1. dick says

    Does American ‘gun culture’ influence American militarism, for the worse? (Just a thought.)

  2. anteprepro says

    I assume they used American Sniper as their example because one cannot go to the movie theater to watch Dick Cheney: The Major Motion Picture. And because Fox News Channel also is not yet a film.

  3. Menyambal says

    This sniper was the guy who bragged about shooting “looters” in the aftermath of the New Orleans hurricane – went around claiming to have done it, and happy about it. Doing so would have been killing American citizens without trial, and nine kinds of wrong, as well as not really possible as described, and completely pointless – but there was no evidence at all that anybody had done so, at all.

  4. says

    It’s funny that there hasn’t been a Rupert Murdoch hagiography film, lovingly portraying him as saving the West from socialism and foreigners with his media empire.

  5. Akira MacKenzie says

    Cue the jingoistic assholes ranting about “disrespecting our veterans” and “sympathizi with Islamists” and “these men fought and died for your freedoms” in 5…4…3…2…1…

  6. Moggie says


    This sniper was the guy who bragged about shooting “looters” in the aftermath of the New Orleans hurricane – went around claiming to have done it, and happy about it.

    As pointed out here, he also admitted to doing looting of his own in Fallujah. So presumably he wasn’t killing “looters” (or claiming to have done so) because of moral outrage at the wrongness of what they were doing, but simply because he enjoyed killing.

  7. Akira MacKenzie says

    From the ads I’ve seen, the movie appears to cast this cretin as some sort of remorseful PTSD-victim who regrets the necessary evils he had to do as a soldier and just wants to go home to his family.

    From what has been posted here, it seems Hollywood is taking liberties with reality, yet again.

  8. Akira MacKenzie says

    anthrosciguy @ 10

    Oh, Clint’s behind this one? Perhaps he’ll have Bradley Cooper put a .50 BMG through an empty chair that’s sitting in for Iraqi insurgents?

  9. anteprepro says

    According to Wikipedia, Chris Kyle, Super Sniper, killed at least 160 people, up to 250. And this is worrisome given this tidbit, quoted from Salon, containing quotes from his book

    In “American Sniper,” Kyle describes killing as “fun” and something he “loved” to do. This pleasure was no doubt facilitated by his utter conviction that every person he shot was a “bad guy.” Fallujah and Ramadi, where he saw the most action, were certainly crawling with insurgents and foreign Islamist militants, and Kyle swears that every man he picked off with his sniper rifle was manifestly up to no good. But his bloodthirstiness and general indifference to the Iraqis and their country don’t suggest that he was highly motivated to make sure.

    “I don’t shoot people with Korans,” Kyle retorted to an Army investigator when he was accused of killing an Iraqi civilian. “I’d like to, but I don’t.” [51] Later in “American Sniper,” he announces, “I couldn’t give a flying fuck about the Iraqis.” “I hate the damn savages,” he explains.


    He tattooed a “crusader’s cross” on his arm. The most he can manage to say about war crimes is that, “I am not saying war crimes should be committed,” before adding that a “warrior” like himself can’t do his fighting with “hands tied behind his back…..

    This is a man who expressed a desire to shoot people with Korans, and yet the critical focus of the piece is almost entirely on the way in which society has failed returning veterans.

    The societal failing is deeper than veteran’s care. Here was a man who, as Schmidle puts it, “was deeply religious and saw the Iraq War through that prism.” Think about what that could be possibly mean, and how we would view someone from another culture who had similar sentiments.

    And more:

    Kyle seemed to consider himself a cross between a lawman and an executioner. His platoon had spray-painted the image of the Punisher—a Marvel Comics character who wages “a one-man war upon crime”—on their flak jackets and helmets. Kyle made a point of ignoring the military dress code, cutting the sleeves off shirts and wearing baseball caps instead of a helmet. (“Ninety per cent of being cool is looking cool,” he wrote.) ….

    Kyle wanted to be a cowboy: from an early age, he had been around guns, usually on hunting trips. (He learned to shoot a gun before he learned to ride a bike.) He wore cowboy boots, dipped tobacco, belonged to the Future Farmers of America, and groomed cattle for show. Kyle was well liked, Rury told me, but “every now and then” he’d get into a fight. “Chris was not to be challenged,” he said. “He would beat your ass and smile the whole time he was doing it.”….

    He added, “I would rather get my ass beat than look like a p*ssy in front of my boys.”…..

    In January, 2010, Kyle later told friends, he was once again put to the test: two men tried to carjack his truck. He was parked at a gas station, southwest of Dallas. “He told the robbers that he just needed to reach back into the truck to get the keys,” Michael J. Mooney wrote in a recent article about Kyle, in D Magazine. Mooney, who had worked on the piece with Kyle’s coöperation, wrote that Kyle “turned around and reached under his winter coat instead, into his waistband. With his right hand, he grabbed his Colt 1911”—a sidearm that is popular with military personnel. “He fired two shots under his left armpit, hitting the first man twice in the chest. Then he turned slightly and fired two more times, hitting the second man twice in the chest. Both men fell dead.”

