Iraq War veteran and fmr. US Army sniper Garett Reppenhagen argued that the film “American Sniper is “from a very particular point of view” on Wednesday’s “The Last Word” on MSNBC.
“I think the major thing that we have to put into context with this film is that it’s from a very particular point of view. Whether it’s the true story of Chris Kyle or whether it wasn’t isn’t really my main concern, it’s the fact that the American public has a responsibility to take in as much information as possible about this conflict to really fully understand it and understand the experiences of the people who lived it, like myself, and the veterans coming home that are going through a lot and not exactly what Chris Kyle went through. Many of them are going through other things, as well. So, there’s a larger context and there’s a lot more dynamics at play here, and in the article, I mentioned it’s like looking through that sniper scope. Chris Kyle says in the movie, or at least the character says, you’ve got to keep both eyes open to see the whole battlefield. And I think that’s the analogy I’m trying to make for the American audience, is just to keep both eyes open and be aware of what’s going on in the larger context” he stated.
Reppenhagen then reacted to a scene in the film where Kyle’s wife questions whether he’s really protecting the family by fighting in Iraq, stating that he agreed with host Lawrence O’Donnell that the “thrust” of the rest of the movie “is on the sniper’s side in that argument” and that “there’s no real exploration of that question [of whether Kyle is actually keeping his family safe],” adding “when you’re in Iraq and Afghanistan or any combat zone, you’re sacrificing a lot. Whether it’s your own personal life, the lives of your friends, your physical health, your mental health, your sanity, your soul in some aspects, when you’re sacrificing so much, the why you’re sacrificing becomes very important. And, you know, I think when you go to war with ambiguous causes like we did in Iraq, for me it was personally difficult, as that unraveled, when we found out there were no weapons of mass destruction, that there were no ties to 9/11, we basically opened the door for al Qaeda to come to Iraq and set up shop. [The] conduct of the war started diminishing with events Abu Ghraib and other atrocities, it became a little difficult to accept the facts and I had a lot of friends, professional soldiers that I worked with every day that I respect the hell out of that had the same opinions that the character in the movie does and it’s one of the ways that we have to protect ourselves to be able to go out there every day, and leave the gate, and do a mission is to believe you’re doing the right thing. And it’s soul-hurting and there’s definitely moral injury involved when you start to lose that idea and I think that’s the dangers of the American public not holding our decision-makers accountable and making sure we don’t send our soldiers to war when all peaceful solutions haven’t been exhausted.”
Later, Reppenhagen says that while the film does “tease” the opinions of those who are against the Iraq War, it doesn’t develop these thoughts fully.
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