Military

The American Sniper Was No Hero

Despite what some people think, hero is not a synonym for competent government-hired killer.

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Despite what some people think, hero is not a synonym for competent government-hired killer.

If Clint Eastwood's record-breaking movie, American Sniper, launches a frank public conversation about war and heroism, the great director will have performed a badly needed service for the country and the world.

This is neither a movie review nor a review of the late Chris Kyle's autobiographical book on which the movie is based. My interest is in the popular evaluation of Kyle, America's most prolific sniper, a title he earned through four tours in Iraq.

Let's recall some facts, which perhaps Eastwood thought were too obvious to need mention: Kyle was part of an invasion force: Americans went to Iraq. Iraq did not invade America or attack Americans. Dictator Saddam Hussein never even threatened to attack Americans. Contrary to what the George W. Bush administration suggested, Iraq had nothing to do with the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Before Americans invaded Iraq, al-Qaeda was not there. Nor was it in Syria, Yemen, and Libya.

The only reason Kyle went to Iraq was that Bush/Cheney & Co. launched a war of aggression against the Iraqi people. Wars of aggression, let's remember, are illegal under international law. Nazis were executed at Nuremberg for waging wars of aggression. With this perspective, we can ask if Kyle was a hero.

Defenders of Kyle and the Bush foreign policy will say, "Of course, he was a hero. He saved American lives."

What American lives? The lives of American military personnel who invaded other people's country, one that was no threat to them or their fellow Americans back home. If an invader kills someone who is trying to resist the invasion, that does not count as heroic self-defense. The invader is the aggressor. The "invadee" is the defender. If anyone's a hero, it's the latter.

In his book Kyle wrote he was fighting "savage, despicable evil" — and having "fun" doing it. Why did he think that about the Iraqis? Because Iraqi men — and women; his first kill was a woman — resisted the invasion and occupation he took part in.

That makes no sense. As I've established, resisting an invasion and occupation — yes, even when Arabs are resisting Americans — is simply not evil. If America had been invaded by Iraq (an Iraq with a powerful military, that is) would Iraqi snipers picking off American resisters be considered heroes by all those people who idolize Kyle? I don't think so, and I don't believe Americans would think so either. Rather, American resisters would be the heroes.

Eastwood's movie also features an Iraqi sniper. Why isn't he regarded as a hero for resisting an invasion of his homeland, like the Americans in my hypothetical example? (Eastwood should make a movie about the invasion from the Iraqis' point of view, just as he made a movie about Iwo Jima from the Japanese point of view to go with his earlier movie from the American side.)

No matter how often Kyle and his admirers referred to Iraqis as "the enemy," the basic facts did not change. They were "the enemy" — that is, they meant to do harm to Americans — only because American forces waged an unprovoked war against them. Kyle, like other Americans, never had to fear that an Iraqi sniper would kill him at home in the United States. He made the Iraqis his enemy by entering their country uninvited, armed with a sniper's rifle. No Iraqi asked to be killed by Kyle, but it sure looks as though Kyle was asking to be killed by an Iraqi. (Instead, another American vet did the job.)

Of course, Kyle's admirers would disagree with this analysis. Jeanine Pirro, a Fox News commentator, said, "Chris Kyle was clear as to who the enemy was. They were the ones his government sent him to kill."

Appalling! Kyle was a hero because he eagerly and expertly killed whomever the government told him to kill? Conservatives, supposed advocates of limited government, sure have an odd notion of heroism.

Excuse me, but I have trouble seeing an essential difference between what Kyle did in Iraq and what Adam Lanza did at Sandy Hook Elementary School. It certainly was not heroism.

This article originally appeared at the Future of Freedom Foundation

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  1. FUCK THIS. Its shit like this that reminds me why I don’t vote for the libertarian party even though I often identify with them. How anti-American can you get. It was not a war against the “Iraqi people” you asshole. That is flat out slander. It was a war to remove a murderous regime that committed genocide.

    The US spent billions trying to rebuild Iraq and help them.

    You can disagree with the Iraq war. But this heap of garbage is un-American.

    1. Don’t take Sheldon Richman for the embodiment of libertarian ideas. He writes a lot of stuff that will make you cringe. He’s completely anti-social about as hardcore near the anarchy line as you can get without crossing over. But that’s him, not everyone.

      1. Re: Schu,

        Don’t take Sheldon Richman for the embodiment of libertarian ideas. He writes a lot of stuff that will make you cringe.

        Translation: “He’s too principled and intellectually-consistent for my tastes.”

        1. Principled and intellectually-consistent? Like comparing Iraq to Nazi Germany?

          1. Re: Ghetto Slovak Goatherder,

            Principled and intellectually-consistent? Like comparing Iraq to Nazi Germany?

            Who is comparing Iraq to Nazi Germany?

            1. Did you read the article?

              “The only reason Kyle went to Iraq was that Bush/Cheney & Co. launched a war of aggression against the Iraqi people. Wars of aggression, let’s remember, are illegal under international law. Nazis were executed at Nuremberg for waging wars of aggression. With this perspective, we can ask if Kyle was a hero.”

              1. He actually compared the US to NAzi Germany. It looks like he thinks US soldiers should be tried for war crimes.

                1. not the soldiers…

                2. Re: FUQ and Ghetto Slovak Goatherder,

                  He actually compared the US to Nazi Germany.

                  Let’s get some things straight:

                  a) GSG said that Richman compared IRAQ to Nazi Germany. I read the article and Richman made NO such comment.

                  b) FUQ – You corrected the record and indicated that Richman is actually comparing the US to Nazi Germany, which means GSG made a MISTAKE.

                  c) Richman did NOT compare the US with Nazi Germany. He made the point that Nazi officers were judged in Nuremberg under the change of committing aggressive war against other countries. Richman is comparing those specific ACTIONS, not the US with Nazi Germany.

                  1. While I should have been clearer, when I wrote “Iraq” I meant America’s invasion of.

                    You know, how people in America colloquially say “Iraq” when they mean our war with, or our invasion of.

                  2. He DID compare, by inference, U.S. officials and soldiers to Nazi Germany officials and soldiers. Both waged wars of aggression.

                    His inferred comparison is completely accurate, and the only reason that U.S. personnel have not been tried, convicted and executed as were the Germans is that Germany lost, the U.S. hasn’t, yet.

                    1. But if King Putt gets his way we will soon

              2. it is Bush/Cheney action being compared to Nazi Germany – you know, as in a war of invasion.

                1. it is Bush/Cheney action being compared to Nazi Germany – you know, as in a war of invasion.

                  Except there were plenty of people tried at Nuremberg not named Hitler. And by the way, none of those executed were for crimes of aggression. It was the crimes against humanity that got them hanged.

                  1. This.

              3. Bullshit. Bush & Cheney did not launch a war against “the Iraqi people.” The Iraqi people had no say in shit in their country. This was a war against a regime that was our # 1 enemy for 13 years.

                Agree with the war or not, this was not a war against the Iraqi people. What a ridiculous point of view.

            2. @swillfredo pareto. Crimes against humanity got many Nazis hanged. Waging a war of aggression got many jailed. Both are war crimes.

              1. It’s only a war crime if the victor decides it is.

                1. Yep. How many soviets, we’re put on trial for their invasion of Poland?

              2. Waging a war of aggression got many jailed. Both are war crimes.

                That is not the point. Re-read what Richman said: Nazis were executed at Nuremberg for waging wars of aggression.

                He is attempting to argue the American involvement in Iraq is a war of aggression and wars of aggression can lead to executions. That is a falsehood with regards to Nuremberg.

            3. Kyle put his life on the line in defense of this country. You can disagree with the war but don’t condemn the Soldiers who fought that war. I like most of the stuff on reason but this article is disturbing…

              1. “Defense”? What “defense”?

                Had Iraq attacked the U.S.? No.
                Was Iraq capable of attacking the U.S.? No.
                Were any of the Iraqis that Kyle killed ever a threat to the U.S.? No.

                He was invading, whether you think it was to “enact regime change and save the Iraqis from Saddam” (pardon me while I have a good laugh) or to help Haliburton grab the oil, or so GW Bush could get revenge for the alleged assassination attempt on GHW Bush or whatever. But he (and our army) went there. There was no “defense” involved.

                The name of the site is “reason”. In your case “vocabulary” might be a necessary prerequisite, as well.

                As for “don’t condemn the soldiers”, soldiers make a choice to be the instruments of their countries’ policies. Are you cool with the Nazis because they were only “fighting to save Germany from Communism”? (Never mind the horrific civilian casualties the German Army inflicted on Russia.) Are you opposed to the American soldiers who decided that maybe burning Vietnamese babies alive wasn’t such a good idea, after all?

                Or do you expect soldiers to use their brains like any other thinking human, and thus maybe hold Kyle responsible for the “fun” he had at killing other humans, for no reason whatsoever except that Bush/Cheney told him to do so? Just wondering.

                1. “Had Iraq attacked the U.S.? No.”

                  No, just American citizens, our allies, and made threats to do more.

                  It’s not as if Trayvon actually shot Zimmerman. He just smashed his head into the ground and threatened to kill him, the sweet boy.

                  Come back when you’re not a retard with no ethical sense.

                  1. Before I say anything I feel like I have to put out the obligatory declaration that I now feel like Iraq was a mistake, and we are worse off for fighting a war there, for numerous reasons.

                    But… I am completely flabbergasted by how history can be rewritten in just 12 years in our modern age of information. I was in the Marines in 2003 (joined the month after 9/11) and I remember the whole build up to the invasion. Hussein was required, but the treaty he signed ending the Gulf War, to show UN inspectors his Nuke facilities. He kept letting them in, and then kicking them out right before they got to the facilities. Over and over again. He did this, strangely, right up until we actually invaded. Everyone “knew” he had WMD’s, and damn near every citizen Left or Right in this country was wanting us to go to war.

                    And now, all anyone remembers is “Bush lied about WMD’s”. Being in college with kids repeating this who were six years old at the time of the invasion makes me lose faith in everything.

                    Is breaking a weapons treaty that you signed after losing a war of aggression (Gulf War) a valid casus belli in Libertarian eyes? Hell, I don’t know, but that’s what happened with Iraq. It’s facetious to treat it as a pure war of American aggression against an innocent nation.

                    1. Also, I can tell you that while my power of perfect hindsight gives me different ideas about the War now, I was a good kid when I joined the Marines, with good intentions. Not that intentions are everything, but I have no doubt that Kyle and most other kids at the time did really think that they were doing a good thing, for whatever that’s worth.

                    2. You are right, regardless of whether it was morally right, or whether we should have done it, according to the treaty that was signed by Iraq at the end of the first gulf war the US had a casus bellie.

                      I was in high school during the run up and I remember that one of the principal arguments by opponents was that too many Americans would die because Saddam would use chemical weapons against them. The vast majority of anti-Iraq war supporters never disagreed with the idea that Saddam had them, everyone thought he had them, they argued that diplomatic means were better. It seems that many on reason, along with most Americans, have short term memories.

                      I say this for one think that our invasion was ultimately a mistake and a waste of our resources.

                    3. Hear, hear. I was 24 when we invaded Iraq, and was all for it at the time. In retrospect, I think it was a mistake. However, I do distinctly remember the general consensus that Saddam and his regime was a threat at the time and would be a greater threat in the future. I recall extensive media coverage of his gassing of the Kurds, his threats to attack Israel (among others), and his constant violations of the UN resolutions regarding weapons inspectors TO WHICH HE AGREED in order to end the first Gulf War, launched if you’ll recall to remove him from Kuwait, which he had invaded. While he doesn’t appear to have had WMD’s that would have reached the domestic US, he made all the noises that would indicate he was trying to acquire the tech, and multiple intelligence sources (not just American) seemed to confirm that.

                      Lest we forget, as some on Team Blue and the Sheldon Richman’s of the world seem to do, Congress was virtually unanimous in support for the invasion. Shit, even some Libertarians were making the case for an invasion in the context of a proactive defense.

                    4. Exactly. I remember that we built up for the invasion for months and months. It seemed like forever to the 21 year old kid I was. It seemed like we gave him every chance. He kept letting the inspectors in, escorting them to the facilities, and then turning them around at the last moment and kicking them out of the country and making a bunch of hilarious threats.

                      So is that (breaking a cease fire over and over again that you signed after you waged a war of aggression) a valid reason to go to war? Legally it is, but morally… I don’t know. I can honestly say I’m torn on it after all these years. Even though I think the War was a waste and a mistake for so many reasons, I still see the argument that it was justified.

                      But, that (Hussein giving us a casus belli) IS what happened. Asshats like Richmond comparing it to Poland 39′ or Sandy Hook are no different in my opinion than the worst propagandists. I’ve watched history be rewritten in my lifetime, just in the last 12 years, and it’s completely changed my perspective on what I can trust from people from any (Libertarian included) political leaning.

                    5. Sorry, I missed the ‘casus belli’ part. Could you go over that again for us mouth breathers who don’t think kicking UN inspectors out of a country gives the US a cause for war.

                    6. Well I suppose, if it’s for the mouth breathers…

                      See, at one point, Saddam waged a war of aggression against two other nations who happened to have their sovereignty guaranteed by the U.S.,and who “aint done shit” (in mouth breather lingo) to him. Well, we swooped in and helped our allies out and completely destroyed his army in the process.

                      Now the key part here is that instead of invading and conquering his shit hole nation and removing the aggressor from power, like we would have been justified in doing, we made him promise to not pursue WMD’s by signing this thing called a “cease fire”, and in return we wouldn’t invade said shit hole nation and he could stay in power. Part of that cease fire was a clause included allowing U.N. weapons inspectors in to check shit out.

                      Which he didn’t, obviously. All of this is true, and it didn’t really happen that long ago. If you’re pissed off that you didn’t know this stuff earlier about justification for the War then you only have yourself to blame. Pay attention next time something important happens.

                    7. Why are we in the business of guaranteeing anyone’s sovereignty? I guess it is handy if you want to keep the gun, plane and tank factories going…

                    8. That first Gulf war was in no way justified either. It WAS a war of aggression – by the U.S. once again. Like Vietnam before it, the bombing of the Serbian province of Kosovo, the CIA coup against a democratically elected leader of Iran. The list just goes on and on, doesn’t it?

                    9. Bullshit. The aggression was committed by Iraq when Saddam invaded Kuwait.

                    10. Right. Kuwait, which was our 51st state until Saddam invaded.

                      Oh, wait, Kuwait isn’t, and never was, part of the U.S.?

                      So any time someone attacks someone else, that’s a good reason for us to get involved? Looks like we’re gonna need a lot more guns and soldiers. Or we could, you know, mind our own business.

                  2. All that time the Bushies wasted sending out trial balloon after trial balloon to see what excuse for war the US would be stupid enough to buy into, and here imanaol has been hiding with the answwer all along. We sure got alot of history books to re-write.

              2. It is certainly possible that Kyle thought he was acting “in defense of this country”. Certainly stupidity is no crime. But being stupid doesn’t make someone a hero, especially when they’re a psychopath who joins up in order to (legally) kill people who have done nothing to them – such as the Iraqi people.

                1. You’re the first person I’ve ever met anywhere who called the Gulf War an act of American aggression. Iraq invaded Kuwait and then Saudi Arabia. If that’s American aggression, then Richman’s Poland 39′ scenerio is actually an example of British and French aggression against Nazi Germany, seeing how they declared war after that.

                  Also, I don’t think that NOT invading enemy territory and conquering them after you’ve broken and destroyed their armies constitutes aggression either…

                  1. Hold…. the… mutherfuckin… horses.

                    All convo about the War aside, wasn’t it Richman who wrote about Libertarians looking for “self congratulation” instead of trying “to win people over”? He literally wrote that a few days ago. Where’s all that babble about having tact now? I mean, what the fuck is the purpose of calling Kyle an Adam Lanza, other than to piss people off and feel better about yourself? This article is making it’s way around Facebook among my Conservative friends right now, and seeing how it’s more insulting than anything the Left has come up with about American Sniper, he’s done more to slam doors in prospective libertarian converts faces than anything I’ve ever seen.

                    You’re a hypocrite, Richman. Pick one or the other; be a insulting douchebag, or tone it down in hopes of converting people. Don’t be a douchebag AND tell other people not to be douchebags.

              3. I consider myself Libertarian in many aspects, but this is the type of crap that turns my stomach and just see hard-core Libertarians as the Code Pink variety.

        2. A principled libertarian wouldn’t quibble about whether Kyle was a “hero”, he’d recognize that the concept of “heroism”, which comes down to glorification of violence based popularity, is intrinsically incompatible with libertarianism.

          Richman is principled, he just happens to be a principled progressive, not a principled libertarian.

          1. Your first point is clearly true, the second plainly false, to the point that I wonder whether you know what a libertarian or a progressive are in even the broadest sense.

            Or maybe you just have no clue who Richman is or the decades of really outstanding work he’s dedicated to this movement.

            1. I have read enough of Richman’s crap to know that he isn’t a libertarian and that I’m not giving a dime to the FFF.

              Whether he deludes himself into thinking he is a libertarian, I don’t know.

              1. Richman’s not so much a progressive as a practitioner of the Frankfurt School version of ‘libertarianism.’

          2. Maybe you disagree with him on some things, but calling Richman a progressive is just retarded.

          3. the concept of “heroism”, which comes down to glorification of violence based popularity

            Not true at all. That might be what many statists think of when they hear the word “heroism”, but it’s not the epitome of it. When I think of heroism, I think of people standing up against the state or saving one-legged orphans from a grease fire.

            1. Or putting your life on the line for your fellow man. Like when you are sent to war by your country, like Kyle.

              Richman would do well to consider that Kyle did not make the decision to overthrow Iraq.

              His closing statement in this piece is utter garbage and the ravings of an idiot.

              1. Or putting your life on the line for your fellow man. Like when you are sent to war by your country, like Kyle.

                First off all Mr Humanist, “fellow man” includes Iraqis. And as we all know, if Chris Kyle hadn’t signed up for military service, Saddam Hussein would’ve personally crossed the Atlantic to butt rape his neighbor’s grandma.

                Richman would do well to consider that Kyle did not make the decision overthrow Iraq.

                Though he did willingly sign up to serve an institution that grants license to kill and engage in aggression with nothing resembling a guarantee that the targets would be justly selected. If you sign up for the military, you are signing up to be a killer for men in Washington, who are not exactly known for avoidance of injustice.

                His closing statement in this piece is utter garbage and the ravings of an idiot.

                Yeah the Sandy Hook comment was unbelievably retarded.

                1. 25 years in the Army, and I never got to rape any orphans or shoot any goat herders. I feel gipped.

              2. This.

                Kyle’s actions were heroic in nature. Substitute Iraq for WW2 or Korea and you wouldn’t squabble over the heroism. Civilians control our military. Be upset over the civilian control but don’t be mad at the service members for doing their duty.

                And if being in the military and doing my job makes my un-libertarian than so be it. Heinlein does the mental exercise on this. You have no right to life. Someone can snatch it from you at any time, and telling them it violates your right won’t stop them. Don’t be naive and mistake ideals for rights.

                1. I don’t know of anyone who argues that having a right to something means that the laws of nature prevent transgressions from occuring. The entire reason one has a ‘right’ to something, is to establish that denial of said ‘right’ unjustly, would amount to a criminal act. Yes you have a right to life, otherwise I wouldn’t be committing a crime when I kill you. You have a right to your property, otherwise it wouldn’t be theft when I steal it.

            2. When I think of heroism, I think of people standing up against the state or saving one-legged orphans from a grease fire.

              Occasionally, heroism can come down to peaceful personal risk taking. But that doesn’t define heroism. If you go through heroic archetypes throughout human history, the vast majority of them committed violence.

          4. If Kyle was a war hero, it was in context of watching out for his brother’s in arms. Nothing more nothing less.

            Both sides tend to forget this.

            1. ^This.

            2. THIS^ And one time in the film he is very careful not to kill a kid who picked up a grenade and was about to toss it and then put it down. He is one man who did his duty, above and beyond in taking care of his fellow soldiers. In that sense he is a hero. Was the war heroic – NO. But don’t blame one soldier for that. Blame Bush, Cheney, and particularly Colin Powell who went to the UN with the doctored evidence.

          5. A principled libertarian wouldn’t quibble about whether Kyle was a “hero”, he’d recognize that the concept of “heroism”, which comes down to glorification of violence based popularity, is intrinsically incompatible with libertarianism.

            It’s not incompatible; it’s orthogonal.

            Libertarianism is not pacifist – it merely prescribes unjustified violence, like nearly every other creed on Earth.

            It’s more constrained than most in what it justifies – a good thing – but it most assuredly does not require us to abhor violence like Goddamn Hippies.

            (Being popular for using violence in defense of self or others against aggressors and oppressors cannot be incompatible with any libertarianism I’ve seen or would recognize.)

            1. t’s more constrained than most in what it justifies – a good thing – but it most assuredly does not require us to abhor violence like Goddamn Hippies.

              Libertarianism has absolutely nothing to say about violence in general. It offers an absolute and unflinching opposition to aggression however.

              1. Ousting tyrants is never aggression.

                1. Tyrants who we spent 20 years supporting and funding? And if we were all about “ousting tyrants”, then why did King Abdullah live to a nice old age in Saudi Arabia? Why did we support the anti-democracy crackdown in Bahrain?

                  Bush/Obama have their oil buddies and their “let’s go grab their oil!” enemies, pure and simple. Saddam and Gaddafi’s only sin was that they got on the wrong list. (Well, maybe Gaddafi shouldn’t have been talking about wanting to get oil payments in something other than $USD. Not bowing down to the Almighty Dollar is just blasphemous, don’t you know?)

                  1. Please document said support and funding. Good luck.

                    You’ll find we stopped selling weapons to Iraq in 1968.

                    But I’m sure all those ZSUs and AKs were secretly US made.

                    Or perhaps you’re mistaking Franco-German Roland AA missiles for American.

                    And of course, that same France was secretly an ally, violating the embargo under orders from DC so we could infiltrate those ICM into their air defense network.

                    It’s a sad truth that 90% of the anti-war crowd are ignorant retards.

                  2. Bush/Obama have their oil buddies and their “let’s go grab their oil!” enemies, pure and simple.

                    That’s a lie, pure and simple.

                  3. Tyrants who we spent 20 years supporting and funding?

                    Which, if true, kind of creates an obligation on our part to remove those tyrants, don’t ya think?

                    Your point seems to be, we created them and supported them for years so we are morally obligated to continue doing so forever

                    Which is just flat out retarded.

                    Why did we support the anti-democracy crackdown in Bahrain?

                    Because democracy in and of itself is no virtue. If your neighbors ‘democractically’ decide to kill you and take your stuff, the moral position for an outsider to take would be to help you resist their aggression. Not to say “well a majority agrees… so your just fucked.

                    Bush/Obama have their oil buddies and their “let’s go grab their oil!” enemies, pure and simple.

                    Yeah, Bush and his buddies never attempted to do that, so this assertion is a delusional lie.

                    Saddam and Gaddafi’s only sin was that they got on the wrong list. (Well, maybe Gaddafi shouldn’t have been talking about wanting to get oil payments in something other than $USD. Not bowing down to the Almighty Dollar is just blasphemous, don’t you know?)

                    Agreed. Obama’s decision to get rid of a compliant and neutered Qaddafi was idiotic.

                    Doesn’t have anything at all to do with Bush or the Iraq war though, now does it.

              2. That’s meaningless sophistry. There’s nothing anti-libertarian about violence or aggression.

                Libertarianism doesn’t imply isolationist pacifism. Some libertarians who find aggression uncomfortable might prefer to redefine it as such, but they’re wrong.

                1. That’s meaningless sophistry. There’s nothing anti-libertarian about violence or aggression.

                  Aggression is by definition, a fight that you started, a transgression that you initiated. Libertarianism does not condone or accept aggression, in fact it’s at the very root of everything libertarianism rejects. I’m not sure if what you’re doing is sophistry, but I know it’s fucking stupid and reflective of a person who doesn’t know shit about liberty or the Non-Aggression Principle upon which it is built.

            2. prescribe /=/ proscribe

            3. Libertarianism is not pacifist

              Did I say anywhere that it was?

              it merely prescribes unjustified violence

              Yes, and heroism is about glorifying violence based on whether it is popular, regardless of whether it is justified. Therefore, it is incompatible with libertarianism.

              Heroism is a culturally relative concept. The same people considered war criminals by the US were heroes to the Nazis. And people considered heroes by mainstream Americans are considered evil by many libertarians.

              Richman erroneously implies that heroism is a positive concept that shouldn’t be misapplied to wrongdoers. And the kind of value system that heroism represents is incompatible with libertarianism.

        3. OM has no idea what ‘principle’ is. He thinks it’s an excuse to get away with saying the most retarded shit possible.

        4. ” intellectually-consistent “

          Yes but what is he *consistent about*?

          “everything is the fault of the jews.”

          …And every US foreign policy starting from and including the Louisiana Purchase was wanton imperialist naked-aggression….

          Richman is a running joke.

      2. Sheldon Richman is one of the most principled libertarians writing today. This article is awesome. Thank you Reason for publishing it.

        1. This article is terrible. Comparing what America did in Iraq to Nazi Germany and comparing Chris Kyle to Adam Lanza is so absurd as to be only worthy of ridicule. Because this website is called “Reason,” Mr. Richman should think a bit more before publishing this drivel.

          1. While the last line was a bit much, the rest of it was spot on. You are making some serious category errors by singling out the Nazi comparison. Sheldon is not comparing the US govt to the Nazis in entirety, but rather the actions the of soldiers in an illegal invasion. The action of the Nazis invading Poland and the US invading Iraq are pretty much morally equivalent in being illegal invasions.

            1. Legal equivalent, at best. Moral equivalent – absolutely not.

              1. I am not playing “rock, paper, scissor, Cheney” with you.

                1. As much as you might hate to admit it, Cheney is not Hitler.

              2. I’ll suggest your evaluation of the relative morality between the two invasion is colored by your patriotism. Do you think the Germans who invaded Poland believed they were morally correct in doing so?

                1. @boomer
                  Is Iraq part of the glorious bush-reich lebensraum, yet?

                2. Some of them did, I’m sure. Others were convinced they were morally correct gassing the subhuman parasites called Jews. So what? I’m not required to adopt their perspective just because it exists.

                  FWIW, I suspect military veterans on both sides of every way would admit without hesitation that the enemy soldiers they faced were patriotic. Maybe even honorable, brave, or heroic. Heroism is an attribute of individuals, only tangential to the cause their heroism serves.

                  “No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country.”

            2. The action of the Nazis invading Poland and the US invading Iraq are pretty much morally equivalent in being illegal invasions.

              were the Poles at the time being ruled by a homicidal dictator with two sons who were apparently worse? Lots of reasons to quibble about going into Iraq, but drawing moral equivalence between teh US effort and the Nazi invasion of Poland is bullshit.

              1. Erm, actually, the invasion of Iraq was pretty legal, as our state of war with Iraq dating back to the invasion of Kuwait never ended.

                We had a long cease-fire which Iraq violated quite a bit.

                From a pure legal perspective, there’s actually decent arguments to be made that it was authorized, legally, more than once.

                The main argument, to my mind, is whether an “AUMF” is actually a “declaration of war”. If not, then Congress has no authority to pass one.

                1. I believe Christopher Hitchens even pointed out that there were four ways a country could legally lose its sovereignty and Iraq under Saddam qualified for all four… genocide, harbouring international terrorists, invading neighbours and defying treaties or trying to build nukes I think.

              2. The fact that Iraq was ruled by Hussien was NOT the reason we invaded Iraq.

                1. No but toppling him was a secondary bonus that was used to sell the war and that was seen by some people as worth it (at least worth the initial toppling)

                  WMDs & his support of international terrorists (which was exaggerated to make it look like he was chummy with Osama) were the main reasons.
                  Incidentally he did have a nuclear centrifuge buried under a scientist’s garden (see the book: The Bomb In My Garden) so the assertion that he didn’t have WMDs at all is false.

                2. The fact that Iraq was ruled by Hussien was NOT the reason we invaded Iraq.

                  Actually, that is the only reason that we invaded.

