is why I consider the film racist and filled with hatred. There is a pleasure portrayed for killing all those people, there isn’t a single redeeming factor about the Iraqis, they are not seen as people, they are written off to seem like soulless, bloodless villains in the film.

It’s from Kyle’s perspective. Saying it’s from “American” perspective is over-generalizing it too much. “American soldier’s” perspective would be more accurate. That aside, have you ever heard of thinking for yourself? That fact that this movie has people that like it for the reasons Auteur does, and hate it for the reasons you do, indicates that the movie doesn’t necessarily need to voice an opinion. It tells the story from Kyle’s point of view, and in his mind, he was right in just about everything he did. You can agree or disagree that it glorifies the military either way. And lastly, at some point, you kinda have to take for granted that people getting killed on the screen are not soulless people. You know, like the Vietnamese in Platoon and Full Metal Jacket, or the Germans in Saving Private Ryan. I would assume people take for granted that everyone has a life, a soul, and something good in them. This isn’t a movie that’s meant to explore both sides of the war, or even one side of the war. It’s meant to explore one man’s journey and view of the war. You think that’s wrong because it glorifies all the killing he does. And to that I say it doesn’t glorify it anymore than the average action flick. I don’t see you or the average person saying the average action flick make killing seem pleasurable. The question is does this film make the killings done in this movie pleasurable to the average moviegoer, or does it only do that for the sick fucks (let’s face it, there are always people like that around). I say it only does so for the latter.

And on a final note, do I think this movie should have won best picture at the Oscars? Fuck no. This movie isn’t made well enough to even be considered for an Oscar. And for the record, I don’t watch the Oscars, I haven’t done so for a long time, because the people who are responsible for nominating films are dumb people who have shitty tastes in movies. And it’s politics.

P.S.: That fake baby is hilarious.

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The following are responses I’ve made towards those who commented on my old review.  Just my responses to the comments, not the original comments, because those got deleted because the accounts of those who made the comments got deleted.

@Ayden
I’m not so sure about Kyle referring to himself as a hero. He knew others saw him that way, and he thought he helped his country, but he didn’t see himself any better than the soldiers he served with.

When he said “savages,” he was always referring to the Iraqis he killed and not necessarily all of Iraq in general. And by Iraqis he killed, he means the insurgent fanatics whom he described in the quotes from the book I gave in the review.

Ok, let’s get something clear here. Unless I find some source material that someone provides, I’m not going to believe for one second that he killed any civilians. And by civilians, I’m talking about people who stayed out of the fights, and weren’t going to kill any Americans. In other words, people who weren’t in the ROE (rules of engagement) guidelines. You show me something legit that claims otherwise, than you have grounds to bring that up. Otherwise, you’re just full of shit.

But you are right about one thing. He was content in slaying those he did kill. That’s true, and he makes no apologies for it. And he did say he enjoyed killing them. But lets face it, all soldiers from every country have to enjoy killing to some extent. Otherwise, they’re no good at their job. A soldier’s job is to follow orders that may involve the killing of a dangerous individual. If you have a problem with Kyle doing it, then you have a problem with all of them doing it. Don’t just single him out in this ethical debate, you need to go all out on the ethics and morality of killing.

The film glorifies violence does it? Tell you what, you tell me exactly, down to the nitty gritty specifics, exactly which scenes derive that thought process from you, how that thought process of yours works that makes you come to that conclusion. Seriously, I would like to know. Because I can tell you that me, personally, I didn’t feel the film was glorifying violence at all, no more than the average war film from any country. Or any action film for that matter.

Now this is where the topic of glorifying violence gets really interesting. You say Inglorious Basterds doesn’t glorify, but has fun with the violence. I can buy that. But what I don’t buy is that it didn’t have contempt for the subjects of the violence. Are you seriously telling me that the film had no contempt whatsoever for Hitler and the Nazis? Here’s my thought process on the matter. The film shows a scene with a guy beating a Nazi’s brains out with a baseball bat while he cheers, and is cheered on by his companions. And this is also encouraging the audience watching the movie to do the same. Why? Because it’s fun to see Nazis beaten to death, because they deserve no sympathy, because they are as 1-dimensionally evil as human beings can get (at least I believe the film makes this assumption, despite an instance with the movie star). Now, I don’t believe that the film is encouraging audience members to go out and find bald white guys with swastikas tattooed on their ass and go and shoot them down or beat them to death, because as you said, it was all in good fun. But not once did I feel like cheering when the insurgents were getting offed in American Sniper. Were people in the audience cheering when the woman and child were shot? If there were, I wasn’t one of them. I wasn’t even cheering when Mustafa got offed. I’ve seen movies with death scenes that I cheered at, where I disliked the characters enough that I was glad to see them offed. American Sniper isn’t one of those movies, not for me. While as in Inglorious Basterds, cheers are encouraged when Hitler is getting mowed down and when that guy is getting “branded” at the end of the film. Did they deserve to get cheered as they got punished? Most would think so. And make no mistake, violence was absolutely necessary in Inglorious Basterds.

The main character that was deserving of such malice and contempt was the guy with the drill, and he wasn’t exactly killed in what I would call a cheer-worthy fashion. If glorifying violence means that the movie is supposed to imply that killing these types of people is a good thing to do, then I would say that is true only so far as killing other people who are a legitimate threat to you and your friends. That’s as far as it goes. As for just killing Iraqis in general, those who aren’t insurgents, then I would say absolutely not. On the other hand, I suppose you could make the argument that the movie is supposed to convey the idea that every Iraqi is an insurgent, but I find that to be complete and utter bullshit.

Yes, the movie does regard him as a hero. That I won’t argue with. I understand you have a problem with viewing this guy as a hero, but I guess that’s just going to be a subjective thing.

“The enemies we were fighting were savages and well-armed.”
When I read the book, every time Chris Kyle said the word “savages”, it was always associated with the people he killed (he said all the people he shot were savages I believe). Not once did I ever see him generalize the term that far, not once. But even better, he says in an interview with O’Reilly (I don’t like that guy, but still) that the enemies he killed, and only those specifically, are savages, not Iraqis in general:

Nothing subjective about that, unless you think he’s lying, but then that would be speculation on your part unless you can cite a source that says otherwise.

“I do have a problem with Kyle’s murderous and brutally vindictive ideology, and I do have a problem with any soldier who shares this attitude with him. Like I said, I don’t care how loyal you are to your country; if you get into war and kill people without any disregard, “I don’t choose the wars, I just do what I’m told” is a pitiful argument, and doesn’t justify murder or warfare in any way, shape or form.”

But he wasn’t killing people with disregard. He had to follow the rules of engagement, and write up reports on each target he killed. And I need to be clear on this before I make another response. What exactly do you think his ideology is?

“I’m not trying to argue that the violence in this film was in any way trying to be entertaining or make you cheer in your seat. It glorifies violence against the enemy (and warfare in general) by the way it imposes that the Iraqis are the only people capable of committing heinous acts. That they are the only bad guys, and that all American soldiers are holier-than-thou. The violence was supposed to be brutal and hard to watch, but it nonetheless implies an attitude that says: “Look at what these evil Iraqis did! See how us good American soldiers are here to liberate you and set you free? We can do no wrong!” And this attitude is the source of the American Sniper’s propaganda.”

Well then, let me provide a newsflash for you. Chris Kyle only saw Iraqis committing heinous acts. In his novel, he never claimed to have seen Americans doing heinous acts. Therefore, putting them in the movie wouldn’t exactly be accurate to his experiences in Iraq, and would be lies. Now, as for American soldiers committing heinous acts elsewhere in the Middle East during that time period, I have no doubt that that did happen. Hell, they even made movies that cover those events (Redacted). God forbid a movie gets made that doesn’t show soldiers in a negative light. Because newsflash, not all soldiers are despicable people, unless you consider killing the enemy a despicable thing. And sometimes the violence isn’t hard to watch, mainly because we’ve pretty much been desensitized to violence in movies since the 70s. I really don’t see how this film can be considered to be a glorification of violence when it’s no worse than a lot of other films with guns and shooting that have been made during the past 4 decades.

Here’s why I think you’re full of shit. Because I think you’re just assuming Chris Kyle killed civilians. I don’t think you heard that he killed civilians from a legitimate source. I know I haven’t. So where does this bullshit of him killing civilians come from exactly, from an assumption, or from something better than that? If we’re going by that logic, why not assume he’s a rapist and a pedophile and a guy who hates peanut butter while we’re at it? It must be true, because there has to be something fucked up about a famous soldier other than the fact that he just did his job. Arguments don’t hold up under motherfucking assumptions!

But you do need proof to know that he was killing civilians, which is something you claimed, which was an assumption, because you have no proof to support that claim, which means you made an assumption.

Newsflash, soldiers can’t afford to have regard for human life when it comes to shooting the enemy. They can’t. This doesn’t just apply to Chris Kyle, but to all soldiers. And I can also guarantee you that there are a lot of soldiers out there who enjoy killing, both enemy and American. Read enough war biographies, and you will find it to be true. Does this mean all soldiers are psychopaths?

Psychopath: a person with a psychopathic personality, which manifests as amoral and antisocial behavior, lack of ability to love or establish meaningful personal relationships, extreme egocentricity, failure to learn from experience, etc.
Source: dictionary.reference.com/browse/psychopath

Kyle was able to love, he had a wife, and he cared for his fellow soldiers. And he learned from his experiences.

But I doubt you’re going for the accurate definition of psychopath and are more going for, “Because he enjoyed killing, he’s a bad person,” line of thinking. Which brings me back to my previous statement, are most soldiers bad people if most of them enjoy killing? I would say no. Is Chris Kyle a bad person? The main reason this question is asked is because he just so happened to have more kills than anyone else, and that reason is linked with his supposed attitude and personality, that he’s an out of control psycho who loves killing anyone and everyone, which just isn’t true. There’s only one reason why he got so many kills, and that reason is luck. He got put in several positions where the opportunity for killing the enemy was rife, and plenty of them showed up where he could see them compared to where other soldiers were at. And just about all of his kills are documented, with witness testimony, that he was killing valid targets that fell within the ROE.

As for his attitude. Well for one thing, the movie doesn’t portray him in the light you’re indicating, so that’s going outside the box. That aside, a soldier enjoying killing the enemy isn’t enough to convince me that the soldier is a maniac, especially when he has seen that some enemy individuals are morally reprehensible people. I would consider “loving his job a little too much” to be enjoying killing anyone other than the enemy, or becoming addicted to killing others whether they love it or hate it; which is an issue he didn’t have as far as I know.

Don’t get me wrong, war is bad, killing is bad, and humanity should learn how to live without doing so. But that’s not the world we’re in. Violence exists, killing exists, and people kill for various reasons. Because violence exists, people exist who know how to deal with violence. And make no mistake, violence solves problems. There is no alternative to dealing with fanatics who kill to get what they want. To deal with dealing death, soldiers have to learn to cope with killing others. Thus many become fine with it, and/or enjoy doing it, some because they taught themselves to enjoy it after a while, others because they enjoyed it from the get-go. I’m not sure which of those categories Chris Kyle falls in, but when it comes to warfare, I don’t see it as a morally reprehensible thing to enjoy killing others who are trying to kill you or your team mates. Even civilians can agree with this line of thinking. Take Mrs. Kyle for example:

As far as I can see it, anyone who has a problem with what guys do over there is incapable of empathy. People want America to have a certain image when we fight. Yes, I would guess if someone were shooting at them and they had to hold their family members while they bled out against an enemy who hid behind their children, played dead only to throw a grenade as they got closer, and who had no qualms about sending their toddlers to die from a grenade from which they personally pulled the pin — they would be less concerned with playing nicely.

I have a good question. Do you think the Iraqi insurgents were maniacs?

 

 

I also got in a discussion on another person’s account, one who goes by the name Egg MacGuffin:

MacGuffin wrote:
No other noteworthy accomplishments. Not even the Heroes Project?

Was that in the movie? If it was, they certainly didn’t make a big deal out of it. And it definitely wasn’t the reason the guy was being called “hero” and “legend”. He was given those monikers because he was the best murderer.

Me:
I just assumed you were talking about the man in general, not just how he’s depicted in the movie. In that case, yeah, he’s just considered a hero because of the number of insurgents he killed. He doesn’t consider himself a hero, but the movie does. If you don’t think that qualifies a soldier to be a hero, even though killing insurgents also saved lives, then fine.

MacGuffin:

I cannot comment on the movie by speaking of events outside of what the movie presents. The movie IS the presentation, and the movie goes pretty far out of its way to venerate the best murderer specifically because he killed a lot of “enemies”, and not because he was a good person otherwise.

Maybe the movie is trying to say that killing *doesn’t* make one a hero or a legend, being that Chris Kyle as a person never factored into the titles of acclaim he received; it was solely about the murdering, but because the country and society are so fucked up, people believe such blatant propaganda when the mainstream media feeds it to them. War is bad, but we HAVE to be there. Killing enemies is good. Those guys are bad. Be afraid. Etc.

Or maybe the film-makers truly believe that being the best at murdering the people we’re told are the bad guys is worthy of such reverence – which is just plain scummy and terrible.

Not sure I see Mr. Eastwood as a subversive pacifist, but regardless of the intent, the message most people receive is that this guy was a hero because he was awesome at murdering, and that’s far worse than plain scummy and terrible.

Me:

I think the message the movie is trying to get across is that Kyle should be regarded as a hero because he killed so many people to save his own. That was his reasoning. In the movie, he never took pride in the people who murdered, that was just him doing his duty. He only really showed emotion when it came to the veterans getting killed, or when he really didn’t want to take that shot against the kid with the RPG.

He didn’t view himself as a hero, but I agree that the movie says he should be. Whether or not we should view him as a hero, that’s a subjective opinion for the viewer.

but because the country and society are so fucked up, people believe such blatant propaganda when the mainstream media feeds it to them

Or when you hear about testimony from the soldiers. That’s an out of the box statement you’re making, which demands an out of the box answer. My review response link I gave above goes into that more than I will in this post.

the message most people receive is that this guy was a hero because he was awesome at murdering, and that’s far worse than plain scummy and terrible.

Or that’s the message the people who hate this movie for the reasons you give (and other reasons brought up in my response review) take away from it. Like I said, it’s so much the killing as to his motivations as to why he did his killing. And stop with the term “murdering”. That’s a bullshit term to give to a soldier.

murder: the unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another.
source: google.com

Soldiers killing insurgents and those who are a threat to other soldiers/civilians is not murder, that’s killing. You want to bitch about Kyle, you call it how it is, not how you want it to be.

MacGuffin:

Whether or not we should view him as a hero, that’s a subjective opinion for the viewer.

I can view serial killers as heroes. Doesn’t make me right.

He was murdering people because he felt his family was threatened? First of all, that’s absurd. The people he was murdering would never show up here. That is completely unrealistic. Second, it’s bowing to propaganda. The people are supposed to be afraid so they support the war. Intelligent people understand that it’s all politics. The war cannot happen without support, and there can be no support without fear. Therefore, the people are made to be afraid. Instead of telling positive news stories, the media hammers the citizens with nonsense about the Taliban, Isis, ebola, anthrax, North Korea, measles, swine flu, Sars, Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Iraq, Iran, Syria, etc. The fear-mongering never stops. Unless you are smart enough to turn off your TV.

Cowering to the lies of the media does not make one heroic.

Me:

I can view serial killers as heroes. Doesn’t make me right.

There’s a big difference between a serial killer and a soldier.

He was murdering people because he felt his family was threatened? First of all, that’s absurd. The people he was murdering would never show up here. That is completely unrealistic.

I never said that. When did I even imply that? And it’s not murder, dumbass, I thought I made that clear in my last post when I gave the definition for murder and pointed out that Kyle’s actions don’t fall under that category. He was “killing” people to protect his fellow soldiers, that was his main reason. The other reasons were to follow orders and protect Iraqi civilians.

Second, it’s bowing to propaganda. The people are supposed to be afraid so they support the war. Intelligent people understand that it’s all politics. The war cannot happen without support, and there can be no support without fear. Therefore, the people are made to be afraid. Instead of telling positive news stories, the media hammers the citizens with nonsense about the Taliban, Isis, ebola, anthrax, North Korea, measles, swine flu, Sars, Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Iraq, Iran, Syria, etc. The fear-mongering never stops. Unless you are smart enough to turn off your TV.

Cowering to the lies of the media does not make one heroic.

Now that is definitely taking this discussion well outside the scope of the movie. Anyway, yes, Chris Kyle can be considered to be mislead by the media which ultimately got him to join the military and fight in the war. You could argue that Chris Kyle, along with a decent amount of U.S. troops joined for all the wrong reasons due to misleading information the news and government provided. But you can also say the majority of Iraqis are misguided as well with the information they are given in the country they live in, and fight for reasons that are every bit as misguided as that of the U.S. troops, if not more-so.

But that’s a discussion that goes way beyond the boundaries of this movie and what it is trying to achieve, much less the book it is based on. Back to the topic at hand, you stated that Chris Kyle shouldn’t be considered a hero because of all the killing he did, that it’s wrong to praise someone who kills. I don’t have much of a problem with that. What I do have a problem with is calling a soldier who kills insurgents and enemies and others who threaten civilian lives as well as the lives of his brothers in arms a despicable human being. Don’t turn this into a whole “wrong/right reason for war” discussion, that’s a discussion for blaming people other than the soldiers. That’s for throwing arguments against the people who send the soldiers, not the soldiers themselves. If you want to have a debate on this movie, you keep it to the actions of the soldier himself. You said yourself, “I cannot comment on the movie by speaking of events outside of what the movie presents.” Stick to your words.

MacGuffin’s next response has been blocked by a website moderator. So there’s a gap here. This is my response to the blocked response:

Me:

My point is to give you reasons why Kyle is considered a hero, that it’s not just because he killed people, as soldiers tend to do. I am here to give my opinion in the hopes of letting you see the faults in yours. My goal is to show you that you are being too harsh on Kyle for reasons that are probably unreasonable. I may not be doing a good job at persuading. Less is probably more, though I doubt you would say the same for the film.

MacGuffin:

It is not unreasonable to expect more humanity from those given the label of “hero”. The guy was a mass-murderer. That’s all he’s famous for – ending lives.

American propaganda will tell you that killing bad guys warrants medals of honor and prestige, but when you strip away the patriotic artifice, you’re left with a murderer. That’s it. Just a guy killing fellow human beings.

The only fault is in the assumption that violence is the only approach to conflict resolution. Of course, those profiteering from the war would not hesitate to help gullible sheep believe that.

If a man wants to protect his family, he should start with what can immediately and directly harm them. A bunch of nobodies waving machine guns on the other side of the world should not be high on this person’s list of priorities. Perhaps educating fellow Americans about the dangers of using cancer-causing BPA containers would be a more impactful endeavor? Or maybe helping get other harmful ingredients out of human care products? Aluminum and triclosan in our deodorant is harming a lot more Americans than the Taliban, but because some dumbass doesn’t know this because it’s not on the news and he only listens to what he’s told by the media like a good American puppet, we’re supposed to see this lack of education as justification for mass murder?

If he wanted to protect his family, he should have started by keeping them from what can truly, in a real world situation, harm them. With all the garbage Americans put in and on their bodies every day, who is the true enemy? Who is doing more harm to citizens of the United States?

The answer is those running the United States.

Do you know why those running America want Chris Kyle to be seen as a hero? Because he did as he was told, didn’t ask questions, and didn’t think for himself. He did exactly what those proliferating propaganda wanted him to do. Of course they would view him as a hero.

If you want to continue this discussion, please do so on your own review. I will not participate in further conversation in this review, and replies in relation to anything but the film-making of American Sniper will be flagged as spam and reported to the moderators, as this is a forum for film discussion, not politics.

Thank you.

I will conclude with a quote…

“He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would fully suffice. This disgrace to civilization should be done away with at once. Heroism at command, senseless brutality, and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism, how violently I hate all this, how despicable and ignoble war is; I would rather be torn to shreds than be part of so base an action! It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder.” – Albert Einstein

Since he didn’t want me participating any further, I carried on the discussion to my post, away from him, so he wouldn’t get all pissy.

@Egg MacGuffin
If you want to continue this discussion, please do so on your own review.

Continuing a discussion that I’ve had on his review, he decided it best to bring it over here. So first off, I have this to say to MacGuffin, I’m sorry. I’m sorry for acting rude earlier. This is why I only rarely get into discussion like this, because I tend get carried away with my behavior. I stick by my words, but I agree they could have been said with more finesse. I usually try to be funny with my dark sense of humor, but I probably crossed the line. From this point forward, for this thread anyway, I will make a strong attempt to be more polite. Right, let’s get on with it.

It is not unreasonable to expect more humanity from those given the label of “hero”. The guy was a mass-murderer. That’s all he’s famous for – ending lives.

Let’s make this perfectly clear, murder and killing are 2 different things. Killing is simply taking the life of another individual. Murder is about how that life is taken.
murder: the unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another.
source: google.com

The key word there being “unlawful”. It is not considered unlawful for a soldier to kill others that he is ordered to kill last time I checked. And by killing others, in this case, that mean killing insurgents who pose a threat to either civilians or American troops. Not once did Chris Kyle do otherwise.

However, I can see why you would still think that soldiers can be considered murderers (soldiers not following the rules of engagement aside) with the quote you gave earlier:
“It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder.” – Albert Einstein

But who is the murderer, the soldier, or the people who send the soldiers? The soldiers may deploy with the intention of killing others, as they go in knowing that is what is expected of them. But they don’t go in just to kill anyone in general. They shoot people who set bombs, who carry guns and are prepared to use them against ally soldiers and civilians. And you see something wrong with that? It’s easier to see the faults in the people who decided it best to send people like that into that specific country in the first place than it is in soldiers.

American propaganda will tell you that killing bad guys warrants medals of honor and prestige, but when you strip away the patriotic artifice, you’re left with a murderer. That’s it. Just a guy killing fellow human beings.

No. You are left with an individual who protected the lives of those who would have been ended by the people the guy did kill. In other words, a guy who killed individuals who were about to go kill other fellow human beings. Thus someone who saved lives. It sucks that soldiers have to kill some to save others, but that’s the world we’re in. That’s reality.

The only fault is in the assumption that violence is the only approach to conflict resolution. Of course, those profiteering from the war would not hesitate to help gullible sheep believe that.

Like I asked, who is the murderer, the soldiers, or those who send them?

If a man wants to protect his family, he should start with what can immediately and directly harm them. A bunch of nobodies waving machine guns on the other side of the world should not be high on this person’s list of priorities. Perhaps educating fellow Americans about the dangers of using cancer-causing BPA containers would be a more impactful endeavor? Or maybe helping get other harmful ingredients out of human care products? Aluminum and triclosan in our deodorant is harming a lot more Americans than the Taliban, but because some dumbass doesn’t know this because it’s not on the news and he only listens to what he’s told by the media like a good American puppet, we’re supposed to see this lack of education as justification for mass murder?

This discussion is losing focus. This isn’t going in accord with what you stated earlier:
I cannot comment on the movie by speaking of events outside of what the movie presents. The movie IS the presentation

You’re implying that soldiers shouldn’t exist who get deployed overseas. Maybe they shouldn’t, but that didn’t stop the people overseas from sending others to hijack planes and crash them in buildings overseas. Scientists have their roles, soldiers have theirs. Don’t send a soldier to do a scientist’s job.

And it’s true, he may not have been as educated on the events surrounding the war as he should have been. But if you’re indicating that this ignorance means that he should be labeled as a murderer, then you are sorely mistaken.

If he wanted to protect his family, he should have started by keeping them from what can truly, in a real world situation, harm them. With all the garbage Americans put in and on their bodies every day, who is the true enemy? Who is doing more harm to citizens of the United States?

The answer is those running the United States.

I refer to what I said above.

Do you know why those running America want Chris Kyle to be seen as a hero? Because he did as he was told, didn’t ask questions, and didn’t think for himself. He did exactly what those proliferating propaganda wanted him to do. Of course they would view him as a hero.

Well, yeah. But it’s not just those running America who view Chris Kyle as a hero. It’s also those who viewed him as such before the movie and book were ever made. People who said he saved them, veterans he helped stateside, the Heroes Project he helped set up. A few things that go more towards the non-killing help that an individual can provide that you have been implying for much of this post you made.

Now, are we done talking about the things that aren’t in the movie? Is this discussion over?

Nope, it wasn’t over.

MyNameIsMe:

I didn’t want to continue on with these discussions, but hell, let me just say this:

– Was Kyle racist towards Iraqis? Yes – with supposedly fair cause in his view.
– Was any context about the Iraqis perspective given? No.
– Was there any moral judgment given on war? No.

