January 21, 2015

American Sniper: A Fighting Marine’s Response to the Critics

Last weekend the movie American Sniper, the story of US Navy SEAL Christopher Scott Kyle (April 8, 1974 – February 2, 2013) opened in theatres across the nation. In recent days negative comments have been directed toward the movie coming from certain Hollywood elites. Some have responsed to the critics.  I think my son, Peter, (USMC Cpl. Infantry, 2010-2014) pictured below, has said very well what many veterans and/or American patriots might believe is an appropriate response to critics of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle and by extension criticism of all US military personnel past, present and yet to come to our nation’s defense. From Peter's FaceBook he wrote,


Upper Gershak Valley, Afghanistan 2011
I have yet to see American Sniper, and probably won’t see it, but if anyone has a problem with Chris Kyle, if you think he was some kind of sociopath or racist, I have an offer for you. Send me your address and I’ll FedEx you my size 10.5 Belleville boots that saw two deployments to Afghanistan. Go ahead and put them on, lace them up, and take a stroll for a mile or so. Maybe you’ll see things a little differently.

In other words, or if that metaphor went over your head, you have no right to judge a man until you’ve walked a mile in his boots, especially when you’ve never left the comfort and safety of the blanket of protection that other, better men than you have provided. You don’t know why men volunteer to go to war; you don’t know all that they did, or how the things they did make them feel. You haven’t seen the savagery and barbarism that they’ve witnessed. And before you rant about the atrocities done to Iraqis and Afghans at the hands of Americans (unfortunately, such has happened), perhaps you should do a little research into what the Taliban and Al Qaeda have done to their own people. They are not “freedom fighters;” freedom fighters don’t hide behind their women, and send children out as suicide bombers. Their cause and their actions are as ignoble as you purport the American cause to be. In my short time as a United States Marine, the only civilian casualties I witnessed had been killed or wounded by the Taliban, not coalition forces.


Combat action: Taliban ambush (26/6/11)
Simply put, if you’ve never been to war, your opinion on war and its fighters counts for precisely nothing. You can have your opinion, sure. It’s a free country. But know that it is an ill-informed, ignorant opinion because you have no experience in the matter. Chris Kyle was not perfect, and he surely had his faults. But he was a genuine American hero, and I will defend him no matter what because when our nation was at war, he stepped forward to serve. And if it wasn’t for the millions of men and women who, like Chris Kyle, volunteered to fight, millions of others would have been conscripted and forced to fight anyway. For that, you owe him nothing less than your respect. Now carry on.


Peter was decorated for heroism in combat during his first deployment to Afghanistan (2011).  Presently he is a full-time student at Purdue University.  His younger brother, Jonathan, is in the US Navy, petty officer 2nd class, MM(N)3, aboard the nuclear submarine USS Topeka (SSN-754).

9 comments:

  1. I was a soldier too, during the Gulf War. I never saw combat though or faced the decisions Chris had to make but I do understand them and had prepared myself to make them if need arised.

    I concur with his response to the following situation. Though it's not prefect, the alternative seems so much worse. These are the kind of dilemmas we face in our sin stained world and as a soldier I'd like to think I'd have done the same thing if I had been in his boots.


    --
    He shot a woman approaching a group of Marines with a hand grenade in her hand. As ordered, he opened fire, killing the woman before she could attack. He later stated, "the woman was already dead. I was just making sure she didn't take any Marines with her."
    --

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    1. Stephen:

      Good to hear from you. I look at the service rendered by Chris Kyle, including taking out that terrorist woman, along the same lines as I do the atomic bombs we dropped on Japan: American lives were saved.

      On a personal note: like Chris Kyle your service Stephen, on behalf of our nation, is greatly appreciated.


      Lou

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  2. Thanks for this, Lou. Yes, Kyle's work as a sniper was predicated on killing those who were murdering or were going to murder, others. It is a just killing of those who were going to kill, unjustly.

    AG

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    1. Thanks for that input Alex. The sniper, and all military personnel, ought to do unto the enemy before the enemy does unto us.

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  3. Lou, thank you for publishing this timely post! I have read the book "American Sniper," and I believe Chris Kyle was in every way a true American hero. It is absolutely sickening to hear the criticisms from the arm chair quarterbacks regarding the rigors of war. Even some Christians piously opine that the Gospel's power is enough to conquer all evil. Of course, the Bible reveals that human government is for the punishment of "evil doers," and that defense of country is a required function of government. Missionary history bears testimony to the truth that military boots often must precede the "beautiful feet" of those who preach the Gospel in hostile countries. I honor and thank your son for his service to our country. And I believe, with him, that Chris Kyle was a true patriot and American hero.

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    1. Pastor Monte:

      It is an encouragement to hear from you and read your comments. Thanks for recognizing my son's service in the Marine Corps on behalf of our nation.


      Lou

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  4. It is indeed a travesty that some in America would try to make the moral equivalence argument concerning what Chris Kyle did and what the likes of Al-Qaeda or the Taliban did. They are not equivalent acts. They aren't even in the same ball field. As a "Navy brat" of a career enlisted man and one who considered Navy service until the Lord directed otherwise, and one who has family members in the military, they hold my highest esteem and gratitude. Their service today is vastly different than what I saw in my father's day. They deserve our gratitude and thankfulness and I thank your sons, Lou, for their service to our country. War is never pretty and the scars left on the men who serve and do the work of war are truly things that most of us will never fully comprehend. Thankfully we have a God Who does know, understands, and can pour His balm unto those scars and bring healing.

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  5. I have read the book and seen the movie. Other than the language, both are excellent. Bradley Cooper was fantastic!

    Kyle freely admits he has his flaws, but it isn't about whether or not he was perfect. What I clearly saw was a man driven by his values of God, County, Family and standing up to evil & protecting the innocent. He believed what he did protected his family at home and saved American lives He was a man driven by his values and courageously stood up to defend them.

    What he had to do as his job as a SEAL sniper, I say, Bravo! What our men & women so often must confront over there is absolutely pure evil incarnate.

    If there is such a thing as a man's man and what it means to be a true American hero, then Chris Kyle embodies that picture perfectly.

    I don't worship this man, but from his life there is much to be proud of as an American, to learn about myself, and to consider as I raise my own boys.

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    1. I appreciate your input here. We're all grateful for the sacrifice made by our armed forces on behalf of our nation and personal freedoms.

      Kind regards,


      LM

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