            3. Thought experiment. How do you feel about the following two terms:

              1) Blitzkrieg

              2) Shock & Awe

              1. I don’t know dude, which is evil?

                Gott

                Or

                God

              2. Meat you do understand that every modern military on Earth uses the combined arms/maneuver-firepower-shock effect system revolutionized by Guderian, yes?

              3. Who gives a fuck. Blitzkrieg just means lightening war. The only reason you bring his up is because it can be associated with the Nazi’s but if the Weirmarch republic or for fuck sake the Kaiser army had come up with the term no one would no what that would fucking mean.

            4. I’m sorry, which UN resolutions had Poland repeatedly violated when the Nazi’s invaded to absorb Polish territory? Comparing the German invasion of Poland to the American invasion of Iraq betrays a profound ignorance of history.

          2. Yep. This article is one long game of “let’s see how many important distinctions I can elide in the course of one article expressing my distaste for violence.”

        2. Sheldon Richman isn’t a libertarian, he is a progressive who tends to reach more libertarian-leaning conclusions. But his reasoning is firmly rooted in statism (and he, frankly, isn’t very smart).

          1. If you’ve read any of Richman’s work from other places, it’s pretty clear he’s an anarchist.

          2. Richman and Doherty are the most Rothbardian of all Reason columnists, which is another way of saying that they’re the most ideologically “pure” libertarians who work for the LA County Cosmos.

            1. He’s a Rothtardian who sounds like a leftoid on the street (since the Rothtard quacks are not far removed from leftoidism). The rabid anti-Americanism is anything but a rare or different view, it’s boorishly common and I’m sick to death of hearing it.

            2. Richman may well favor many Rothbardian policies, but he frequently reasons like a progressive.

              That’s hardly surprising: he’s a “left-libertarian” (that’s sort of like a “Catholic atheist”), and he earns his living as a talking head and an intellectual. He shares those distinctions with Noam Chomsky. Draw your on conclusions.

        3. Sheldon Richman is one of the most principled libertarians writing today. This article is awesome. Thank you Reason for publishing it.

          The article is a bit polemical and I don’t know if I’d call it awesome, but yes, I too agree with the general gist of it.

        4. “Ed Ucation|1.29.15 @ 10:57AM|#

          Sheldon Richman is one of the most principled libertarians writing today. This article is awesome. Thank you Reason for publishing it.”

          Hi Sheldon.

          Taking lessons from Tony I see. Just remember to not get confused as to which account you are praising yourself from like he did.

          1. As much fun as a packet full of Gleens.

      3. What the hell are you talking about? I crossed over the anarchist line ages ago. Sheesh.

        But anti-social? Where’d you get that?

        1. Because in just about every article you write, you make it very clear that you are a misanthrope who very much wants to live on his own island. That’s fine, but if your ideas were actually applied in a wider social setting, a lot of people would be hurt. You are fully aware of this, and your complete lack of concern regarding the welfare of others is why I call you anti-social. In this case you essentially labeled everyone who served in Iraq a mass murderee, or enablers of mass murder. Do you really think this was a wise position to take four days after writing an article about libertarianism shooting itself in the foot? You can’t be trusted to not be a dickhead and drive people away (as the comments below show).

          1. Your arguing for collectivism and calling Richman progressive?

            Hmmmmm.

            1. I did neither thing.

          2. Yeah, wait a minute. The article immediately before “the US is no different than Nazi Germany” was “hey, libertarians, stop being contentious, provocative know-it-alls or else you’ll scare off all the reasonable people.”

        2. OK, that was funny. 🙂

      4. in his book Kyle wrote he was fighting “savage, despicable evil” ? and having “fun” doing it. Why did he think that about the Iraqis?

        Kyle didn’t say this about Iraqis generally. He said it about the enemy he faced in Iraq, which he distinguished from the population. And further he said it largely based on the depredations of the enemy upon the Iraqi population.

        This is a smear-job that should be beneath anyone and shows the disgusting underside of politics isn’t relegated to right or left no matter how much we libertarians wish otherwise. I need to commit “Sheldon Richman” to memory since he’s the most dishonest and disgusting libertarian I’ve come across in some time. He deserves to be remembered

    2. If you took a poll of “Most Disdained Writer at Reason,” Sheldon would win easily.

      The US spent billions trying to rebuild Iraq and help them.

      Most fabulously dumb idea of the 21st century- so far.

      1. How do you figure? It greatly expanded government power, bought Bush an election he had no business winning and helped to batter the American people into ignoring the further erosion of their natural rights. Seems like a genius idea to me.

        1. I think the fact that Bush ran against John (Magic Hat) Kerry and John (Baby Daddy) Edwards had as much to do with winning the election as the war.

      2. I’d like to thank my editor and all the little people who made this award possible.

        1. I guess that means you’re doing something right. Whenever I point someone at this site I have to remind them that I do not agree with all or some days most of the writers here. And reading things I disagree with is good for me.

        2. “Eastwood’s movie also features an Iraqi sniper. Why isn’t he regarded as a hero for resisting an invasion of his homeland, ”

          To a certain group of Iraqis he probably was. To an American ? Not so much. What is so hard to understand here that you felt the need to pose the question ?

          Overall I felt the article was well written wheather the reader agrees with the writer’s position or not. Unti this gem escsped.

          “Excuse me, but I have trouble seeing an essential difference between what Kyle did in Iraq and what Adam Lanza did at Sandy Hook Elementary School. It certainly was not heroism.”

          Shark Jumped. This sentence left a dirty taste in my mouth and discredited the rest of the piece. It will further shape my opinion of any further articles I stumble across by Richman ( after this I would never seek one out) before I read the first sentence.

          1. “Excuse me, but I have trouble seeing an essential difference between what Kyle did in Iraq and what Adam Lanza did at Sandy Hook Elementary School. It certainly was not heroism.”

            I’m no fan of Kyle, George Bush, the Iraq War, or the US Government, but the difference between Lanza and Kyle is obvious.

            Lanza was a batshit crazy kid who murdered people pretty much at random for no purpose whatsoever.

            Kyle was a sniper who killed specific people in the context of a war. Whether that particular war was justified is another issue entirely. Even if the war were justified, it would not necessarily make Kyle a hero.

            The difference between Lanza and Kyle is obvious … even the difference between Lt. William Calley and Kyle is obvious … even if one thinks that Kyle’s motivation for voluntary participation in killing Iraqis and his subsequent revelings in same are pure evil.

      3. If you took a poll of “Most Disdained Writer at Reason,” Sheldon would win easily.

        Hardly. Chapman would be the clear winner. followed by Dalmia. Though Richman doesn’t particularly bother me as I’m not a nationalist, so his occasional anti-Americanisms don’t offend my pride. That’s not an endorsement of any and everything he’s ever written, just that as far as dumbass Reason writers go, there are others who suck ten times worse.

        1. Shikha Dalmia all the way, unless you coiunt past “contributors” in which case Will Wilkinson wins!

    3. It was a war to remove a murderous regime that committed genocide.

      I think you may have arrived in the wrong neighborhood by mistake, friend.

    4. As an Iraq combat veteran,

      Richman is right. The whole reason Kyle was there was to put down an insurrection in a country we occupied, and Iraq had zero to do with 9/11. And don’t feed me the “but we saved the peoplez” bullshit. It’s pure bullshit, AND WE KNEW IT THEN TOO.

      1. ^This.

      2. Lotta veterans here… doesn’t make you any kind of authority or lend your opinion any more weight…

        1. @MC: is there anything specifically in in EF’s comment you disagree with. It’s oretty no controversial, at least among non conservatives.

      3. I have talked to other veterans who basically say this as well.

      4. “entropy_factor|1.29.15 @ 11:40AM|#

        As an Iraq combat veteran,”

        So, in your opinion, what was the truth for the invasion that you hint at knowing ?

        1. Saddam selling oil in currencies other than the dollar, US desire for regional regime change (Iraq, Syria, Iran), overreaction to emotional 9/11 memories and a genuine neo-conservative desire for an event to spur defense spending.

          1. That, and daddy issues.

            1. Less daddy issues and more “bringing democracy to the savages”. It had been the neocon wet dream for a decade to forcibly install a democracy in an Arab middle-eastern country in hopes that this would lead to popular revolt in the region’s dictatorships. Under the theory that democracies will always end up being friendly to the west and good for human rights.

              They were proven at least partially correct… people in the region did see the example of Iraq and rise up. The rest of it… not so much.

          2. “US desire for regional regime change (Iraq, Syria, Iran)”

            Fuck yeah, what better reason could there be?

    5. Many of the Iraqi people did not want the US there. And not just the Hussein cronies.

      My opinion is that the Bush Administration wanted to maintain the petrodollar (Iraq had started selling oil in Euros). Perhaps why most Eurozone countries gave it a pass.

      As for the genocide, are you referring to Saddam using USA-provided chemical weapons initially earmarked for use against Iran that he later used on the Kurds?

      Should there be Senate hearings on how “unAmerican” this might be?

      I would hqve bee ok if Bush and Kyle went over there to kill “bad guys,” just leave the US flag off the uniform and don’t use my tax money to fund it.

      1. “USA-provided chemical weapons”

        Jesus christ. For a site called Reason there are a lot of people incapable of learning.

        1. Drink.

        2. The US provided material assistance for the program. Then provided international cover after its use on a civilian population went public. And continued to fund Hussein.

    6. I agree with you this is very bad writing, poorly researched and obviously trying to appeal to anti-war leftists who Sheldon thinks might become libertarian after reading this or something.

      It’s one thing to oppose the War in Iraq or the reasons for going to war it’s another to rewrite history and ignore just how much of a totalitarian mad man Saddam Hussein & family were…

    7. I read stuff like this and wonder if Libertarians are masochists.

      Libertarians need to know that they have no home on the left and there is no way to appease the left and make them like you, no matter how hard you try and suck up to them. In the mean time, you piss off anyone who might actually ally with you to move the country in your preferred direction.

      Too often you appear like Marx’s useful idiots.

      1. At least if you’re going to appeal the the Left this isn’t the way – I used to be a lefty anti-capitalist, what won me over were the real pro-free market pro-capitalist ideals combined with hard evidence… but mostly the idea that a free-market utopia could be theoretically created got me at first (As Thomas Sowell would point out, I like many leftists was suffering from believing in the Utopian Vision – libertarianism, like classic marxism, is in some ways a combination of the Utopian & Tragic Vision – Sowell believes this is what made Marx’s rebranding of socialism so popular & this is what I think will make many leftists potentially go libertarian)

    8. So if a sniper was taking out communist killers in Vietnam (let’s they were killing innocent people), then he wouldn’t be considered as a hero, since he was part of an invading force.

      Would it make a difference if he was “private” soldier of fortune who arrived on his own will? And he picked off terrorists targeting American soldiers and innocent civilians? Is he a hero then?

      We did invade Iraq, but for all the mistakes and innocent people we killed, we weren’t the Viet Cong or Imperialist Japan. Our goal was nation building and weakening terrorism (yes, I know intel was bad), not to exterminate a group of people or to expand the empire.

    9. the cluelessness is strong in this drone

    10. It was a war to defend us against imaginary nuclear weapons. That is what they said, except they told us the weapons were real. Any other justification is post-hoc and serves to defend the idiotic murderous assclowns who started the war.

    11. This whole article is nothing but click bait sensationalism and doesn’t deserve the time and attention we, myself included, have paid to it.

      After wasting so much time on it myself, since his closing statement infuriated me, I realized that that is Richman’s only goal.

      His utter lack of self respect has become obvious to me as I read the thread. His attempt here is to gain attention to himself and he is willing to expose himself to be the Kim Kardashion of journalism in exchange for the clicks and thread length.

      Why not just make a sex tape Richmand ? It would serve your inner purpose while not exposing yourself to be an idiot as well as an attention whore.

      Is posting such disgusting public statements the only way you can pay your rent and to be noticed?

      It never fails to amaze me how low some will go just to satisfy an inner need for attention.

    12. Looks like this brought out all the butt-hurt war mongoloids that haunt these comments boards when they’re not fapping over their gun collections.
      Kyle was a war criminal and a liar.
      Oops he’s dead.

    13. You have an interesting definition of the word ‘help.’

      I’m always disturbed by how so many American conservatives refuse to even acknowledge the legitimacy of enemy combatants, that’s my biggest problem with your ilk and the ethos of the movie. Just by resisting an American invasion, they’re terrorists. Even targeting American invading soldiers, who should be legitimate targets in war, is still called, or implied to be, terrorism.

      So why shouldn’t the Iraqi sniper be regarded as a hero if he defends his fellow combatants from American soldiers? Would you really take the position that just being opposite the US in a war makes one a ‘terrorist’ rather than a soldier, deprived of all rights conferred by international law? Just curious.

    14. Amen! libertarians in general and the Libertarian Party in particular have no clue on foreign affairs (besides perhaps eliminating most non military foreign aid). I consider myself economically libertarian but this kind of crap will never win me, or a majority of Americans, over.

    15. HaydenGalloway, I couldn’t have said it any better.

  2. Except most of the enemy fighters were from other countries, including the enemy sniper. Sheldon, I know you’re an Aspie and don’t understand human relationships, but he was a hero to the men whose life he saved. You obviously don’t give a fig about your country’s hired thug killers or their lives, so you obviously don’t get it.

    I know you get off on being a controversial dickhead, but this might be a bridge too far for you. Leave the anti-soldier venomous hate for the deepest parts of the web.

    1. Wow, Dale Carnegie would be proud…

    2. I imagine most of the enemy snipers were not “freedom fighters” (fighting only American soldiers while making an effort not to hurt other Iraqi civilians) but Al Qaida types who would carve people heads like ham and throw gays off buildings. These guys killed a LOT of their own people and civilian contractors from other nations.

      I didn’t watch the movie or read the book, but from I read from other sources Kyle was a decent human being who loved his family and was repsected by his peers.

      Eastwood directed “Letters from Iwo Jima” a while back. It’s hard to imagine soldiers from Imperial Japan as “heroes”, but I can appreciate their acts of heroism or humanity in a certain context.

      1. I find it hard to imagine why Japanese soldiers would be any less heroic than American ones?

        Dropping a bomb safely from a plane way up in the sky and instantly incinerating hundreds of thousands of innocent people, including children, is not heroic. Nor was firebombing all of Tokyo. At least the Japanese attacked Peark Harbor, a military base, instead of Honolulu.

        The average Japanese soldier was at least as ‘heroic’ as the average American one. And I’ll add to that: if anyone should have been tried for war crimes, it should have been Curtis Lemay.

        1. I once served with a Filipino chief petty officer who didn’t think too highly of Japanese soldiers. He recalled how as a youngster during WWII he witnessed Japanese soldiers come into his village and kill babies by tossing them into the air and catching them on bayonets. And yes, I’m aware there was a bunch of wartime propaganda regarding the Japanese, but where there is smoke there is generally some fire. I doubt whether any of them were saints.

    3. execpt again, you miss the entire point. The US invaded a soverign nation for _no_ reason. Like always the clueless leaders and the gullible do dumb shit like invade a foreign country, regime change, and wonder why the country turns into a hell hole and the people hate us.

      1. There was a reason, Saddam had violated the terms of his original surrender. The US, according to international law, had a legal casus belli. Doesn’t mean the US was morally right, or smart to go to war, in Iraq; but to say they had no reason is to be oblivious of not only the build up but international law.

  3. Leading readers to think fairly and critically critically about the contributions of the men and women serving in our armed forces is not an unreasonable goal.

    This piece of trash does not do that.

    Comparing Chris Kyle to a mentally deficient spree killer and mother-murderer is insultingly infantile and so far beyond the pale that the pale got bored of waiting for you to return to reality and went home for a snack.

    I do not value the balance of the content I receive from Reason.com enough to run the risk that my eyes occasionally will be raped by bullshit like this when I make the mistake of clicking on one of your links. I’ll probably hang around long enough to see if the Powers That Be issue a violent throttling and retraction of this piece. Barring that, I’ll just unplug and do my reading elsewhere.

    This was seriously fucked up, y’all.

    1. Something tells me Korvis is a sock-puppet for somebody like Tulpa. He can’t be a drive-by brought here by another link since the article’s only been up for 20 minutes or so.

      1. And it appears that HaydenGalloway beat me to the punch by nearly four hours. Math not your strong suit?

        I get up. I open my news reader. I see rhetorical excrement. I comment.

        Doesn’t require a sock-puppet-conspiracy theory, Ted.

        1. The four hour post was to due to a link on another Reason thread filled with regulars. The article wasn’t truly posted at the time.

      2. “Something tells me that so-and-so is a sock puppet for whatzizname” strikes me as an ineffective counter argument to anything.

        1. YOU’RE A TOWEL!

  4. Speaking as someone who likes Sheldon Richman and thinks the Iraq war was a mistake, this is an appallingly bad article, more a leftist rant than something that belongs here (where’s the obligatory Halliburton reference?) Richman reflexively sides with any resister against any occupier, but I will venture a better libertarian take: the side in the right is the one that’s more freedom advancing. I don’t think Baathists or Islamic jihadists are more freedom advancing than the United States. And the comparison to Adam Lanza is simply too stupid to merit comment; I’m almost hoping the NSA hacked Richman’s computer and submitted this piece to make libertarians look bad.

    1. Considering that the left has been more pro-freedom in the last 10 years than the right on many issues, including peace, the drug war, civil liberties, gay marriage, and 4th Amendment, your “leftist rant” label does not have much of a sting.

      1. Too bad they want the 1st and 2nd Amendment ripped from the Constitution. Being for Mexicans, pot and ass sex do make you a freedom fighter. The left is equally bad on issues of freedom as the right.

        1. *does not make you a freedom fighter

          is an edit button too much to ask for?

          1. “Being for Mexicans, pot and ass sex do make you a freedom fighter.” – I think this sentence is perfect the way it is.

        2. Of course the left is equally bad. But then why is “leftist” an insult? Doesn’t that imply the “right” is better, when it’s not?

          1. Doesn’t that imply the “right” is better

            No. If I call you a child-molesting pedophile, that doesn’t imply that the term “cannibal serial rapist” is better.

            1. “cannibal serial rapist”

              YOU CALL STEVE SMITH????

              1. STEVE SMITH CALL YOU!!!!

          2. Nah, yeah, the right is better.

        3. hardly. please do list some freedoms the right wing nut jobs are about that Democrats are against

          1. Property rights ? no property taxes, no employment taxes, sound money
            Freedom of association ? no compulsory union membership
            Freedom of speech ? no pc speech codes
            States rights ? no EPA, DoEd, HHS
            Right against self-incrimination ? no IRS
            Freedom of religion, right to bear arms, etc., etc.,
            I know, you are going to say, the GOP doesn’t support this but I can give you both their names. And no liberal will step up to help them.

      2. “including peace,”
        So Obo is now ‘right’? If not, bullshit.

        “the drug war,”
        Maybe, if we measure with a micrometer.

        “civil liberties,”
        Like gun ownership?

        “gay marriage,”
        OK, you got one.

        “and 4th Amendment,”
        Cite missing.

        1. And you know Sevo, I think a lot of the right would have less objection if gay marriage was remnamed. Many that I read implied that it wasn’t a refusal for gays to enjoy the rights bestowed on a married man and woman. It was the upsuroing of the word marriage that has for ever in written history been the domain of a man and a woman.

          But that didn’t satisfy the jihadists gays.

          O well. I don’t really care. In a world where those with asstes but low income get their health insurance subsidized by those with no assets but a higher income I see that as a bigger problem than Jill and Jack vs. Jack and Jack.

      3. including peace

        Seriously? Drone wars, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan? Any of this ring a bell?

        the drug war

        Marginally, maybe. Depending on how you weight the escalation of raids against pot dispensaries, I suppose.

        civil liberties

        Like which ones?

        gay marriage

        I still have a hard time with the expansion of a state licensing program as an expansion of liberty. EP is not the same as freedom.

        and 4th Amendment

        After the last six years of increasing technological intrusion by state agents into our lives, you can say this?

      4. If you define “pro-freedom” as “invasively statist” then, yeah, the left is awesome.

        If you believe any of that you really need to read this blog some more. The right’s generally happy sitting on the sidelines, letting the fanatics on left do their dirty work.

      5. I’m late to the party, but holy shit that is hilarious.

      6. The same left that opposes school choice, right to work, due process in sex crimes cases, and supports speech codes on campuses?

        Oh yeah, and what kind of paint chips are you eating? Notice the leftist president engaging in adventurist military actions in the middle east the last six years? Notice the leftist administration stepping up spying on American citizens, trying to get the supreme court to throw out the 4th amendment so it can search whoever whenever it wants?

        Leftists pro-freedom? Seriously, lead paint is not for drinking, mkay?

    2. And furthermore … Halliburton!

      1. Sheldon is just “signalling” his desire to be one of the cool kids.

        From MSNBC this morning:

        “How he viewed Iraqis. Some of what people described as his racist tendencies towards Iraqis and Muslims as he was going on some these killing sprees in Iraq.”

        That Chris Kyle was described by “some people” as just a “racist” who went on “killing sprees” – is now the new mantra among the these wankers.

        1. when in doubt, racism!!11!1. Because Kyle and other troops would have acted differently if Muslims looked like Europeans?

          1. If I recall correctly, Kyle recounts killing blue-eyed, blonde haired Chechens in his book.

            1. Even racist serial killers need dessert once in a while.

    3. OK, but make the case that initiating force against Iraq is more freedom advancing than letting Iraqi politics take their course.

      There are no good options, but I think it would be better to not initiate force.

  5. I’ve never read the Kyle book nor seen the movie, so I guess I can’t really comment. The cult of military-worship in this country is such that slobbering displays of anti-soldier rage like this one aren’t going to get you very far in changing anyone’s mind. (I know it’s Richman, but still…) I try to work on those who think I owe every veteran an unpayable debt of gratitude for “defending my freedumz” with a little more delicacy.

    1. I agree that the fawning and automatic respect is really too much. I cringe when I go to a baseball game and they trot out veterans in full uniform so the team ownership can show how much they give back. There is a vast gulf between automatic respect (today’s normal), automatic civility, and the automatic disrespect that Richman seems to embrace. I am an Iraq War vet (and vocal opponent of that war) and it makes me uncomfortable when people run up to me and shake my hand if I (or realistically, mostly my wife) mention it. I did my job, I got paid, I came home. I don’t require constant tribute to how much I sacrificed (unlike NYC cops), I volunteered for it.

      1. Eh, I do the respect thing due to the guys with PTSD. It can make a world of difference in their ability to cope with civilian life to get thanked by strangers. It’s an act of kindness not a mandatory every one must do this thing.

        1. Sure, but let’s be honest with ourselves, most people do it to make themselves feel like they did a good deed; like donating to charity. I accept the handshake not because I want to be thanked, but because at this point it’s become considered extremely rude to refuse. I could see it on their face the one or two times I tried to wave it off “How dare you refuse me my feel good moment!” “What a dick!” Etc.

          1. It’s also worth noting that many in the military are not even potential heroes by any stretch, they’re just regular government employees; that is, the ones who will never see combat (which I think is over half).

            I have a friend who’s in a purely non-combat branch. He’s a glorified paper pusher; he makes a bunch of money, tax free, for a job a simple computer program could do. He gets stationed in Europe, gets what seems to be as many vacation days as he wants so he can tour the continent, and gets an enormous pension (could retire and 45 and get a full salary rest of his life).

            And he is going to get treated like a god by most Americans when he gets back, even though most of us are at greater risk of violence than he ever was. That is total bullshit. People would do well to remember that, while the guys who make it back from combat got it pretty rough and gave a lot, many in the military are just typical government bureaucrats whose job is to waste taxpayer money, and should be treated as such.

      2. I did my job, I got paid, I came home. I don’t require constant tribute to how much I sacrificed (unlike NYC cops), I volunteered for it.

        I’m glad you came home, and I would say “thank you for your service” unless that pisses you off.

        What you’ve done is, of course, what all veterans do. Some in much more dangerous jobs than others, but it is a job. Mine was on a flight deck–dangerous but nothing like combat. Nonetheless, Kyle did his job. Whether he is considered a “hero” is up to the observer. I won’t judge him in political terms. That would be similar to those who spat on Vietnam veterans and called them “baby killers” with no understanding of the notion that those soldiers were merely doing their jobs (many in that war were forced to do the job).

        In final analysis, one who does his/her job with passion and dedication is worthy of praise. Enlisted folk, especially, cannot be faulted for the politics of the situation they find themselves in.

        Kyle was doing his job. And it appears that he did it very well. Kudos to him for a job well done. Fuck his critics.

        1. now that’s a post I would like if that utility existed. I spent a lot of years in an Army town. Some very sharp people and some boneheads but that segment is everywhere. None of them were in it for the glory, the hoopla, the gratuitous prostrating that has become the norm.

          They were professionals doing a job. I can respect their skill, their commitment, and the things their families put up with without genuflecting before them, not that they would want me to.

        2. 1) I would take issue with your automatic praise of ‘doing one’s job.’ An oncologist who ‘does his job’ treating cancer patients is not the same as a drug dealer ‘doing his job’ selling heroine to kids. Not all jobs are equal.

          The best I could say regarding Kyle’s heroism is that, one could argue, however futile and destructive the war he was in, there was nothing he could do about that even if he opposed it, and that, given those circumstances, he could do good by helping as many survive as possible. I would qualify that though especially regarding the killing of children: who has more of a right not to be killed, the Iraqi child who didn’t choose to have his country invaded, or the American adult who consciously chose to join the military and put himself at risk? The fact is, soldiers are adults who made a choice and accepted the risk, that makes protecting them lower priority than protecting civilians, no matter their country, in my opinion.

          Other than that, I agree with your post, and with Vietnam in particular, considering that many were conscripted into it, to be treated like shit by civilians when they get back is beyond low. The object of their hatred should have been the civilian leadership (McNamara especially), but failing that, I guess they figured they’d hate someone else by proxy. Incidentally, they couldn’t have picked a worse proxy, as those veterans were also victims of the war.

        3. The NYC cops that killed Eric Garner were also doing their jobs.

          To say Kyle is either a hero to be fawned over or otherwise it is the equivalent of spitting on Vietnam Vets is straw man.

          And how do you feel about the North Vietnamese that were doing their jobs with passion and actually defending their homeland?

          In regard to volunteering:
          Volunteering is generally considered an altruistic activity and is intended to promote goodness or improve human quality of life. In return, this activity can produce a feeling of self-worth and respect. There is no financial gain involved for the individual.

  6. The only reason Kyle went to Iraq was that Bush/Cheney & Co. launched a war of aggression against the Iraqi people.

    That is funny, I seem to remember helping the Iraqi Army fight the Jaish al Mahdi and AQ who were doing some pretty bad things to “the Iraqi people”. I must have been doing it wrong.

    1. Hey, just because you were there LTC doesn’t mean you are qualified to comment. Sheldon “Does Your Taxes” Richman is a writer! He writes…stuff! He therefore knows what he is talking about!

    2. That’s it…to boil the conflict down to REHSIST TEH AGRESSOR is just…it’s like he’s not even trying to form an argument, he just wants to spout off something satisfying to show of his shiny anti-war creds.

      I mean, shit, you can think the war was a mistake and simultaneously not cast the whole thing as some kind of La R?sistance fantasy.

      1. Agreed, Saddam was an asshole and there were large swaths of the population, i.e the Kurds and the Shiites, that were being brutalized. Iraq in 2003 is not the same as Poland in the 1930s.

    3. I think this article is a bit much. We didn’t invade Iraq for the heck of it, even if we didn’t actually have the huge national interest that appeared to be the case at the outset. If we’d plundered the country and oppressed the citizenry, I could see trashing the soldiers.

      I do get the idea of moral responsibility being at the individual level, so the weight of the U.S. doing something wrong, when it does, also falls on the soldiers to some extent (more if they’re doing truly bad things). And I’m one of those who thinks that military intervention should be a last resort, even as World Cop, not the first one.

    4. no AQ in Iraq before we occupied, if you were there, you know that. I do.