Now, one needs to face the reality that many people out there in the world are racist. One also needs to point out that many people are filled with hatred and violence. These are simple truths about Humanity. Now, if these people see a film which, like previously stated, shows a man killing Iraqis without providing any moral reasoning or different perspectives, however justified that is in the film, what will these people think? They will continue to believe that violence, hatred and racism are acceptable and they will glorify Kyle. That is the film’s consequence. It might not have been its intention, but as the filmmakers made it they probably realized what they were doing. There is nothing wrong about making a film from only one perspective, there’s nothing wrong about making a film about war in which there is violence, obviously. The wrongdoing lies in the fact that in this specific case this war was unwarranted and to make a film that shows the opposite is wrong. You said yourself that “People have come to realize that politicians put soldiers in Iraq for reasons that aren’t completely justifiable to say the least (oil, rebuilding the nation as one of democracy, WMDs [which did end up being BS], response to 9/11 (though there wasn’t a clear connection), finishing what was started in the Gulf War, support in congress and by 70% of Americans). If people know all of this then why is a film that 1)discards these reasons and 2) shows a man who thought what he was doing was right, any valid? The film basically tries to justify a war that like you said was unjustifiable.

Was Kyle racist towards Iraqis? Yes – with supposedly fair cause in his view.

It was fair cause.

Was any context about the Iraqis perspective given? No.

Agreed.

Was there any moral judgment given on war? No.

Agreed.

Now, one needs to face the reality that many people out there in the world are racist. One also needs to point out that many people are filled with hatred and violence. These are simple truths about Humanity. Now, if these people see a film which, like previously stated, shows a man killing Iraqis without providing any moral reasoning or different perspectives, however justified that is in the film, what will these people think? They will continue to believe that violence, hatred and racism are acceptable and they will glorify Kyle. That is the film’s consequence. It might not have been its intention, but as the filmmakers made it they probably realized what they were doing. There is nothing wrong about making a film from only one perspective, there’s nothing wrong about making a film about war in which there is violence, obviously. The wrongdoing lies in the fact that in this specific case this war was unwarranted and to make a film that shows the opposite is wrong.

I would tread carefully here if I were you. This is another one of these discussions that strays beyond the bounds of the movie. Yes, there are people who will hate Middle Eastern people for reasons that aren’t wholly justified, reasons that are logical and illogical, the illogical part being key to them being unreasonable. These people are this way either because they were raised to be this way, or they chose to be this way after specific events, whether they be 9/11 or for other reasons.

And you’re arguing that films shouldn’t be made that would further build and/or justify this unjustifiable hatred. I call bullshit on that. First of all, considering all the other anti-war films and documentaries that exist that most of the people who have seen American Sniper have also likely seen, and the fact that these people are no less racist than they were before, do you really think changing the film to make the perspective greater than that of just Chris Kyle would do any better to change their opinions? I seriously doubt it.

I like that films exist that show multiple perspectives, and by that I mean that individual films exist that show one perspective, but each film gives a different one. I like seeing that there are WWII films that show the perspective/message/logic of war from the side of the Allies and the Axis, from the Jews and the Nazis. I like the fact that there are films that exclusively dedicate themselves to just 1 perspective. I like this because it allows for interesting discussions to come up, about how others saw the war, about what others experienced from war. And you’re telling me that a film shouldn’t be made just because you disagree with a perspective because you assume that it will drive people to become more hate-filled? If so, fuck you. Hate-filled people are always going to exist. The existence of supposed “racist” films or lack thereof isn’t going to change that. Deal with it. And the fact that there are plenty of people like you who have gripes about this film, as far as I’m concerned, only proves that people are intelligent enough to think for themselves and draw their own conclusions about what transpires in a film and what to think of it, and what lessons are to be learned from it. For those who can’t think for themselves, there’s no fucking hope for them, no matter what is or isn’t made.

You said yourself that “People have come to realize that politicians put soldiers in Iraq for reasons that aren’t completely justifiable to say the least (oil, rebuilding the nation as one of democracy, WMDs [which did end up being BS], response to 9/11 (though there wasn’t a clear connection), finishing what was started in the Gulf War, support in congress and by 70% of Americans). If people know all of this then why is a film that 1)discards these reasons and 2) shows a man who thought what he was doing was right, any valid? The film basically tries to justify a war that like you said was unjustifiable.

NO! No no no no no no no no. Nnnnnooooooooooooooooo. Nanananananahhhhhhhhhhhh.

This film isn’t about the war in general, it’s about one man’s experience in the war. It doesn’t discard these reasons because it never held these reasons from the get-go. They were never there to begin with in this film. Hasn’t it once occurred to you that a film made to take place in and during a time of war, with a soldier as the main protagonist, isn’t necessarily about that particular war in general? The film is neither pro-war or anti-war as far as I’m concerned, that’s something that viewers intentionally and consciously choose to see like how people choose to believe that John Carpenter’s The Thing is a film about fear of AIDS. That’s reaching, and going beyond the film’s primary intention. The film is meant to show Chris Kyle’s experience in war, the brothers in arms he lost, why he fought, and how intense modern warfare actually is. And that’s all. Act of Valor was more pro war than this movie.

I will agree that the film does show a man who believed he was doing right. And that is where the discussion should be. On Chris Kyle himself, on his opinions, whether he should be considered a hero or not, was he a good or bad man, etc. Not whether the war he was in was justified, but whether or not he acted justifiably in warfare. Should he be respected or not? The film’s message is that he should be respected. Some people disagree with that message. Some give reasons that I honestly can’t fully disagree with because some of those reasons are subjective, personal opinions. I have a problem with those who have objective reasons that I believe to be flawed, the main reasons being the intentions of the movie. This isn’t the first film where critics/viewers have made that mistake (ex: Eyes Wide Shut), and it won’t be the last. But fuck me is it one of the most annoying.

MyNameIsMe:

It was fair cause.

By your standards that very first sentence is subjective. For some people seeing men from a different race killing men from their own race doesn’t turn them into racists. Example: just because I saw a black man murdering ten white men that doesn’t mean I have a fair cause to be racist against blacks. That’s idiotic reasoning. If you think because some Iraqi men bombed your city then all of Iraqis should be exterminated then there’s no point to this conversation because you’re a racist, disgusting human being.

