‘American Sniper’: God, country, family

Special to WorldTribune.com

By Loredana Vuoto

Chris Kyle is a hero.

American Sniper, the blockbuster movie about this patriot, has captured the heart of many Americans. The movie has already grossed $250 million worldwide and has received six Oscar nominations, including best picture and best actor. Bradley Cooper delivered a stellar performance as the deadly marksman known as “The Legend.”

Kyle, a U.S. Navy SEAL, is considered one of the greatest American snipers of all time with 160 official kills. He honorably served four tours in Iraq. Kyle’s memoir, “American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History,” inspired the film. Tragically, Kyle was killed in 2013 on a shooting range by a former marine. His trial will begin in February.

American Sniper was directed by Clint Eastwood.
American Sniper was directed by Clint Eastwood.

Directed by Clint Eastwood, American Sniper delves into the horror of war and the traumatic consequences of military service. The movie poignantly depicts the angst every soldier endures amidst the savagery of war, especially while witnessing the death of comrades. It also shows the enormous stress on family members stateside as they struggle daily with the fear that their loved ones may never return.

The movie shines a light on the heart-wrenching plight of soldiers who return home. As Kyle tries to integrate back into society, he is struck by the banality of daily living. The routine of family life is in stark contrast to the death and destruction that was his reality in Iraq. Kyle is guilt-ridden knowing so many of his friends are still on the battlefield.

Unable to connect with his family and children, Kyle must come to grips — like all soldiers — with the fact that he is no longer in a war zone even though all surrounding sights and sounds bring him back to memories of firing rampages and bloodshed.

In a poignant scene, Kyle is driving in a car with his wife, lamenting the apathy and indifference of many Americans; they are too busy scurrying to the mall to care about the surging body count. His pregnant wife’s water breaks and he snaps back to the present. He is constantly torn between love for his family and a profound sense of duty, a deep patriotism.

But not all viewers are in awe of Kyle’s bravery and heroism. The left has come out swinging against Kyle and the movie. Rabid anti-war filmmaker Michael Moore posted on Twitter that snipers are cowards and that one had killed his uncle during World War II. Seth Rogen, actor and director of the controversial The Interview, said the movie was reminiscent of a scene in Inglorious Basterds and compared snipers to Nazis. Atheist curmudgeon Bill Maher, never missing an opportunity to denigrate America, called Kyle a “psychopathic patriot.” More anti-American zealots have since followed.

These left-wing militants fail to realize that they are the real cowards. It is the bravery of men and women like Kyle who fight for America, that allow them to pontificate unscathed from their soapbox. It is their sacrifice that allows these naïve pacifists to sleep comfortably at night. It is their patriotism that allows these fanatics to enjoy their First Amendment freedoms.

Instead, these ideologues prefer to take their cue from President Barack Obama and remain in denial of the growing threat of radical Islam. As more and more terrorist attacks abound globally, Obama and liberals still refuse to properly identify terrorists and the war on terror. Recently, White House Deputy Press Security Eric Schultz went as far as to say that the Taliban is not a terrorist group but an “armed insurgency.”

Kyle never cowered to political correctness and rightly called terrorists savages. Unlike the Obama administration and the liberal media, Kyle was able to correctly identify evil and the vile enemy determined to destroy America.

In a Jan. 30 article in Vox, Amanda Taub calls American Sniper propaganda and criticizes its simplistic portrayal of Muslims. She believes the movie “feeds the narrative that the civilized world is at war with Muslims, that the only solution is to respond with crushing violence, and that people who refuse to believe that are naïfs.”

But contrary to Taub’s claims, American Sniper is not “part of the problem.” Nor is it “dangerous extremism” with “wrong” premises. Like Kyle, Americans understand the threat at hand. A NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll in September 2014 found that more than two-thirds of Americans believe that military action against ISIS is in the nation’s interest. The poll also revealed that almost half of Americans believe that the United States is less safe since September 11, 2001.

During the 2012 Republican Convention, Eastwood dared to take Obama to task for being MIA on foreign policy, as he lectured an empty chair. The action prophetically foreshadowed Obama’s absence during the recent march of world leaders in Paris in solidarity for the victims of the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attacks.

Although the Obama administration and Hollywood’s elites are tone deaf, American Sniper’s box office dominance speaks volumes: it is currently the second-highest grossing war film in North America and the 10th highest-grossing film of 2014. The movie’s overwhelming success proves that Kyle’s love of God, country and family are also values held dear by millions of viewers.

He is now a legend both on the battlefield and in these American culture wars.

Loredana Vuoto is a former speechwriter for Sen. Rick Santorum. She was assistant national editor and an editorial writer at The Washington Times.

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