Writing for New York Magazine, Leftist Frank Rich chose to further spread the already debunked lie about American Sniper Chris Kyle referring to Iraqis as “savages.” In Clint Eastwood’s masterpiece biopic of Kyle’s life as well as Kyle’s own biography, the distinction between the Iraqis and terrorists is again and again made crystal clear. Only terrorists are referred to (correctly) as savages.
In his defense, it might be that Rich is himself a racist who conflates all Iraqis with terrorists. In other words, Rich is a terrible person but not a liar.
Rich’s overall evaluation of “American Sniper” is a laugh-out-loud piece of anti-science rationalization. In-between spreading proven lies about Kyle that paint a war hero as racist, Rich claims the blockbuster movie “Proves Obama’s Politics Beat Cheney’s.”
If anything, Sniper is the very opposite of a recruiting poster for further American military adventures in the Middle East. The Iraqis are xenophobically and all but uniformly presented as duplicitous, indistinguishable “savages” (in Kyle’s lingo) unworthy of American sacrifice. The war is presented as a quagmire with nothing that can be called “victory” in the offing. The soldiers who fought the war, Kyle included, are seen as returning home in various forms of mutilation, physical and psychological, to an inadequate support system. That’s why it’s no surprise that Jane Fonda has praised Sniper: In some ways it does resemble her Vietnam film Coming Home.
And in this sense the film is where the country is politically, at least as far as present and future military engagement goes — far closer to Barack Obama than Dick Cheney. Eastwood’s performance with a chair may have done nothing for Mitt Romney, but American Sniper is more of a boost for the anti-interventionist foreign policy of Rand Paul than the unreconstructed neo-con hawkishness of most of Paul’s erstwhile Republican opponents, Romney included.
The lies of omission here are legion. (And if “xenophobically” isn’t a made-up word, it should be.)
Correct me if I’m wrong but I believe Obama’s Iraq policies resulted in a unilateral, premature withdrawal from Iraq that in turn resulted in us having to go back in because — as BushCheneyHalliburtonDieboldEnron predicted — an actual terrorist state filled the vacuum.
Granted, I’ve only seen “American Sniper” once, but I must have missed the part where the movie demands we lose a won war so barbaric terrorists can, for the first time in modern history, hold actual territory. Was Kyle so war hungry he wanted to fight the Iraq War twice? I don’t remember taking a bathroom break.
The fact is that “American Sniper” is told from the point of view of Kyle, a man who clearly saw his mission as righteous. A man whose only regret was that he didn’t do more for his country, his fellow servicemen, and the Iraqis loyal to the new government.
“Sniper” also does something every one of those awful anti-War On Terror films refused, which was to show the savage terrorists for the savage terrorists they really are. No moral equivalence in “Sniper.” Americans are the good guys. Terrorists are evil and must be stopped.
It’s also pretty weak of Rich to hide behind the generic term “anti-war” when most every American war movie is “anti-war.” If John Wayne ever made a pro-war movie, I haven’t seen it.
War is hell.
Well, no shit.
The primary difference between “American Sniper” and these 18 flops is all the difference. “Sniper” doesn’t hide the fact that there is evil in the world that must be dealt with by extraordinary men like Chris Kyle.
Men that the United States of America is uniquely qualified to produce.
Especially in Texas.
John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC