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Critics of American Sniper Chris Kyle Threatened with Violence and Rape Fantasies

‘It was my duty to shoot the enemy, and I don’t regret it. My regrets are for the people I couldn’t save: Marines, soldiers, buddies. I’m not naive, and I don’t romanticize war. The worst moments of my life have come as a SEAL. But I can stand before God with a clear conscience about doing my job’Chris Kyle

A great deal of controversy has arisen as a result of the release of American Sniper, and the behavior of Ex-Navy SEAL and sniper Chris Kyle, whose service in Iraq is portrayed in the film. Here, Clint Eastwood portrays Kyle as a hero in a heroic cause in a film that might come straight out of the Fox News echo chamber.

It is certainly rousing propaganda, putting white and black hats on the adversaries in what was, in truth, a rather murky affair on moral grounds. For Kyle, and thus, for the audience, the Iraqis are bad guys and the Americans are good guys. Kyle doesn’t seem to have thought much beyond this, nor Eastwood. Inexplicably, though Kyle killed, he bragged, some 250 Iraqis, Kyle is the victim.

It seems never to have occurred to Kyle – and probably not to Eastwood – that Kyle was, being the invader who killed indiscriminately, the bad guy in this particular moral tale. It has occurred to others, however, and for conservatives, who as a matter of course seem to embrace that black/white dichotomy, to attack the film is to attack the essence of America itself.

Their response can be violent. Rania Khalek relates for Alternet her own horror story and that of Max Blumenthal for criticizing Chris Kyle, including some truly despicable rape and murder fantasies. Which only serves to bolster the point that murdering people is not particularly heroic.

It is certainly problematic that though International law forbids torture and ethnic cleansing, the Bible not only condones torture but promotes ethnic cleansing. The worst of American behavior during the Iraq War is thus perfectly permissible on a biblical basis but reprehensible according to international law to which the United States is signatory. This includes goings on at Abu Ghraib, Gitmo – and at Fallujah by men like Chris Kyle.

Kyle wrote in his memoir, American Sniper,

Our ROEs [Rules of Engagement] when the [Iraq War] kicked off were pretty simple: If you see anyone from about sixteen to sixty-five and they’re male, shoot ’em. Kill every male you see. That wasn’t the official language, but that was the idea.

So Kyle was ordered, he says, to systematically execute every male between 16 and 65. It happens, as historian Christian Ingrao tells us in his study of intellectuals in the Waffen SS, the German soldiers of the Einsatzgruppen (death squads) also “systematically shot” all “male adult Jews between fifteen and sixty” during the first eight weeks of Barbarossa, Germany’s invasion of Russia in 1941.

It is worthwhile noting that the reasons for these shootings are also similar: “the conviction,” Ingrao relates, that these men “played a role in the violence and insecurity encountered by the groups [Germans] on their arrival in town, the execution…seen as way of keeping order.”

The Germans were shooting potential insurgents. We read in Philly.com for April 29, 2004, that “sniper teams…target anyone suspected of being an insurgent.”

In the last three weeks, two sniper teams attached to the First Battalion, Fifth Marine Regiment, have shot down 90 people who have strayed into their sights. The two teams are part of the 100 Marine sharpshooters deployed by three battalions around the city. One sniper secreted away in another corner of Fallujah has “26 confirmed kills,” military officers here report.

It is certainly a disturbing thought that the security discourse of the American occupiers should so closely resemble that of the Nazi Gestapo and SD (Sicherheitsdienst, or SS Security Service). Men held to be war criminals then and later.

Like some SS men whose accounts have been noted by historians, Chris Kyle admitted to taking great joy in gunning these people down. He said he “loved” it and, and like those SS men, he said felt that his victims were “savages.”

If we step away from Kyle’s scope sight we find his “God and country” sense of morality to be less straightforward, and just how broadly the orders he was given were being interpreted.

The Australian Associated Press reported on April 16, 2004 that,

But the worst form of attack was the US snipers hiding on rooftops who kill hundreds of civilians as they tried to move about the city.

Hundreds. Of civilians.

Not combatants, though there were those too, as the photographic (and other) testimony demonstrates. Fallujah was a battle zone, after all. But civilians. Innocent people who were doing their best to survive under very terrible circumstances, people seeking access to water, to medical care, were killed.

The US has snipers around the city from the West into the center, in houses all around the main streets and are picking off people on the streets, cars and ambulances.

