"History is indeed little more than the register of the crimes, follies and misfortunes of mankind." ~ Edward Gibbon
American Sniper: Hero, Psychopath or Mass Murderer?
If Chris Kyle and Clint Eastwood Are Your Heroes, Tip a Toast to Occupiers Everywhere. Especially That Mexican Guy at the Alamo.
Column by Douglas Herman.
Exclusive to STR
Chris Kyle is gonna win an Oscar later this month. Or the actor playing his part, Bradley Cooper. More than just a film about a misunderstood warrior, coward, killing machine or patriot (pick one), “American Sniper” has polarized America. And the American people and the mainstream media love it.
Hollywood documentary maker Michael Moore dared to refer to snipers as “cowards” and was blasted on Twitter. Bill Maher called Chris Kyle a “psychopath patriot” and was predictably blasted. Rapper Kid Rock quickly blasted both critics, in his flag-waving, clever disguise as some sort of singer super patriot. Naturally, none of that trio of celebs ever served in any military, or protected our freedoms by killing a bunch of brown people so tough guys could tweet their support.
Like movie tough guy, Clint Eastwood. In his nearly 60 year Hollywood career, Eastwood has pocketed hundreds of millions of dollars as a violent avenger. US veteran Eastwood actually served in the US Army. He served in sunny SoCal as a lifeguard during the Korean War. A lifeguard. So naturally, tough guy Eastwood made a movie about a guy who claimed to have killed 255 people – in a fit of violent, self-righteous vengeance masquerading as patriotism, spread over a ten year span.
Hollywood rarely realizes, and Eastwod is a prime example, that it takes a lot more quiet courage to make a real hero. Like the kind typified by Vietnam veteran Ron Ridenhour. Ron tried to bring the world’s attention to the My Lai massacre long before Seymour Hersh.
As a US veteran and a Hollywood scriptwriter, I know there are many hundreds, if not thousands, of worthy subjects like Ron Ridenhour for movies. Instead we get a movie about a braggart Texan who took delight in shooting “savages” in an embattled mud brick city. Texan Chris Kyle, like most Americans, must never have heard about the real Alamo.
Alamo Parallel Too Ironic to Overlook
Imagine what the Alamo must have looked like after the battle. Bodies strewn everywhere; the stench overpowering in the Texas heat. Same for the City of Mosques (Fallujah) where Kyle tallied some of his score of corpses. Dogs and vultures chewing on the mangled carcasses before they were buried or burned. Smashed adobe walls; wreckage and rubble smoldering while scavengers picked through the ruins in both places.
The pitiful, lightly armed insurgents hardly had a chance in either place. They were outgunned and outnumbered--and just about to become martyrs in the mythical legend that passes for history. Wiped out by overpowering forces, while opposing superior firepower.
According to American history, which every TEXAN knows, except perhaps Chris Kyle and his apologists, the fighters at the Alamo died brave men in the pursuit of self-determination. But in all fairness to Mexican General Santa Anna, the legal claims of the upstart Texans--terrorists or patriots, depending on your viewpoint - had less legitimacy to the Alamo than the embattled Iraqis at Ramadi or Fallujah. Most of the Alamo defenders were foreigners, new immigrants to the West. Arguably, the Mexican army had every right to smash the insurgents under the boot heel of superior firepower and prior ownership claims. Santa Anna did not need phony intelligence reports or fake propaganda, or inflammatory sound bites. Santa Ana had far more right to destroy so-called Texans in the Alamo than the US had to destroy Iraq or the Union Army had to destroy the South.
Ambition As Satan
“All these acts will be punished by death, if the perpetrators can be found. And if they cannot, I will destroy the property of all who sympathize with the southern rebellion.” So wrote Union General Ormsby MacKnight Mitchel as he occupied Huntsville, Alabama in 1862.
And the Union Army scorched earth and destroyed lives throughout the South as they did in Iraq only recently. Legalized Smash & Grab.
“Ambition as Satan rides through our camps and takes possession of our generals and colonels and majors,” wrote Emil Frey, a Swiss citizen serving with the Union Army in occupied Huntsville. “Each wants to perform a feat, and be it only the capture of one man or taking of one flintlock gun. It is considered an act of bravery to have shot a Southern gentleman off his horse or off a locomotive.*”
An Act of Bravery. Somewhere at this moment, teenage boys are playing single-shooter video games, programmed, propagandized and being prepared to become the next Chris Kyle.
More Oscars For War on Terror?
Certainly Chris Kyle will earn Clint Eastwood another couple of Oscars. And as the American empire wanes, moviegoers can ponder their demise at warp speed. Those who pay no mind as their country goes down will pay a far heavier price when it finally falls. Influential artists like Eastwood are not the problem, not even the symptom, but more exactly a reflection of our “exceptional” Smash & Grab system.
When people like Chris Kyle are honored as a hero for killing 255 foreigners, this country is closer to complete moral demise, and perhaps deservedly so. “Americans are a dead people that history is about to run over,” wrote former US Assistant Treasury official, Paul Craig Roberts.
“The truth is he was a bad guy told to do bad things by other bad guys,” wrote Ian Bell of Chris Kyle. “By his own admission, he enjoyed doing bad things and the only confusion lies in why some people think the bad guys who told him to do bad things are good guys.”
Meanwhile, Hollywood power brokers plan to make not one but TWO possible Bowe Bergdahl movies in the near future. You know Bowe, right? The US Army deserter who walked away in Afghanistan and allegedly got several of his buddies killed looking for him. Judging from the box office success of “American Sniper,” a cinema slaughterfest certain to surpass a half billion in gross worldwide, more war movies are on the way!
Think “Call of Duty” meets “Taken.”
The above quotes from the Civil War were taken from the book Incidents of the War/The Civil War Journal of Mary Jane Chadick.