You’re telling me that a film shouldn’t be made just because you disagree with a perspective because you assume that it will drive people to become more hate-filled? If so, fuck you. Hate-filled people are always going to exist. The existence of supposed “racist” films or lack thereof isn’t going to change that. Deal with it.

The thing is that in this specific case the consequences are despicable. If today anyone saw a film that took the Nazi side they could appreciate it as phsychological and sociological document, but obviously they would understand that the film’s position was wrong. And that applies to every other war/conflict that we realize today who was right party and who was the wrong one. But in this specific case there are still many people who support Kyle’s racism, violence and the war itself and therefore it is a deeply irresponsible film. If four years after the end of the II World War Germany had made a film that again discriminated Jews and glorified the arian race do you think it would have been accepted? Or considered any good? Well, that’s what American Sniper is. A film like Inglorious Basterds can condone violence because the conflict at stake in no longer important in the world. The Middle East situation, on the other hand, is still very much a very difficult and current problem.

Should he be respected or not? The film’s message is that he should be respected. Some people disagree with that message. Some give reasons that I honestly can’t fully disagree with because some of those reasons are subjective, personal opinions.

Then that’s it. Chris Kyle was a racist. He killed people, enemies, who were killing his “brothers”. But if we look back upon it, if we put ourselves in Kyle’s position, were his actions correct? Let’s imagine this: Kyle was a german living in Germany in the 30’s and 40’s. His government told its people to declare war on foreign countries based on their race. So Kyle joined the army, became a racist himself and started killing Jews and Americans and what not. Just because he thought he was making good and because he was following his governments opinion doesn’t make his actions any more tolerable. A man should think for himself. If you think that his reaction is the best, healthiest reaction that all people should take, then you’re the one who should go fuck himself.

Me:

By your standards that very first sentence is subjective. For some people seeing men from a different race killing men from their own race doesn’t turn them into racists. Example: just because I saw a black man murdering ten white men that doesn’t mean I have a fair cause to be racist against blacks. That’s idiotic reasoning. If you think because some Iraqi men bombed your city then all of Iraqis should be exterminated then there’s no point to this conversation because you’re a racist, disgusting human being.

Well thankfully I’m not a person who thinks like that.

Anyway, there are some big bits of information you don’t seem to consider with this implication. Bits of information that make Kyle’s status of being or not being racist irrelevant. The biggest one is, as I have explained in my review and in several of the above posts, that every kill Kyle made was done following the ROE, which means that every target he killed was a legitimate threat to either civilians or other American troops.

The thing is that in this specific case the consequences are despicable. If today anyone saw a film that took the Nazi side they could appreciate it as phsychological and sociological document, but obviously they would understand that the film’s position was wrong. And that applies to every other war/conflict that we realize today who was right party and who was the wrong one. But in this specific case there are still many people who support Kyle’s racism, violence and the war itself and therefore it is a deeply irresponsible film.

So if I understand your implications then, you believe the film is irresponsible because you believe this film will drive those people who support Kyle’s racism to become more racist to the point that they will want to do harm to all Iraqis in general? First of all I don’t believe for a second the movie glorifies or even highlights Middle Eastern racism for reasons I gave in earlier posts. Second of all, if this film was all it took to get some people to go apeshit over some Middle Easterners, then I’m pretty sure just about anything else would set them off. That’s borderline similar to saying the Doom videogames caused the 2 high school fucks to start blasting kids at their school. And I state again, having this movie show perspectives from both sides, giving sympathy for both the American side and the Iraqi side, isn’t going to change the minds of the racists. They see what they want to see in a movie, just like you want to see that the film promotes racism and getting more and more American to take up arms and start going out in the streets, or taking flights over to Iraq, and start shooting the shit out of every brown bearded stereotypical Islamic person they lay eyes on.

If four years after the end of the II World War Germany had made a film that again discriminated Jews and glorified the arian race do you think it would have been accepted? Or considered any good? Well, that’s what American Sniper is.

Well it would certainly be considered accepted and good by the majority of Nazis at the time I’m sure, but it would be considered bad by just about everyone else. But if you’re going to equate a film like American Sniper with Nazi propoganda, you had better bring up some very good fucking reasons and examples. You can’t just claim it. Tell me why. Show me evidence. Because I don’t remember Jews, even the most fanatical of Jews, setting up bombs and killing off both civilians and soldiers, both foreign and local, on a borderline daily basis. Nazis hated Jews because they were delusional assholes. Kyle hated “fanatical” insurgents because they were a legitimate danger to his brothers in arms.

A film like Inglorious Basterds can condone violence because the conflict at stake in no longer important in the world. The Middle East situation, on the other hand, is still very much a very difficult and current problem.

And that’s the reason this film shouldn’t have been made huh? That, and the arguments made above, are not going to hold up to scrutiny. I guarantee it.

Then that’s it. Chris Kyle was a racist. He killed people, enemies, who were killing his “brothers”. But if we look back upon it, if we put ourselves in Kyle’s position, were his actions correct? Let’s imagine this: Kyle was a german living in Germany in the 30’s and 40’s. His government told its people to declare war on foreign countries based on their race. So Kyle joined the army, became a racist himself and started killing Jews and Americans and what not. Just because he thought he was making good and because he was following his governments opinion doesn’t make his actions any more tolerable. A man should think for himself.

As I indicated above, it’s hardly the same situation. Let me rephrase that, it’s not the same situation. Kyle isn’t a Nazi, he wasn’t raised to have the mindset of killing people for no reason other than that he didn’t like them, and that’s that. Take that conversation to some other movie where that is the case, not here.

But just to put a little highlight dab on things, there is at least one incident to be considered that indicates Kyle isn’t as heartless as you would think. They show this in the movie (with slightly more dramatic effect compared to the reality I’m sure, but it was in the book), a scene where a kid is trying to pick up a weapon and aim it at soldiers and shoot them with it. Kyle never took the shot. This happened in the movie and in reality. As if following the ROE wasn’t evidence enough, even if Kyle was a racist at heart, he has proven he can keep his emotions in check when on the battlefield and stay professional. Every kill he made was for legit reasons.

If you think that his reaction is the best, healthiest reaction that all people should take, then you’re the one who should go fuck himself.