Needless to say, medical personnel – and enemy soldiers – are noncombatants and according to page 5 of Your Conduct in Combat under the Law of War, Pub. No. FM 27-2, published by Headquarters of the Department of the Army (1984), are not to be attacked.

Iraqi’s who lived through the terror testified that “There were so many snipers, anyone leaving their house was killed.”

The Associated Press reported that, “Iraqis said it seemed that just stepping outside or looking out a window at the wrong time could draw sniper fire.”

Chris Kyle bragged about it. Kyle was in accord with Philly.com, which told readers that “There’s no shortage of targets.”

Here is the essential calculus:

Clint Eastwood made a movie about Kyle, celebrating him as both hero and victim.

We hanged the Germans who did what Kyle did. We hanged their superiors too.

And these actions are not excused by claims to have been following orders.

For example, ARTICLE 8 of the Charter of the International Military Tribunal, August 8, 1945, unequivocally states:

The fact that the defendant acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior shall not free him from responsibility, but may be considered in mitigation of punishment if the Tribunal determine that justice so requires.

The indictment of the defendants at Military Tribunal II – Case 9, dealing with the Einsatzgruppen, in Nuremberg on 8 April 1948, states:

The acts charged in Counts I and II of the Indictment are identical in character, but the indictment draws the distinction between acts consisting of offenses against civilian populations including German nationals and nationals of other countries, and the same acts committed as violations of the laws and customs of war involving murder and ill-treatment of prisoners of war and civilian populations of countries under the occupation of Germany.

The Opinion and Judgment tells us that “‘Asiatic inferiors’ was another category destined for liquidation.” Of course, this reminds one of Chris Kyle’s reference to Iraqi civilians as “savages” who he “loved” killing.

We are also informed that, “Although engaged in an ideological enterprise, supposedly undertaken on the highest ethnic and cultural level, executants of the program were not above the most petty and loathsome thievery.”

I mention this because Chris Kyle bragged about looting Iraqi apartments in Fallujah:

“To me, the home I was in was just another part of the battlefield. The apartments and everything in them were just things to be used to accomplish our goal—clearing the city.” He even put a baby crib “to good use” as a rifle platform. Then he started “rummaging through the complex to see if I could find any cool shit—money, guns, explosives. The only thing I found worth acquisitioning was a handheld Tiger Woods game.”

We are fighting a war on behalf of the Iraqi people and he is stealing their “cool shit.” “Acquisitioning,” he calls it. The law calls it stealing. So, as it happens, does the military.

The US Soldier’s Manual (1984) cited above, for example, states, on page 23:

When searching dwellings in enemy towns or villages, do not take nonmilitary items. Theft is a violation of the laws of war and US law. Stealing private property will make civilians more likely to fight you or to support the enemy forces. You do not want to have to fight both the enemy armed forces and civilians.

Oh the irony…

It is important to note here that Einsatzgruppe C also proudly reported on its accomplishments [plundering] in Korowo in September of 1941.

The verdict of the Nuremberg tribunal is clear:

“It was plain banditry and highway robbery.”

Certainly, nobody is naïve enough to think that things like this do not take place in every war. American soldiers during WWII were also guilty of atrocities, including gunning down prisoners of war, murder and rape of civilians, plundering and looting, and so forth.

Just as importantly, that does not make it right on either a moral or a legal basis.

Bad enough that in the wake of Iraq war torture revelations, we are afflicted with what is, in essence, a Bush-era propaganda film by the guy who talks to empty chairs as though evidence of his own mental instability calls President Obama’s competence into question.

But there is sad irony in the fact that critics of Chris Kyle are threatened with acts of unspeakable violence because they accused Chris Kyle of acts of unspeakable violence, as though we as American should be proud of the atrocities committed in our name.

References:

Christian Ingrao, Believe & Destroy: Intellectuals in the SS War Machine. Malden, MA: Polity Press, 2013.

View Comments

  • Who is this stupid broad Donna? Nice mouth. You must come from the Sarah Palin school of speaking for idiots. You certainly are not Christian. I think you are closet muslim. Murder is murder, no matter why or who. We are the idiots who invaded Iraq. Bush is our Saddam.

    • Bebe, how would it look if you called her a closet Jew? And damned few Muslims I have known would have that kind of dirty mouth. Before you use this kind of aspersion again, you think about what you're feeding into.