    Police officers arrived at the scene. When they ran Kyle’s license, Mooney wrote, something unusual occurred: “Instead of his name, address, and date of birth, what came up was a phone number at the Department of Defense. At the other end of the line was someone who explained that the police were in the presence of one of the most skilled fighters in U.S. military history.” According to Kyle, security cameras documented the episode

    Like Mooney, I also heard many of Kyle’s friends and associates tell this story. Details varied, but the ending was the same: Kyle drove away without being charged and, as Mooney put it in a related blog post, later received “e-mails from police officers all over the country, thanking him for ‘cleaning up the streets.’ ” Mooney never saw the security tape or found other corroborating evidence, such as police files or a coroner’s report for the dead carjackers. “Consider this story confirmed by the man himself,” he wrote in the blog post, in which he described Kyle as a “true American badass” and a “real-life action hero.”

    There is cause to be skeptical. The counties of Erath, Somervell, and Johnson cover the stretch of highway where the incident supposedly happened. Tommy Bryant, the sheriff of Erath County, told me that he could “guar-an-damn-tee it didn’t happen here.” Greg Doyle, the sheriff of Somervell County, said that he had “never heard” the story, which he found “kinda shocking,” and added, “It did not occur here.”…..

    On officers: “Some are good, some are bad. And some are just p*ssies.” On killing: “We were just slaughtering them.” On congressional oversight: “How would they know? They’ve never even been in a combat situation.”)….

    during an interview there, in January, he said of President Obama, “I know he’s definitely against the Second Amendment and he was trying to ban everything.”….

    In the days after Hurricane Katrina, he said, the law-and-order situation was dire. He and another sniper travelled to New Orleans, set up on top of the Superdome, and proceeded to shoot dozens of armed residents who were contributing to the chaos. Three people shared with me varied recollections of that evening: the first said that Kyle claimed to have shot thirty men on his own; according to the second, the story was that Kyle and the other sniper had shot thirty men between them; the third said that she couldn’t recall specific details.

    Had Kyle gone to New Orleans with a gun? Rumors of snipers—both police officers and criminal gunmen—circulated in the weeks after the storm. Since then, they have been largely discredited…..

    Both narratives, however, portray Kyle as if he really were the Punisher, dispensing justice by his own rules. It was possible to see these stories as evidence of vainglory; it was also possible to see them as attempts by a struggling man to maintain an invincible persona…..

  10. says

    It’s based on the autobiography of the late Chris Kyle, also titled American Sniper. Kyle, who served four tours in Iraq, is reportedly American’s most successful military sniper, with 160 confirmed kills. He was killed on February 2, 2013, along with a friend, allegedly by a Marine vet they were trying to help deal with PTSD.

  11. says

    Heh, didn’t type fast enough.

    Kyle’s story about killing carjackers, then being allowed to walk away after a phone call from someone at the DOD, sounds like it was lifted from an action adventure novel. However, in a novel like that the hero would be allowed to walk away because he was on some vital secret mission, not simply because he was a “war hero.” Kyle sounds suspiciously like he was a “legend in his own mind,” to quote a certain police inspector, played by a certain actor and director already mentioned.

  12. says

    I bought the book because the movie commercials made it look like he was just a guy who had a terrible job that needed to be done and he was torn up about it.

    Yeah, he wasn’t. Not by his own words, anyway. Chris Kyle was worried the helicopter he rode into the invasion of Iraq on would get shot down and he wouldn’t get to “smoke anyone”, he was there killing “savages” and was annoyed that the Rules of Engagement wouldn’t let him kill more.

  13. anteprepro says

    And damn, some of those reviews of the movie quoted on the wikipedia page. Your eyes might roll so hard and so rapidly that your brain might set on fire.

    Kyle Smith of the New York Post gave the film four out of five stars, saying “After 40 years of Hollywood counterpropaganda telling us war is necessarily corrupting and malign, its ablest practitioners thugs, loons or victims, American Sniper nobly presents the case for the other side.”[40]

    Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave the film three and a half stars out of four, saying “Bradley Cooper, as Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, and director Eastwood salute Kyle’s patriotism best by not denying its toll. Their targets are clearly in sight, and their aim is true.”

    Rafer Guzman of Newsday gave the film three out of four stars, saying “Cooper nails the role of an American killing machine in Clint Eastwood’s clear-eyed look at the Iraq War.”[44]

    From Rotten Tomatoes

    American Sniper hits on the sniper part of its title, but sadly forgets to talk about the American.

    It’s easily Eastwood’s best film in years-the best since that 2006 double feature-and it’s also the first one that feels pitched specifically to Red State America.

    Would be a peerless film if Clint Eastwood kept to Kyle’s fascinating military career and left out the annoying, under-written personal story.

    Most critics say the film is fairly “balanced”. Nuanced. Shows the “War is hell” angle. Not sure how much to trust that interpretation.

    And it is also noted that, when adapting the book, Eastwood ignores the fact that Chris Kyle was, let’s just say “an unreliable narrator”.

