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26 January 2015

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Nancy K

A lot of American men are couch warriors. They would never volunteer to serve but they love playing war games and watching war movies.. It is sort of like the thrill of porn only bloodier. Now that this movie has made so much money we can expect many more of this type. We would probably be seeing American Sniper 2, 3 etc., except he was killed. How ironic that he was shot by a solider with PTSD at a shooting range in the US.
I don't dislike all war movies. My husband and I just watched Patton again. I don't know how realistic it is but I really enjoy Scott's portrayal of General Patton.

makosog

"And why is the American public so mad for this film?..."

Welcome to what 'liberalism' has become, Col. Lang. Even we Conservatives were at a loss.

One of the reason might be the libs were not expecting the film to be a HUGE blockbuster at the tills...

Swami Bhut Jolokia

The adulation comes from those who Fallows calls the 'chicken-hawks'. Even a civilian like me knows war is an ugly business, and there is a huge divide between the military class and the population at large. This is not a good thing. And is one of the reasons I read this blog.

William Fitzgerald

Pat Lang,

I do. Your observed paradox embodies the logic of hype, propaganda, and public relations. I do plan to see the film, since going to the movies is one of my favorite things. I must observe, echoing something I read the other day, that we seem to be awash in good cause biopic films that seem to get into the awards mill ahead of more deserving ones. "The Grand Budapest Hotel" was my favorite of this year's output.

WPFIII

The Moar You Know

"And now we have this adulation for a man who was an effective, efficient killing machine."

The vocal fervor and adulation is coming from a very small subsection of one of the two political "sides" in this country, and at that, a subsection that deliberately has kept themselves from knowing anything about the real Chris Kyle.

I think a large subset of America has a desperate need to turn the Iraq disaster into a "win", or least get some payback for them killing so many of our people on camera for entertainment/propaganda, hence the untoward level of enthusiasm for a film that is essentially nothing but two hours of a guy shooting Iraqis. I get that. I get that totally. Hell, if we dropped a fusion bomb on Mecca during the hajj I'd stand up and cheer along with a LOT of my fellow Americans, including quite a few of my fellow liberals.

But that's not a very constructive response to anything, and I'm glad we haven't.

Also, both my father and father-in-law fought in Vietnam. I never saw people "turn their backs" but nobody wanted to talk about it, my father especially. What little he has said about it implies he saw a very poorly planned war, a lot of guys killed unnecessarily (he flew a lot of medevac) and a rather large amount of corruption. I know he was glad to leave the service.

Medicine Man

I think a good portion of the public regards war as a kind of team sport and the subject of this film as a star athlete. This framing is made easier on account of the lead character not being around complicating things by being alive. Or perhaps I oversimplify. I don't know. I really don't have an answer for you, Col. I suspect a great number of your countrymen would rather canonize heroes than contemplate the bigger picture of that war.

Amir

Because violence, an exercise of power similar to porn, makes them feel good. "couch-violence" is even better, considering it surely isn't expected to be reciprocated.

Additionally, the moral whitewashing, of that criminal exercise, makes one feel less ashamed of one's passive acquiesce and defers responsibility.

kao_hsien_chih

I am curious about people's reaction to the film, too. From both sides. The movie seems to be about (regardless of the real person on whom the main character is based on) a decent enough, but simple/simplistic soul who is going slowly crazy. That seems reasonable enough topic for a movie, and not something that I'd think qualifies as adulation. But both those who love and hate the movie seem to take it for granted that it is adulation....

Ishmael Zechariah

Col. Lang,

Your comments reminded me of a great cartoon by Bill Mauldin with the caption "That can't be no combat man. He's lookin' fer a fight!". The cartoon is @ (http://flgrube1.tripod.com/id306.html ); about 8 pages down. It also reminded me of one other tough figure who evaded combat due to other priorities, but got joy out of shooting pen-raised birds...

Seems like REMFs have taken over the world.

Ishmael Zechariah

turcopolier

TMYK

"I never saw people "turn their backs"" I guess you were not looking very hard. "Corruption?" The Vietnamese were "corrupt" in a normal Asian kind of way , but the US military was not "corrupt" in VN. pl

oth

According to the movie, literally, there was 9/11 and then Chris Kyle went to kill the 150 Iraqis responsible for it in Technicolor. Why shouldn't Real Americans be stoked about it?

Pretty sure the last generation thinks Rambo and Forest Gump won Vietnam.

Tyler

A lot of it has to do with lack of nuance. There's no 'pity them' sort of undertone you usually see. Trigger gets pulled. The hadji goes boom. Yay America.

The Left's response, though, has been pretty over the top. I imagine a lot of that has to do with the total bomb of Selma (Oprah's fanfiction about evil racist LBJ trying to stop the CRA was pretty lol though) at the box office. Once again, MLK falls to a sniper.

Just more evil white man nonsense from the Left and their fellow travelers like Moore and Rogan. Moore's greatest challenge he's faced is fitting in a commercial airliner seat,but he thinks he is qualified to be a moral voice, hah!

Kyle seems to fit the die of most snipers I met: self promoters, arrogant, and with a tendency to embellish. So be it. He completed SEAL training so there was something there. I don't say the above as a negative, but more in response to,the God Holy image some commentstors have built up of him.

The snipers I knew in the regular Army were good at PT and looked good in Class As, but thought they were too good for things like foot marches and LPOPs. When I am not posting from a phone Ill tell a story about the stuff the battalion snipers pulled in Iraq.

Swampy

IMO, one of the better reviews of the film. He gives good answers for why this film is so (surprisingly so for some) popular.

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/395532/american-sniper-thank-you-your-stunt-armond-white

BabelFish

Interesting reactions outside SST. Michael Moore, in particular, spewing pure idiocy. Seth Rogen and Bill Mahr needing surgeons to get their feet out of their mouths.

I saw the movie and thought Clint Eastwood had done his job. You go to a movie to be manipulated. If you are laughing at holes in the plot, improbable events, stupid special effects then the movie failed. IMO, he created a canvas that showed the deterioration of a good man, as the stress of his experience took an inevitable toll on him. On that canvas, I have read interpretations that go from 'right wing pro-war movie' to pushing the agenda of the right. I saw none of that. I believe he tried to show a balance, as best he could, of all the manifestations of war on people.

As to the adulation, I continue to believe there is deep national shame over the treatment of those who fought and served in VN. Hell, I even heard Whoopi Goldberg admonishing people apposed to Desert Storm to not reject or disrespect the troops doing the fighting.

Abu Sinan

Colonel,

My father was an enlisted med. in Southeast Asia during the war. He got out, got his Bachelor's and then went into the Air Force as an officer. My mother was a nurse in the Army back in the days when you got booted out for getting pregnant. Her military service ended when she got pregnant with my brother.

I grew up with stories from my father about being spit on and cursed at when he came home. I dont think it is something he ever understood or ever got over.

As to the movie, I havent seen it but from reading about it, it seems like a straight up and down movie. We were good, "they" were bad and this guy killed a lot of "them". It doesnt seem to require much in the way of thinking and no nuanced thought. A step up from Rambo, Eastwood directed it after all, but not much more.

I read recently that some 45% of Americans still think Iraq played a role in 9/11, so this is another way of Americans thinking that we somehow made the "rag heads" pay. This role did not even attempt to get into the flawed logic behind the war, the one trillion dollars plus that we paid for it, as well as the million Iraqis killed, nor anything about the invasion's role in the formation of ISIL.

A straight up and down shooter. We have always loved these types of movies, from John Wayne, to Rambo, and Eastwood himself. It is a lot like many Americans like their politics and foreign policy. No need for nuance or facts, just us and "them".

JM Gavin

I don't find that remotely ironic. Just tragic.

shepherd

On a related topic, I once helped with research on a forgettable movie called Enemy at the Gates. It told the story of master sniper Vasily Zaitzev. He supposedly shot something like a zillion Germans at Stalingrad. The movie, if I remember correctly, depicts him killing people eating lunch. His German antagonist, of course, kills children. Needless to say, neither the Russians nor Germans cared much for the film.

I have my doubts that the real Zaitzev shot anything except billiards. He was a jolly, old, fat guy and a polished storyteller. If anyone can confirm/deny I’d be interested in knowing.

Kunuri

I love a war movie, no matter how badly made, but this movie somehow made me feel sick. I had trouble with the protagonist shooting a child to kill, so other fellow soldiers will not be exposed to danger. There are other ways to deter an attack, like shooting limbs, or shooting around as warning shots. Anyway, it is not a good movie, it wanders around establishing a super hero and a vulnerable victim of war bearing the burdens of military service, eventually not deciding on either one.

Final verdict by me: A movie about racism and indiscriminate elimination of participants of an opposing culture in war from a safe distance disguised as service. The fact that Mr. Kyle became a cause celebre for the far right speaks volumes. The movie has no chance at the Oscars.

Also, I sensed the main character enjoyed his ghastly work, which no real military man does. I emphasize sensed, as it may not look that way.

Janitor I befriended at the collage I attended was top notch sniper in Vietnam, he was not right in the head. He never would have written a book, or accepted interviews.

In short, such dirty work, where some may have to do in the end, should never be celebrated, advertised or glorified and turned into entertainment.

Paul Escobar

Reminds me somewhat of the 'Passion of the Christ' phenomenon. There, you had a film that liberals despised - and Jews felt was racist. Yet, there was this large and typically untapped audience that watched it over their objections.

In the case of 'American Sniper', I think it's also the appeal of a non-coastal white hero - being depicted as such. I've lost count of the number of times Hollywood has depicted these folks as villains, rapists, and closeted homosexuals.

By the way, I thought this video was interesting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJbtrvV_Wig

This is a prank where a guy walks around New York City - once in normal clotes, and then in Arab garb. Having grown up in a major "multicultrual" city myself, it's not suprising to me that the most outwardly threatening & racist reactions came from blacks.

So I do get why Arab's are worried about this film. If you're dumb & paranoid, this movie certainly doesn't relieve you of that.

nick b

Panem et circenses...

SRW

I don't know how "liberalism" became part of this discussion. Clink Eastwood, who directed the picture, is a noted conservative. Liberal or conservative I don't believe has anything to do with the popularity of this picture.

Col. Lang's comments on this picture channels my thoughts exactly.

robt willmann

Related to the existence of general attitudes promoted in the society about the war on feeling real scared, a/k/a the war on terror, the jury today unfortunately returned a verdict of guilty in the trial of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling--

https://exposefacts.org/two-minutes-and-forty-seconds-the-smoky-case-against-jeffrey-sterling/

Sterling's lawyers will of course file a motion for judgment of acquittal under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 29(c), and a motion for new trial under Rule 33. The new trial rule has nice, broad language that a new trial can be ordered "if the interest of justice so requires." The motions have to be filed within 14 days, although often more time is granted by the court to do so.

One of the 10 charges against him was not given to the jury to decide because of a lack of evidence, and so he was convicted of nine. My understanding is that there was zero direct evidence against him; and from the reports I read, it seems as if the circumstantial evidence proved nothing except that he and James Risen communicated some.

Swami Bhut Jolokia

...self promoters, arrogant, and with a tendency to embellish...

Unlike, say, some people who post on these threads.

Tyler

Kunuri,

Good grief. Handwringing.txt

Exhibit A when it comes to lefties, leapfrogging loyalties, and moral posturing.

Bobo

Went to the Wall recently with a few others. Started at the WW2, on to the Korean, saw Abe and then the walk amongst my peers, that served. Guilt is difficult-went to College, married, had babies, worked, high number, eligible for Medicare-Guilt is there, don't know why as never turned my back just the letter never came nor the urge to go. Lost too many friends over there but many, many more over time from the ravages.
Read the book and put it down half way through-will not see the movie. Understand that War is Hell but keeping a log/track of kills is a personal thing-why let me and others know there is something wrong with you.....

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