American Sniper

AmericanSniperSuggested by Brad Nelson • The raw and unforgettable narrative of the making of our country’s record-holding sniper, Chris Kyle’s memoir is a powerful book, both in terms of combat action and human drama. Chief Kyle is a true American warrior down to the bone.
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14 Responses to American Sniper

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Apparently Bill Mahar is taking some heat for calling Chris Kyle a “psychopathic patriot.” That wouldn’t have been my choice of words. But having read Kyle’s own story, we are indeed talking about a different breed of people.

    I haven’t read a lot of military books. This is my first one regarding any of the recent battles with “the religion of peace.” Co-written by Scott McEwen and Jim DeFelice, American Sniper is generally an interesting and fairly well written biography. There are from time to time some literary gems describing the events.

    And it’s not necessarily the fault of the authors that the book is repetitive. It was, for all intents and purpose, as case of same shit, different day. Once officially becoming a SEAL (and this process at the start if perhaps the best part of the book), Kyle’s biography consists necessarily of pretty much the same type of anti-insurgent actions. What changes is primarily the location.

    Kyle has harsh words to say for the often gutless officers. And he says many of the things a great patriot should say. It’s all good in this regard (including referring to the Islamists as savages, which they certainly were and are).

    But I got a bit fatigued reading the biography. It’s the story of a hero. And I’m not at all squeamish of his recounting how many people he killed at several hundred yards. But there’s an aspect to what Mahar said that is true, if for reasons other than how he meant those words. Time and again this great hero and protector of American values could not help but get into random bar fights. He seemed to have an aggression level that didn’t easily stand down.

    In the end, I was left with the impression that Kyle certainly led an exciting life, but it was one that seemed ultimately to be a treadmill of him always have to prove himself. Yes, he set a high standard. But you wonder what might have happened in his life to let me thing that he had to constantly be the best of the best.

    Or maybe I’m just reading to much into this. The book is also includes accounts from his wife, Taya. The inclusions of her comments seem perfunctory, and I began skipping them a bit toward the end. It’s not that she didn’t have a legitimate point of view, but one might quickly grow tired of her lamentations of his absence. Honey, you didn’t marry a postal clerk. And yet she does at times articulate very well the horror and anxiety of having a loved-one in harm’s way.

    It was also a sticking point in their marriage that Kyle clearly and unambiguously said that he put his country over the needs of his family. I can’t blame him for that, because what he was doing was incredibly exciting and important, even though extremely dangerous. Not everyone is suited to a desk job. Still, he drove himself so hard, through injuries and all, that the words of Bill Mahar, although meant to wound and diminish Kyle, do give you a hint into the type of personality that could do what Kyle did.

    Yes “psychopathic” is a little strong. But extreme and total single-mindedness is not. And at one point he did get wound up so bad that he had to takes some steps to do something about it.

    Surely the reason liberals dislike him is because putting a bullet through someone’s chest (the preferred target) is about as opposite to namby-pamby “conflict resolution” as you can get. And he seemed to have a Reagansque clarity regarding how people actually work. Kyle noted that, opposite to what the bureaucrats said at the time, it was not a sense of “kumbaya” that brought some of the local Iraqi officials into cooperation with American authorities. It was the insurgents getting their butts so severely kicked.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      we are indeed talking about a different breed of people

      Just so! It is a fact that, very often, those who are great warriors are less than optimal in civilian life. The characteristics which make for success in battle are generally not acceptable in peace. I am not taking about staff officers, but actual warriors who “reach out and touch someone.”

      I will no doubt raise a certain number of hackles by saying this, but Eisenhower was not a great warrior, by any definition I would use. He was a good organizer and politician. Patton was not near the politician that Eisenhower or Bradley were, but he was a great warrior. Audie Murphy was a greater warrior than all of them.

      Eisenhower and Bradley did just fine after the war. Patton didn’t make it out of Europe. And it took Murphy some time to come to terms with the war. He started having success in the movies some years later. Sadly, he died in a plane crash at a young age.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      I think the bar fights probably represent a way of working out the stress of being in high-intensity combat. As for the term “psychopath”, the problem with that is the psychopath (which is basically synonymous with sociopath) refers to someone with no conscience, no connection to other people. I don’t think this represents Kyle, who seems to have seen himself as born to protect others (which he did very well). The man who was killed by someone he was trying to help was definitely no psychopath. He was no doubt someone with a strong violent streak that he channeled into his duties. Bit. as George Orwell pointed out 75 years ago, we are safe in our beds because rough men (like Kyle, I would say) are protecting us.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Well, in defense of the SEALS, their commanders kind of encouraged these fights saying only that they sure be sure to scram before the cops come.