      • I do not retract my comment regarding donna. She certainly
        esposouses the muslim agenda of hate, murder and violence towards women.

        BTW, I have thanked many service people, but not a one was so proud of the sins they committed as these jerks.
        No wonder they're killing us. Paybacks a bitch.

        • You think about it. You have just accused over a billion and a half people of hate,murder,and violence towards women. Wasn't it bad enough to level such accusations towards six million? And are you not then saying that the wholesale slaughter of civilians is then justified,so long as they belong to, or one day will grow up to belong to, this group of a billion and a half terrible people? I don't think that was what you meant to say; if it wasn't, please narrow it down next time.

    • The U.S. not only invaded Iraq but them either killed, maimed, or imprisioned anyone that resisted.
      Welcome to the United States of the Oligarchs--- the New World Order s coming to a city near you.

  • American Sniper is for all the wimpy tiny penised American gunnut killers. Donna is really a man in drag - quite ugly(your safe Donna -your face could scare a muslim into Christianity).

  • Theres a special place in hell for lowlifes like donna and chris kyle. Why any woman would say those things to another woman makes me think donna is really a wimpy man hiding behind a stupid woman.

    donna asshole a teer or assholeater.

    • From all of us "lowlifes" who went over, you are welcome.
      It is easy to sit behind a television and see the "atrocities" that Americans are doing, but like most news stories, you only get the "good bits", and not the whole story.
      Do I feel bad for the people I shot? no I don't. When the question came up to engage or not engage a target, easiest answer was the one that kept me and our guys alive.
      Would I go over again, damn straight I would. I loved my role in Iraq. Every day we rolled out knowing we were going to get blown up, or in a fire fight. But that was our mission, to clear the roads of IED's placed by your "non-combatants"
      Step into our shoes and then decide you would not engage after you see your brothers die.

      • Tim, you had no legitimate reason for being there in the first place. Iraq had nothing to do with 911. You are a murderous, gung-ho moron, who put his own dick in the blender and lacks the courage to face his failings. A gun does not make you a man, You will never justify your actions. If you face a god and judgement, you will burn.

        • Tim was were his commander told him to go. We all know Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 but Bush ordered our troops into Iraq. All of the guys are trained to do the job required of them. If you want to spout off ask your God to forgive you for accusing someone of not doing the job the job they were supposed to do.

        • First off, I do not remembering saying there was a legitimate reason for being there, do I agree with the 9/11 story, also no. and second, since you know me so well, you would know calling me a "murderous, gung-ho moron" is pretty far from the truth. I was a power generation tech an actual non-combat role, who thanks to the privatization of base operations was thrown into a combat role, with no training on the mission, tactics or equipment. I had no want for combat, but when the rounds were coming I stepped up and did what I had to do. Not for God or Country, but for my fellow soldiers. And while you sleep safely in your bed at night you can breathe in all the hate you want for me and my brothers, it is because of our actions overseas that scare the shit out of our enemies and prevent them from taking your sad pathetic life.

        • bobo our military was in a precarious situation. For you to summarily condemn them is wrong. Your anger is, however, at Cheney, bush, Addington, john too, faith, and the right wing noise and hate machine.

      • It's sure an even battle when one side can deploy their version of IEDs (Industrial-military-complex Explosive Devices) on their opponents cities and homes using a joystick and a computer monitor.

      • Do one better. Think of not being there at all. It was complete bullshit and you are saying Americans died for something. They didnt. They and you want(and need to) think you did, but you didnt. Stop stepping on peoples graves

      • I don't for a minute think everybody that went over there was like Chris Kyle. I am certain there were decent men and women there, serving with honor. But certain behaviors are illegal, both here and according to international law, according to standards we signed off on at Nuremberg.

      • Tim - am sorry you were sent on a farse mission by criminals bush and cheney and rice and rumsfeld. You were their pawn. Why do you think you were sent there? Ya know, the first thing they planned for there was takeover of oil fields under the guise of protecting it, but had a Koch guy all lined up to steal from them. You were Americas ISIL.BTW, not thanking.

      • My son is an Iraq vet with two Purple Hearts. He went over there full of "patriotism", and came back sorrowfully aware of what we were really doing over there. Invading, killing, and destroying.

        • I, too, have seen more than one come back riddled with regret and violence. Maybe thats why 20 of em are killing themselves a DAY! That blood is on bush administration.