    5. I seem to remember helping the Iraqi Army fight the Jaish al Mahdi and AQ

      “The Iraqi Army” was a collection of Shiite militias not associated with al Sadr fighting Sunni militias (including AQ).

      1. I think the 14th DIV and the 10th DIV I worked with do not fall into your description.
        Of course, that was 2008 – the politicians threw away what they had an tried to make a crony and political force…that did not work out well for the country.

        1. 08? Jesus man you missed the real war. In 06 we drove around throwing bags of money at Sunni tribal leaders to bribe them into helping us for 6-12 months and beat back AQ. Yeah, some “surge” LOL

          1. I got stuck in with some Brits (Royal Scots Borderers, then the Scots Dragoon Guards) and a division of Iraqis taking Basra back. The IA did OK – their 1st DIV (later 1st QRF) was effective, if a bit crude.

            They pissed away a fairly effective force to crony up, settle scores, etc.

            One funny thing was how I saw a whole lot of non-Arabic speaking prisoners. Odd they were Persian speakers…

          2. I was supposed to be going back to Afghanistan with the rest of my brigade, in ’09. But nooooo, some dickhead decided I need to get called up in ’07 and sent to Iraq instead. Bleah.

  7. “Excuse me, but I have trouble seeing an essential difference between what Kyle did in Iraq and what Adam Lanza did at Sandy Hook Elementary School. It certainly was not heroism.”

    Oh, what the fuck, Richman.

    1. Have to agree Irish, despite my negative opinions of Kyle, his supporters, etc.

      1. I’m just going to call this one pure click-bait for the rabid pro-military people out there.

      2. Why we’re talking about this, I’d like an objective analysis of Chris Kyle–not about whether he was a baby killer, but what’s the controversy over him about? Did he lie about anything?

        1. Oh he lied about plenty. He was a braggadacio and kind of an asshole.

          He liked killing people. Reading his book made me sick.

          And yes, he lied about lots. Look at the defamation suit won against him by the Jesse Ventura.

          1. It’s funny, I almost completely missed this guy’s existence until the movie came out (which I haven’t seen).

        2. Jesse Ventura sued him for slander or something before he was killed. Then Venutra had the audacity to continue his suit against Kyle’s estate. I Venutra ultimately won his suit. So now Kyle’s supporters have gone full internet tuff gai amd want to kill Jesse Ventura or something.

          1. If Kyle hadn’t had the audacity to make up a bullshit story to slander Ventura, there would be no lawsuit.

            1. Yeah, the “audacity” was sarcasm.

          2. There’s also some basic human decency.

            Taking money from the guy who slandered you? Sure.

            Taking money from his widow and children? Fuck me, Jesse, are you that hard up for cash?

            1. Had Ventura won the case before Kyle got dead, the widow and children wouldn’t have the money either, no?

              1. If he dropped the suit after the guy died they would have it, no ?

                He claimed to be suing on principal. He won his case, The guy died. The estate appealed, He is continuing to fight for the money.

                I guess his principal was that he needed the money as he felt he didn’t have enough principal in his bank account.

                He’s lost even the smidgen of respect I once had, not that he cares. He can take the money he’s taking from the widow and children and insulate himself from the opinion of others.

            2. He was taking money from a lie written in a book that made Kyle some coin.

              I somebody robs you and later dies, you should still get your stuff back.

              1. He got his stuff back with the lawsuit win.

                The money he’s trying to take from the widow and children was never his.

                He’s scum.

                1. He only sued the estate once. And won. He filed a motiom after the estate (Kyle’s widow) filed a motion to have the verdict vacated on grounds of insufficient evidence or to have a new trial. The judge denied the Kyle motion and the verdict stands.

                  He is also suing the publisher for libel. Part of his reasoning is that they failed to conduct due diligenece before publishing something that was untrue (and because they made millions of dollars libeling him).

                  I agree with Ventura on all of the above.

                  Didn’t hear that he is going after more money from either the Kyle estate or his widow. Please provide the citation.

        3. According to the movie, he killed some kids. Granted, the kids were threatening American troops but still, my position is as follows: if a country sends its kids here, armed, to invade the US, you can kill away; it’s not the kids’ fault they were used, but it’s not ours either.

          On the other hand, if adults from the US invades a country, and some of the kids their fight back, sorry, those kids take moral precedence over our adults. The adult combatants, go for it. But killing an Iraqi kid being used as fodder by his bitch mom (example from the movie) because he *might* harm a marine is pretty iffy moral territory.

          Regarding this piece, I’d say it’s clearly an attempt to score points with progs, because Sheldon feels Reason leans too far ‘right’ too often. Simple overcompensation.

    2. So you should have no problem explaining the difference then.

      1. I’ll explain several differences:

        1. Chris Kyle didn’t wantonly murder school children for no reason. Unless you have evidence that Chris Kyle slaughtered unarmed 6 year olds as a matter of course, that strikes me as a relatively major difference.

        2. Chris Kyle joined the military in the late-90s, i.e. before the Iraq War even occurred. He therefore didn’t join the army with the goal of going into Iraq, he joined the military and was subsequently deployed as part of his job.

        Comparing someone who joined the army as a career military man and was then deployed to a combat zone to a spree killer of six year olds is ludicrous. If you and Richman have difficulty seeing the difference, then it isn’t my job to educate the ineducable.

        1. Okay so Chris Kyle signed up to kill people for money while Lanza only did it for kicks, and Kyle didn’t kill six-year-old.

          So how old does a person have to be before it becomes okay to kill them?

          1. I’d say the act of fighting on behalf of fucking Al Qaeda is a bit of a mitigating factor when it comes to killing somebody, don’t you?

            Or is all life equally precious, from the smallest, mewling babe to an ISIS sex slaver?

            1. Honestly, if you can’t see the moral difference between killing a foreign insurgent who is in the country expressly to establish a theocracy and murdering a room full of six year olds in cold blood, I just don’t know what to say to you.

              And I say this as someone who thinks the Iraq War was an atrocious and immoral mistake. It’s possible to oppose the Iraq War without flying into spittle infused hysterics and claims of false moral equivalence like you and Richman are doing.

              1. Irish|1.29.15 @ 11:00AM|#

                “And I say this as someone who thinks the Iraq War was an atrocious and immoral mistake. It’s possible to oppose the Iraq War without flying into spittle infused hysterics and claims of false moral equivalence like you and Richman are doing.”

                Well said.

            2. I don’t think I would be justified in killing someone just because they were a member of al Qaeda.

              1. TIL being a member of al Qaeda is exactly the same as fighting on behalf of al Qaeda.

                So by that logic, you’re just as bad as you think Kyle is, because you’re an American.

                1. Okay that’s…an interesting interpretation of what I said. To be clear I don’t think I would be justified in killing someone just because they fight on behalf of al Qaeda.

                  1. To be clear I don’t think I would be justified in killing someone just because they fight on behalf of al Qaeda.

                    Yeah but that’s because you’re an idiot.

                    1. Because AQ fights and kills for evil and against freedom.

              2. Then the military is probably the wrong career for you. Because self-preservation doesn’t seem to be your strong point.

                1. …what?

          2. Let me know when they win one of those non-violent wars without killing anyone.

            1. Heh heh… I like this.

          3. Youre such a blithering idiot that I believe Irish has completely wasted his time and effort. There is no point to even giving you or Sheldon the benefit of the doubt. Both of you are patently stupid and doltish.

          4. Okay so Chris Kyle signed up to kill people for money while Lanza only did it for kicks

            I can’t speak for anyone else, but I signed up hoping and praying to never have to fight.

            Think about that statement and what it means, Hugh.

            1. It means that you weren’t exactly clear about what the military does.

              1. No, Hugh. It means YOU aren’t exactly clear as to what the military does.

                Pull your head out of your ass.

                1. So the military doesn’t kill people? I have been grossly misinformed by movies, TV, books, video games, the news, and official statements from the military itself.

                  1. “I have been grossly misinformed”

                    Yes and intentionally stupid

                  2. Perhaps FdA thought the Defense Department should live up to its name and hoped that the US would never be attacked.

                    1. I doubt FdA thought that about the DD, but if he did, it would extremely naive on his part.

                  3. You have a strong military, Hugh, so you never need to use it. Nobody hates war more than a soldier.

          5. In war it’s kill, or be killed. Money is what you send home to your dependents.

            1. Okay so Kyle signed up specifically to kill people then. And that’s what makes him a hero?

              1. No, you have it backwards. I can’t speak for Kyle, but most military personnel sign up for a job. Kyle is a hero in the minds of those who consider him such. I can’t say–but neither can you.

          6. so Chris Kyle signed up to kill people for money

            could you post a more stupid one liner about the armed forces? Let’s asking someone like Swiss Servator: dude, did you sign up in order to kill people?

            1. Gawd no – I enlisted in 1985….I had been on a school trip to the USSR in 1984.

              Yeah, I for damned sure didn’t want that shite system spreading by armed force.

              I stayed in the National Guard, Reserve and Active for another 27+ years. Did some Mississippi flood duty (moar sandbagz!) and was in SFOR before I ever heard a shot fired in anger.

            2. Shorter answer – I realized I might have to kill someone, but I did not relish the thought, nor seek out opportunities to do so.

              I am supposed to end up loving mine enemies…I am not there yet, but I sure have never had a lust to kill them, or anyone else.

              1. Shorter answer – I realized I might have to kill someone, but I did not relish the thought, nor seek out opportunities to do so.

                That sums it up perfectly for me too.

                I spent four years in the Marines. My first two years (during which time the US was involved in a large overseas conflict) were spent on cushy “security” duty in a tropical paradise. I never saw a moment of combat, and for that I am glad.

          7. If all those kids Adam Lanza killed had been armed and out to kill him and his buddies, then the comparison would be valid. Otherwise, it is not.

        2. To play devil’s advocate here, you are saying that Kyle was legit in following orders because he joined before the illegal war was started and he was obligated by his contract.

          So to Godwin this thread, any German soldier who joined before 1 Sep 1939 and ended up killing Jews at Auschwitz was just following legit orders?

          Sheldon Richman has an appalling lack of civility even at the best of times, but there’s usually some small kernel of reality somewhere in his rants.

          In a robotic justic world, every American or “coaltion”) soldier who participated in the mideast wars would be treated the same as every German soldier who participated in Hitler’s wars, and in fact every soldier who participated in any voluntary foreign war, although conscription vs volunteering muddies the waters.

          1. You know who…

            oh, you already did that.

          2. In a robotic justic world, every American or “coaltion”) soldier who participated in the mideast wars would be treated the same as every German soldier who participated in Hitler’s wars

            Aside from the time spent as slave labor, the soldiers were set free. Or are you so ignorant of history as to think every wehrmacht grunt was a death camp guard?

            1. The ones who were guards were actually guards. It doesn’t take a genius to read between the lines, so you fail even that low bar.

              Notice “every” was used on both sides of the equation, yet you only complain about the German side.

              1. Notice how you ask for the treatment to be the same, and I told you that the treatment given was to be released, because the vast majority were not involved in crimes against humanity.

          3. You do know that there is a major difference between the German army and the NAZIs. The army were just doing their jobs. The NAZIs were a political organization.

            1. Sure. But some ordinary soldiers were murdering Jewish civilians in the east at least, and not all Nazis were blood thirsty scum.

              Read between the lines, starting with “devil’s advocate”. That applies to all of you. The way you guys come out swinging over insubstantialities is very interesting.

              1. But some ordinary soldiers were murdering Jewish civilians in the east

                Chris Kyle hasn’t been accused by even his most vociferous detractors of murdering Iraqi civilians. So, there’s that minor point of differentiation.

          4. But we didn’t try every German soldier after the war. We specifically didn’t try their snipers. We tried soldiers that under orders or of their own volition did terrible things to innocents or prisoners. We did not try German soldiers just for fighting our soldiers.

            So saying Kyle is culpable for the failings of the civilians who sent him to war is in fact COMPLETELY WRONG.

          5. Most German soldiers weren’t punished, and I would argue that they shouldn’t have been. Only those soldiers who engaged in illegal crimes against civilians (or ordered others to do so) were punished, as it should be.

            Keep in mind, desertion was often punished with death, so to what extent is one required to put others’ lives before one’s own?

            I’m not sure what options there are for a volunteer soldier; of course they don’t let you leave after the war is declared because you don’t like that particular war. So inevitably, when one joins the military, one is agreeing to potentially fight an unjust war; does this make joining the military (in a country without an impeccable record in that department? Which I suppose means Switzerland) inherently immoral? Of course, the only way around that would be to abolish the standing army and just call up volunteers at the outset of each war, which is hardly practical.

      2. Soldiers don’t get to choose their wars. You don’t get up and say, “No, I don’t think I’ll fight in that one.”

        1. You don’t get up and say, “No, I don’t think I’ll fight in that one.”

          Well you can, but the chance of prison rape goes up a bit. Regular old-being-a-solider rape stays the same though, especially if you vocalize issues with certain policies. Or bleed once a month.

        2. Well, no, but that’s perilously close to the Nuremberg defense. In the end, soldiers are responsible for their actions, too. Not that I’m comparing the U.S. to Nazis or anything, by the way.

          1. that’s perilously close to the Nuremberg defense

            Huh?

            LOAC. Read it.

            1. I don’t give a shit about what the rules are; I’m talking about morality. Surely you’re not suggesting that a soldier’s only duty is to obey his superiors, no matter what.

              1. In order for the soldier to disobey orders and not get in serious trouble, those orders need to be unlawful.

                The orders Kyle was given “provide cover” and even the orders given to Germans in WWII when fighting in a battle against us were not by definition unlawful orders (at least without convoluting the whole orders thing back to the declaration of war or hostilities).

                Soldiers have to obey their superiors in the case of general orders to do general soldiering and warfare. That’s how war operates.

                1. In order for the soldier to disobey orders and not get in serious trouble, those orders need to be unlawful.

                  And yet bombing Jap and German civilians and even incinerating their children indiscriminately were not considered ‘unlawful’. From this you can see that statist ‘lawfulness’ is something entirely separate from any concept of acceptable behavior towards other human beings.

              2. It’s not close to Nuremburg defense at all.

                German soldiers who committed war crimes are punishable, those who did not are not. Merely being a soldier in an army for a government that has committed war crimes is not criminal.

                Or do you honestly feel that everyone who fought in the Wehrmacht should be prosecuted? Why stop there, why not hang everyone who paid taxes in Germany between 1933 and 1945 for financing the Holocaust? Clearly, a person can not be held completely responsible for the actions committed by everyone else belonging to the same organization as them.

              3. I don’t give a shit about what the rules are; I’m talking about morality.

                War is NEVER moral PL. You are taking people’s lives without due process. That’s what makes something to be avoided. It is, however, sometimes necessary, as a last resort.

                Surely you’re not suggesting that a soldier’s only duty is to obey his superiors, no matter what.

                No, I’m not suggesting any such thing. You must, however, obey all lawful orders.

          2. You’re confusing soldiers with leaders. Soldiers have very limited information. They do what they’re told or–in wartime–get shot.

            1. Honestly, I get that they don’t get to easily pick and choose what they do or that in some circumstances they’re really coerced into doing things, but that’s not true that soldiers carry no moral responsibility for their actions.

              Are we anti-collectivist here, or are we not?

              1. Good point.

              2. Yes, but we have to honor the individual’s right to join an organization and execute the duties of the organization.

                That is why citizens choose the fight and the military carries it out.

                Being anti-collectivist to me doesn’t mean pure individualism and no membership in any groups or hierarchies, it means not being forced against your will into being in a group or having that group take things from you.

                This is why the draft is not a good thing.

            2. “You’re confusing soldiers with leaders. Soldiers have very limited information. They do what they’re told or–in wartime–get shot.”

              Sometimes in war they desert their post and then get traded for 5 to 1 for some terrorist prisoners and then get turned into a hero by the same leftist progs who are caling Kyle a mass murderer.

              I specialize in run on sentences.

        3. Yes you do. There were plenty of people brave enough to stand up to the war machine and refuse to deploy. You didn’t and now you bitch about limited government. So who cares what you think, hypocrite.

          1. You are a fucking coward. You have no idea of what you criticize. But why would I expect anything different?

          2. Yeah, it reminds me of the hypocrisy of all of those pacifist liberals who hate military intervention because it’s so horrible, yet have absolutely no problem with using the guns of the state to control their neighbors and confiscate their property, as long as they feel good about it. The only real difference being that, since their neighbors are essentially being offered a deal, they’re less likely to choose the violence route, meaning we can pretend that it’s all peaceful, modern society.

            See, getting rid of dictators is bad. Making sure little johnny pays for every government solution to every social problem we brainstorm on during his young employed life, however, is totally awesome.

            1. Wait, are you talking about the pacifist liberals who are so anti-war that they’ve been invisible for the past six years?

            2. You mean right-wingers can’t differentiate between an occupying army and sending someone a social security check? But we all know that already.

              When, if ever, has a tax evader ever been shot in the head by a sniper? Have the goose-steppers at the IRS collected cliven bundy’s taxes yet? I’m not up on all the ravings of anti-government nutcases like you guys are so please let me know.

              1. “Have the goose-steppers at the IRS collected cliven bundy’s taxes yet? ”

                Nah…their too busy counting the millions of taxes Al Sharpton is paying in…wait ?

                Where has it ever been printed that Cliven Bundy owes income tax ?

                I believe he is in a dispute over grazing fees, not income tax.

              2. american socialist:

                When, if ever, has a tax evader ever been shot in the head by a sniper?

                This is exactly what I’m talking about: as long as the violence isn’t getting your head shot off by a sniper, you’re totally OK with it.

                It’s so nuanced and admirable.

                1. After the conviction and sentencing, a long, armed standoff with federal law enforcement authorities at their New Hampshire residence ended with the arrest of Edward and Elaine Brown on October 4, 2007.

                  See, they chose to get arrested instead of having their head blown off, or holding out under siege in their own home indefinitely.

                  Therefore, this implies that there’s really no state violence behind taxes. Really.

              3. Always great when a socialist lectures others on morality. Do us all a favor and go send yourself to a gulag, as I’m sure you’re violating at least one of Lenin’s edicts.

                Does it make you feel all warm and fuzzy that the leftist admin expanded its programs for spying on American citizens, and sought to make it easier to conduct unwarranted search and seizure?

              4. american socialist:

                You mean right-wingers can’t differentiate between an occupying army and sending someone a social security check? But we all know that already.

                Since what the government does to people is far far worse than just “sending someone a social security check”, I don’t really see what the point is in noticing the difference.

                But, by all means, go ahead and pretend that the violence of the state against its own peaceful innocent people can be accurately described as just sending someone a check. It’s like the government just wants to give, really. It’s never a taker.

                I guess those occupying armies pay for themselves. Or perhaps you think they’re some sort of government gift.

              5. What no mention of Mafia man Harry Reid who used cliven bundy’s ranch so that his darling son could help the Chinese build their solar farm. You know gotta have land somewhere to offset the turtle habitats his son planned to destroy. So nice of Reid to help himself to taxpayer dollars and government resources to futher enhance his families wealth.

          3. You won’t even honor contracts you signed voluntarily, so fuck off.

        4. Soldiers don’t get to choose their wars. You don’t get up and say, “No, I don’t think I’ll fight in that one.”

          However… they should be able to.

          Enlistment ought not be indentured servitude. Service men and women ought to have the “Right to Resign” like any other job.

  8. “Excuse me, but I have trouble seeing an essential difference between what Kyle did in Iraq and what Adam Lanza did at Sandy Hook Elementary School. It certainly was not heroism.”

    Dear motherfucking me.

      1. I agree with the general thesis of the article but that part was well over the top. It comes across as trolling.

      2. No. Thanks for the offer.

        But I do feel honored for being singled out since I have the exact same feelings as Irish!

        There’s world of difference between the two in my world.

        Confusion about the U.S. military and Kyle’s job in it notwithstanding.

        1. Confusion in Iraq that is.

  9. Are Libertarians Looking for Results or Self-Congratulation?
    There’s a big difference between trying to win people over and merely trying to feel good about ourselves.
    Sheldon Richman | January 25, 2015

    Four whole days ago he wrote that! What a putz.

  10. This article actually caused me to google “Sheldon Richman retard”.

    1. Do tell..

    2. Millions of hits, right?

      1. Literally TENS of hits!

        This retarded piece-of-shit article is flyblown Facebook-bait. Sheldon’s a contrary asshole and I generally like that in a person, but the Adam Lanza bit was truculent and infantile. He jumped over the shark, turned around in midair, and shot it in the face.

    1. Is that a portmanteau of force and competent?

  11. Way to go, Richman, you’ve graduated from shamelessly race baiting to classlessly assassinating the character of a soldier. I look forward to your upcoming stint as an Al Qaeda spokesmen.

    1. Or maybe Al Sharpton’s Press Secretary?

      1. What difference, at this point, does it make?

        1. Damn it, you beat me to the punch.

    2. ” your upcoming stint as an Al Qaeda spokesmen.”

      Like your upcoming stint guest hosting for Hannity

      1. Wouldn’t guest hosting for someone enable me the editorial freedom to present my own viewpoint?

        I don’t think you understand what you’re saying, or what you’re responding to, but then again it’s you so I’m not surprised.

  12. One must wonder how much of this blow-back is a result of Eastwood daring not to march lock-step with the Hollywood group think.

    1. +1 Bill Cosby

    2. A fair amount is probably due to the disingenuous structure of his film/characterization of the main character.

      And I still think Eastwood is awesome. Or WAS at least. Hence this bit of dialogue:

      Little Bill Daggett: I don’t deserve this… to die like this. I was building a house.
      Will Munny: Deserve’s got nothin’ to do with it.
      [aims gun]
      Little Bill Daggett: I’ll see you in hell, William Munny.
      Will Munny: Yeah.
      [fires]

      The thing I love about that exchange is that Little Bill DID deserve it. How different would it have been if Little Bill Daggett was a soldier “doing his duty” instead of a sheriff “doing his duty” and William Munny was the friend/family member of someone Bill murdered and tortured in the line of said duty? Not much in my opinion. Of course, that has little bearing on reality. I just like talking about Unforgiven.

    3. It’s funny, just recently conservatives were howling about Eastwoods biased Super Bowl commercial

      1. “just recently” being 3 years ago.

  13. The Sockpuppet Force is strong in this thread.

    1. Indeed, I see a lot of handles I don’t recognize. I generally know those people active in the AM articles, and this one is rife with unknowns.

      1. Usually that happens when the article gets posted on facebook. A lot of random one off’s.

  14. Excuse me, but I have trouble seeing an essential difference between what Kyle did in Iraq and what Adam Lanza did at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

    Then you are an ignorant idiot.

  15. Fuck you Sheldon. Really, fuck you very much.

    Remember the people who lined up at airports to spit on and cursed soldiers returning from Vietnam?

    Soldiers don’t make policy. They take orders and try to stay alive and keep their fellow soldiers alive.

    You are the king of dumb shits.

    1. true, but Kyle crossed the line from simply obeying orders to taking a position with fighting “savage, despicable evil” ? and having “fun” doing it.

      “fun” is pretty fucked up, and open to criticism.

      describing it as fun with the background of the invasion and people defending their homes and family… well I don’t Sheldon is far off.

      1. ‘true, but Kyle crossed the line from simply obeying orders to taking a position with fighting “savage, despicable evil” ? and having “fun” doing it.’

        He was specifically saying the members of actual insurgent groups were evil savages. Given the sort of atrocities committed by those groups, I don’t think he’s far off.

        This is a quote that gets taken to mean he was calling Iraqis savages, when clearly he was specifically talking an Al Qaeda insurgency. If you don’t think Islamist theocrats are savages, I’d like to know which term you would deem appropriate.

        The quote that ‘War isn’t really fun, but I was enjoying myself’ is also taken out of context. I’ve never seen the context in which he wrote that, but do people really think that soldiers are in a state of constant misery while they’re in the field?

        Does saying ‘I found aspects of my experience enjoyable’ really make you Adam Lanza?

        1. if he had simply said I followed orders (banality of evil), I could see the original (in this thread) criticism of Sheldon, but Kyle did not. He had fun. He saw the people defending themselves, their families and their property from him and the American invading force as evil. How do do you think Adam rationalized pulling the trigger?

          1. How do do you think Adam rationalized pulling the trigger?

            He didn’t. Insane people don’t need to rationalize their actions. That’s part of what makes them, you know, ‘insane’.

            1. ok Dr., so how did you conclude he was insane, his actions? The only diagnosis (real diagnosis) I saw was aspergers.

              1. “ok Dr., so how did you conclude he was insane, his actions? The only diagnosis (real diagnosis) I saw was aspergers.”

                The part where he hid himself in a dark room and spent hours every day holding his weapons is a bit of a clue.

                1. He suffered from Murdersixyearoldsincoldblood-phrenia.

              2. Late to the party to invite you to shut the fuck up. It’s “insane” because shooting multiple children in cold blood isn’t something most people do. It’s aberrant behavior.

                Insanity, by the way, is a legal definition. Healthcare providers do not use it. A judge declares someone insane, not a physician.

          2. “He saw the people defending themselves, their families and their property from him and the American invading force as evil”

            Again, there’s a ridiculous assumption by some people that insurgents in Iraq were ‘defending themselves and their property.’

            In fact, a huge number of Iraqi insurgents were actually foreign fighters who were drawn into a power vacuum – i.e., a second invading force rather than people defending themselves.

            A large portion of the remainder were Baath party holdovers and terrorist organizations who wanted to control Iraq themselves.

            There simply were not many insurgents in Iraq who were defending their lives, their families and their properties. Most of them were fascist organizations that wanted to run the country themselves.

            1. Now, Irish, it’s rude to upset the narrative that we were only ever belligerent occupiers, and that the insurgents were noble natives defending their lives and property.

              I opposed that war while I was serving in it, but I guarantee that many of the people who came over there to fight were definitely not natives.

            2. He killed at least one child (only saw the movie, maybe he killed more in the book), and that’s about where I draw the line. However bad the insurgents, an American soldier in a foreign country has more agency and responsibility for his situation than a little kid attacking said soldier. Not every Iraqi killed by American troops is Al Qaeda, after all.

              1. There are Vietnam veterans who will tell you that a little kid can kill you just as dead as an adult. I should imagine that killing a child ranks as one of the most difficult things a man might have to do, but in war it is kill or be killed. I see no reason why one should consider some kid’s life to be more important than one’s own just because he’s a kid.

        2. Does saying ‘I found aspects of my experience enjoyable’ really make you Adam Lanza?

          I’ve neither read Kyle’s book nor seen the movie, but am acquainted and related to a number of people who were in his position in a variety of wars.

          Generals, politicos, and pundits throughout history are chiefly aware and blatantly frank about breeds, personalities, and cults of men who have an imperative to take human lives. Killing will always be done and always need doing.

          Both Lanza and Kyle clearly fall into these bins. However, Kyle was far more talented, trained, and disciplined than Lanza. Anyone who equates the two (if not grandstanding) clearly has zero value of any civilization and doesn’t appreciate that without a modicum of organized government, mafioso’s and tribal clansmen would bend them over and have their way with their ardent pro-anarchy beliefs.

        3. I work with a rating spreadsheet created by someone else. It’s rife with errors but is it my baseline tool. I hated it at first because it was clunky and the project was something I didn’t want to be doing. But the more I worked with it, correcting errors to make it work properly, and getting the results I expected, I began to enjoy it. I think by saying someone is enjoying themselves kind of means that once you’ve excelled at something difficult, even if that’s firing a weapon, there would be some excitement to that. Some enjoyment in doing a good job. Granted, someone’s brain is exploding on the other end of that mastered skill, so it’s not exactly the same. But if you’ve rationalized that they aren’t really human (evil, savages) then it probably is enjoyable. Not because of who they are, but because of what you are.

          Or maybe he’s a sociopath. (Didn’t read the book or see the movie…and I abhor that war.)

    2. I think we established at Nuremberg that the “I was following orders” defense doesn’t fly. Also, Iraq, unlike Vietnam, had/has an all volunteer force. So Kyle and all other soldiers chose to fight an illegal war (and yes, a war that is not declared by Congress is an illegal war)!