  14. says

    Wait, it’s from Clint Eastwood? Odd, given the very anti-war stance that comes through his films Letters from Iwo Jima and Flags of our Fathers

  15. says

    From the ads I’ve seen, the movie appears to cast this cretin as some sort of remorseful PTSD-victim who regrets the necessary evils he had to do as a soldier and just wants to go home to his family.

    I downloaded and watched American Sniper.
    It does not show him as having any remorse.

    There is a moment… just a moment, of him pausing before shooting a little boy. Afterwards he said something like “I didn’t imagine something like that as my first kill.”

    Other than that, it has a little bit of marital stress as a result of him not dealing with his PTSD – but in NO WAY does it depict that PTSD as having anything to do with regret or trauma over the things he has done. It’s simply about his denial that he is still hypervigilant and stressed. And even that part of the film is minor.

    There is more moral ambiguity in a typical Spielberg film.
    Here, he is portrayed as a totally bad-ass American Hero who was THE BEST at killing the one-dimensional brown enemies, but pays the price for his heroism by needing to learn to chill out a bit at home. And does so by being more of a hero by teaching disabled vets how to be better marksmen.
    As he teaches these disabled vets how to be snipers like him, one in a wheelchair and presumably with genital injuries says “I feel like I got my balls back.”

    And then in the post-text is shown to have heroically given his life taking a traumatized vet to a gun range.

    The movie is utter garbage, Totally one-dimensional, pro-killing, pro-guns, pro-everything-the-USA-does propaganda.

  16. moarscienceplz says

    What do you expect in a film directed by a guy who thinks talking to an empty chair qualifies as political debate?

  17. says

    The American way of war: expensive death from a distance – must be promoted as military courage because, otherwise, people might someday ask “what, exactly, is so brave about a guy with a $40,000 rifle and superior optics shooting someone who has no idea that he’s there at all, from out of visual range?” Gosh, why, it’s almost as brave as calling in airstrikes from A-10s and B-52s! The American way of war is actually incredibly cowardly, but it’s important to portray the people who take the field against all that high tech armor and shit as the cowards – exactly backwards.

  18. congenital cynic says

    I was unaware of this bit of American cinema. I’ll make a point not to see it.

  19. tbtabby says

    They’re portraying this guy as some kind of hero and not as someone who should be in a straight jacket?! Excuse me while I go barf.

  20. throwaway, never proofreads, every post a gamble says


    They’re portraying this guy as some kind of hero and not as someone who should be in a straight jacket?! Excuse me while I go barf.

    Allow me to barf as well. All over your shitty comment maligning the mentally ill as the sole source of violent murderers in the world.

  21. says

    Last year Jesse Ventura successfully sued Chris Kyle for 1.6 million dollars for lying in his autobiography (“American Sniper”) about an encounter between them. This is the book they turned into the movie.

  22. Donnie says

    So, who in Hollywood, or independent films will turn around and make a movie told from the Iraqi’s standpoint. From those involved in the insurrections, and those who were not involved, and how they were sniped down for being brown skinned?

  23. throwaway, never proofreads, every post a gamble says

    tbtabby: You made the statement that this one individuals malevolence is attributable to some sort of mental illness. No, he’s a pretty regular wingnut and what he did he did with the tacit approval of pretty much every asshole who ever said we should glassify the middle-east. These are real sentiments from sane people who are bloodthirsty and ignorant. Your use of mental illness here as the cause of this one man’s malignancy maligns those with mental illness while downplaying the effect of cultural acceptance of barbarism (which there is more evidence for.) Human beings are simply shitty and racist and violent without the need for mental illness OR religion. So kindly keep the comments equating a murdering racist with a crazy person to yourself next time.

  24. bojac6 says

    The only comment by tbtabby is that this guy should be in a straight-jacket, not an accusation of mental illness. While I certainly know the history of these restraints, I think it’s an unfair assumption to leap to the conclusion that he was implying mental illness.
    As many of the things Kyle brags about are criminal, it seems to me that saying he should be arrested is not out of bounds. Kyle was a well trained, remorseless killer, very capable of hurting those around him, with a demonstrated desire to do so. I don’t think it’s a logical leap to say that a man like that should not simply be released in the general prison population, but requires additional restraint.

  25. speed0spank says

    I think its pretty dishonest to say that mental illness is not heavily implied when saying someone needs to be in a straight jacket. When people aren’t implying mental illness they usually say “this person needs to be locked up” or some such that refers to jail, not how they treat the mentally ill.

  26. throwaway, never proofreads, every post a gamble says

    I even at one point had a caveat in my post about whether straitjacket implied mental illness. Then I thought “Nah, no one would be so pedantic as to argue that such isn’t implied.”

    Perhaps a refresher on its history is in order.

    It quite literally has no other connotation other than mental illness.

  27. bojac6 says

    You’re right, it is hard to escape that context of straight jacket. Would it be more acceptable to say “instead of being celebrated, this man sounds like he should have been in prison, and even there was too dangerous to mix with the general population”?