By MARC McDONALD
Clint Eastwood's blockbuster film, American Sniper purports to tell the story of real-life U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle. But this is nonsense. The movie character actually has little in common with the real-life Kyle, who was a twisted, bigoted, dishonest person who (in his 2012 memoir) wrote that killing Iraqis was "fun."
What kind of person says that killing people is "fun"? (Well, outside of Jack the Ripper-type sociopaths?)
People like this aren't heroes. They certainly shouldn't have a place in our nation's military.
As the U.K. Guardian noted, Kyle had nothing but contempt for Iraqis. "I hate the damn savages," he wrote. "I couldn't give a flying fuck about the Iraqis."
But just who were the real "savages"?
After all, it was Bush's thugs who operated sinister CIA "black sites" where people were tortured. People who'd never been tried or convicted of anything faced horrific abuse.
When the Iraqis took up arms against the invading U.S. forces, it took the Bush team by surprise. After all the Bush people had claimed we'd be "greeted as liberators." The NeoCons also claimed the war would be over only in a matter of weeks.
Instead, as the war began to drag on and on and a vicious Iraqi insurgency arose, the NeoCons were stunned. But they really shouldn't have been.
As it turns out, the Iraqis were a proud people. Sure, many of them hated Saddam. But they hated occupying foreign armies even more.
And the Iraqis saw what was really going on (even if the typical Fox "News" viewing idiot didn't). That is, the real point of the war had nothing to do with the non-existent WMD. And it had even less to do with the Bush team's lofty talk about "freedom" and "democracy."
Instead, it was clear that the war was really all about stealing Iraq's oil for Dick Cheney's billionaire cronies.
Even if misinformed Americans didn't grasp this truth, the rest of the world did (not least the Iraqi people).
After all, the Iraqis knew that Bush's WMD claims were bullshit. The Iraqis saw first-hand how when the invading U.S. forces entered Baghdad, they raced to the Iraqi oil ministry building. The massive building was immediately put under round-the-clock surveillance by troops and was surrounded by 50 tanks, while sharpshooters were positioned on the roof and windows.
Meanwhile, in the growing chaos, Iraq's museums, banks, hotels and libraries were ransacked (or burned). Priceless ancient Iraqi manuscripts went up in flames. But the oil ministry remained secure.
Thus, it was clear to any Iraqi with eyes what the real point of the war was.
None of this seemed to bother Chris Kyle, though. To him, the Iraqis were savages and had no right to fight back against an invading army. To Kyle, shooting Iraqis with a sniper's rifle from a rooftop was like one big PlayStation video game. It was "fun."
In this respect, Kyle was actually quite a bit like George W. Bush. Both men were incurious types. Both men often went with their guts. Both men were absolutely 100 percent convinced of how right they were. (One recalls the memorable press conference where Bush was astonishingly unable to recall any mistakes that he'd made after 9/11).
Kyle and Bush also had one other big thing in common. They were both liars.
Kyle made all kinds of grand claims that never held up to scrutiny. For example, he made unlikely claims about killing looters during Hurricane Katrina that were never substantiated. He also made claims against Navy veteran Jesse Ventura that turned out to be bullshit. (Ventura later won a hefty defamation lawsuit against Kyle).
Ventura continues to slam Kyle's memoir as untrue. "The book is not a true story," Ventura said in a recent podcast. "The book had fabrication and fiction written into it."
Kyle remains a hero to millions of people (mostly Bush-loving wingnuts who continue to still insist the Iraq War was a righteous enterprise). Frankly, a lot of these people scare me. If you read the recent hate-filled, bigoted comments of people who've criticized Kyle (like Michael Moore) it's clear that a lot of these people are as twisted as their hero.
Kyle may be a hero to some. But to me, he's not. People who claim that killing people is "fun" have no fucking place in the U.S. military.