  16. Wow. This isn’t about a Spetnaz unit hunting the Wolverines in “Red Dawn,” though it is clear Sheldon would identify with the Swayze character in that movie. And so would all of us. Years ago, it was obvious which side was fighting for individual liberty and which for tyranny. As the U.S. slides closer and closer to the latter (as most commenters seem to believe) then it becomes hazier as to who is and
    isn’t a hero.

    1. Avenge me, creech. AVENNNNNNGE MEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!

    2. I don’t think Chris Kyle is a hero and I think conservative mindless support for him is as idiotic as the mindless disdain from the left and some libertarians.

      However, comparing him to Adam Lanza is awful, and Richman should be ashamed for trying to draw that equivalence.

      1. This, exactly.

        Except it’s obvious that Richman can’t feel shame. Sociopaths are incapable.

          1. Seriously, Sheldon- why be such a hard-nosed asshole? There are two options here: 1) You really feel that the comparison was warranted and defensible, or 2) Your answer to even valid criticism is a raised middle finger.

            Option 1 makes you foolish, and option 2 makes you childish.

            Option 3 is be a man and admit that what you said was bullshit, and you knew that when you were typing it, and you published it anyway. Which still makes you a contrary asshole, but an honest one.

            1. I believe he’s what they call a troll. Usually they don’t write their own articles though. A rare breed of troll.

      2. However, comparing him to Adam Lanza is awful, and Richman should be ashamed for trying to draw that equivalence

        This. I think it’s probably a good idea to have a conversation about what is or isn’t heroic or why anything even remotely negative about soldiers is met with so much mindless drivel from so many people. Comparing Kyle to Lanza probably isn’t the best way to do it.

        1. I think it’s probably a good idea to have a conversation about what is or isn’t heroic or why anything even remotely negative about soldiers is met with so much mindless drivel from so many people.

          Honestly, I think Richman’s just dead wrong here. Even if you want to take up his Nazi analogy, there were German soldiers who were seen as heroes by the German public. And probably rightfully so. I don’t think it makes sense to make the justness of the cause someone is fighting for the definitive standard for heroism.

          Otherwise, I’ll await Richman’s declaration that the only heroes in the Russian-Ukrainian conflict can be on the Ukrainian side.

          1. I assume many of you have seen Band of Brothers and are aware of the central theme. The best scene in the series – imo – is when they use a German general talking to some German troops for the last time to deliver the main thematic message of the series. Both sides were in a violent horrific war, one side considered evil the other good yet “heroic” actions of war were committed by both sides and for the same reasons. Some here clearly do not get this.

            1. Very well said.

              1. Indeed.

      3. Re: Irish,

        However, comparing him to Adam Lanza is awful, and Richman should be ashamed for trying to draw that equivalence.

        I do agree that Richman went over the top with this comparison. Most of the people that Kyle was shooting down were themselves shooting other soldiers, so there was some justification in that case. The children in the Sandy Hook Elementary School were not shooting at anybody and were as defenseless as they come.

        1. Agreed. That’s the part that made me shake my head.

          I think there’s a need for more people to point out the mindless hero worship engaged in by conservatives, but if you’re going to point this out, you should at least do so with some tact and decorum.

          What’s a conservative going to do if he reads this article? Think ‘that’s a good point, I hadn’t thought about it that way’ or write Richman off as the scumbag who compared a soldier to Adam Lanza?

          1. Assuming they get beyond the headline…

        2. You do realize that the soldiers (I assume you are referring to American soldiers?)had no business being there in the first place legally or morally?

      4. I agree with Irish’s take here on all points.

  17. Mr. Richman, what you’ve just written is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this thread is now dumber for having read it. I award you no points and may God have mercy on your soul.

    1. Okay, a simple “wrong” would’ve done just fine…

      Seriously though, this is a terrible article.

    2. and the next category, My wife the slut.

    3. If you wrote this after becoming dumber, well…

      1. Excellent paraphrasing of a quote from the movie Billy Madison

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DTc–4jz0GQ

  18. Let’s recall some facts, which perhaps Eastwood thought were too obvious to need mention: Kyle was part of an invasion force[;] Americans went to Iraq. Iraq did not invade America or attack Americans.

    But… but… Sheldon! America – Fuck Yeah! And all that! What’s wrong with you? Get with the program!

    1. “Lick my butt and suck on my balls!”

    2. Additionally, Congress didn’t declare the war and Congress has no constitutional authority to transfer its power to declare war to the President. So in essence, America’s invasion and occupation in Iraq is illegal and Chris Kyle and the other soldiers who VOLUNTEERED to fight were illegally in a country under false pretenses.

  19. Richmann probably thinks Bowe Berghdal is a true hero for deserting and trying to join the side of the Islamonazis.

  20. Nick/Matt

    You probably need to shit-can this idiot. I realize…open sharing of other views and all that shit…but this ain’t helping the cause.

    Fuck Richman!

    1. Re: Francisco d’Anconia,

      Would you want Nick and Matt to call out Richman like they did with Paul Craig Roberts, even when what Roberts said was much less provocative?

      Because I don’t think they should have in either case. I can criticize Richman for comparing Kyle with Lanza but I will not call out Reason for publishing his opinion pieces.

  21. Gee Sheldon, there sure are a lot of libertarians here who will defend boot clickers who murder Iraqi boys as part of their job. I’m no fan of war but I remember feeling– at least partly– that the Americans on the casualty list back in 2004- we’re getting what was coming to them.

    1. And fuck you too

      1. FUQ, I find your argument unanswerable. I guess I was wrong.

    2. Re: American Stolid,

      Gee Sheldon, there sure are a lot of libertarians here who will defend boot clickers who murder Iraqi boys as part of their job.

      Some. Not “a lot.”

    3. Well, you’d also argue that Kulaks and wreckers got what’s coming to them as they swung from the gallows, so your moral opinions don’t hold much weight.

        1. Your espoused preferred economic/political system invariably leads to corruption, death, and ruin for all involved, so your moral opinions don’t hold much weight.

    4. Gee Sheldon, there sure are a lot of libertarians here who will defend boot clickers who murder Iraqi boys as part of their job.

      No there aren’t.

    5. Let me quite a Marxist (Timothy Mason) for you: “If hatred is part of our task, it is necessary we should hate precisely.”

      The fact that you would wish death on people despite having no reason to believe they had personally done anything to deserve it is beyond despicable… well, just what I would expect of a socialist. You’d probably rape and murder Tsar Nicholas’s kids if you could, them being in the wrong class and all. Note that as one who has been nothing but critical of the war on this thread, you are a crystalline piece of shit.

      1. *Note that as one myself who has been nothing but critical of the war on this thread, I’d say you are a crystalline piece of shit.

        Ambiguous sentences.

  22. For libertarians who foot the bill see the comment above. This lover of liberty actually went there and fought against Iraqi nationalists– and now bitches about poor people getting a welfare check. I say fuck him in the eye.

    1. Re: American Stolid,

      Since you’re here, see if you can answer this question:

      Why is AGW a bad thing? What’s the evidence it IS a bad thing?

      And I don’t want opinion. No “Coulds”, “Mays”, “Possiblys” and certainly NOT “How could it not?” I want proof.

      As I assured Tony, I believe AGW is REAL. Humans ARE adding greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere at a certain rate, and it has to contribute to global warming. Maybe the “97% consensus” is an exaggeration but there’s enough data to reach the conclusion that When X increases we have Y increasing. Why is that a bad thing?

      1. No there is not enough data to reach the 97% consensus. Never mind that the paper that generated the 97% number has been show to be bullshit by researchers from completely different fields.

        The question I would ask “Can you point to even one correct prediction generated by the CAGW theories/models/experiments?”

  23. Of course, Kyle’s admirers would disagree with this analysis.

    His admirers could not wait long enough to reply with the most jingoistic claptrap ever.

    Jeanine Pirro, a Fox News commentator, said, “Chris Kyle was clear as to who the enemy was. They were the ones his government sent him to kill.

    Because reality is defined by government. What’s the need of a mind if government can do the thinking for us?

    Government Speaks, and it is so!

    1. Yeah, that’s not so great, either. It’s like when the disposition matrix results in drone process for innocent people. It’s still wrong, even if it’s unintentional.

  24. Appalling! Kyle was a hero because he eagerly and expertly killed whomever the government told him to kill? Conservatives, supposed advocates of limited government, sure have an odd notion of heroism.

    With you so far…

    Excuse me, but I have trouble seeing an essential difference between what Kyle did in Iraq and what Adam Lanza did at Sandy Hook Elementary School. It certainly was not heroism.

    …aaaaaaaaaand we’re done here.

    1. Yeah, his last comment was way over the top and unnecessary.

  25. Despite what some people think, hero is not a synonym forcompetent government-hired killer.

    Well, actually that is pretty much exactly what it means: a “hero” is someone who takes on risks and uses violence in order to achieve something that a lot of people approve of. Kyle was a “hero”. Historically, many “heros” were thugs, warlords, and mass murderers.

    Richman’s error is that he thinks that if only lots of people were to endorse the violence, it would make heroism a good thing. But that’s because Richman is a progressive who deludes himself into thinking that he is a libertarian because he disagrees on some policies with his progressive pals.

    1. uses violence in order to achieve something that a lot of people approve of.

      Since when is using violence a prerequisite?

      1. Since when is achieving something a lot of people approve of a prerequisite either?

      2. Did I say it was a “prerequisite”? I pointed out that many heroes were violent thugs, not that all of them were.

    2. Frederick Douglass is my hero. I don’t recall a lot of violence outta him…

    3. Someone who crawls into a burning building nust shoot one of the kids he saves to be called a hero ?

      I don’t think so.

  26. You know guys, you can respect Chris Kyle as a finely tuned instrument of death while lamenting the woeful misue of his talents in a stupid and costly blunder of a war.

    Comparing him to Adam Lanza is possibly the lowest and most vulgar thing Reason has ever published. Shame on the editorial staff for allowing it. I love this magazine precisely because it avoids stooping to such lows like we expect out of Gawker or Salon.

    1. Don’t clutch those pearls too hard, you’ll hurt your fingers

    2. Um, not really, especially since he volunteered to fight in an undeclared war. That’s the part what I think many people are forgetting, the soldiers in Iraq volunteered to fight. It wasn’t like they got drafted under penalty of death and we have known for a long time despite what neocons will tell you that there were no WMDS and that Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11. In conclusion, we waged an undeclared (and thus, illegal) war on a country that had not attacked us.

  27. Listen up, Sheldon. I don’t agree with Iraq2 either, but I can respect the service of the folks who fought there. There is a difference between civilian leadership and active duty servicemen. The questionable motives of civilian leadership DOES NOT detract from the character of the grunts on the ground. You can, correctly, state that Iraq2 was an unjustified war of aggression, but it does not follow that therefore the acts of the American forces there were dishonorable. It is not the military’s job to create policy, it is the responsibility of CIVILIAN LEADERSHIP.. So bash Bush and Cheney all you want, but don’t you dare try to dishonor the service and sacrifice of our sons and fathers.

  28. Excuse me, but I have trouble seeing an essential difference between what Kyle did in Iraq and what Adam Lanza did at Sandy Hook Elementary School. It certainly was not heroism.

    Uhh, this was just a dumb comparison. I was thinking a better one would be a big budget Hollywood war movie about Michael Wittmann. He was certainly a patriot and a devastatingly effective soldier. The movie would have lots of action, you can have the battle at Villers-Bocage as a climactic battle scene, etc. Of course, the whole sequence where we learn that there are “sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs” in the world would have a darker subtext, since *most* of the audience would understand that this is a case where a wolf sees himself as a sheepdog.

    I guess I think that a character study of a soldier can make for a perfectly decent movie, but considering how many Americans still seem to view the Iraq War as necessary, this movie really comes off as pretty pro-war. I certainly didn’t buy Eastwood’s comment about how the movie was supposed to be anti-war in its own way. Also, viewed purely as an action movie, I found the war sequences to be inferior to movies like Black Hawk Down and Saving Private Ryan. Just didn’t like the timing, film angles, and music as much.

  29. 1. Iraq was a mistake financially, morally.
    2. What America did in Iraq, while not grounded on a strong moral foundation, was no where near as bad as what Nazi Germany did. Our invasion might not have been principled, but we didn’t set up concentration camps (no, Guantanamo doesn’t count,) gas chambers, nor did we target racial groups in the same way that the Nazi’s did, we didn’t experiment on PoWs, we even (wrongly) tried to avoid civilian causalities, we tried to rebuild after, we didn’t try to set up reeducation centers for children etc. etc. etc. Not the same. At all.
    3. What Chris Kyle did in Iraq, in a setting of war, (not a morally justified war, mind you) is in no way as atrocious as what Adam Lanza did to those children.

    Reason, it’s these kinds of articles that keep me from donating. Seriously, lay off this kind of crap. Libertarians are principled non-interventionists, but we lose all of our moral high ground when we start using this kind of dramatization and false moral equivalency.

    1. Nazis*

      Also, another reason why I don’t donate is because you don’t add an edit button.

      1. The problem with edit buttons is that they allow editing after follow on posts to correct weak arguments.

        Edit buttons ok only if no one has answered the first post yet.

        1. I agree, but some websites will note when the edits have been made so people can see if you’ve edited a weak argument. OR, you can have a “show unedited post” button.

        2. They could always make it a *corrigendum* button or something.

    2. Re: Ghetto Slovak Goatherder,

      What America did in Iraq, while not grounded on a strong moral foundation, was no where near as bad as what Nazi Germany did.

      If you compare only the military actions and not the subsequent racial cleansing policies, then there is no difference between the actions perpetrated by the US government and the Nazi government; the only difference is one of SIZE, not the action itself.

      Iraq did NOT attack the U.S. Poland did NOT attack Germany. Yet both ended up being invaded, unjustly.

      1. and not the subsequent racial cleansing policies,

        Kind of a big omission there, don’t you think?

        1. And Iraq did attempt to attack American forces numerous during the lull between Iraq I and II in violation of the surrrender agreement.

      2. Iraq did NOT attack the U.S. Poland did NOT attack Germany. Yet both ended up being invaded, unjustly.

        For that matter, by the late 1930s the Soviet Union had already racked up a body count that easily surpassed that of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Plus it had been highly aggressive and expansionist in the years since the Russian Revolution. I think that under the standards the US applies to itself to determine whether or not an invasion is “just”, the Germans had just as much “justification” to launch Operation Barbarossa.

      3. http://www.mideastweb.org/iraq.htm

        Look, I’m not a historian, I can’t sit here and argue the veracity of these claims… BUT

        The US and Iraq had been butting heads for decades. That article claims Saddam tried to execute Bush, was funding terrorist groups in Palestine, was selling food for weapons which he used in ethnic “cleansing,” etc. etc. etc. In essence, we were involved with Iraq before the invasion and invaded on the premises that they were building chemical weapons – whether some officials along the line lied and made all of it up I don’t know if we’ll ever know.

        The point is that the author strongly implies that our soldiers should be tried for war crimes merely because we were an invading country. He’s not telling the whole story, you know it, I know it, and it’s morally reprehensible. It doesn’t advance non-interventionism, it sets it back.

        1. I am and was from the beginning anti-Iraq War, but Saddam did violate the terms of the cease fire from Iraq War I. As such, the U.S. invasion is different from Hitler taking over Poland just ’cause.

      4. If you compare only the military actions and not the subsequent racial cleansing policies, then there is no difference between the actions perpetrated by the US government and the Nazi government.

        I think you need to read up on how the Nazis responded to guerrilla warfare in France and Eastern Europe, as opposed to how the US Army did in Iraq.

      5. If you compare only the military actions and not the subsequent racial cleansing policies, then there is no difference between the actions perpetrated by the US government and the Nazi government; the only difference is one of SIZE, not the action itself.

        Except that the Nazi government was moving in to stay–they were engaging in a war of conquest. the American government would like nothing more than to leave–with a post-war WW2 style ‘reconstruction’ period in which an enemy becomes an ally.

        Oh, and in case you missed it, the US went into Iraq for the same reason the US eventually got involved on the European front in WW2–because Germany was waging war on our allies and they requested our help.*

        *the US initially went up against Saddam when Iraq invaded Kuwait and Kuwait called for help–the current Iraq situation is an outgrowth of that.

  30. The only reason Kyle went to Iraq was that Bush/Cheney & Co. launched a war of aggression against the Iraqi people. Wars of aggression, let’s remember, are illegal under international law. Nazis were executed at Nuremberg for waging wars of aggression. With this perspective, we can ask if Kyle was a hero.

    First of all, for a libertarian to refer to international law as a higher authority is ludicrous; that alone unmasks Sheldon as a progressive.

    But there’s a deeper problem with this reasoning. What the Nazis did was despicable and was rightfully punished severely by the international community. But although Nazi war criminals weren’t heroes to Americans, they clearly were heroes to Germans at the time.

    Heroism isn’t about absolute right or wrong, it is about the glorification and encouragement of violence by societies. A libertarian should condemn heroism in principle, not try to quibble about who is or isn’t a hero. Of course, Richman keeps proving over and over again that he isn’t a libertarian.

    1. A libertarian should condemn heroism in principle, not try to quibble about who is or isn’t a hero.

      I’m not sure what that means. If there was an invasion on US soil, I think libertarians would be right in celebrating the heroes who would fight the invaders.

      1. If there was an invasion on US soil, I think libertarians would be right in celebrating the heroes who would fight the invaders.

        And the home country of the invaders would likely celebrate their warriors as “heroes” as well. The question of whether Kyle was a “hero” is meaningless; he is a hero to some and a mass murderer to others.

    2. Re: Mark22,

      First of all, for a libertarian to refer to international law as a higher authority is ludicrous; that alone unmasks Sheldon as a progressive.

      Calm yourself, Iago. Richman is not saying “What Kyle did is wrong because of International Law.” He’s simply making the case against the actions taken by the U.S. government by pointing out the legal inconsistency between the justification for those actions and the very same actions for which Nazi officials were judged at Nuremberg. Richman is pointing out to the clear SPECIAL PLEADING FALLACY used to justify the actions by the US government.

      He already made the moral case against the invasion.

      1. So you are saying that Richman assumes the existence of something called “international law”, reasons about “the US” and “Iraq”, and reasons as if state actions can be classified into “justified” and “unjustified”.

        Those aren’t valid ways of reasoning about war and government from a libertarian point of view. Richman may accidentally reach the same conclusions about policies as libertarians, but his reasoning is firmly non-libertarian.

    3. Heroism isn’t about absolute right or wrong, it is about the glorification and encouragement of violence by societies.

      Are peaceful, non-violent civil disobedience activists heroes? I’d say some or most of them are. There are many heroes throughout time who were completely non-violent and pro-peace.

      1. I kind of think someone who rushes into a burning building to save people is probably “heroic”.

        1. This. So much.

    4. My cousin was once a hero. He climed into an upside down burning car with gasoline running on the ground and pulled the driver out. He then went back into the car to get the driver’s heart medicine. The driver and he went to highschool together. I was with him and witnessed it.

      Being a hero isn’t tied to violence alone.

      1. Being a hero isn’t about violence, nor is it about being fearless. It’s about doing what one knows should be, or has to be done, even at the risk of great cost to oneself.

  31. I hope I don’t have to watch the movie, or read the article, before commenting. Such a requirement would violate some kind of Internet Commenting Law.

    Apparently, Eastwood did a movie not only making a U.S. soldier a good guy, but doing it in the context of the Iraq war, and making out the soldier to be someone who enjoys his work.

    I think the Oscar Committee pre-rejects this sort of film before it’s nominated.

    But look at the films that the cogniscenti (sp?) swoon over – yeah, they really hate violent movies.

  32. Excuse me, but I have trouble seeing an essential difference between what Kyle did in Iraq and what Adam Lanza did at Sandy Hook Elementary School. It certainly was not heroism.

    *facepalm*

    So Chris Kyle booked his own flight to Iraq, packed his mother’s assault rifle, wandered into an Iraqi class room and randomly shot a bunch of kids who were fingerpainting, then turned the gun on himself?

    1. You left out the part where Kyle killed his mom before he left for Iraq.

      The disgusting thing about this whole thread is that in Richman’s eyes the thread length justifies the disgusting comment.

      His sucessful click bait headline and closing statement justifies revealing himself to be a no talent disgusting human who is willing to prostitute his name and reputation (if any) in his pursuit of click bait attention and fame.

      It’s as though he is the Kim Kardashian of journalism.

      1. “It’s as though he is the Kim Kardashian of journalism”

        He has ass implants?!

        1. I believe, judging from his content, that those bulges indicate his brain is kept there.

        2. Cranial ass implants.

  33. This is a prime example of advancing an idea in the worst way possible.

    I think the war was a shitshow, but once the soldiers have been committed to it by a feckless political class, they have to be blameless unless they commit war crimes. I wish that the military had refused to fight this bullshit war, but that is what the training and bonding they are put through is there to prevent. And military coups rarely work out well.

    The dangers of maintaining a standing army were clear to the founding fathers. Too bad we ignored them.

    1. ^^^ This can’t be repeated enough

    2. I think the war was a shitshow, but once the soldiers have been committed to it by a feckless political class, they have to be blameless unless they commit war crimes.

      Not that this applies to Kyle specifically, but there are certain types of people who wait until AFTER a war is started so they can kill people with impunity. Because they like it. Usually, this doesn’t translate into war crimes if the psychopaths are on the winning side, and without being able to read minds it’s impossible to quantify how many there are, but I think most of us can agree that people who get off on killing should not be considered blameless.

      That is not to say this type of person could not be useful in dire situations i.e., Alien Invasions, Nazis won WW2, etc. However, most of these situations are purely/currently fiction.

      1. I’ve served with guys that enjoyed killing, and didn’t much care for them. However their feelings about killing had nothing to do with the legality of it, or even the morality of it. It was their actions that mattered.

    3. “The dangers of maintaining a standing army were clear to the founding fathers. Too bad we ignored them.”

      I agree in principal but not in reality.

      In the day of the founders

      1. squirrels.

        In the founders day massing an invasion force and shipping them across the seas would take much time and arouse notice. We would have had time to raise a well regulated militia.

        Today ? Not so much.

        1. Decent argument. The militia definitely would have a hard time repelling air strikes, missiles, drones, etc.

          If the attacker simply wants total destruction, it would be difficult to defend against. But if an attacker sought conquest, that would never happen.

          I grew up in Europe during the cold war, and not long after WW2. My birth country rolled over for the Germans and people did everything they could to not get in the way.

          Americans are very different, even the ones who think they want this to be like Europe. This could never happen here, millions of armed Americans would be ready to sacrifice their lives to repel such an invasion, minutes after the news hit the airwaves. I suspect that militia will self organize much faster than you could raise it from a central command.

          Even the most well funded and best trained army in the world does not have the logistics to fight millions of armed, even poorly trained people who have their minds set on freedom.

          So total annihilation would be the only option for an attacker.

          1. I think most Americans these days are fat enough that they would literally roll over for the enemy after trying to get off the sofa.

  34. There is a lot that is cringe-worthy in the piece, especially the Sandy Hook comparison which is, quite simply, disgusting.

    However, I think he is still substantially right about some things here. I have always been uncomfortable with the casual use of the word “enemy” in the conflicts over there.

    So, someone is hanging out, doing nothing to threaten you. You show up, punch him in the mouth, and when he strikes back, he’s the enemy? Something doesn’t seem right there.

    It’s too bad Richman distracted from these discussion-worthy topics by losing control of himself and his discipline as a writer.

    1. You show up, punch him in the mouth, and when he strikes back, he’s the enemy?

      I have been repeatedly assured that blowback doesn’t exist.

      1. …blowback doesn’t exist.

        It can’t exist! It’s impossible! Hannity told me they hate me because I have access to porn, clean water, and church. All thanks to Chris Kyle of course.

    2. The primary problem with this is that the people who ‘punched us back’ aren’t the ones we punched.

      We fucked up the lives of a lot of innocent Iraqi people, but the people who then tried to kill our soldiers were themselves largely tyrannical theocrats who would have gleefully executed any Iraqi who did not adhere to Sharia law.

      A better comparison would be if we punched someone in the face then a third party angrily attacked us because they wanted to be the ones to beat up the innocent person. Then, after knocking us out, they beat the innocent person to death in service to Allah.

      1. That’s stills silly because the regime America overthrew was a dictatorship and had no rights. Free states have the right to annex or change the regimes of unfree ones as long as they are much freer afterward.

        1. I hope you warmed up before that stretch.

          1. It’s not a stretch it’s this new thing called ‘logic’. You should try it!

            1. You Objectivists are so cute. I’m sorry that the vast majority of sane people don’t buy into your vision of perpetual war.

              1. “You libertarians are so cute. I’m sorry that the vast majority of people don’t buy into your vision of a perpetual plutocracy”.

                Retarded strawmen! Not just for the left!

        2. Governments have rights? Not sure I like that idea, but okay…

          From whence does this right derive? Who applies what standard to decide which countries we get to invade? Theoretically, we have the “right” to invade at least half the other countries in the world if we want to, right?

    3. So, someone is hanging out, doing nothing to threaten you. You show up, punch him in the mouth, and when he strikes back, he’s the enemy? Something doesn’t seem right there.

      I remember reading some bits of Kyle’s book, and I believe there was one part where he was fulminating about how if he ever caught someone busting into his house, he’d shoot them dead. Of course, he never seemed to consider that Abdul the Average Iraqi was probably just as pissed off when a bunch of pumped-up Texans kicked his door in at 6 in the morning. And for largely the same reasons. You don’t “Hate ‘Murica” or “Support The Worldwide Caliphate” just because you’re angry when a bunch of foreigners destroy your door, shoot your dog, and terrorize your family.

    4. Well, technically, you’d already decided he was the enemy before you threw the punch.

      Why’d you make that decision? THAT is the question.

      And there really isn’t such a thing as ‘blowback’–not in the war the islamists are fighting. There CAN be blowback in the ephemeral war that the US is fighting–but that’s not the real conflict.

      A lot of people don’t realise that the different sides are fighting different wars. The islamists’ war started when Islam did. The US war is technically reactive to various 20th century screw-ups.

    5. However, I think he is still substantially right about some things here. I have always been uncomfortable with the casual use of the word “enemy” in the conflicts over there.

      You should also be uncomfortable with the use of the words “the US” and “Iraq”, because they confuse the people with their national identity and their governing class. “The US” didn’t invade Iraq; the US government gave the order to the US military to invade, and US soldiers were compelled by the implicit threat of violence to comply. At the same time, American citizens were threatened with violence by their government officials unless they cough up the money to pay for it.

  35. “Richman’d again!” is the new “Weigel’d again!”

  36. I think the more obvious problem with Adam Lanza and Chris Kyle is that they both used guns. Guns are the problem. Guns are evil. So, we should just outlaw guns. Who is with me?

    1. I realize you were derping sarcastically, but cargo-cult politics is just the worst 🙂

  37. Am I crazy or did this crackpot just say Chris Kyle is no different than Adam Lanza? I think I may have just read my last article on this site. If I wanted to listen to deranged lunatics on street corners I know where to go for that.

  38. Excuse me, but I have trouble seeing an essential difference between what Kyle did in Iraq and what Adam Lanza did at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

    That’s absurd. You really see no difference in being part of a organized military effort and the wanton slaying of innocent children? There’s hyperbole and there’s this. I’m dumbfounded.

    1. I agree with you that there IS a difference between Lanza and Kyle, but your “organized military effort” vs. “wanton slaying of innocent children” isn’t it. Frankly, a well organized military effort would be far more efficient in slaying innocent children, but that doesn’t make it any better from a moral perspective…apologies to King Herod.

  39. Let’s re-fight the Iraq war. I hope we argue about the Iraq war forever, much like we still argue about Vietnam. Arguing about Vietnam stopped us from entering into other quagmires, so that was obviously beneficial.

  40. I read a more coherent piece on this topic a freaking alternet. Way to lower the bar, Reason.

  41. So wait, Richman writes an entire article on the weekend about whether libertarians are self-congratulatory, then proceeds to write an article comparing military service to serial killers while smugly responding in a mocking manner to negative comments.