        War is brutal, but we don’t want our soldiers to become brutes. Yes, beat the hell out of all the Jesse Venturas that you want. But I don’t consider it cool to walk into some local bar pretty much looking to kick someone’s ass because you know you can. Save it for the bad guys.

  2. GHG says:

    First let me state that although I’ve seen the movie, I haven’t read the book. The movie doesn’t portray any anti-social other than a scene when Kyle was a child and aggresively beat up a bully. Apparently the book portrays Kyle had more aggression issues than the movie lets on.

    But, the word psychopath describes a personality disorder characterized by enduring anti-social behavior, diminished empathy and remorse, and disinhibited or bold behavior. While other definitions can be found, it is generally thought to be a continuous or enduring condition. Chris Kyle, from what I know, was a loving son, brother, husband, father and he certainly was not without empathy for not only his fallen brothers in arms but also for the innocent Iraqi victims of the savage Jihadists.

    It takes a “different” personality than the Bill Mahers of the world to volunteer to be a soldier and put your life on the line for something you believe in. Maher can never know what that is. All he is capable of is mocking that which he doesn’t have the courage to do. He’s free to live a comfortable life making outlandish and libelous statements because he lives in a bubble protected by the very people he mocks.

    I couldn’t care less about Maher except that too many lofo’s rely on him for their worldview.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      By this own admission, he and the other SEALS were involved in an inordinate number of bar fights. The one bar fight you can certainly cheer for is when he apparently punched out Jesse Ventura for spouting a bunch of Leftist gibberish about the war and America.

      But there’s a bit of a contradiction here. I think Kyle and the other SEALS are sincere in their wish to serve America, keep us safe, and make war on her enemies. And yet these guys would regularly get into serious bar fights with their fellow Americans.

      Granted, Kyle says their ethic was never to start one. But they seemed all too ready to respond. And I think there’s little doubt they had a certain overt cocky behavior which likely drew a response in the first place. The many bar fights came across as low sport.

      But those average, normal, even somewhat uncouth Americans in the bar are your fellow Americans as well. They’re the ones you are protecting. So why so eager to bash their brains in at the drop of a hat? This certainly isn’t the equivalent of the Jedi Master who does all that he can to avoid violence.

      No doubt there may be some cowardice involved in Mahar’s statements. But I don’t think that’s the main element. I think the main element is that he thinks he is part of an elite that believe all parties who engage in violence are barbarians. Such people lack the sophistication, “reason,” and open mind necessary to rise above such behavior, traits that are the main conceit of the Mahar elites.

      Libertarians are thoroughly basted in elitism as well. To them, no government at all is necessary because all people (or at least most people) are as naturally wise as they are if only they weren’t bent by government. Libertarianism seems to assume a wide-spread elitism, or ability for elitism (free markets is all we need…moral considerations are beside the point) – or else they are the “little monsters” Mr. Kung has often talked about. They believe they will be in charge if government is made minimal or eradicated altogether.

      The way the world is, we need all kinds of breeds of humans: the warrior, the artist, the intellectual, the entrepreneur, the scholar, etc. And our warriors differ from other warriors (or at least from the Islamic savages) because their actions are limited by rules placed upon them, and by cultures themselves that are not barbaric.

      Still, we all wish we could move past the need for warriors. But as with regards to things like nuclear weapons, we’ll let the other side go first. And all of these fairly obvious considerations are well beyond the supposed superior mind of Mahar. He’s simply psychologically constipated with the need to be *thought* of as superior, not to show that superiority by actually using it to wisely parse whatever situation is at hand.

      Mahar is, in truth, a phony, while Chris Kyle was not. In fact, in his biography he was forthcoming about a great many things.

      • GHG says:

        I don’t doubt there is cowardice in Maher, and I don’t doubt he fancies himself superior, but I think he’s wrong if he thinks we don’t need soldiers like Kyle. I don’t think we will ever not need Chris Kyle’s on the front lines because there will always be wars. It’s human nature. Just like it’s human nature for testoserone fueled men to compete against each other, like sometimes in bar fights.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          Mr. Lesser, I doubt that I have the balls to get on all that shows that Maher does and take some of the positions that he does. I think it’s a mistake to reflexively want to diss people by calling them “cowards.” I doubt that Maher is a coward. He’s hardly a shrinking violet in terms of evangelizing his religion of Leftism.

          One of the sad things about all this is that they have all these fine-tuned rules of engagement for the soldiers (and some rules, of course, are necessary and needed), but few for the commanders. When all is said and done, the blood and treasure spent in Iraq and Afghanistan are likely to come to nothing. They need an uper-echelon ROE that says, “Don’t mess with Islamic countries unless you are serious and have dispensed with all delusions.”

          On the level of the micro, you have these great and courageous warriors such as Christ Kyle whom we are lucky to have because we will always need somebody to take out the trash. On the other hand, their lives and efforts will likely come to naught because today’s politically correct leaders did not know what Jefferson did, or what Churchill did, about Islam. President Bush fed the fantasy of a “religion of peace” from the very beginning.

