‘American Sniper’ gives hope that the America we know will win out in the end.

The American Sniper culture war

By —— Bio and Archives--January 29, 2015

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“As much as the left would like you to believe it, Chris Kyle was not a bloodthirsty warmonger; he was a noble warrior who fought to defend his fellow troops, watched over the lives of his brothers, and advanced the cause of (eventual) peace. This is where the true success of ‘American Sniper’ comes to light.” – Pete Hyseth, CEO of Concerned Veterans of America and an Iraq combat veteran

With the record-shattering success of the Clint Eastwood-directed movie ‘American Sniper’, we are all experiencing the fault lines of American culture. The vast majority of Americans have praised the movie.


Having watched it with my son, I personally witnessed an entire theater of moviegoers do something amazing. At the end – during the final credits when most moviegoers usually leave (and while actual footage of Chris Kyle’s funeral procession played out on the big screen) – viewers sat in respectful silence. After the realism and emotion of combat, culminating with a family torn by war and then tragedy, nobody spoke as we exited the theater. It was inspiring. 

Despite this outpouring of support for Kyle and those who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, the “Left” in America reacted viciously. Far Left movie producer, Michael Moore, tweeted that snipers were “cowards.” Seth Rogan compared the movie to a Nazi sniper film clip. Howard Dean, and many others have made equally critical statements about the movie and/or Kyle.

Why are we experiencing such polar opposite reactions?

First, a bit about the movie.  ‘American Sniper’ is based on the book and life of Chris Kyle.  Kyle was a Navy SEAL sniper who deployed to Iraq four times between 9/11 and his leaving the Navy in 2009.

Kyle was murdered in an unfortunate shooting incident in 2013. The movie covers Kyle volunteering for the military (and then Basic Underwater Demolition / SEAL School) after the al Qaeda Embassy bombings. He is shown as a patriot who desires to deploy after 9/11 to avenge the attacks. This comes even as Kyle must leave his newly pregnant wife for the uncertainty of combat. Upon arrival in Iraq, we are shown the most realistic portrayal I have seen of the life of service members in combat during this period. The movie is clearly not a pro-war film, as we see the heartbreaking scenes of the death of Kyle’s fellow SEALs and the horrendously brutal environment created by insurgents in places like Fallujah. However, the service members are shown to be dedicated to the mission and their brothers as they sacrifice for a higher cause. As fellow U.S. Army Ranger Sean Parnell put it: “[American Sniper] isn’t a pro-war film. It’s a pro-warrior film.” That was my take as well.

Left’s visceral reaction to the hero status and adulation of a man like Chris Kyle

Unfortunately, the Left is having a visceral reaction to the hero status and adulation of a man like Chris Kyle. In attempting to tear down Kyle’s reputation, unflattering misquotes from his book ‘American Sniper’ have been repeated. In particular, a claim that Kyle called all Iraqis “savages.”

Additionally, Kyle is alleged to “love” killing Iraqis, and yet the quote from his book uses the term “love” with being a Navy SEAL and conducting operational missions with his SEAL brothers. 

In understanding how Kyle could claim to love being a SEAL and his operation missions, I quote Winston Churchill: “nothing in life is more thrilling than to be shot at to no effect.”  Though combat is heartbreaking, particularly the loss of friends (and that is made clear in the book and movie), nothing else in life will ever match the adventure and “thrill” of combat. Most Americans, and almost all veterans, understand this. The Left doesn’t get it.

What we are experiencing is the clash of two world views:  Traditional America vs. the Liberal-Progressive elite.

Traditional America finds heroes in men like Kyle: Patriotic, masculine warriors.

The Liberal elite finds heroism in counter-cultural shock-men like NFL football player Michael Sam, who – when he came out of the closet as a homosexual – received a personal call from the U.S. President praising his “heroism.” Michelle Obama tweeted,  “You’re an inspiration to all of us, Mike Sam. We couldn’t be prouder of your courage both on and off the field. – mo.” Vice Pres. Biden sent Sam a similar tweet praising his heroism. None of them, or anyone else on the progressive Left questioned whether Michael Sam might have “come out” to help save a floundering football career.

Yet none praised Kyle, even after he was killed.

Still and all, there may be a shift emerging.

In the wake of the box office success of ‘American Sniper’; Michael Moore, Seth Rogan, and Howard Dean are either backtracking or offering apologies, signaling perhaps a shift in the culture wars. The Progressive Left seems to have at least acknowledged the overreach beyond what’s acceptable to America. It will remain to be seen what happens in the coming years, but ‘American Sniper’ gives hope that the America we know will win out in the end.


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Col. Bill Connor -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Bill Connor,  received his Bachelor’s of Arts from The Citadel in 1990. After serving over ten years as an Infantry Officer in the U.S. Army he received his Juris Doctorate from University of South Carolina in 2005.

He is currently an attorney with Hamilton and Associates in Columbia, South Carolina.

In May 2008, he returned from a yearlong combat deployment in Southern Afghanistan. During that time, he served as Joint Operations Officer for the Southern Region of Afghanistan developing and implementing the US advisory effort for Afghan National Security Forces. This effort occurred during the 2007 Taliban spring/summer offensive.

Due to success in that position, he was promoted to take command of the US advisory effort in the volatile province of Helmand. Shortly after arrival in Helmand, he was promoted in rank from Major to Lt. Colonel. In addition to command of US advisory teams, he was the senior American working with the United Kingdom senior staff. Upon return from Afghanistan, he published the book “Articles from War,”a memoir of his experiences and thoughts in Afghanistan.

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