    Self-congratulatory or lacking all self-awareness, you decide!

    1. while smugly responding in a mocking manner to negative comments

      I strongly doubt it’s him. Richman barely responds to comments posted on his own blog.

      1. He’s too busy doing people’s taxes.

        1. Well, we do want our billions back.

          1. Wait, I can get billions back?!?!?!

            *runs frantically around in circles looking for $*

            1. There.

              Hiding under all those francs.

      2. Eh, the whole article comes off as an attempt to kick up as much of an emotional response as possible. The comparisons to Nazis and Sandy Hook, paint-by-numbers explanation of the Iraq War, etc. If he’s not in the comments, this is still pretty self-congratulatory about his moral superiority.

        1. this is still pretty self-congratulatory about his moral superiority.

          Oh, no doubt. And the thing of it is that Richman’s moral code boils down to “cheer [whom he perceives to be] the underdog”. That is why he can write an op-ed criticizing the actions of Kyle in one place and then fill his blog with apologia for the blood-drenched violence of Hamas and Hezbollah. Whereas, someone with a functioning moral compass would detect in that stance a level of cognitive dissonance that should cause migraines, Richman is still able to feed himself (kinda) and move his bowels (with assistance).

          1. I always found his contortions to excuse Russian (actual) imperialism a bit much.

  42. So this is what we’re supposed to be talking about these days?

    Has everybody had a chance to chime in with their opinion now? Or should we give it another two weeks before we move on to something else?

  43. You show up, punch him in the mouth, and when he strikes back, he’s the enemy?

    He was “just following orders”. That seems to be the common refrain here.

    Of course, that only makes sense if he was conscripted. Otherwise, not so much.

    1. You are free to sign up or not, but not, after signing up, free to pick and choose which orders you follow. (Not a Chris Kyle fan, btw, whatever his effectiveness) Disobeying orders in wartime carries very stiff penalties and risking that on one’s own is more than most people would be willing to contemplate, and not unique to the US military.

      1. Even at that, there’s a lot of presumption here.

        A military sniper is a somewhat unique position in that sometimes (especially in Iraq– see my comment below) they’re put into nearly impossible situations where they have to make snap decisions on whether to take a life or not. They’re largely autonomous in that way.

        Did Chris Kyle make the right decision every time he pulled the trigger? We’ll never know. If he made the wrong decision, even on multiple occasions, does that make him comparable to Adam Lanza? No.

        Unfortunately, Sheldon’s perfectly within his rights to question the moral righteousness of Kyle, but comparing him to Lanza was just a flashy cheapshot.

      2. not, after signing up, free to pick and choose which orders you follow

        Fair enough. To me, that just says it is immoral to sign up in the first place. Because sooner or later you’ll be ordered to do shit that ain’t right.

        1. To me, that just says it is immoral to sign up in the first place

          Why? Isn’t every job like that? You take the job and then do the job–you don’t get to say ‘no’ and keep the job whether it’s Mcdonalds or the Marines.

      3. Well, yes, but in the movie Mustafa was probably following orders too.

        1. The Lion King?

          1. I needed that laugh – thanks for that!

      4. You are free to sign up or not, but not, after signing up, free to pick and choose which orders you follow.

        Truth (mostly – there is the distinction… or at least was ’92 – ’95… for “legal orders”).

        Part of the problem, IMHO, is the indentured servitude of enlistment. Service men and women ought to retain the “Right to Resign”…

  44. If anyone is “at fault” for anything that Chris Kyle did, it’s our political leaders.

    The war America chose to construct was the problem. When you turn soldiers into an occupational force in hostile territory, and they start getting killed by snipers, you’re forced to deploy people like Chris Kyle to counter the threat.

    I haven’t read Chris Kyle’s book (I have seen the movie in question) and I admit I make a presumption that every kill Chris Kyle made was based on a reasonable belief that the target was an imminent threat to American Soldiers.

    Regardless, those were Chris Kyle’s orders: Kill anyone perceived to be an enemy combatant who threatens the lives of the American soldiers.

    What’s unfortunate is our political leaders forced those soldiers into an impossible and immoral mission.

    Honestly, I’m having trouble seeing the essential difference between what our political leaders ordered in Iraq and what the Japanese command ordered in Nanking.

    There, Sheldon, paste that at the end of your article.

    1. That’s it.

      My impression of Kyle has always been that of an unsophisticated good old boy from the heartland who happened to be a really good shot. He shot a lot of people who deserved to get shot, and likely quite a few who didn’t and wouldn’t have had the US not invaded. Then Kyle “wrote” a book, slandered Jesse Ventura, and lied about it many times on his media tour to stir up interest. I don’t see a lot heroic about him compared to people who do, you know, heroic things like rushing into a burning building to save lives.

      There’s a case that Kyle died a hero, as he was murdered while working to help vets suffering from PTSD, and he had to know there was at least some risk in what he was doing. But that’s it. That he was put in the position of having to kill people who were a dubious threat to Americans other than those occupying Iraq is a political tragedy.

    2. That’s a good point. Get thrust into a dangerous situation, and self-defense, regardless of the nature of the conflict, becomes a primary motivation.

      1. At the same time, the culpability of everyone becomes muddled when 1) our political leaders have been proven to be unscrupulous morons AT BEST and 2) the military is currently voluntary.

        Throw the draft back into the equation, God forbid, and the moral consequences lay mostly on the fucks on top.

        1. O what a tangled web we weave:
          When first we practice to deceive!

    3. Regardless, those were Chris Kyle’s orders: Kill anyone perceived to be an enemy combatant who threatens the lives of the American soldiers.

      You do not accidentally or through coercion become America’s most successful sniper: Chris Kyle must have made a series of choices that led to this outcome.

  45. Re: Mark22,

    First of all, for a libertarian to refer to international law as a higher authority is ludicrous; that alone unmasks Sheldon as a progressive.

    Calm yourself, Iago. Richman is not saying “What Kyle did is wrong because of International Law.” He’s simply making the case against the actions taken by the U.S. government by pointing out the legal inconsistency between the justification for those actions and the very same actions for which Nazi officials were judged at Nuremberg. Richman is pointing out to the clear SPECIAL PLEADING FALLACY used to justify the actions by the US government.

    He already made the moral case against the invasion.

    1. Of course the elephant in the room is that no armistice was signed in 1999, thus technically by “international law” the United States and her allies and Iraq were still in a state of hostilities. I believe the Iraq War was wrong both strategically and morally, but I have to admit that legally the argument is shakier.

      1. Also, where’s the legal consistency and justification in Saddam engaging in aggressive war against Kuwait and then remaining in power if we’re taking the ‘Nuremberg’ route? I’m no fan of the Iraq War but under this logic can’t you justify it as ‘punishing’ Saddam for his previous activities?

        1. Our biggest mistake was not conceiving the Afghanistan campaign as a punitive expedition. Similarly, if we had to go into Iraq, a short-term punitive expedition would have 100 times better than what we actually did, Powell Doctrine be damned.

          1. Not to mention that the military is a hell of a lot better at punitive expeditions than ‘nation building’. Decades-long occupations is what Bin Laden wanted for Christ’s sake.

  46. Don’t blame the soldiers. Blame the politicians who sent them to war.

    1. What some here don’t seem to get is that most soldiers, once deployed, are not fighting for their country. They aren’t fighting for anything other than the self preservation of themselves and the soldiers around them. The Iraq war was stupid but the blame falls on the pols who voted for it and the people who supported it. And thats an overwhelming majority of people in this country.

      1. They aren’t fighting for anything other than the self preservation of themselves and the soldiers around them.

        I thought that was obvious. Then again, there are many things I consider to be obvious that many don’t get.

        1. From the amount of derp in the comment section I don’t think its obvious to some here.

        2. We don’t have a draft anymore. The soldiers chose to go. You can’t just deny their responsibilities for their own actions. They’re adults. They can make their own decisions. I guess the exception would be those who enlist at 17… is that still possible?

          1. The soldiers chose to go.

            Pretty sure most of the vets I’ve talked to missed the vote where they decided to go. Seems like most of them were locked into participation by their employment contract, enforceable by trial in a separate legal system with punishments up to and including death.

            1. It seems to be a common error, conflating “joined the military” and “personally agrees with every order given” First and last the US military is subordinate to the civilian political authority. It is politicians who select the missions for the armed forces, not the armed forces launching wars of their own volition.

              Many folks are also very glib about refusing orders in wartime. I doubt they can appreciate the massive social and legal pressure that is brought to bear to enforce compliance.

              1. When someone chooses to join the military, he bears the consequences of his actions. He must be aware of his responsibilities should he choose that route – and he must be aware that he may find his job morally disagreeable. If he still chooses to join, it’s on him. “BUT I WAS JUST DOING WHAT I WAS TOLD/JUST DOING MY JOB” doesn’t fly.

                1. Uh, going to war and killing combatants in other countries is exactly the job the military does.

                  1. Obviously. And a soldier who signs up for the military knows this from the beginning, and can’t say he wasn’t aware of it. He knows what he’s going, he agrees to do it, he signs up for it, he chooses to do it, he’s responsible for his own actions.

                    1. So, we shouldn’t be killing combatants? Is that what you’re saying?

                    2. Are you suggesting that there’s no judicial system to hold military personnel accountable, or are you saying anyone that kills a combatant is a murderer?

                    3. I’m making no claims about the morality of the action itself, only that the soldiers ARE responsible for their own actions.

                      Sarcasmic, who is normally vehemently anti-police, is taking an odd stance here.

                      It’s like saying that the police officers aren’t responsible for their bad shoots, but rather their superiors or the 911 operator is responsible for sending them off. No.

                      An adult makes choices in this world and he’s responsible for his actions. That is all.

                    4. I’m with the Slovak here.

                      Maybe the issue, once again, is that American “education” has poisoned enough brains into thinking there actually is a moral difference between “I was just doing my job!” regardless if your side won or lost.

                      Being told to charge into the wasteland of Stalingrad while your violent murdering Cossack commander threatens your life and joining up because the G.I. bill will make life easier in 2000+ are certainly different things.

                    5. Being told to charge into the wasteland of Stalingrad while your violent murdering Cossack commander threatens your life and joining up because the G.I. bill will make life easier in 2000+ are certainly different things.

                      And signing up because the GI bill will make life easier in 2000+ and choosing to go fight in Iraq are also different things. The risk of being sent to war in a general sense is the basic reality of military service, but doesn’t indicate any particular level of support for any particular war (or “kinetic military action”). There’s a pretty sizeable contingent of anti-war Iraq vets.

                      Every soldier is certainly responsible for his individual actions before, during, and after deployment. They aren’t responsible for making policy. Not one Iraq vet who ever put boots on the ground “chose” to go fight a war in Iraq.

                    6. PM, I agree with everything until the last line.

                      Not one Iraq vet “chose” to make it the official policy of the United States that the US was to be at war with Iraq, but they still “chose” to fulfill their end of the contract they signed when they joined the military by putting themselves on a plane/ship/helicopter and going over there.

                    7. … but they still “chose” to fulfill their end of the contract they signed when they joined the military by putting themselves on a plane/ship/helicopter and going over there.

                      I’m pretty sure there’s a distinct… even legal… and definitely moral… difference between freely choosing and coerced into choosing by threat of [insert].

                      Your statement would be valid if… and only IF… our service men and women reserved the “Right to Resign”. As it is, they do not. Instead, their enlistment is a form of indentured servitude. Failure to “[choose] to fulfill their end of the contract” means incarceration, possibly execution, or a life on the run as a deserter.

                    8. All of which they agree to when they sign on. They freely contracted into it.

          2. Oh for-

            Yes, of course they’re responsible for their actions. Military law makes this very clear. The point being that a soldier is obligated to disobey an order only if it’s considered illegal under the military Law of Armed Conflict, the Uniform Code of Military Justice, or the local Rules of Engagement.

            If the order is lawful, however, you either obey it or you face the consequences, whether you were a volunteer or not. Don’t like what your team leader tells you to do? Great, feel free to disobey. If he’s in the right according to military law, you will end up in Leavenworth (or worse).

      2. “And thats an overwhelming majority of people in this country.”

        During the time this conflict was happening, I was never able to find even one person who supported it from any side of the political spectrum. I must live in a podunk backwards ass town….

    2. Individual rights, individual responsibilities.

      1. Except being in the military means you give up a lot of your individual rights.

        1. Except in the case of the draft, one can’t just “BE” in the military. He CHOOSES to be.

    3. I think you have to look at it on a case by case basis. But becoming one of the most successful snipers is something that required deliberate, conscious choice on the part of Kyle.

  47. A Sheldon can do your income taxes, if you need a root canal, Sheldon’s your man… but writing about military matters is not Sheldon’s strong suit.

  48. I liked the part in his book where he lied about punching out Ventura. It was even better when he was sued and lost. It doesn’t negate anything else he may have done but that is a big data point regarding character.

    1. I mean, at this point it’s entirely possible that Chris Kyle ISN’T the monster that Sheldon says he is, because maybe he never killed any of those people!

  49. Iraq did not invade America or attack Americans. Dictator Saddam Hussein never even threatened to attack Americans.

    Regardless of what you think of the Iraq War (it was clearly a moral, financial and strategic mistake), this is just plain not true. Hussein had fired on U.S. aircraft.

  50. Decent trolling, but no “AmeriKKKa” or references to the “glorification of gun culture” or military agitprop which forced Chris Kyle down his wicked path? I am disappoint.

  51. Poor Richman arrives a solid week late to be one of the first thousand ideologues to try to gin up some controversy pissing on the grave of a venerated dead man, and somehow manages to do so with less finesse than Michael Moore squeezed into 140 characters.

    The uncharacteristic lack of a tie-in to teh j00s is somewhat disappointing, but I guess the Sandy Hook reference upped the novelty factor.

    3/10

  52. Did anyone else actually read the book and watch the movie? Chris Kyle made it very clear that every kill he made was thoroughly documented and justified according to LOAC, the UCMJ, local ROEs, etc. He didn’t just set up on a rooftop and start picking off Iraqis that looked mean (or innocent children, Sheldon, you mendacious fuck), because if he had, he most certainly would’ve been court-martialed.

    If he had, at any time, received an unlawful order, he would’ve been obligated to disobey it. Given the evidence, this hardly seems like the case. There’s a pretty big fucking difference between defending soldiers you’re sworn and legally obligated to protect, and mercilessly gunning down anything that moves.

    He did his job, he did it right, and he did it well within the bounds of what is considered legally and morally acceptable under long-standing and broadly recognized military law. You may disagree about whether or not to call him a hero, but to compare him to a deranged murderer of innocent children is fucking low, and you know it.

    1. Did anyone else actually read the book and watch the movie? Chris Kyle made it very clear that every kill he made was thoroughly documented and justified according to LOAC, the UCMJ, local ROEs, etc…

      “People lie.” ~ Dr. Gregory House

      … just sayin’; it’s possible.

  53. OH wait, fuck. Sheldon wasn’t serious. We just got trolled, guys.

  54. We can argue about the morality or appropriateness of the Iraq War. I for one think it was wrong because Iraq was not the main Islamist Totalitarian power supporting the terrorist attacks on the United States. That war was the wrong one to fight because it did not end terrorist attacks and threats of attacks and consequences of this terror on us (I still had to wait 30 minutes to go through a security line at the Ronald Reagan airport the other day; major newspapers fear posting pictures of Mohammed.)

    But that being said, it is wrong to denigrate OUR soldiers who fight these stupid wars and not to admire their heroism. The fact that they are put in these terrible, moral situations like Chris Kyle was only emphasizes the fact that we as a country must be absolutely sure of the morality of the war we are sending the young men to fight. Our freedoms and lives must absolutely be on the line when we do it. Then we must let them fight and win and do whatever it takes.

    However, once our soldiers are over there, they must be allowed to do what they have been charged to do. To deny their heroism when they do their jobs very well as Chris Kyle did is an injustice. Richman is wrong.

    1. we as a country must be absolutely sure of the morality of the war we are sending the young men to fight

      Well that’s a nice sentiment but we don’t seem to be following it and haven’t for a long time.

  55. As the notorious leftist, Herbert Spencer, once said:

    “When men hire themselves out to shoot other men to order, asking nothing about the justice of their cause, I don’t care if they are shot themselves.”

    1. I don’t know Chris Kyle motivations personally, but I know many other soldiers that went. Many were motivated by the 9-11 attacks. They went over specifically to get the guys that were threatening this country. The problem is this country’s leaders and they way that have fought the threat, not the men who fought. Your comment is likely a smear of Mr. Kyle, sir.

      1. The problem is this country’s leaders and they way that have fought the threat, not the men who fought. Your comment is likely a smear of Mr. Kyle, sir.

        Ahhhh the Nuremberg Defense. Classic!

    2. If this is your opinion and not just Spencer’s, why draw attention to Kyle? He’s like every other American soldier – a murderer for hire in your estimation.

      Again, you have the moral sophistication of a small child, Sheldon, but I’m sure you feel good about your sanctimony so it’s not without purpose.

    3. “When men hire themselves out to shoot other men to order, asking nothing about the justice of their cause, I don’t care if they are shot themselves.”

      Get back to us when our service men and women have the “Right to Resign”.

      Until then, their contracts are essentially indentured servitude and they are not allowed to ask anything about the justice of the cause; only about the “legality” of specific actions (e.g.: rape, murder babies and civilians, etc.)

      1. They have a natural right to refuse immoral orders.

    4. So you are saying that if someone can construct an intellectual edifice justifying killing, then it’s OK to kill?

      What is so hard to understand about not aggressing against other people except in self-defense?

  56. Like a kid touching a hot stove, I just couldn’t resist reading Richman’s take on this movie. He didn’t disappoint. It was every bit as stupid as I figured it would be.

    First, what kind of person Kyle was or was not has nothing to do with your opinion of the Iraq war. Just because you think the Iraq war was a mistake, doesn’t mean that everyone who was involved in it is a villain. Whatever you think of the Iraq war, it wasn’t Hitler invading Poland and the people who fought it were not the SS. There is no point in constantly importing the politics of that war into this movie. The movie doesn’t deal with the politics of it. It shows the war through one person’s experience.

    1. doesn’t mean that everyone who was involved in it is a villain.

      but it does put their actions in the course of an unjust war into context. No one can have any doubt, that by these standards of heroism there would be scores of Waffen SS grunts who could be commended for their heroism. But fortunately, bravery and body counts aren’t the stuff of real heroism.

      1. but it does put their actions in the course of an unjust war into context.

        No it doesn’t, because “mistake” isn’t the same as unjust and even if it were there are degrees of unjust. If you honestly think that the US actions in Iraq are comparable to the SS in Poland, then you are either an historical illiterate and moron or someone who has allowed their politics to define their thinking to such a degree you have effectively become a moron on this topic even if you generally are not one.

        That is really all there is to it. There are times when the injustice of the cause is so overwhelming and so beyond debate, that everyone involved with it is a villain. The Iraq war, whatever you think of it, is not one of those times. And for that reason the politics of the war have no bearing on this movie.

        Moreover, the fact that Iraq war opponents have apparently decided to take the position that the war was so unjust that it is beyond debate, is a reflection on their own intellectual insecurity and says nothing about the merits of the war itself.

        1. No it doesn’t, because “mistake” isn’t the same as unjust and even if it were there are degrees of unjust.

          The Iraq War was an unjust war. Calling it a ‘mistake’ implies that it was some sort of technical error, like they invaded and killed scores of people because they went to the wrong address.

          If you honestly think that the US actions in Iraq are comparable to the SS in Poland,

          No I didn’t say it was comparable, I’m questioning your standards of heroism. I said by the standards of ‘heroism’ you’re putting forth, which is pretty much just that of being a ‘good soldier’, that standard would qualify all sorts of soldiers of questionable mission to enjoy the distinction of being a ‘hero’. Just because a soldier was good at their job doesn’t make them a hero.

          There are times when the injustice of the cause is so overwhelming and so beyond debate, that everyone involved with it is a villain. The Iraq war, whatever you think of it, is not one of those times. And for that reason the politics of the war have no bearing on this movie.

          I didn’t say he was a villain. Just not a hero and not deserving of all the praise he’s received.

        2. Iraq war opponents have apparently decided to take the position that the war was so unjust that it is beyond debate, is a reflection on their own intellectual insecurity and says nothing about the merits of the war itself.

          I know you just can’t help but try to assassinate the character and intentions of everyone with whom you disagree, but the “merits of the war itself” are what exactly? I know you’re a moral relativist, but even someone so morally deficient as that shouldn’t have a hard time seeing the injustice of such a war.

  57. As far as Kyle goes, Richman is just appallingly ignorant about the military, war, and the nature of the people who fight wars. People who fight wars kill people and are killed sometimes by the enemy. Maybe there are some people who can be truly detached and just pull a trigger like it is a job with no feeling one way or the other about the enemy. Most people, however, are not like that. Danger and violence and death produces a visceral hatred of the enemy. It usually doesn’t last. Most people don’t go home from wars forever hating their enemies. But at the time, they absolutely do. Beyond the “oh shit” fear, three thoughts go through most people’s minds in combat; don’t fuck up, don’t be a coward, and I am going to kill that son of a bitch. Kyle apparently felt all three. His job was to kill the enemy. The fact that he developed a dislike for the enemy and dehumanized them means that Kyle was a normal human being. If he had been a sociopaths killer, he wouldn’t have had that feeling. He would have happily shot people no hate needed.

    1. The fact that he developed a dislike for the enemy and dehumanized them means that Kyle was a normal human being.

      It also means he was a soldier.

      Let’s not forget that the US Military has a long and colorful history of propagandizing “the enemy” specifically to dehumanize them in our troops minds so that our troops are more easily capable of killing them.

      1. That is true of most militaries.

  58. People like Richman can’t comprehend someone like Kyle as much as anything because someone like Richman can’t comprehend making a moral decision, even of the gravity of killing someone, and living with it and not feeling bad about it and spending your life torn up and neurotic about it. There is that scene in Gran Torino where Eastwood points the rifle at the gang banger and tells him he could shoot him in the face and go to bed and sleep like a baby. It is a great Hollywood line but it shows a certain kind of person. My father was that kind of person. He was not a sociopath or even a particularly violent man. But if the circumstances ever arose where he had to shoot someone for his own or his family’s safety, he would have done it and never worried about it.

    Most people who serve in the military and especially infantry units are like my father. They make the decision that killing is necessary and moral, they do it, and the go home and don’t feel bad about it. It is not because they are sociopaths or have no morality. It is because they can make a decision, act on it, and live with it. To intellectuals like Richman who spend their entire life over thinking everything and constantly finding only grey areas in the world this sort of person is incomprehensible.

  59. Was Kyle a “hero”? He certainly was one hell of a sniper and did a lot of very brave things. Whether that makes him a hero or not, depends on how you define the term. But whatever he was and whatever his flaws, which were certainly real, he was not a villain or a psychopath or anything more than a pretty ordinary man, one with fairly extraordinary ability, doing his best to deal with the circumstances life gave him. When Richman implies that Kyle was a villain it is an act of ignorance and stupidity worthy of Richaman’s admittedly high standard in that area.

    1. If Kyle had been killing Jews instead of Iraqis, Richmann would have his portrait hanging up in his bedroom and he’d be giving it the old Seig Heil first thing every morning.

  60. Nothing turns Reason’s comment threads into flamewars like claiming the US military agents who carry out US’s military adventures may be morally wrong.

    1. The policies may be wrong but the individual soldier doesn’t get to decide unless the order is clearly illegal.

      1. This is the worst part of the scenario for the soldier; it’s no-wing to me. He can potentially get executed for not following an order on the battlefield — no matter how unlawful — and he can get executed for carrying out the order if he’s captured.

        1. *no-win.

          /seriously, where is an edit button?

      2. Exactly this.

    2. All the pro-war Christian conservatives show up to vent.

      1. I don’t see a single person commenting here who can be rightly characterized as “pro-war”. If I had to guess, I’d say that the vast majority of the people who take issue with the article thought the Iraq War was a terrible idea on both practical and moral grounds at the time it was being considered (myself included).

        We can’t all live up to the spitting on Vietnam Vets stereotype, but some of us do manage to dislike Richman-style moral preening *and* OIF simultaneously.

      2. All the peacenazi ass-lickers come here to mewl and whine that people don’t agree with them why won’t they just LEAVE RICHMAN ALOOOOONE.

      3. I think you’re also the first person to mention Christianity too. Nice to see you’re generous enough to let straw men live in your head.

  61. As far as a sniper is concerned, he has a job like every other soldier. He doesn’t get to choose what he does. His job is to protect other soldiers from possible threats who are not yet in striking distance. Did he neutralize those threats? If so he did his job. Is he a hero, maybe not but he should not be denigrated.

    1. Sniper is an incredibly dangerous job. There is safety in numbers. Snipers go out on their own. If they are discovered by the enemy, they are dead. There is no one there to come to their aid and they have no ability to defend themselves against any kind of determined attack.

      Anyone who thinks snipers are cowards or it takes less guts to be one than it does to be an ordinary infantry soldier, is an idiot.

  62. Go fuck yourself, Sheldon. Take that shit over to salon…

    First line from the Salon article:

    “Much has been made recently about the inaccurate representation of Chris Kyle in “American Sniper.” We’ve learned that, despite the fact that the film depicts Kyle as a hero and a martyr, the real American sniper was heartless and cruel.”

    Well, guess that’s settled then.

    1. the real American sniper was heartless and cruel.”

      Statements like that makes me wonder what idiots like Sheldon actually think goes on in a war. Thank God our safety or our civilization do not depend on people like Richman.

  63. Way to hurl the bull, Sheldon. Some people step in it, but you managed to fall down and roll around in it. Heroism has to do with an individuals actions. You want it to about government. Way to miss the whole point.

  64. This belongs at Lew Rockwell’s site.

    1. The most appalling thing about this article has nothing to do with politics. It is Richaman’s utter ignorance about the nature of violence. Richman thinks that Kyle was evil monster because he didn’t like the people he was killing. Since Richman has probably never been in a shoving match much less a war, he gets it exactly backwards. If Kyle had been some kind of monster, he would not have hated the Iraqis. He wouldn’t have needed to. It is not natural for normal people to want to kill others. To be able to do it, they have to dehumanize and hate who they are killing. People in combat demhumanize and hate their enemies because it is the only way they can do their jobs and survive.

      You read this and are left wondering, just what Richman would have done in Kyle’s situation. The Iraqis were trying to kill him and were setting off bombs and taking great pains to do so. Is Richman so self loathing that he would have felt sympathy for the people who were trying to kill him and were killing his friends? Would he have thought “why do they hate me?” or “we deserve this” instead of “I am going to kill that savage before he kills me or my friends”?

      1. Is Richman so self loathing that he would have felt sympathy for the people who were trying to kill him and were killing his friends? Would he have thought “why do they hate me?” or “we deserve this” instead of “I am going to kill that savage before he kills me or my friends”?

        Yes.

      2. Who wants to fund me for a bus ticket to D.C. so I can punch Richman in the dick?

        1. Only if you punch him in the dick symbolically or rhetorically because I’m down with the NAP.

          Richman’s writing is, imo, childish. He’s got the moral sophistication of a 9 year old.

      3. Richman thinks that Kyle was evil monster because he didn’t like the people he was killing. Since Richman has probably never been in a shoving match much less a war, he gets it exactly backwards. If Kyle had been some kind of monster, he would not have hated the Iraqis. He wouldn’t have needed to.

        That’s what makes his comparison to Lanza so ignorant. Lanza was, by all accounts, a hyper-afflicted, socially crippled Asperger/autism case who had no concept of empathy whatsoever. He didn’t kill those kids because he hated them; in fact, he didn’t have any feelings about them one way or another. They were just a means to enact whatever schizophrenic scenario he had cooked up in his head.

        I think it’s a stretch to call Kyle a hero–he was an extremely good sniper and his work with PTSD vets was admirable, but that’s it–but Richman’s take on this is really nothing more than shitlib posturing.

        1. “Richman thinks that Kyle was evil monster because he didn’t like the people he was killing.”

          This isn’t quite what I argued. Did you read the article *I* wrote?