          But the only one who has gotten this right is Ann Coulter:

          We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. We weren’t punctilious about locating and punishing only Hitler and his top officers. We carpet-bombed German cities; we killed civilians. That’s war. And this is war.

          Short of taking over a country and converting them to Christianity (that is, to an entirely different worldview and ethical system), efforts to build up “stable” and “friendly” Islamic states are a fool’s errand. Muslims will never have anything significant in common with other cultures. They must therefore either be contained or converted. There is no other choice. And all we’ve seen the last 20 years are various political leaders in the West dabbling in delusions. This doesn’t necessarily diminish what Chris did. But it becomes sort of senseless to quibble about any shortcomings when the entire game is rigged for failure.

          • Timothy Lane says:

            Your upper-level Rule of Engagement is similar to the concept behind the Powell Doctrine, but actually a bit better than his because his concern about making sure there’s an “exit strategy” presupposes that there will be no clear victory — an indication of a failure to be serious about the war. Of course, these would apply to all wars (or whatever the leadership chooses to call them — I referred to Clinton’s business in Kosovo as the Kosovo Incident in deliberate imitation of Imperial Japan’s “China Incident”), though these days the most likely wars all involve jihadism.

          • GHG says:

            When I said Maher is a coward, I meant lacking in the courage to face physical and potentially lethal results.

            I suppose it takes a type of “courage” to expose oneself to potential ridicule by standing before an audiance and doing what Maher does. However, there is no shortage of clowns like Maher in this regard. Unfortunately.

            • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

              Mr. Lesser, the religion of Leftism is a completely contrary moral and intellectual vision. For Bill Maher to admit that Chris Kyle is a commendable figure would be to admit that conservatives aren’t the knuckle-dragging Troglodytes that Leftists think they are. His ego is at stake, not the facts. To acknowledge the utility of Chris Kyle, those on the Left would have to admit that, as is the motto of Kyle’s company, “Despite what your momma told you, violence does solve problems.”

              This is a shocking view to those on the Left. They do not comprehend Rush’s Rule #6: Ours is a world governed by the aggressive use of force. They learned nothing from Neville Chamberlain. And they’ll learn nothing from ineffectual weenies such as Obama.

              Certainly a conservative would agree that violence ought not to be the way we resolve our differences if at all possible. But where we part company from our weenie friends is that it isn’t always our option as to how the other guy tries to resolve his grievances. Why the Left will not acknowledge this is surely something that goes deeply into their psyche. I don’t quite understand why this obvious point is overlooked. One might actually have to delve into Freudian matters and suppose that daddy didn’t love them or maybe spanked them too hard one time. I really can’t suppose how any normal person can get it into his or her head that the only legitimate response to violence is passivity and blaming the victim.

              This is why Christopher Hitchens could see no difference between Islam and Christianity (or Islam and Hinduism, for that matter). His premise is “religion poisons everything.” To admit that life is more complicated than that, or contrary than that, would be to knock himself off his self-made perch of the moral and intellectual secular exemplar. At some point much of this ideology goes beyond mere reason and becomes a matter of self-identity. And, by hook or by crook, once those identities are established, the facts of a matter mean very little.

              But whether the Left likes Chris Kyle or not, it would seem a somewhat moot point in regards to how even most conservatives (or at least Republicans) deal with Islam. We probably need a Chris Kyle as Commander in Chief. At some point, the blood will really begin running, and those in the West will have to either submit to Islam or fight it openly and often. That is our destiny.

              Of course, the weenies of the Left have been taught that it isn’t Islam that is the biggest threat to mankind. It’s conservatives, particularly religious, white, heterosexual conservatives. And those on the Left will likely die by the bushel at the hands of Islamists while they cling to their favored delusions.

              • Timothy Lane says:

                What makes liberal aversion to violence so strange is that it isn’t really true, but (as usual with liberals) situational. They have no objection to violence by leftist rioters such as the Occupiers and the anti-police mobs (though they’ll issue pro forma rejections of violence when that becomes expedient). And no one who wonders “Where is Lee Harvey Oswald now that we need him?” can truly claim to be opposed to murderous violence.

              • GHG says:

                Yes, the liberal aversion to violence hypocrisy, similar to “black lives matter” except when muslim Boko Harem massacre a couple thousand black non-muslims. That doesn’t rise to the level righteous outrage, unsurprisingly.

              • Timothy Lane says:

                Actually, the most amusing hypocrisy of “black lives matter” is their willing acceptance of the support of . . . Planned Parenthood, preventer of millions of blacks over the past 40 years (currently more than 300,000 per year, with the full approval of “black lives matter”).

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