My Problem with American Sniper – Kyle Isn’t the Problem. Eastwood Is

by Scott Creighton

I hate the damn savages,” Chris Kyle

So I’m doing research on Chris Kyle the “American Sniper” and I come across an interview he did on the Conan show to promote his book. Chris is wearing a shirt with the logo for his company, a Punisher skull with the cross-hairs focused on it’s eye with blood dripping off it. Kind of a gruesome bit of self promotion, but no one ever said the guy who claims to have been the best sniper in American history was above that sort of thing.

Savage, despicable evil. That’s what we were fighting in Iraq. That’s why a lot of people, myself included, called the enemy ‘savages.’ There really was no other way to describe what we encountered there.” Chris Kyle

As the interview goes along, Kyle is self-effacing making light of his “accomplishments” claiming all the tech he used while in combat kind of made him just “a monkey on a gun”. He comes across as likeable in the interview while his civilian history away from the camera’s gaze is far less commendable.

At one point he calls Conan “sir” and Conan, being the ever-aware sycophant to the establishment line, stops Kyle mid-sentence and tells him “You don’t have to call me sir. I’m a talk show host. I’m here (he holds his hand 12 inches off the desk) and you’re up here (holds his other hand way up in the air)”

The audience laughs and applauds dutifully.

In another interview, Chris boasted about punching a 63 year old man in the face and “running away” because he didn’t like what he said about the war effort. As disturbing as that boast was, more disturbing is the fact that he may have made it up.

He (Ventura) told us we were killing innocent people over there, men, women, children, that we were all murderers. Then he said we deserved to lose a few guys. … I punched him in the face. Jesse Ventura, he’s an older guy. … He went down … He fell out of his wheelchair.” Chris Kyle

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We can agree that Chris Kyle was a flawed individual who benefited from the “all soldiers are heroes” propaganda which has been prevalent in the wake of 9/11 as the endless war on terror rages on from country to country, village to village.

He was made that way by a system that corrupts the patriotic and the brave so they can use them in life, use them in death, to advance the causes only the elites profit from. This in a way is the curse of this empire on the citizens it is supposed to serve. One of many.

But what Clint Eastwood’s film American Sniper has done is find a way to use Chris Kyle just one more time post-mortem  for that same elite-serving purpose.

The fact that Clint himself is a multimillionaire member of that tiny 1% circle that benefits from these excursions belies the ugly nature of the man I once respected if only for his body of work.

Clint just pissed on the memory of Chris Kyle and in doing so, soiled his own legacy as an artist and a man.

Nothing anyone could write about Chris could come close to the insult Eastwood heaped upon his legacy. And whatever problem I might have with the choices Chris made, that’s my problem with the film.

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