  65. Some context on Chris Kyle, a quote from his book (page 79)

    “Our ROEs when the war kicked off were pretty simple: If you see anyone from about sixteen to sixty-five and they’re male, shoot ’em. Kill every male you see.”

    1. I can tell you as a person who was there and dealt extensively with ROE, that is just utter bullshit on Kyle’s part. Maybe he thought that was his ROE but it wasn’t.

      Moreover, that is not what anyone did. That is not what Kyle did. If he had, he would have killed a hell of a lot more people than he did. And if the US military had adopted that ROE, they would have killed about a million Iraqis in the first three weeks of the war.

      I haven’t read Kyle’s book, so I have no idea what the context of that statement is. Whatever the context, taken on its face, that statement is flat out bullshit.

      1. Alternatively, Kyle is a psychopath who disregarded his actual RoE to satiate his bloodlust, unlike other soldiers who duly followed proper orders.

        In the same book, Kyle wrote that he “didn’t give a s*** about the Iraqis” and referred to them as “sub-humans” more than once.

        He has also reference his use of controversial “baiting” tactics in interviews to the press.

        In any case this is a specific criticism of Kyle and Kyle alone, not everyone in the military. Maybe it’s bullshit, maybe it’s not.

        Other shooters have questioned Kyle’s claim that everyone he shot was trying to kill him:

        http://www.veteranstoday.com/2…..of-horror/

        1. Alternatively, Kyle is a psychopath who disregarded his actual RoE to satiate his bloodlust, unlike other soldiers who duly followed proper orders.

          Alternatively, *insert speculative fiction that fits my narrative*.

          1. Considering Kyle openly admitted to baiting and flatly stated that he followed a set of RoE which involved “shooting any male he saw”, this is simply my interpretation of *his* narrative.

            If he was lying, that’s his problem.

        2. He was either a psychopath or a liar. Or a lying psychopath.

          To some extent, I hope he was just a liar who made a lot of shit up in order to sell his stupid book. Kyle wouldn’t have been the first person to lie in order to make money. Ultimately, human beings are flawed creatures.

          1. Hey! You’re talking about a guy in costume, I mean uniform. Watch it!

        3. I read the book, and your quotes are way out of context. They are specific references to those Iraqis that were strapping bombs to women and children, not references to “Iraqis” in general.

    2. The context is they were fighting people who who were trying to kill them. Sounds like someone I would like beside me if I am fighting.

      John is right. Dead right. See thread above.

      1. Oops. Guess not.

      2. He was invader! What’s so tough about understanding that?

    3. If memory serves, that’s more than a bit of a mischaracterization. That quote pertained to evacuated areas of operation like Fallujah. Kyle never stated those were the standard RoE for Iraq.

      1. The quote included “when the war kicked off”, when Kyle was sent to Shatt al-Arab, a river on the Iraq-Iran border.

        And even in Fallujah the RoE he claimed to follow would be considered criminal by legal standard.

        1. It’s been a couple of years since I read the book so I’ll take your word for it. Maybe I mischaracterized your larger point. Was it that he was embellishing what the RoE actually were? If so, unless he was engaging in dark soldier humor, then I agree with you.

  66. As someone who actually volunteers with Fitco, the charity the Kyle family established, I can confidently say Richman did jack shit for research into this. Chris Kyle was a local hero, not because he was a combat veteran, but because he was an advocate for shitloads of injured vets who weren’t getting the attention they needed from the VA. His contributions were helping people rehabilitate their lives, absent the State’s attention. How this is anti-libertarian is beyond fucking me.

    1. That is just it. There are literally millions of combat veterans out there. And there are plenty of people who inflicted more violence on the enemy than Kyle ever did. And there are people who did bigger acts of bravery than Kyle.

      When Kyle first came to prominence, my impression was that people help his record as a sniper more in awe than anything else. He became so well liked because of the things you mention. If he had just been a great sniper and written a book about it, they wouldn’t have had to hold his funeral in Texas Stadium or wherever they did.

      1. Yup. I live in the DFW area and I can’t remember how many hundreds or thousands of people attended, but it was a big fucking deal when he was shot.

        I never met the guy, but got to know one of his friends at the foundation. From what I gather, he was the type of guy to treat you like a brother, just for putting on a uniform.

  67. I think what’s missing in this discussion is context. Sure, now we can look back and say the Iraq war was a huge mistake. But back when it started, the president had the military, congress, and a vast majority of the public convinced that Iraq had WMD’s and was harboring terrorists. The only ones disagreeing were Ron Paul and a few Hollywood lefties. Then a little later on the Dixie Chicks. (Remember the backlash against them?) But at the time, a vast majority of the country thought that war was justified. Does Sheldon really think that soldiers would side against their president/commander in chief, joint chiefs of staff, and the American public, and say, “I’m with Alec Baldwin, this war is wrong!” These guys went into it believing war was justified. It took a while before that idea changed.

    1. Does Sheldon really think that soldiers would side against their president/commander in chief, joint chiefs of staff, and the American public, and say, “I’m with Alec Baldwin, this war is wrong!”

      Or that we would want them to if they did? I think soldiers should do as they are ordered. Civilian control of the military is a pretty important thing.

    2. Yes. 20/20 hindsight. I was ambivalent about the invasion when it happened. I thought the reasons given might have been justified–WMD and all. I did not come to see the idiocy until I saw how the war was conducted: Ignoring Colin Powell’s request for large forces being put into the country to quell residual uprisings, Delaying deployment of heavy armaments, stupid rules of engagement and all the rest.

    3. I naively hoped that if the fuckers on top were lying, we’d be celebrating their brutal public murders post-war for being the lying monsters they were. I was wrong. The fucks are still alive.

  68. Hmm, I think snipers are the least removed killers. They’ve got to get eyes on those they kill and understand that once the trigger is pulled, they’re responsible for the outcome on an immediate level. I respect them for this. Thousands of other people are responsible indirectly for loss of life but don’t have to look at the individuals they kill while doing it.

    Kyle was no more or no less ‘evil’ than any other soldier who kills people, including US soldiers in Germany and Japan during WWII.

    P.S. I read the book and saw the movie and thought both were really well done.

  69. You can be against the invasion of Iraq as a matter of policy, but it was not a war of aggression. Iraq violated the terms of the 1991 ceasefire by expelling weapons inspectors from the country, flying military aircraft in contravention of the no-fly zones and targeting coalition aircraft with anti-air radars. By violating the cease-fire the 1990 authorizations of force by Congress and the UN were made active. This is the true casus belli for 1993.

    1. NO BLOOD FOR OIL MAN

      1. WTF ever became of all that oil anyway?

  70. What American lives? The lives of American military personnel who invaded other people’s country…

    So it would have been better if Kyle had not volunteered and just let them die. Jesus fucking Christ.

  71. Excerpt from War: An Objectivist View
    http://www.atlassociety.org/tn…..ivist-view

    Since the rights of the citizens of a tyranny are not being protected in the first place, a rights-respecting country could act to overthrow the unjust regime without betraying its basic principles. Indeed, the liberation of an oppressed people is in the long-run self-interest of all free people?although not, in many cases, worth fighting a war over.

    We in the Objectivist faction of the Libertarism certainly believe it is morally permissible for a freer country to make war on a less free one. I sure as hell don’t go by UN definitions.

    1. Goddammit, Cytotoxic’s figured out how to reproduce by mitosis.

      1. FINALLY MY RESEARCH HAS PAID OFF

        Also, what was posted above is completely right.

  72. Government sponsored violence is wrong. Saying so doesn’t make you a bad person. Engaging in government sponsored violence is what makes you a bad person.

    We can debate whether killing 200 hajjis in better or worse than killing a few dozen white kids; why the hell should we? Why should libertarians be putting ash on their forehead and rending their garments for someone who killed people because his government told him to an “had fun doing it”?

    I’m not anti-soldier. Hell, I’ve made plenty of mistakes in my life, and I know plenty of folks that got suckered into signing up for all sorts of reasons, most of which involve the person doing the signing still being a goddamn child and some scumbag recruiter making a lot of bullshit promises. The difference is I don’t parade around trying to convince god and everyone that my mistakes make me some sort of saint.

    Going to some godforsaken desert to kill people is wrong. Its about time people get comfortable hearing it, because its the truth. Wanting to put a stop to government violence is the ticket you have to buy to get on this ride.

    1. So it was wrong to think our government should “engage in violence” against the Japanese after they bombed Pearl Harbor, then? It was wrong to want our government to “engage in violence” against Islamists Totalitarianist that want to destroy our cities and means of defense by flying airplanes into our skyscrapers and military buildings?

      The US has fought some stupid wars for some stupid reasons, but that does not mean it should never “engage in violence”.

      You are wrong.

  73. There’s no sugarcoating it – people have differing opinions on this article and subject.

    1. I am starting to think you may be on to something here…

    2. How do you know they’re not all the same person with many different personalities?

  74. I’m no fan of Kyle (given his repeated lying and a lust for killing that was creepy and unhealthy, even if everyone he did kill was a bad guy, his disdain for the Iraqi people, etc.) or the Iraq War, but comparing it to the Nazis and Adam Lanza is just stupid. There was absolutely no need to make those sort of comparisons in order to make the case that Kyle wasn’t a hero.

  75. Easily the most ignorant piece I’ve ever read on Reason. Opinions can legitimately vary on the Iraq War, who’s responsible (does the writer not know Clinton’s policy towards Iraq?), etc. I’m not much for interventionism myself.

    But to not see a difference between Chris Kyle and Adam Lanza is one of the most horribly stupid comments I have ever heard in my life. I am a little shock to find such an ignorant comment on Reason.

    1. I know Clinton’s policy very well, which means that my article understated the case against Kyle and his comrades. The Iraqis had ample reason to despise the American invader.

      1. Well, you seem to have forgotten to mention it. This article puts all the blame on Bush and Cheney (who deserve a lot of it, for sure).

        My bottom line, Mr. Richman, is by comparing a military sniper to an insane child murderer, you lost a lot of people who might have otherwise agreed with your point. I woke up this morning, and that quote was all I could recall from the article. I wish you could’ve made your points without sinking so low.

  76. So in Iraq we had jihadists and others who used children as suicide bombers, and a sniper who prevented them from killing American troops, and you’re on the side of the jihadists. I’ve noticed that many libertarians hate their own country over any others because, after all, it’s the one that restricts their freedom — and never mind how other countries would treat them if they lived there. This is a perfect example of that mindset.

  77. Is this author saying that a woman sending her kid out with a grenade to attack a Marine convoy is a hero? Or that a man, killing a kid with a power drill (because his dad talked to the enemy) is a hero?

  78. Thanks Sheldon for vindicating my decision not to donate any more money to Reason, and shame on anyone who has. This ignorant immoral pig of a writer is going to continue to be indulged by the magazine until the magazine is punished for it.

    You cannot legitimately ‘resist’ US occupation, because you cannot legitimately resist freedom in favor of tyranny. All those that do so deserve only death.

    1. But can you legitimately resist the American ruling class and its geopolitical/economic ambitions?

  79. I know we could count on you, Cyto.

    1. I’ll always be here and I’ll always be smarter than you.

  80. Don’t let your opinion of the Iraq war prevent you from understanding what an idiot Richman is. Richman is not just saying Kyle is a bad guy because he fought for the wrong side in the Iraq war. He is saying Kyle is a bad guy because he hated the people he was fighting. And that is so stupid as to be beyond comprehension.

    Imagine for a moment that a group of armed men come to the Reason headquarters and start murdering the staff. The staff of reason, being Libertarians, are of course armed. This isn’t some kind of panty waste French cartoon outfit. This is a Libertarian publication and we fire back.

    So a fire fight breaks out at the reason headquarters. Apparently, Richman is so stupid he think that he wouldn’t feel any hatred towards the people he was shooting at. That he could watch them blow Welch to kingdom come and his thought would be “these poor, oppressed people” and not “I am going to murder this savage”.

    1. What seems to bug Richman and Tiabbi and the rest of the idiots having kittens over this film is that it is a war movie that shows a guy in combat who hates his enemies and doesn’t portray him as some kind of heartless monster as a result. It would be one thing if the film showed Kyle returning home and taking up beating the shit out of and terrorizing Arabs or Muslims as a hobby. Then, Kyle would be a legitimate bad guy. But that is not what the movie does. It just shows that Kyle really hated the people he was fighting.

      I just can’t comprehend that kind of stupidity. What planet do people like Richman live on? I can’t imagine being that ignorant and that incapable of understanding and empathizing with someone’s situation like that.

      1. I just can’t comprehend that kind of stupidity. What planet do people like Richman live on? I can’t imagine being that ignorant and that incapable of understanding and empathizing with someone’s situation like that.

        Their naivete stems from the fact that they’re incapable of fathoming the idea of committing violence against another person (though many are happy to let the State do it by proxy). They think any killer is a monster, simply because they have no means to understand the legitimate reasons for killing. In short, they’re regular human beings. They’re the sheep in the sheep-wolves-sheepdogs allegory.

        And it’s true: some killers are monsters. Sheepdogs and wolves have their similarities, after all. But to act as though all kinds of killing are unjustified and vile, just because you can’t fathom the act itself, shows a tremendous lack of moral and intellectual maturity.

        1. shows a tremendous lack of moral and intellectual maturity.

          Lack of maturity probably sums Richman up best. He is just not a fully functioning adult. He is a child in a man’s body.

    2. “He is saying Kyle is a bad guy because he hated the people he was fighting.”

      I agree that this is a stupid idea, so stupid I wouldn’t think to write it. What article did you read?

  81. Richman has the “intellectual consistency” of a 9/11 truther and spouts the same one-dimensional, narrow-minded Foreign Relations rhetoric of the hard-left, suggesting that everything wrong on the planet is the consequence of US conspiratorial ‘meddling*’ and Teh Joos.

    (*widely defined as everything from ‘acknowledging other nations exist’ to ‘actually participating in free trade’; basically, cynically characterizing the ‘rational self interest of nations’ as some unholy source of corruption, imagining in his mind that there has ever been any state of affairs where states DID NOT ‘entangle’ with one another and maintained some kind of purist, solipsistic independence, free from mutual interference or coersion)

    He’s an idiot who drags down the reputation of the entire publication.

    This gets said with almost everything he publishes to varying degree (depending on how completely retarded he manages to be).

    In this case – the idiocy here is his apparent need to jump on the bandwagon of the Left in spitting on dead soldiers because someone made a popular movie about one. Why stop with Kyle? Throw Audie Murphy and Chesty Puller onto his bonfire. Apparently its impossible for a good man to fight a bad war.

    If what he hates is the ‘glorification’ of soldiers, then why pick on just one? Shit on them all and get it all out, and stop pretending that there’s any ‘good ones’ out there at all.

  82. 1. The war was legal.
    2. The war was stupid.
    3. Kyle followed the oath he swore to follow the orders of his superiors and commander in chief.
    4. Kyle was good at his job and took pride in protecting his fellow soldiers.
    5. Kyle thought Islamofascists were evil savages and did not engage in self-flagellation for killing them before they killed others.
    6. Kyle fibbed about things in his private life.
    7. A “hero” is usually determined by members of a group who usually conform to the same outlook as the one being bestowed with the honorific.
    8. There is nothing wrong with calling into question the wisdom or morality of fighting wars against non-aggressors, asking to what degree individual soldiers bear any responsibility for following orders, or examining the propensity for unquestioning and blind hero worship.
    9. Sheldon Richman is a miserable and despicable cunt for directly comparing Kyle to a mentally deranged murderer of elementary school children.

    1. Despicable Cunt was the name of my shit punk band in middle school!

      1. You have my sincerest apologies for painting your band with the same cuntbrush as Richman, Drax. 😉

    2. I agree with the last comment. Sheldon Richman definitely overreached stupidly by comparing Kyle to a crazy nut lke Lanza. If Kyle shot down school kids becuasae he could not control his inner demons accentuated by a war experience, then, maybe I would find some tiny amount of analogy appropriate.

  83. … and this level of writing and editorial (and frankly, commenting, much of it) is why Reason doesn’t get my money anymore.

    Hell, it barely gets my eyeballs; a scan a day until something too stupid to tolerate comes along to get me to move on to places that aren’t intellectually offensive.

    Bring back Postrel as editor.

    1. Bring back Postrel as editor.

      Fucking this, and/or a serious Objectivist.

  84. Mr. Richman’s article exemplifies the maxim that context is essential.

    To view Chris Kyle and other Iraq veterans’ service in the proper context, it is vital to understand the ‘why’ of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Unfortunately, misrepresentation and misconceptions have obscured the actual grounds of OIF. To restore a proper context, here is my explanation of the law and policy, fact basis for Operation Iraqi Freedom.

  85. It’s good to go outside the box to think about terms like hero. I am definitely not some Kyle groupie as some seem to be. I also had major problems with this wasteful disastrous war in Iraq. But I differ with the writer of this piece on one thing – while I agree that this was an invasion, the people we were fighting initially were agents of Saddam. True, there will be well intentioned patriotic iraqui soldier who did serve under Saddam because there is no other option and that is the sad thing about war where you end up killing a good person but that is part of the reality of war. It doesn’t mean Kyle is a bad guy for what he did in IRaq. But didn’t he also target Islamic radicals too at some point in the whole decade? I gotta give him some credit on our behalf. even if may not have protected my life, he sure acted as a proxy for my vengeance against those bastards and I thank him for that. (this does not mean I buy all his exaggerations later on).

    1. He absolutely killed some very bad people. The thing about Richman is that he seems utterly incapable of any sort of nuanced thought about the Iraq war.

      It is one thing to conclude that the war was a mistake or immoral or illegal. That is not necessarily an unreasonable position even if you don’t agree with it. It is quite another to conclude that and take it to such an extreme that you no longer acknowledge any merit to the other side of the debate or admit to there being any grey areas. Richman is utterly incapable of understanding that even if you do conclude the war was wrong, that doesn’t mean you can’t admit to countervailing facts or grey areas. Just because you disagree with the war, doesn’t mean you can’t admit that there was some good results of it or that not everyone associated with it was a villain or that some questions around the war are very difficult and not amenable to a single, obvious answer. You just don’t find those merits and grey areas compelling enough to change your overall opinion.

      Richman can’t do that. To him the war was wrong and therefore everything about it must be wrong and everyone associated with it must be a villain. He is utterly incapable of having a reasoned and nuanced discussion about the issue.

    2. “”I am definitely not some Kyle groupie as some seem to be””

      i don’t think one needs to be a ‘Kyle groupie’ to acknowledge that the guys story has become an ideological Punching Bag for the Left.

      No one has ever moaned about the lack of USA!USA!’MURICA!! @ Reason

      I think the frustration is that Richman’s one-trick-pony POV – where everything is the fault of “american imperialism” – is entirely lacking in any actual insight or policy nuance, and represents a bumper-sticker-level of thought that most people tried to avoid by reading this magazine in the first place.

      I mean, his piece makes Salon look *subtle and thoughtful*, by contrast. Adam Lanza? Nazis? its fucking embarrassing and i hate the idea that when i tell people to read this magazine, that they’ll come across Richman and assume this is the kind of shit I’m on board with.

      1. I mean, his piece makes Salon look *subtle and thoughtful*, by contrast. Adam Lanza? Nazis? its fucking embarrassing and i hate the idea that when i tell people to read this magazine, that they’ll come across Richman and assume this is the kind of shit I’m on board with.

        Dude, so this.

      2. Exactly. Articles like this, and Ron Paul’s conspiracy crap do more to hurt the Libertarian movement then anything their actually enemies could come up with.

      3. so not this.

  86. On the bright side = Richman at the very least produces what could be called, ‘Libertarian clickbait’

    He’s Reason’s answer to ‘Upworthy

    assuming his contributions are unpaid, its like free money. Those Interns gotta eat!

  87. Again, many of the comments show again that most libertarians in the US are not libertarians at all…just a bunch of excentric right wingers. It is expected that libertarians will be opposed to the state (or at least most of its actions, beyond some minimal limits). But of course, U.S libertarians only oppose the state on the matters like taxes, regulations, guns rights….in the best of the cases, drug war. But when it comes to stuff like rampant militarism, imperialism, and war waging, they are fine with it, because with the rest of the right wingers, they share the love for such activities committed in the name of some idiotic ideology (nationalism, or the idea that the U.S is superior and has the right to rule world affairs). So when there are principled libertarians, like Richman, who dare to question those, what do they do? They accuse him of pandering the left. At least the left is honest that it likes big government…libertarians and conservatives, on the other side, are just big hypocrites about it.

    1. This isn’t LewRockwell.com and what you have confused libertarians for anarchists. When you talk shit about entirely fictional US Imperialism, it will get called out.

      1. Even minachirsts have no excuse to support US militarism and imperialism abroad, so your “we are not anachists” line is just BS. And anyways, I think the ones confusing Reason are people you…Reason is a libertarian website, an authentic one, not the homepage of the Republican Party, the Heritage Foundation…nor is newsmax, The Weekly Standard or The National Review…

    2. “principled libertarians, like Richman, who dare to question”

      Adam Lanza. Nazis.

      Failing to make that particular connection makes everyone “War Mongers”. Right.

      1. DISSENT IS TREASON

      2. Actually, Sheldon is not sayin the US are like nazis (in all aspects). He is saying that US leaders are guilty of war of aggression and that nazis where condemned for that particular crime after WWII. And he is damn right.

    3. Shockingly, ‘principled’ doesn’t equate to childish emotional comparisons to Nazis and serial killers of children. And Richman seems to lose all his ‘principles’ towards violence when discussing the activities of, say, brutally violent Hamas.

    4. You can oppose war and understand the clear and obvious difference between Adam Lanza and Chris Kyle. Knowing that difference doesn’t make you a neocon. But not knowing that difference does make you a moron.

    5. If you believe the US is at all imperial, you are a retard. Please go consult a dictionary for the definition of the word “empire.”

      1. ImanAzol: Please, enlight us…it is not an empire because it invades and bombs countries when it suits its interests? Or it is not empire because it has military bases and presences all around the globe? Or because it is not a dominant economic power (usually backing up its control of market and resources with force or puppet goverments)? I think the only retarded moron here is you..trying to deny the obvious

        1. I think the word you are looking for is Hegemon. The influence and power exerted by the US around the world in no way reflect the word “Empire”. They do fit very nicely within the definition of “hegemony” though.

          Hegemony: leadership or predominant influence exercised by one nation over others

          Empire: an extensive group of states or countries under a single supreme authority, formerly especially an emperor or empress.

          Then again, I’m trying to explain that words mean something in response to a post using the term “retarded moron”

          1. Cyto, FULL POINT!!!
            Malodorous, FULL CUNT!!!

  88. This article has nothing to do with being a libertarian. It comes down to how you view those who participate in war. Someone isn’t a good guy or a hero because they fought for a particular side that was deemed right or wrong.

    Kyle protected his fellow soldiers. Regardless of what some people here think, most soldiers did their job in a more humane fashion than any military force in the history of the world. Was it a task they should have been given, or should we have been there in the first place? No, but that is a separate question from judging the conduct of those who fought it.

    1. Second, the glorification of the Iraqi insurgency is absurd and incredibly naive. Most of those fighting had little notion of a greater Iraq they were fighting for. They had religious motives, some were foreigners who wanted to kill Americans, many were Sunnis who had been marginalized after the fall of Saddam.

      More to the point, the Iraqis as individuals did things that any right-thinking human being would consider repugnant. Like giving children RKG’s to throw at soldiers, planting IED’s on roads where they can kill indiscriminately, hiding in Mosques (prohibited in Islam), hospitals…

      These are guys who happily strapped bombs to children and gave them weapons because they were too chickenshit to fight themselves. So screw Richmond and his characterization of them as essentially freedom fighters.

      Simply put, the Iraqis weren’t the good guys. All American soldiers weren’t all that great, either. But if I had to pick a more ethical fighting force, it’s not a matter of patriotism. It’s a matter of reality. The Iraqis Kyle killed were by and large savages in every sense of the word.

      1. The Iraqi insurgency would, if they had ever gotten the opportunity, shoved a hot poker up Richman’s ass before they beheaded him. Yet, Richman thinks Kyle is a monster for hating them.

        I really can’t fathom the amount of self loathing and guilt Richman must feel.

  89. Think we’ll hit 500 comments on this one? Amazing, and not one word about pizza or circumcision or abortion…wait, oops.

    1. Or mandatory vaccinations?

      1. Yesterday did get a bit out of hand. And THEN someone let me know I missed the body armor thread from a few days earlier. That was quite a trip down the rabbit hole.

        1. Yeah, that was one for the ages.

          516 comments and counting on this one now!

          1. 755…

    2. Why doesn’t anybody talk about artisanal M?esli?

      1. Because they are afraid I will go all Incredible Swiss Hulk and destroy H&R?

        GRAHHHHH!!!!!

  90. There’s nothing heroic about doing your ‘job’ or doing it well even. That’s my take away from the article. It’s the same reason why Maher was wrong in characterizing the 9/11 attackers as ‘brave’. They weren’t brave. Lanza was ‘good’ at what he did- killing unarmed school children. The article is about what is heroic and seemed pretty well nuanced in showing that heroism is mighty subjective.
    I gathered in no place that Shel is sympathetic with any of the actors beliefs or ideologies, just that when an actor acts aggressively he alone can answer for his actions. Even our own assessments change. The muhadjadeen were heroic when facing a Soviet invasion, for example.
    Put another way: Michael Phelps is not a hero for being a great swimmer, but he could be heroic for example by not giving concern to damage to his image (provoked by moralists) which would hurt his pocketbook as well and say: there’s nothing wrong with taking bong hits.

  91. The attitude expressed in this article is the main reason Libertarians will always be in a very tiny minority. It’s the reason Ron Paul lost in the primaries.

  92. God Almighty!
    There is some soul of goodness in things evil,
    Would men observingly distil it out.
    Henry V: Act 4, Scene 1

    http://shakespeare.mit.edu/henryv/henryv.4.1.html

  93. “Excuse me, but I have trouble seeing an essential difference between what Kyle did in Iraq and what Adam Lanza did at Sandy Hook Elementary School. It certainly was not heroism.”

    That’s because you’re a sociopathic, retarded pussy.

  94. 11 years ago, Mr. Richman penned this article in opposition to the sanctions on Iraq.

    His 2004 article actually moved me in favor of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Why? Because after the bombing campaign of Operation Desert Fox in 1998, the US had been left with 3 options to enforce the Gulf War ceasefire:
    A. Status quo. Indefinite ‘containment’ of a noncompliant Saddam. The chief component of the ‘containment’ was the sanctions opposed by Mr. Richman.
    B. Stop enforcement of the Gulf War ceasefire and free a noncompliant Saddam.
    C. Enforce a “final opportunity” (UNSCR 1441) for Saddam to comply with the ceasefire with a credible threat of regime change. (The threat of regime change became necessary once the ODF bombing campaign failed to move Saddam to comply.) If Saddam refused to comply in his “final opportunity”, then bring Iraq into compliance with regime change.

    Choice-A was not cost-free and seemed ineffective. As Mr. Richman highlighted, the sanctions were attriting the Iraqi people rather than Saddam.

    The political reality was choice-B was out of the question.

    That left choice-C.

    I had been on the fence about switching from choice-A to choice-C. Mr. Richman’s article pushed me over to support the President’s decision for choice-C. If Mr. Richman was opposed to choices A and C, then I can only surmise he favored choice-B, freeing a noncompliant Saddam.

  95. The Iraq conflict was fully supported by Democrats who echoed the exact same sentiments about Iraq as George Bush. There are enough documents/records as well as video at You Tube for Mr. Richman to know that Hillary Clinton, John Kerry and most Democrats agreed with and echoed George Bush’s call for action against Iraq so Mr. Richman is either still ignorant of the facts, suffers from selective memory or he is lying.

    Bottom line for honest thinking people is that the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (not just Bush/Cheney) called for volunteers to PROTECT the USA after it was attacked. The young men who answered the call of duty are not responsible for the decisions of government executives, lawmakers and military generals decisions regarding the best way to protect the USA. These young men answered a call to serve and defend and unless you’re a complete asshole you understand this concept. Someone needs to educate Mr. Richman on his flawed and inappropriate thinking.