          Chris Kyle seems to be in denial, unable to accept his fate.
          What bothers me is the fact that our kids were sent there by a group of draft dodgers who are cowards, but its ok for your kid to die, just not theirs/them.
          Bush AND Cheney were dodgers along with loads of gotp supporters Flush, Teddy poopypants wimp, Willard evil rat, Donny Rump, O'reilly. The cowards ready to kill our kids.

        • I am sorry your Son had to be involved Fireman. Let him from now on stand strong for his convictions, and teach his children the same.
          I am lucky this time around, not having any member of family called. Not so in past actions of war.
          I say to your Son,and all others who learned this hard lesson, Thanks!

      • I'm sorry to have to inform you that you are not fighting for freedom or democracy, but instead to preserve the wealth of those in power. Our government lied to the American people and we entered into a 'war' for OIL. Just like Vietnam was for Heroine. We have not been in a real 'war' that defended 'freedom' since WWII. Don't try to wrap it in a flag because even those vets who came back to nothing will tell you that it is all lies. What Kyle did he did because he liked it. He is a war criminal and any soldier who violates the Geneva Convention and any article of war is a war criminal. I do not thank those who have no honor. And I know enough about the Middle East and its history to know that our addiction to oil and the fact that men like Cheney make money from the pain of innocent people and the destruction of these countries. I hate to break it to you, you are a pawn, not a soldier.

      • No blame in my book goes to the troops - it is all the voters fault. But no, I do not feel the need to thank the troops. We have a volunteer army. It was a dumb war at best an at worst an outright invasion that has successfully destabilized Iraq for the foreseeable future. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis are dead because of this and there are likely many more to come.

        The American veterans get movies and medals, the Iraqis got a wiped out country that is consuming itself. Again, I do not hold the soldiers at fault. But geez we spent trillions on Iraq and the additional amount on VA spending will be with us for decades.

        Maybe next unprovoked invasion no one shows up? Would have saved us loads of trouble.

        • The republicans start wars, do not pay for them, then blame the debt they created on the next president.

          But I agree to a point. I will thank the troops for going, even though being sent there wasn't their idea. Many of them think that Iraq was involved in 9/11, but that says little for how American media cant tell the truth

          The number killed and wounded tells me we have to thank them

      • I would rather hear that we, did NOT belong in this war at all TIM.
        In History this nation has forever joined the ranks of tortures, killers of innocents, Not defenders of freedom.

    • That is so true! They're always screaming about genitalia. They fear the vagina which is why theyre terrified of Hillary castrating their manhood by beating them in '16

  • How dare you call me violent!!! I am not violent!!! And if you call me violent I'll beat the poop out of you!!!

      • Another distinction observed in the breach, these days, is that if you begged someone to do or not do this or that, you pleaded, but if you wrote a pleading or took a plea, then you pled.

    • JustADumbFireman, a terrific commentor IMHO, points out what his sons went through, and yet 2 people give "no way." To those two, wtf?!? Why don't YOU go there so we can criticize how you feel after deployment?

      He also points out a grammatical error, and 3 people say 'no way.' Read about that usage, alright?

      Someone could say 2+2=4 or that water is wet, and there will be trolls who say no.

  • I really think the Abrahamic religions need to go somewhere and fight it our without involving the rest of us.

    As a retired military officer, I find the behavior condoned by today's officers appalling. Torture, abuse and disloyalty.

  • Unfortunately, there are some on the right who seem to have a moral compass stuck on fascist. (If you don't condone murder, you "blame America.")

  • Snipers have been feared and hated since the invention of long rifles. They are treated with special contempt and barbarity if captured. Spies may get a trial, snipers will get summary judgement and an ugly death. I supported our troops even while being repulsed by the Bush/Cheney manufactured wars, but I cannot support this. This is a war crime. Period. I'm sure Cheney whole heartedly supports this systematic murder as well, without even stopping to think of the adverse effects and enemy recruiting bonanza this kind of warfare(?) produces. It takes a special kind of sociopathic mentality to brag about killing so many people-without even knowing their political views. No doubt the vast majority were innocents. Oh well, right? Collateral damage and all that. Wonder what it feels like to watch someones head explode through a high powered scope? Guess to some of these misanthropes it gets addicting. Other than the uniform, they're no different than Gacy or Dahmer.

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