Well it’s about damn time someone threw the f-bomb right back at me.

I have a question. Considering that neither one of us, I’m assuming, hasn’t been in battle, been in similar situations as Kyle, and seen some of their best friends killed in action, and gone through the stress of war, if you were in Kyles position, assuming you decided to become a soldier, go through all the training, and get put in battle, what would you do in his place? What healthy action and reaction would you deem appropriate when you see men planting a bomb in the middle of a street, or see men with AK-47s moving around a corner to ambush American troops or civilians? I have a feeling your answer would be along the lines of, “Well I’m not in the military because blah-blah-blah,” which would be a fair answer, but then you would be in less of a position to judge his actions.

MyNameIsMe:

Every kill Kyle made was done following the ROE, which means that every target he killed was a legitimate threat to either civilians or other American troops.

What has that to do with having fair cause? I explained why Kyle’s racism obviously didn’t have “fair cause”, and you start talking about his actions in combat. I’m not referring to his kills but his point of view. His racism had no fair cause, like I explained, unless he was a horrible human being which is exactly what I’m trying to get across. (And either way, that fact that you point out might be true only because he was controlled by his superiors and couldn’t just bomb everything to the ground.)

Now, in your previous comment you said: “The film’s message is that he should be respected.” and now you say: I don’t believe for a second the movie glorifies or even highlights Middle Eastern racism”. Well, if Kyle was indeed a racist like we admitted already (and you even said he had fair cause) and if the film showed indeed that he should be respected, then how can you say the film doesn’t condone racism?! That’s ridiculous. Stop contradicting yourself.

But if you’re going to equate a film like American Sniper with Nazi propoganda, you had better bring up some very good fucking reasons and examples. You can’t just claim it.

I only used the Nazi example because you used it in your review. Either way it doesn’t matter, because what was said about the IIWW can be said about most wars. Just because Kyle joined the army and followed his country’s decision still doesn’t make him any more correct. His actions cannot be tolerated based on the fact that he was doing what he thought was right, so let’s let go of that pathetic argument.

Considering that neither one of us, I’m assuming, hasn’t been in battle, been in similar situations as Kyle, and seen some of their best friends killed in action, and gone through the stress of war, if you were in Kyle’s position, assuming you decided to become a soldier, go through all the training, and get put in battle, what would you do in his place?

That’s were the problem lies. I would have never enlisted in the first place. Not because I wouldn’t want to fight for my country, my people and my safety but because I would’ve studied the situation a lot more to see if such war/battle would lead anywhere. If Kyle too perhaps had studied to understand why the US had declared war, then he would have never become racist, violent and would have never killed or been killed. (And even if I did decide to enlist that would never make me a racist, because one thing is to kill people for the safety of others, which I understand sometimes might be the best solution, but to turn that into hatred for all people of a specific race is horrible and unthinkable.)

Me:

What has that to do with having fair cause? I explained why Kyle’s racism obviously didn’t have “fair cause”, and you start talking about his actions in combat. I’m not referring to his kills but his point of view. His racism had no fair cause, like I explained, unless he was a horrible human being which is exactly what I’m trying to get across. (And either way, that fact that you point out might be true only because he was controlled by his superiors and couldn’t just bomb everything to the ground.)

Back up a second. How is it that you are defining “fair cause” exactly?

Now, in your previous comment you said: “The film’s message is that he should be respected.” and now you say: I don’t believe for a second the movie glorifies or even highlights Middle Eastern racism”. Well, if Kyle was indeed a racist like we admitted already (and you even said he had fair cause) and if the film showed indeed that he should be respected, then how can you say the film doesn’t condone racism?! That’s ridiculous. Stop contradicting yourself.

Because, like I said, the film doesn’t highlight racism. It’s never brought up, it’s never pointed out, it’s never even implied. The film wants to glorify Kyle for the kills he made, because that’s what soldiers do, they shoot and kill people. Racism has nothing to do with their duty unless it interferes with how they go about doing it. The film didn’t point out anything about racism being a factor with the kills made, therefore the film doesn’t condone racism. That’s like saying Escape From Alcatraz doesn’t condone pedophilia and bashing it for that reason.

Just because Kyle joined the army and followed his country’s decision still doesn’t make him any more correct. His actions cannot be tolerated based on the fact that he was doing what he thought was right, so let’s let go of that pathetic argument.

So far you haven’t has one good argument as to why his actions shouldn’t be tolerated. The best you’re trying to come up with is racism, and that isn’t a factor in the movie. I consider that a pathetic argument. I doubt this discussion will carry on much longer, because as far as I can tell, both of us view each other as misguided in our beliefs and sense of logic and on how we view this movie and the real life character, at the very least. I don’t see that changing.

MyNameIsMe:

How is it that you are defining “fair cause” exactly?

A person acts or has a belief due to a cause or multiple causes. That action or belief can be considered “right” or “wrong” based on the fact if that cause(s) is “fair”, if it is understandable. Example: Child “A” hits child “B” because child “B” had hit a friend of “A”. That can be considered right or wrong. Person “C” kills person “D” because person “D” robbed the home of “C”. That’s probably not fair cause. In Kyle’s case it’s basically: person “A” kills people “B, C, D, E, F, G,…” because person “X” killed family/friends of “A”. Hence, he does not have fair cause.

Because, like I said, the film doesn’t highlight racism. It’s never brought up, it’s never pointed out, it’s never even implied. The film wants to glorify Kyle for the kills he made, because that’s what soldiers do, they shoot and kill people.

If the protagonist is racist and his actions are due to this internal factor then the film doesn’t need to “bring it up”. Films aren’t only judged on what they clearly present, the interpretations and ideas one gets out of it after thinking about it count just as much. In Foxcatcher it is never clearly expressed that the murdered had mental issues or reasons for his actions, so we shouldn’t take that into consideration?! A film needs to spoon-feed you everything otherwise you can’t count it?! Then what’s the point of cinema damn it?!

You yourself said the discussion about this film should be “On Chris Kyle himself, on his opinions, whether he should be considered a hero or not, was he a good or bad man” and now you say that if the film doesn’t show his points of view, namely racism, then we can’t consider it? (Also, that is another reason for my deep dislike for the film, it supports Kyle’s behavior, which is bad enough, but doesn’t even explore that behavior properly and doesn’t even admit to supporting him.)