    1. The reason that Democrats voted with President Bush on Iraq is that President Bush faithfully carried forward President Clinton’s enforcement of the Gulf War ceasefire that had preoccupied Clinton’s entire presidency.

      In 2002, many if not most members of Congress – particularly the senior Democrats who had worked closest with or inside the Clinton administration (or was married to the President) – were significantly more experienced on the decade-plus Saddam problem than the still-learning President Bush.

      When Congress voted with Bush on Iraq, it was also voting with Clinton on Iraq. Congress was also voting with its own decade-plus experience, spanning 3 administrations, enforcing the UN mandates for Iraq.

      My explanation of the law and policy, fact basis for the Iraq mission.

  96. in his book Kyle wrote he was fighting “savage, despicable evil” ? and having “fun” doing it. Why did he think that about the Iraqis?

    Kyle didn’t say this about Iraqis generally. He said it about the enemy he faced in Iraq, which he distinguished from the population. And further he said it largely based on the depredations of the enemy upon the Iraqi population.

    This is a smear-job that should be beneath anyone and shows the disgusting underside of politics isn’t relegated to right or left no matter how much we libertarians wish otherwise. I need to commit “Sheldon Richman” to memory since he’s the most dishonest and disgusting libertarian I’ve come across in some time. He deserves to be remembered and dismissed.

    1. Better than dismembered and remissed.

  97. I’ve been a longtime viewer of this site, and have never felt the need to comment on any article until this one. It is complete trash. What purpose is being served by comparing a U.S. soldier to a serial killer of children? I get that Reason wants to display a full se of ideas across the libertarian spectrum, but this is just insane.

  98. Disgusting.

  99. Mr. Richman, if your goal is to critique U.S. foreign policy, this article COMPLETELY misses the mark, and in some way serves as a reminder of the protests against the troops returning home from Vietnam. I agree that the Iraq war was a mistake, and I would not label the real Kyle as a “hero” per se, but I wouldn’t compare him to a psychopathic serial killer and compare the U.S. mission, misguided as it was, to a totalitarian fascist dictatorship invading a sovereign peaceful country.

  100. Thank you for feeding the left with your delusion, you human excrement. Reason is declining fast.

    Go look up a Heinlein speech – The Pragmatics of Patriotism – and that might BEGIN to to wake you to the human excrement, the evolutionary dead end you are.

  101. What do you really know about snipers?
    MOVIES(Fiction & Non-fiction): Enemy at the gates, Tears of the sun, Quigley down under, Saving private Ryan, Captain Phillips, Act of Valor Navy Seals, The Hurt Locker?. SEARCH: Fighting Tops sail ships, Morgan’s Riflemen, Timothy Murphy, Sniper/ Hero NY State ( Revolutionary War), British Admiral Horatio Nelson killed at the Battle of Trafalgar by a sniper firing from a fighting top of the Fighting Ship Redoubtable. Llieutenant Pavlichenko Russian Army woman sniper WWII, Kurdish Female Snipers, YOUTUBE: Snipers????Do some research before you make incredulous comments please.

  102. My God, this thread is still going on?

    I almost feel sorry for Richman. He’s been getting the shit kicked out of him for like 6 hours now.

    I mean, he deserves it, but at a certain point you’re just punching a man who’s already been beaten to death.

    1. But it FEELS so good..

    2. It is pretty astounding. It is especially epic when you consider how generally hostile this board is towards the Iraq war. You really have to be a special breed of stupid to manage to be anti-war yet still get a beat down like this. Richman is most certainly a special breed of stupid.

      1. I find it funny that right below this article Nick has an article about the Republican party’s love of schmucks. What about Reason’s love with schmucks Nick?

        1. Yeah. The Republicans have a thing for Schucks, so says the publication that hired Dave Weigal and Sheldon Richman.

    3. Like I said = Richman at least deserves credit for being ‘guaranteed clickbait’

      Is it worth the damage he does to the magazine’s reputation?

      not in my opinion.

      1. Maybe everyone needs to just boycott his articles until Reason gets the message.

    4. I mean, he deserves it, but at a certain point you’re just punching a man who’s already been beaten to death.”

      Don’t feel sorry for the KimKardashian of journalism.

      He’s getting exactly what he wants and is loving everyminute of it.

    5. This thread may single-handedly double the value of Reason’s ad space. Does that technically count as a donation? Well, then, I guess I’ve paid my tithe.

  103. I hate to steal a page from John’s playbook, but i see a lot of “Cultural Hatred” embedded in the criticism of Chris Kyle by the left

    Its not so much about his service in wartime, or his disdain for iraqis – its that he’s unashamedly a TEAM RED conservative-christian American. And the idea that “those people” are actually real human beings who have complex emotions? Bothers them

    If he were an Adam Kokesh-style character, who shot 200 iraqis and then decided that he was going to denounce the reasons for the Iraq war, he’d be a fucking Hero and a martyr.

    Instead, they demonize the guy, and suggest that all the aspects of the movie that give his character emotion, depth, regret etc.? No = those are all *fake* because the Real people like Kyle? They can’t be humanized.

    I sincerely don’t believe they give a wet fart about the people he shot (as though he were more cold-blooded than Obama’s drone operators?) – The fact they try and pretend that they were all “innocents” (in fallujah? really?) shows the lengths to which they want to bend reality to their narrative.

    Much of it is just that the accepted wisdom is that ‘all Iraq stories must be Green Zone-style condemnations of US policy’. They’re uninterested in the ‘person’s’ story unless it serves the purpose of flogging the “IRAQ WAS WRONG!!”-horse endlessly.

    1. It is from my playbook, so I of course agree.

      One of the things that stands out about this piece is that Richman seems to hate Kyle more than he hates the Islamic radicals he was fighting. You don’t have to support the Iraq war to understand many of the people we ended up fighting there were some of the most evil people imaginable. Yet, Richman bends over backwards to sympathize with the people who blew themselves up in market places or used children as human shields or bomb delivery system and goes out of his way to hate Kyle.

      For some people, the cultural and the class hatred in this country has gotten so out of control that they no longer are able to make moral distinctions. Richman hates Americans like Kyle so much that the nature of the people he was fighting doesn’t matter. Richman is going to hate Kyle and take their side no matter who they are.

      One of the things about Obama is that he uses harsher language when talking about his American political opponents than he uses when talking about even the most evil foreign government. The class hatred and division in this country is just pathological.

      1. It was their country. We invaded it and killed tens of thousands of them, many of them civilians. If that happened to your country, what would you do? Well you’d probably be a coward, but a lot of people might turn into “radicals” and try to take out as many of the invaders as possible, and feel perfectly justified in doing so. Stop dehumanizing Iraqis. They didn’t ask for any of this.

        1. Most of the insurgency were not Iraqis Tony. They were foreign fighters. And the Iraqis were more interested in killing each other than they were in killing the Americans. Indeed, when Al Quada took over Fallujah and environs, the Iraqis quickly turned against them and helped us throw them out. It was called the AN Bar awakening.

          Beyond that, thank you for giving an example of what I mean. You are so filled with hate and pathology towards other Americans, you are incapable of seeing evil anywhere else, no matter how obvious it is. It doesn’t matter if we were the invaders, many of the people in the insurgency were hideously evil and did horrible things mostly to the Iraqis.

          Tony, you are so stupid, ignorant and full of hate, you need to just go troll some other thread. Your opinions on this matter or more epically stupid and hideous than usual. Give yourself a break and just stop it.

          1. Tony’s lack of knowledge about the subjects he decides to discuss is breathtaking.

            No one knowledgeable about the Iraq insurgency believes that insurgency was primarily Iraqi citizens standing up for sovereignty. The only Iraqis involved in that insurgency were Baathist Sunnis who wanted to gain power for themselves, not people fighting for freedom or sovereignty.

            Of course, Tony probably doesn’t even know the Baath Party was primarily Sunni and certainly couldn’t tell the difference between Sunni and Shia or Wahhabi and Sufi.

            1. Wow, FOX News really did a number on you idiots. You’re seriously defending this fiasco? Would there be insurgents if we hadn’t invaded? Or are we not still living with the shitstorm of a terrorist breeding ground we created via the occupation?

              1. You should look upthread to where I said the invasion was a terrible idea and that the people who did it were idiots that destroyed what was a functioning country.

                The point isn’t whether the invasion was a good idea, or even moral (it wasn’t). The issue is whether or not the people who were acting as insurgents were fighting for Iraqi sovereignty, or were just theocratic terrorists trying to implement a Sharia state.

                The evidence points to the latter, especially given the insolvent of Al Qaeda. The US invasion was absolutely at fault for turning Iraq into a nest of terrorists (as I’ve said repeatedly) but our failure in that regard doesn’t rob them of moral agency.

                They’re evil, even if our actions gave them the opportunity to express that evil more forcefully than would otherwise have been possible.

                And ZOMG, I BET YOU WATCH FOX NEWS! pretty much proves my point about what a juvenile, ignorant nitwit you are that I mentioned downthread.

                1. I also notice you didn’t refute any of my points about the foreign makeup of the Iraqi insurgency, since you have no evidence to support your own position. Dissolving into whiny hysterics about what a Fox News teahadist I am because you’re not sharp enough to back up your points reflects worse on you than me.

                  1. Pointing out the presence of foreigners in the insurgency serves what purpose in this debate? Are we even debating? Don’t we agree that it was a horrible idea?

                    1. DUR I CAN’T FOLLOW DISCUSSION GUD /Toney

        2. This fetishization of the insurgents in Iraq as Iraqi civilians fighting against the invaders is nonsense. The Iraq War was terrible, we shouldn’t have done it, but this narrative has no basis in fact.

          A lot of the fighters in Iraq were a secondary invading army that followed us into the country – particularly Al Qaeda elements. Many of the Al Qaeda leaders were Yemeni, Jordanian, Saudi, etc, not Iraqi citizens.

          Those who were Iraqi citizens were frequently remnants of Saddam’s regime or similarly despicable people who were fighting us because they wanted to be instated as Iraqi dictators, not because they cared about protecting themselves.

          Your claim that the murderous theocrats who made up most of the insurgency were misunderstood defenders of Iraqi sovereignty is a disgusting perversion of the truth.

          1. Irish,

            People like Tony have made such a pathology of hating other Americans, they are incapable of seeing evil in any other context. It has long since become sick and dangerous.

            1. I hate Americans who waste trillions of dollars and thousands of lives starting wars for oil and lying about it. Call me cold-hearted.

              1. HAHAHAHAHA!

                War for Oil? Really?

                If you’re going to recite disproven propaganda, it could at least be disproven propaganda from the last decade.

                1. Or wars to defend us from imaginary nukes. Who gives a shit? But it was about oil. Somehow Iraq’s oil is just as cheap as Saudi’s to this day. Imagine that.

                  1. If it was a war for oil, we lost. Shell, a British=Dutch company, seems to be the winner.

                    It was a war to ‘stabilize’ Iraq and environs (bring democracy or whatever). Too bad it didn’t work out that way.

                    Imagine how the world might look today if we had just kept enforcing the no-fly-zone and let Saddam more or less alone.

                    1. Imagine how the world might look today if we had just kept enforcing the no-fly-zone and let Saddam more or less alone.

                      The sanctions breaking down, Sadaam causing trouble in the Arab Spring…yup, still glad we got rid of him.

                  2. It was such a war for oil that during the course of the war that prices of oil went from $35 per barrel to $143 between 2003 and 2007.

                    http://www.macrotrends.net/136…..tory-chart

                    That’s not a very effective war for oil, is it? Tell me, what evidence do you have for this? Did Iraqi oil production increase as a result of our ‘war for oil?’

                    Why no it didn’t! You can find graphs online about Iraqi oil production, and they’ve only just caught up to the level of oil production they had in 2002 before the war.

                    So how did a war which saw oil prices jump 300% and oil production in the effected country fall get waged for oil? It’s a mystery, but I’m sure you’ll enlighten me.

                    1. I didn’t say it was an effective war for oil. It was pretty much a failure on every front.

                    2. You don’t even pay attention to your own posts, do you?

                      “Somehow Iraq’s oil is just as cheap as Saudi’s to this day”

                      Huh. Here you are claiming that the alleged ‘cheapness’ of Iraq’s oil is evidence of your thesis that it was fought for oil. In other words, your primary (and, in fact, only) argument is that the current price of Iraqi oil is evidence that that’s why the war was fought.

                      The fact that Iraqi oil production hasn’t gone up and that oil prices increased substantially over the course of that war refutes this claim.

                      Since it’s your only argument to show that it was a war for oil, you have no evidence for that claim.

                      Does it hurt to get your ass kicked this bad, Tony? You must get some sort of masochistic glee out of it, since you keep coming back to me.

                    3. If Iraq wasn’t sitting on one of the world’s largest supplies of cheap oil, do you really think we would have bothered invading? Plenty of evil dictators with no connection to 9/11 in the world.

                    4. “If Iraq wasn’t sitting on one of the world’s largest supplies of cheap oil, do you really think we would have bothered invading? Plenty of evil dictators with no connection to 9/11 in the world.”

                      Yes, and we’ve overthrown several.

                      Would you like me to list all the countries we’ve invaded at some point, Tony?

                      Did Vietnam have oil? How about Korea? Grenada? Our Nicaraguan intervention? We can’t stop dicking around with Cuba, and to my knowledge Cuba isn’t exactly an oil producer.

                      Given our involvement with all these non-oil producing countries, your claim that we must have invaded Iraq because of oil is ridiculous. If we only invaded oil producing countries that would be one thing, but obviously we don’t, so you have no evidence other than your conspiracy theories.

                    5. Your question, “do you really think we would have bothered invading?”, applies to President HW Bush’s official decision on August 2, 1990 to lead the UN response against Saddam seizing Kuwait, pursuant to the Reagan corollary to the Carter doctrine that set the regional security and stability of the Middle East as a principal US national security interest.

                      Presidents Clinton and Bush’s subsequent enforcement of the Gulf War ceasefire mandates for Iraq, including Operations Desert Fox and Iraqi Freedom, were rooted in President HW Bush’s original commitment made on August 2, 1990 to enforce the UN mandates with Iraq that crystallized with the Gulf War.

                      To wit, see President Clinton’s official notice to Congress regarding Iraq on July 28, 2000, ie, 6 months from handing off the White House to Vice President Gore or Governor Bush:

                      The crisis between the United States and Iraq that led to the declaration on August 2, 1990, of a national emergency has not been resolved. The Government of Iraq continues to engage in activities inimical to stability in the Middle East and hostile to United States interests in the region. Such Iraqi actions pose a continuing unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.

                    6. Give him a break Irish, he just came on thinking that the thread had to be dead by now and he could stroke himself a bit on it’s corpse. How was he to know there would still be people with functional brains posting to it at this late hour?

                    7. The reasons for OIF are comprehensively explained by the Gulf War ceasefire UNSC resolutions, the US laws that enforced the UNSCRs, and presidential (policy) statements and fact findings of the Gulf War ceasefire enforcement. The grounds for OIF are straightforward.

                      As plainly stated in the law and policy, OIF was about enforcing Iraq’s “final opportunity to comply” (UNSCR 1441) with the Gulf War ceasefire mandates. That sounds disproportionate until you consider that the mandated standards were for things like WMD (UNSCR 687), terrorism (UNSCR 687), and human rights violations (UNSCR 688) in the context of Saddam’s track record and Iraq’s critical position in the region.

                      (Once again) explanation of the law and policy, fact basis for Operation Iraqi Freedom.

                  3. Huh? On a global market, oil is oil, obviously no one will pay more for Iraqi oil than Saudi oil, so how could they be different prices?

          2. This is all nonsense of course, but even if your ridiculous regurgitated propaganda-based justifications were true, what does it matter? “The Iraq War was terrible, we shouldn’t have done it” is the lede. Whatever consequences, whoever we ended up killing, they wouldn’t have been there if not for our completely unjustified invasion.

            1. Woosh! Point = sidestepped

        3. It was not ‘their’ country other than ‘they’ were accidentally born there. And ‘we’ didn’t invade, ‘our’ self-imposed rulers did. That about sums things up.

        4. Tony how old were you when your father abandoned you/your family?

          Are you ever gonna forgive him?

    2. Couple things. One, apparently the movie version was more nuanced and introspective than the real-life version, who was by all accounts an unapologetic psychopath. Two, we invaded their country for no reason, or at least no defensive reason. Anyone we killed was killed unjustly. Anyone who took up arms against the occupiers in their own country are surely justified by any objective standard, just as you would be if some country invaded ours.

      1. “who was by all accounts an unapologetic psychopath”

        ‘All accounts’?

        Did you actually read the book, or are you taking the Salon-level cliff notes at face value?

        “Anyone we killed was killed unjustly”

        please to share your examples of “just” killing in warfare, please.

      2. Tony,you are such a sad turd. Just a mushy, wet, sad turd… who isn’t even a decent troll. God, you’re even transparently BAD at that, and that is NOT hard…Just pack it in, dude. You’re a fucking loser…

  104. “Eastwood’s movie also features an Iraqi sniper.”

    No, it doesn’t. The sniper Mustafa, one of Kyle’s primary targets, was Syrian and repeatedly identified as such. Another of his prey was Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian member of al-Qaeda.

    These were not Iraqis resisting an invasion.

  105. No one should have ‘fun’ killing anything human, frankly. You are clearly a psychopath if you ‘enjoy’ even the death of the depraved. I can rationalize a detached professionalism during war- but not pleasure.

    Why should patriotism devolve into the ‘enjoyment’ of death? Patriotism is often just, but just as often abused by those with far greater power than those who revel in patriotism in its simplest forms.

    I get the gist of the article. But, here’s some real fucking cognitive dissonance- as one who opposes capital punishment but despises dictatorship I do sincerely hope that this sniper was able to remove some despicable, torturing, and beheading subhumans from the earth. In that sense, he was no Lanza, Richman.

    1. “No one should have ‘fun’ killing anything human, frankly. You are clearly a psychopath if you ‘enjoy’ even the death of the depraved. I can rationalize a detached professionalism during war- but not pleasure.”

      A lot of people say this, but I wonder if it’s true. I mean humans have been finding excuses to kill each before the dawn of civilization, maybe violence is hardwired in to us. Even when we are not killing one another we watch violent movies, play violent games, etc.

      People really seem to loving engaging in this thing that isn’t supposed to give them pleasure.

      1. Yes, but humans enjoyed all kinds of despicable activity not so long ago. I am enjoying modernity. I appreciate the libertarian argument because it seems to me to be the only one letting go of that legacy unnostalgically and unapologetically.

    2. No one should have ‘fun’ killing anything human, frankly. You are clearly a psychopath if you ‘enjoy’ even the death of the depraved. I can rationalize a detached professionalism during war- but not pleasure.

      Maybe no one should, but some people do. Some people are very good at dealing in violence. And the fact is that is no bigger adrenaline rush than being in combat. Like all other adrenaline rushes, people get addicted to it.

      The fact is that if you don’t get killed or maimed, war is the biggest high you will ever have. It is a dirty secret but the fact is a lot of people enjoy war and a lot of people are good at it. That fact may offend your delicate sensibilities but it is a fact. And the people who feel that way are not sociopaths or monsters. They don’t come home and continue to kill people or lack consciences or morality.

      The other thing is that some people are able to make a decision, even the decision to kill, and live with it. Not everyone is a neurotic reluctant warrior tearing themselves apart with guilt and doubt. Some people make the decision that their cause is just, that killing is necessary and right, do it, and go home and don’t worry about it. Again, that is probably too much for your delicate sensibilities to handle but it is how a good number of people are.

      1. Except none of the killing we did in Iraq was justified. I’m not convinced any warmaking is justified. But that certainly wasn’t. And if you can dehumanize people to the point of getting pleasure out of killing them, you are a violent psychopath.

        1. Tony, shut up. Just stop it. You have nothing but hate and ignorance to add to this topic. Normally your ignorance and pathology is entertaining. Not now however. Just go somewhere else and let the adults talk for a while.

          1. You’re casually justifying the occupation and murder of a foreign people for no fucking reason, John. Don’t tell me who’s an adult. You’re a ridiculous party hack.

            1. Wait a minute, the guy who’s going to vote for Hillary “let’s bomb some brown people!” Clinton is calling someone a party hack?

              That’s amazing.

        2. Sigh. Obviously some of the killing was justified. All the murderers from the assorted terrorist organizations who got killed were ‘justified’ killings.

          To say that a tyrant or a murderer at large suddenly becomes a freedom fighter the moment his country happens to get invaded is just insipid. And don’t claim I’m defending the war, as I’m not. Merely pointing out the obvious that plenty of those insurgents weren’t doe-eyed innocents before the invasion, and so did not become doe-eyed innocents after it.

      2. Makes sense to me. We might dress different, and speak differently, but we’re still that same primitive species that used to bash each other to death with clubs and rocks.

        Civilization is an illusion, strip it away and man reverts back to his old ways.

        1. It is a tough world Bard. That old Orwell quote about people sleeping peacefully in their beds because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf is true. If you want to have a civilization and live in peace and security, you better have some people in your society willing to do a lot of nasty things because there is always going to be someone out there ready to take it from you.

    3. You may not like Kyle. You obviously don’t understand him very well. But whatever you think of Kyle, you can’t put him in the same category of person as someone like Adam Lanza or Ted Bundy. Kyle is unlike them a moral person. You just don’t understand his morals or comprehend that someone could be that way and not be a mindless killer monster.

      1. “But whatever you think of Kyle, you can’t put him in the same category of person as someone like Adam Lanza or Ted Bundy.”

        You did not read my last sentence, John.

        “Kyle is unlike them a moral person.”

        Kyle was a highly successful sniper deployed during a very questionable war. This does not make him moral and definitely not deity-like in his pursuit where it is highly likely he has killed innocents like most soldiers who’ve engaged in urban warfare. The incidental killing of innocents isn’t something that should be justified as simple collateral and is simply immoral and unethical.

        That being said. It is impossible for me to sit here and devalue his overall objective which is to kill genuinely evil people as part of his overall moral vector.

        I just don’t grasp the hero part of this. War is a mostly dirty and extremely political business and people who are successful at it should avoid popularizing it as a patriotic endeavor- though I do understand the capitalistic drive of making huge sums of money through manipulating the nationalistic pride of the masses like Eastwood has done with his film.

        1. To me the “hero” debate is a pretty meaningless semantic one. If he is or not depends entirely on how you define the term and depends mostly on where you are sitting. If I were one of the guys in the units he helped, he sure as hell would be to me. Sitting here seven years later with no connection to it at all? It just depends.

          1. The hero debate is important and it should be to those who champion Kyle as well. Kyle should be independent of the circumstances of the war. Otherwise, he’s a propaganda tool. His writing of a book didn’t necessarily help things out there.

      2. Kyle is a moral person because he says so himself. That’s all I have to go on. I suppose I couldn’t be so self assured in his shoes because I have difficulty convincing myself that I have perfect powers of discernment.

    4. “Agile Cyborg|1.29.15 @ 3:58PM|#

      No one should have ‘fun’ killing anything human, frankly. You are clearly a psychopath if you ‘enjoy’ even the death of the depraved.”

      If someone raped and killed my wife I would love to watch them bleed out.

      I guess I’m a psycopath even though I sometimes rescue kittens.

  106. “Let’s recall some facts, which perhaps Eastwood thought were too obvious to need mention…”

    When you make your own movie, Sheldon, you can recall all the facts you chose to. Eastwood is telling a story, and its his movie. He doesn’t owe anyone anything. All movies take artistic license…at least the large majority do. So what?

    But I will venture I guess. If you do make your own movie someday, someone else will criticize it for what you purposely left out.

    Find something else to complain about.

  107. What does an ex-marine have to say about this?
    http://www.washingtonsblog.com…..tions.html

  108. Sheldon Richman is basing his premise on the presumption that our 2003 invasion of Iraq was a war of aggression and thus an illegal act. Everything else follows from that.

    He is ignoring the fact that the US had previously sought and gained both the sanction of the United Nations Security Council and of the US Congress to use military force in order to bring Iraq into compliance with international law. This was to force Iraq to remove its troops from Kuwait and to prevent Iraq’s further use of WMD.

    In 2002 and 2003 those authorizations were still very much in force and Iraq was still very much in real and material breach of the terms of the 1991 Cease Fire Agreement. Thus the US was as legally authorized – both on the international law level and on the US Constitutional level – to once again use military force to bring Iraq into compliance with the Cease Fire Agreement and other UN treaties and requirements.

    So, from the outset, Richman has absolutely no valid premise to base anything on. And thus it is clear that his actual intent was to simply stir controversy by defaming Chris Kyle.

    1. Fair enough. From the outset, you disagree. But I manage to see his invective pointed more at Cheney/Bush than I do at Kyle. His take on Kyle is that Kyle is/maybe is an opportunist. I can see why that would get one’s dander up about Kyle as an individual if you know his case well or he is family (I confess that I don’t). But I think regardless his larger point: participating in a war of dubious nature is heroic in and of itself is a valid point.

    2. Madoc,

      Good stuff. Your assessment tracks with mine (click on my ID to see).

      I’ll add to your explication of the legal authorization for Operation Iraqi Freedom that Clinton built up the law, policy, and practical precedent for military enforcement of the Gulf War ceasefire throughout his presidency. Operation Desert Fox in December 1998 was the penultimate military enforcement step that cleared the progression to the ultimate military enforcement step of credible threat of regime change, which Bush activated in 2002-2003. Bush didn’t just go from 0 to 60 with Operation Iraq Freedom. Rather, Bush carried forward the ceasefire enforcement progressively from Clinton.

      Also, the proximate trigger for Operation Iraqi Freedom was the UNMOVIC confirmation that Saddam remained in material breach of the ceasefire with “about 100 unresolved disarmament issues” (Cluster Document, 06MAR03), while factoring in Iraq’s ongoing violations of ceasefire obligations such as the terrorism mandates of UNSCR 687 and the humanitarian mandates of UNSCR 688.

  109. There’s a difference in accepting war when it’s absolutely the only recourse and celebrating war as the definition of national greatness.
    There’s also a difference between propagandizing successful soldiers to dignify the righteousness of a particular war and saying that a soldier did the job he was told to do so let’s give him a break.
    The article wasn’t demonizing the American Sniper so much as it was demonizing the tendency to use such soldiers for pro-state propaganda. As for the sniper, I can’t pretend to know his motives any more than I can understand the motives of an ‘enemy combatant’. Empathy doesn’t equal sympathy. Something like that.

    1. He compared Kyle to Lanza. Stop hedging.

      1. In a non-sequitury way. Yes he did.

  110. You people are a joke. You spend all day on an anti-aggression soapbox but just can’t help yourselves diving into a rightwing chickenhawk jackoff session once the Culture Wars have decided to make it a point of contention. You’re 100% convinced that having your income taxed to pay for someone else’s healthcare is evil violent aggression. But the most clearly mistaken and horrific US foreign policy action of the past generation–well, er, it was “technically” legal, and uh, Saddam was a bad guy! Jesus fucking Christ.

    1. Tony, I think you’re a joke given that you don’t know anything about the subject you’re discussing.

      Virtually everyone on this board opposes the Iraq War (John and Cytotoxic being notable exceptions) but are simply pointing out that Richman is a moron who made a mean-spirited and inaccurate comparison based on his own ignorance of the subject.

      Then you showed up and made the provably inaccurate claim that the Iraqi insurgency was primarily about Iraqis attempting to preserve their sovereignty (rather than admitting the truth, which is that they were mostly theocrats, wannabe dictators, and foreign terrorists) and prove yourself even more ignorant than Richman.

      Tell me, Tony. Which Iraqi insurgent leaders were Iraqis fighting for sovereignty? If they existed, then certainly you can name one.

      1. Also, it’s funny that you think calling me a joke or, as you petulantly did yesterday, declaring that ‘no regulars on reason have sex’ will make me angry.

        It’s so pathetic that the only person who should be upset by juvenile insults like that is the person who uses them. There’s nothing sadder than a grown man using ‘I bet you guys don’t even get laid’ as a pathetic, failed attempt at a put-down.