So far you haven’t has one good argument as to why his actions shouldn’t be tolerated.

He was a soldier with questionable etics who got pleasure out of killing people and who wished to kill more in order to “protect” his people. The government used him (along with many others) and his mental disturbances to profit and kill people for that profit. He was so obssessed with the army that he went on several tours and gainned reputation for his brutalness, only to neglect his family and become even more obssessed with murder. He became a consequence of the awful environment he lived in, he became hateful, racist and violent and was allowed to continue to pursue his obssessions. He reacted awfully to the 9/11 attacks and resorted to violence to fight violence. And yes he was racist.

I doubt this discussion will carry on much longer, because as far as I can tell, both of us view each other as misguided in our beliefs and sense of logic and on how we view this movie and the real life character, at the very least. I don’t see that changing.

Well, my fault for trying to argue with a person who thinks racism can be justified.

Me:

First off, I should respond to this statement you made:
If the protagonist is racist and his actions are due to this internal factor then the film doesn’t need to “bring it up”. Films aren’t only judged on what they clearly present, the interpretations and ideas one gets out of it after thinking about it count just as much. In Foxcatcher it is never clearly expressed that the murdered had mental issues or reasons for his actions, so we shouldn’t take that into consideration?! A film needs to spoon-feed you everything otherwise you can’t count it?! Then what’s the point of cinema damn it?!

You yourself said the discussion about this film should be “On Chris Kyle himself, on his opinions, whether he should be considered a hero or not, was he a good or bad man” and now you say that if the film doesn’t show his points of view, namely racism, then we can’t consider it?

Ok, that’s a fair point. Discussion on racism it is.

A person acts or has a belief due to a cause or multiple causes. That action or belief can be considered “right” or “wrong” based on the fact if that cause(s) is “fair”, if it is understandable. Example: Child “A” hits child “B” because child “B” had hit a friend of “A”. That can be considered right or wrong. Person “C” kills person “D” because person “D” robbed the home of “C”. That’s probably not fair cause. In Kyle’s case it’s basically: person “A” kills people “B, C, D, E, F, G,…” because person “X” killed family/friends of “A”. Hence, he does not have fair cause.

Ok. You mentioned in your initial post, “Was Kyle racist towards Iraqis? Yes – with supposedly fair cause in his view.” That, along with a few other statements you made, along with the implication above, indicates that you believe Kyle doesn’t have fair cause because he killed under the irrational belief that at least one of the hundreds of Iraqis he killed had also killed some of his military pals. You are right in that this isn’t fair cause, but the problem is that this view is leaving out facts that absolutely must be taken into consideration, otherwise this view becomes biased.

You took my initial response earlier when I said, “It was fair cause,” to be some kind of racially motivate statement, that Kyle was killing because he hated people of another race. I responded by stating that this wasn’t the case, that he was killing because he was doing his duty as a soldier, shooting each person because they posed a legitimate threat to civilians or to soldiers, following the official ROE guidelines. That is why I conclude that Chris Kyle had fair cause.

And yet somehow you keep trying to turn this around into saying that his kills were racially motivated to prove that he didn’t have fair cause. If the kills were racially motivated, which they may have been, considering that even I myself stated that it is likely that Kyle is racist (though I believe you are expanding his actual level of racism beyond the reality of its actual state), they only played a small part in the motivation. People can have multiple motivations for killing another human being. In Chris Kyle’s case, and I’m sure this applies to a lot of soldiers in general, his primary motivation wasn’t hatred/racism. It was duty. Killing the enemy to prevent them from killing other civilians/soldiers (which I have stated time and time again, with examples, in many many posts and responses to posts and in the main review, was done with legitimate cause independent of racism) was a larger motivation than killing them just because he hated them because they were of a different race.

That was the largest motivation, killing them to prevent them from killing several of his brothers in arms, and in every kill that was the case. And on top of that, racism wouldn’t have been the only reason he hated the insurgents. As I have also pointed out in a couple posts previous, he had other reasons to feel hatred for them besides the fact that they were a danger to his troops, and besides the possible fact that he just disliked Iraqis in general, such as the father hiding behind the daughter, doping themselves up so they can have the courage to fight troops, the civilians they killed, etc. All those factors have to be taken into account for any motivation he had beyond just doing his duty, not just racism. Therefore, I conclude that racism was not the primary internal factor that led to his actions. If you want to argue that racism was the primary driving factor into him doing these kills, then bring up a compelling argument.

And, please, keep in mind everything I have stated before that can be used to go against any pro-racist argument you bring up in the future, I don’t want to have to keep repeating myself.

He was a soldier with questionable etics who got pleasure out of killing people and who wished to kill more in order to “protect” his people.

Well what do you think would happen to a soldier who hated killing people, but had to kill people because, well, it’s his job? He wouldn’t be cut out for the job, he would lose his mind. Soldiers have to learn to cope with what they do. One of the most common ways to do so is to learn to enjoy killing others. Yes, it’s terrible. But it’s also necessary. Sure as hell isn’t any different on the opposing side of the battlefield. In fact, it’s not much different in the case of any war ever.

The government used him (along with many others) and his mental disturbances to profit and kill people for that profit.

That is going beyond the scope of the movie and the book. I’ve indulged enough in my discussions with others about the government’s role in the war, I’m not going back into it. If you want a discussion that covers that spectrum, go bitch to someone who wrote a review on some Iraq war documentary.

He was so obssessed with the army that he went on several tours and gainned reputation for his brutalness, only to neglect his family and become even more obssessed with murder. He became a consequence of the awful environment he lived in, he became hateful, racist and violent and was allowed to continue to pursue his obssessions. He reacted awfully to the 9/11 attacks and resorted to violence to fight violence. And yes he was racist.

Neglect his family, yes. In fact, that’s one of his faults that is an invitation for a thoughtful discussion, on whether serving your country should be more important than serving your family, or what the fine balance is between doing one and the other.

Become even more obsessed with murder, no. Both the movie and the book point out that his obsession was with saving American lives. Don’t confuse that with obsession with murder. If you want to go against the statements of the movie and book, then you need to give an argument with evidence to back it up that he had an obsession with murder that was great than his obsession with protecting lives.

Regarding the racism, see above.

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