        1. There’s no shame in not getting laid, and of course I would have been indicting myself as well. I was merely suggesting that people who had significant others in their lives they actually spoke to couldn’t possibly have the emotionally stunted egocentric grievance-based political worldview of conservatives/libertarians. But I could be way off base.

          1. You could also be projecting.

          2. Three Mile Island

          3. emotionally stunted egocentric grievance-based political worldview

            Said the man who has no compunction against executing his political opponents.

            (oh, and you misspelled progressive.)

          4. And your childish characterizations of libertarians and their loved ones simply further entrenches your ignorance, arrogance and lack of empathy.

        2. Wait, I thought we were all filthy breeders. Even jesse and tonio?

          I’m shocked, shocked I say, to learn that I did not in fact have sex with my wife last night.

      2. The initial insurgency was formed around ousted members of the Ba’ath regime and members of the disbanded Iraqi military. Then we get civil war, foreign insurgents, pretty much a melting pot of fuckedupness, and let’s please not forget the collateral damage. What on earth could be the point you’re trying to make? We caused all that. Our actions created ISIS for fuck’s sake. Is there some moral salve to be had because all the insurgents weren’t Iraqis? We had no business there, and every negative consequence stemmed from the initial decision to invade. “Sovereignty” is beside the point. It went from a brutal dictatorship to a shitstorm we created. Who cares? Pretty hard lesson–maybe dictatorship was the only thing holding things together, and a pretty high price to pay for that lesson.

        1. “The initial insurgency was formed around ousted members of the Ba’ath regime and members of the disbanded Iraqi military.”

          I.E. members of recently overthrown fascist dictatorship.

          Yeah, clearly the proto-fascist dictator worshipers who fought against us in the early days were doing so solely out of their love for the Iraqi people and their desire to protect Iraqi lives and property.

          Again, we shouldn’t have done it. That doesn’t change the fact that your and Richman’s apologies for theocratic mass murderers are disgusting and your attempts to attack me because I don’t share your love of Baathist murderers are pretty ludicrous.

          1. Oh please. You and I both know you don’t have your heart in this either/or bullshit. We both have the exact opinion on whether the invasion should have happened, but only I’m an apologist for fascists (the regime was Arab nationalist, not theocratic, btw, about as secular as you could find in the Middle East). You’re not making sense, you’re not getting your facts straight, and you don’t even disagree with me. What is the point of you?

            1. “We both have the exact opinion on whether the invasion should have happened, but only I’m an apologist for fascists (the regime was Arab nationalist, not theocratic, btw, about as secular as you could find in the Middle East).”

              You can’t read. My point is that you’re apologizing for the actual insurgents. You are actively declaring that that insurgents were ‘in the right’ and were defending against American aggression, despite the fact that all they were really doing was trying to create a dictatorship to their specifications.

              That’s what makes you an apologist – the fact that you actively approve of decapitators and child rapists and use your hatred of the United States as justification.

              Secondly, I know the Baath party was a secular dictatorship – that’s why I referred to them as ‘fascists’ rather than theocrats. The theocrats came later when Al Qaeda was drawn into the Iraqi power vacuum.

              There were both secular dictators and theocrats on the side of the insurgents so nothing I said was untrue.

              1. I think get it. Tony reads Salon and so naturally thinks fascist=evangelical Christian, and therefore a secular dictator is by definition not fascist, and therefore is okey-dokey.

            2. Fascism is a secular nationalist political ideology. It is distinct from theocracy. You don’t seem to understand what those words mean.

        2. Iraq, 2002 (UN Commission on Human Rights):

          The [United Nations] Commission on Human Rights ? Recalling: ? [UNSCR] 688 (1991) of 5 April 1991, in which the Council demanded an end to repression of the Iraqi civilian population and insisted that Iraq cooperate with humanitarian organizations and that the human rights of all Iraqi citizens be respected ? Strongly condemns: (a) The systematic, widespread and extremely grave violations of human rights and of international humanitarian law by the Government of Iraq, resulting in an all-pervasive repression and oppression sustained by broad-based discrimination and widespread terror.

          Iraq, 2011 (President Obama):

          Indeed, one of the broader lessons to be drawn from this period is that sectarian divides need not lead to conflict. In Iraq, we see the promise of a multiethnic, multisectarian democracy. The Iraqi people have rejected the perils of political violence in favor of a democratic process, even as they’ve taken full responsibility for their own security. Of course, like all new democracies, they will face setbacks. But Iraq is poised to play a key role in the region if it continues its peaceful progress. And as they do, we will be proud to stand with them as a steadfast partner.

          In 2011, Iraq was making clear progress with our help, but we left too early while Iraq still needed American protection like our European and Asian enemy-turned-partners subsequent to WW2.

    2. I disagree, Tony. I think you’ve seen some spirited debate. Some have taken Richman as ‘spit on a soldier’ and others such as myself have appreciated the ‘walking-on-a-minefield’ such a discussion is.
      My take away is that no one can really climb into someone else’s head and that’s why I embrace the NAP. I can disagree vigorously with others without having to kill them. Be they a supposed Communist, a proclaimed Progressive, a follower of Islam by accident of birth, or a fundamentalist polygamist Mormon, as a few examples.

      1. Tony’s not interested in being truthful. He just wants to throw a whinging hissy fit, get butchered by people who are actually schooled in the facts of this argument, and then show up 7 hours after the thread dies to get in the last word and declare victory.

      2. Nobody really embraces whatever the NAP is. If it’s “don’t hurt other people without cause,” then it’s trivial kindergarten ethics. If it’s what libertarians take for proper governance, it’s incoherent bullshit. “We can’t have universal public school because at some point along the line it takes aggression of a sort!” But of course we can and must have police and military to protect our property. The only government policies minarchist libertarians support are those that involve actually shooting people! That’s why the anti-aggression soapbox standing strikes me as a bit disingenuous.

        1. Self governance vs proper governance. That’s why I don’t agree with you. It’s not kindergarten ethics, it’s principle. I’m not a huge advocate of military and police. Universal public school is not a synonym of education. Tony, you’ve lurked around long enough that I thought you could at least give a better characterization of what minarchism is? I am very disappoint.

          1. I just wish you’d defend your policy choices on their merits instead of declaring that no right-thinking person could disagree if they accept the NAP. Because property entails aggression and can’t do otherwise.

            1. You’ve never lived in a non zero sum game community. That’s too bad.

      3. I can disagree vigorously with others without having to kill them.

        That’s the difference between Tony and a rational human being. Tony can’t.

    3. Tony:

      mistaken and horrific US foreign policy action of the past generation–well, er, it was “technically” legal, and uh, Saddam was a bad guy! Jesus fucking Christ.

      Exactly. When I talk to leftists who oppose the war, I suggest that they just focus on how rich Saddam Hussein was. That should resolve the issue. You always have to break a few eggs to really stick it to the rich.

    4. ad hominem ad hominem blah blah ad hominem. pants shitting. ad hominem.

  111. A competent government hired killer can be a hero, he is not one by that alone. If indeed he puts himself in great danger to save others than himself, he is a hero to those people and to those that care for those people. Chris Kyle did exactly that.

  112. A competent government hired killer can be a hero, he is not one by that alone. If indeed he puts himself in great danger to save others than himself, he is a hero to those people and to those that care for those people. Chris Kyle did exactly that.

    1. PS Hero’s do not even have to be fighting for the right side or a good cause.

      1. Like I said. Be careful who you call “Hero”

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0B5lFuTUhso

  113. The last line of this article is unforgivable. Regardless of ones view of the Iraq war the soldiers who volunteered and served did their duty. The men and women who serve did not make the decision to go to war. They simply carried out the mission that the President with the support of Congress gave them.

    So about the last sentence. The comparison that Sheldon Richman makes is offensive. Rishman knows it is offensive. It’s beyond stupid and wrong. And the last sentence completely negates anything that came before. The last sentence cannot be ignored and it cannot be forgiven. And no matter what Sheldon Richman writes in the future it will be overshadowed by his one ending sentence where he slanders ALL the men and women who wear the uniform and serve our nation.

    A little experiment – If I ended this post with this last sentence could you ignore it and have a rational conversation? Let’s try it, shall we?

    Fuck Sheldon Richman, fuck his mother and fuck his mother’s mother.

    1. Except that he did not slander all men and women in uniform. At worst, he slandered Kyle. I didn’t read his book. So I can’t comment.
      I will say that most servicemen I’ve met don’t talk about their kills. My best buddy growing up had a dad who served in WWII. He got a bronze star but he wouldn’t talk about it. Story went to his grave.

      1. The movie is mostly about the negative effects of war on those who go to fight. So it kinda fits in with your best buddy’s dad’s WWII story that you never got to hear.

  114. You have one fact wrong in your article. The “Iraqi” sniper was a Syrian. The movie addresses that specifically. So that is not the enemy sniper’s homeland that he is defending. He is there because he sees the war as a war on Muslims.

    1. He’s there to impose his evil Islamic views on Iraqis.

    2. I believe some US troops were immigrants trying to fast track their citizenship. Everyone has motives.

  115. It is crap like this which convinces so many people that Libertarians are little better than the worst leftists.

    1. There is so much ignorance about libertarians that most would be shocked to disbelief that Sheldon Richman’s views even fall within the distinction.
      In the commentariat we’ve even seen disavowal. I’ll give you credit that at least you recognize it as such.

  116. All I’m going to say is be very careful who you call “Hero”. In my business (Food Service) you end up working with, or catering to many types of people. Your “Job” does not make you a “Hero”. Your actions do.

    1. I’ll have the Meatball Hero sans mayonnaise, please.

      1. +1 Sandwich. =)

        1. Dammit, it is “sammich”! What is the matter with you people????

          1. Is that from the German-speaking portion of CH?

  117. my best friend’s step-sister makes $70 hourly on the computer . She has been out of a job for 5 months but last month her payment was $20578 just working on the computer for a few hours. you can look here……..

    http://www.Jobsyelp.com

    1. this comment is more intelligent then the article

  118. Sheldon Not Alone in Leftist Human-Pinata-Bashing!

    NBC Host Suggest Kyle “Racist Who Went on ‘Killing Sprees’

    MOHYELDIN: A lot of his stories when he was back home in Texas, a lot of his own personal opinions about what he was doing in Iraq, how he viewed Iraqis. Some of what people have described as his racist tendencies towards Iraqis and Muslims when he was going on some of these, you know, killing sprees in Iraq on assignment. So I think there are issues….

    SCARBOROUGH: Wait, wait. Killing sprees? Chris Kyle was going on killing sprees?

    MOHYELDIN: When he was involved in his — on assignments in terms of what he was doing. A lot of the description that has come out from his book and some of the terminology that he has used, people have described as racist.”

    its a neat trick when you as a reporter can call people “racist mass murderers” by simply saying, “Some People Suggest That…”

    To sheldon’s credit – at least he represents his opinion as his own.

    1. He didn’t invoke the ‘hate crime’ part. That is a notable distinction.

    2. This must be why leftists don’t seem very interested in the conflict in the Ukraine – only white people are dying.

    3. He studied at the foot of the master: “There are those who would say….

  119. This article is full of distortion. Chris Kyle was sent on a mission to protect his fellow soldiers. If you want to pin the war on anyone it would Bush/Cheney, not the solders. This article only proves why libertarians aren’t in the mainstream, they are too far out there

    1. You may be right. This may well be why libertarians are not in the mainstream.

      As a result, expect to see more nonsensical wars.

  120. And this will be the last time I visit your site. Thought I was on daily kos or salon. I encourage more to do so as well.

    1. sean, at least there is SOME rational commentary here, and some interesting and insightful points of view. At Salon or kos, never.

  121. I vote for Libertarians when I can. The imbecile that wrote this article however will make me re-think that. I understand being opposed to the war but to go as far as the writer did in denigrating Kyle’s actions in supporting American troops is almost treason.

  122. Kyle was a paid American killer who neutralized the enemy from relative safety with a precision rifle. American killer Kyle “engaged” or chose enemy victims in a way that would create the most damage and fear. None of these victims had threatened or could threaten American killer Kyle with the weapons they may have been carrying to defend themselves against attacking soldiers.

    American killer Kyle perhaps defended these attacking soldiers and no bravery was needed for this defense. ZERO bravery was required but killing as a SNIPER requires ZERO morals and American killer Kyle demonstrated the required lack of morality clearly by calling his killing “fun”. Fighting in a war, forced Regime change, invasion, defense, police action, or whatever is never “fun” for a moral person. I did not and will not watch this piece of propaganda.
    http://theendofpornbywire.org/…..f_Supt….

    1. I feel sorry for Chris Kyle for having believed he was fighting to defend the United States when he was supporting ONLY the American regime that overthrew the United States.

  123. I’m sorry but Iraq violated the cease fire agreement 17 times any of which allowed the U.S. to return to Iraq to stop further violations. Therefore this was not a war of aggression making your entire article useless from the the third paragraph and hence I quite reading beyond that point

    1. Based on what others wrote I read the last paragraph
      Comparing Kyle to Adam Lanza is an insane stretch no matter what you think of anything else that is just plain stupid and disqualifies everything this person may have wrote in this article. Garbage

  124. Lots of butt-hurt war mongoloids here tonight.
    Kyle was a war criminal. And a liar.
    And because he made semi-retarded decisions with guns, he’s also dead.

  125. Stop confusing Lon Horiuchi with Chris Kyle.

  126. Dear Reason,

    I expect better than this from you guys. The fact is, once a military member is sent into a war zone, their personal politics go out the door. It doesn’t matter if Chris Kyle was adamantly against the Iraq invasion, or 100% behind Bush and Cheney. When in a life-and-death situation, that person is going to exercise their right to self-defense, or defense of others. Regardless of whether or not the author likes Chris Kyle or his politics, it’s fact that, because of his actions, there are a bunch of young American veterans alive today that otherwise wouldn’t be.

    Was the invasion, at best, a complete cluster fuck? Yup. But don’t condemn the guys on the ground, who were put in extraordinary situations, for protecting themselves. Blame the leadership that sent them there, and has kept them there– and elsewhere– for 14 years.

    Finally, one more tidbit. All the civilian casualties often laid at the feet of America, the overwhelming majority of which are accidental or unintended, can’t compare to the numbers of civilians killed by the Taliban, Iraqi insurgents, and now ISIS– often intentionally. Even if we undertake a “war of aggression” as suggested by the author, the manner in which we do so is 180-degrees out from the “defensive” wars championed by our enemies.

    -John

  127. I thought it was a very good film with a pretty neutral tone. It turned the subject into more of a skilled everyman representation of military folk, which is okay, and it made the case that war is very taxing on those who have to actually engage in it.

    Eastwood has a very matter-of-fact style. He doesn’t infuse his films with the politics of the day. You can draw your own conclusions from his work, which is why there is so much controversy around this movie.

    People are watching this movie because it is well made and because they are tired of being preached to, as I see it.

  128. I read the book when it first came out. Interesting read. The accounts of door to door forcible entry in Iraq seem to bring into focus the mindset that I believe our domestic LEA’s seem to be succumbing to. I can’t say after reading the book that I particilarly liked or even respected Chris Kyle as a person all that much although I certainly didn’t find him particularly evil or exceptional in any way. Actually probably pretty commen and ordinary. All that being said I’ve been coming here for a very long time and this article is worst tripe I have ever read on this site and that is saying a lot. I really don’t have any other words to describe the sheer banality. There is nothing intelligent or of any substance in this article worth directly responding to.

    1. common

  129. Am I the only one bothering to read the Snowden data dumps? There was an al queda camp in north western Iraq. WMDs WERE found in various places around Iraq. Sadam was in bed with terrorists. Was he actively plotting against us, unknown. But this BS of we were invaders and the like is nauseating. Chris had to kill those who would kill our own. Tough sh*t. And if people are offended he referred to the TERRORISTS as barbarians, I say grab a bunch of your “coexist” stickers and fly to Syria and talk peace with ISIS, please! Do western culture a favor!

  130. The by-line of this article was the only part worth reading.

    1. a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities.
    2. a person who, in the opinion of others, has heroic qualities or has performed a heroic act and is regarded as a model or ideal:
    3. the principal male character in a story, play, film, etc.

    Based on the definition of the word, Kyle is a hero. That doesn’t make the Iraq War good. That doesn’t mean that Kyle’s life and his attitudes will be the basis for raising my son. The problem with this author and most of the comments is that your mixing the person with the policy. Kyle did his job, and he did it well. He made decisions without the benefit of the hindsight we all can view his life with.

    Bradley Cooper is probably a more noble figure in the movie than Kyle was in real life. That’s how Hollywood works. The funny thing about the attacks on Kyle, mainly from the left, ignores the fact that the same shitty policy that had us invade Iraq and not leave Afghanistan after Tora Bora is what we used in Libya and in the ME to this day. Are we saying that the military personnel there aren’t capable of heroism and are just hired killers?

    On a side note: Fuck you American Socialist, Fuck you Richman, and Fuck you Tony (don’t remember if he posted anything but my comment still stands?)

  131. Apparently Eastwood supported the wrong candidate in 2012. Hard to see through this one.

  132. …and it appears libs like Richman are much more comfortable with the accuracy of a Hellfire missile than a sniper’s bullet.

  133. The author is an evil, self hater. The Nazis wouldn’t allow self haters in the death camps; etc., (yes “Reason,” there really were death camps) because they didn’t believe there were Jews low enough to be like Sheldon Richman (even though Jews were regarded as lice; etc., by the Nazis). The Nazis were wrong. There are self haters and Nazi enthusiasts such as ex KKK leader, David Duke, refer to them.

    Saddam Hussein modeled himself directly after Stalin (whom Murray Rothbard called peaceful and unwar like in addition to having the perfect Libertarian foreign policy) and indirectly after Adolf Hitler, whom Libertarians believe was unfairly maligned over the death camps that they believe do not exist. And you guys say I’m crazy. Be careful, the man with the white coat and net is looking for you Libertarians.

    “There’s no need to fear. Underzog is here.”

  134. I think I will refer to my list of great Libertarian war heroes. Here it is:

  135. Well, this click bait worked out well. I’m sure someone in the middle of this mess pointed it out, but I’m going to repeat it anyway: If you are going to trash a story – either the movie or the book – at least have the decency to fact-check yourself before you go to print. Holy crap, did you get almost all of the particulars wrong.

    Most glaringly, the movie does not feature an Iraqi sniper defending his homeland. The enemy sniper in the movie is a Syrian Olympic shooter. From what I read, he is probably mostly fictional, as is his confrontation with the protagonist. Although there is a Mustafa in the book, but he is not confronted directly by Kyle.

    It is weird to take such a trollish stance about a film that skews mostly anti-war. Comparing the efforts to protect the weak by the fictionalized version of Kyle in the movie with killing children at an elementary school is just stupid. You might have a valid point to make about the overall war effort, but other than that you hit every note you aimed for wrong.

  136. Sheldon Richman :

    With all due respect, you are wrong.

    Now you can say the Iraq War was overall a mistake. You can say it was ineptly done (at least initially). But your Michael Moore description of what went on does you no credit.

  137. I wish to commend Irish on his well thought out and reasonable arguments. He won the thread easily.

  138. For what it’s worth, I believe Chris Kyle was an American hero, and I’m a libertarian.

    Chris did what he was suppose to do, help to protect the lives of his fellow service men by trying to prevent the enemy from killing them, For that he deserves our honor and respect.

    However, the Iraqi and afghani wars were unneccessary. Putting American and allie lives in danger fighting a war that was none of our buisness.

    If anything at all, we ought to have had a major issue with Saudi Arabia, the nation from which all of the 9/11 hijackers originated.

  139. Only a country as completely detached from the last 14 years of war, would a movie about the most prolific sniper in American history be shit all over b/c the biopic doesn’t perfectly configure with the left/libertarian’s ideological view of the war. I love it. I really do.

    I’m currently on my fifth deployment in Afghanistan. I served two deployments in Iraq – the first in 2006 in Baghdad training the Iraqi Police. During that deployment I lost a soldier to an Iraq sniper; in fact, it’s highly likely that “Mustafa”, the Iraq sniper depicted in Eastwood’s movie, was “Juba” the Al-Qaeda sniper team that killed my soldier.

    Why were some of these Iraqi’s savages? Three days after my soldier was killed AQ published a compilation video showing approximately 30 kill shots of American soldiers. The third one on the video was my troop.

    So, Sheldon, is ok if I call some of the Iraqis savages?

    Were the wars a mistake? No doubt. Were all the Iraqi insurgents “savages.” Absolutely not. However, I spent the summer of 2006 picking up the bodies of dead Iraqi girls, many of whom had had their heads drilled in with screwdrivers. Is it ok if we call them savages?

    If you disagree with Kyle’s depiction of the war, that’s fine. But the man sacrificed repeated deployments in Anbar to protect his fellow soldiers. Don’t shit all over him because he doesn’t hold your nuanced view of the people who were trying to kill him and his friends.

  140. It was nice of Reason to host an oped from the far Left, but if I want to read the deluded babbling of Democrats and other Leftists I can go to one of their web sites.

    (And for the record, there is no such thing as “Left Libertarian.” There are only Leftists who claim to be libertarian in order to con idiots.)

  141. This is why libertarians can’t have nice things (i.e. significant political victories). It’s one thing to question our government’s rationale and motivations for going into Iraq. It’s quite another to piss on a dead serviceman’s grave by comparing him to a Nazi (aren’t we all tired of the analogy by now?). You better believe that if by some miracle a serious libertarian candidate for President emerges the opposition will trot out articles like this to “prove” that libertarians are “soft” on national defense and ethically amoral. Nice going Sheldon. When will “libertarians” like him cease this quixotic attempt to gain the favor of the Left with stances like this ?

  142. Sheldon – did you take any time to look at the myriad UN resolutions that Iraq had violated? Do you consider attacks against US aircraft participating in UN operations as attacks against the US? Do you consider deploying hundreds of maritime mines before the US operation to be benign? Two US ships were struck. Do you REALLY think the US just woke up one morning and decided to invade Iraq. No other reason? Nothing? Ignorant partisans like you are exhausting and harmful. Find some other enemies other than your fellow citizens and government.

  143. So here’s the bottom line with this stupid article. I read it yesterday. I woke up this morning and thought about it. There may be some very valid points in this article, but I wouldn’t know, because all I could remember about it this morning was the writer can’t tell the difference between a military sniper and Adam Lanza. By making such a deeply unintelligent comparison, the writer cast a giant shadow across any valid points he may have made. There may have been some, but I don’t remember, and I’m not going back to read this trash to find out.

  144. How True

    “Islam is a religion of peace.” -Bush the Second

    “Make war on them until idolatry shall cease and God’s religion shall reign supreme.” – The Recital (The Koran), The Spoils 8:36

    “Wherever the Mohammedans have had complete sway, wherever the Christians have been unable to resist them by the sword, Christianity has ultimately disappeared.” -President Theodore Roosevelt

    Bush the First has turned 90. He has lived sufficiently long to witness the consequences of his ill-conceived, ill-executed policy toward Iraq in 1991.

    http://nationonfire.com/catego…..relations/

    2014: How ironic that Obama sent the USS Bush the First to the Gulf.

    Science says that behavior is a function of context and consequences. Evaluating the context in which the Conflict began in 1991 then measuring the consequences of engaging in that conflict can leave one asking the obvious question, “Who’s to blame?” Of course, the answer is as obvious as the question … We, the people.

    We elect these bozos. Then, we reap the bitter harvest of that which we have sown.

  145. Didn’t Richman just write an article on how libertarians need to be inclusive and basically stop being assholes?

    That article gave me just a little bit of respect for him. Then he writes this inflammatory garbage.

    This was an article I would have attributed to Michael Tomasky of the Daily Beast if I didn’t know better. What a fucking clown you are Richman.

  146. Typical communist lies from Libertarians and their alliance with communism and Islamism.

  147. Okay, the invasion of Iraq was misguided and wrong, maybe worse. I agree. But…

    U.S. war in Iraq with was not like the Nazis who committed murderous atrocities, including the attempted genocide of an entire ethnic, racial group. That is why they were hanged.

    Americans did not wantonly murder, rape and pillage, something our past & current enemies do routinely.

    If you, or a family member, or a friend were alive today because Chris Kyle took a shot and killed an Iraqi, you would consider him a hero. No doubt that your perception of Kyle’s heroism would change if your particular hide were on the firing line.

    Kyle did not send us to Iraq, did not start the war, was not a war criminal. We sent him there. If We don’t like it, then We should be very careful about whom we elect to office.

    The most despicable of comment is “Excuse me, but I have trouble seeing an essential difference between what Kyle did in Iraq and what Adam Lanza did at Sandy Hook Elementary School. It certainly was not heroism.”

    No words to respond to such an offensively loathsome statement. Comparing a man, who served honorably and risked his life , whether you, or he for that matter, agreed with the war, with a psychotic murderer is beyond belief.

    Sheldon Richman, while you are free to be and to say what you will, you are a complete and total jack ass.

    For my full response go to Sheldon Richman see

    http://libertyandyou.com/?p=283

  148. I’m way to old for military service in anyone’s army. That being said,if I were an ordinary infantryman,I would be most appreciative of anyone sort of “overseeing” my safety, be they a sniper with a rifle or an artillery spotter,calling in suppressive fire on the “bad guys”.

  149. If I did not know any better after reading this article I would swear I was reading a liberal rag!
    That is the problem with so many “Libertarians” they come off like border line liberal Democrats. Maybe that is why here in VA the Libertarian candidate for Governor received most of his funding from the Democrat Party!

  150. Soldier, not Killer… but I guess you also don’t get the profession.

  151. And it is precisely this kind of crap that gives Libertarians a bad name. For God’s sake, Reasom, can you ever give it a rest.

  152. I’m less safe and I was forced to pay for it. Thanks. Thanks a lot.

  153. apparently the phrase “Sheldon Richman” is not a synonym for “intellect” either, but does come up as one for “intellectual dilettante”

  154. Oh – I feel tears about to start. After all, did we not “invade” Germany? “France”? All of the (Recent) possessions of the Japanese? My relatives did not need to die to “liberate” Europe……..to argue otherwise is just capitalistic moralistic drivel. Correct Comrade Richman? Naturally we could have sent you over – when asked how they liked you, the Nazi’s replied –
    “Oh, Mr. Richman? He reminded us that some people would rather light lamps than curse the darkness!”
    “Ah – he enlighted you?”
    “Eh, you could say that – we used his skin to make a lampshade. Before you get angry, we Nazis would point out that any military retaliatory action would be immoral….”

  155. Does anyone else remember the years preceding the Iraq war? Does anyone remember Hans Blix? He was the united nations arms inspector. There were several teams of inspectors in Iraq going round and round with saddam over his nuclear and biological weapons programs. This dickhead writer (who clearly hates both Bush and Cheney)doesnt know his history but ignorantly spouts this nonsense about the U.S. being the aggressor. There were 37 countries involved in the Iraqi invasion. Does anyone remember the Coalition of the willing? The invasion had widespread support worldwide. You would think someone who makes his living as a writer would do some research before parroting this crap.

    The fact is we helped take out a murderous tyrant who refused to allow U.N. arms inspectors do their job even after years of warnings. Also, for those who say the wmd’s were never found you should know they were found in Syria.
    Yes folks Chris kyle was a true American hero no matter how you feel about war

    1. True dat, because Washington would never tolerate or support a murderous regime.

    2. Oh, I remember the years before very well because this old man never bought into that shit in the first place.

      Just because the young and bold and Military Industrial Media Complex did is no “proof” that it was patriotic, correct or moral. It was not.

      Let’s talk the facts….
      1. The war was a war of aggression and the idea that Saddam represented more of a threat to the USA than the Saudis or a multitude of other countries is bunk.

      2. All countries need psychopaths to perform certain jobs which are useful. It’s even detailed in books about psychos…..yes, they can be useful for certain stuff.

      3. The whole hero worship thing is BS and gets us in a lot of trouble.

      Kyle may have done his duty well. He also was not responsible for the political or total military situation. Period.

      He’s neither bad nor good, but a part of our violent world. If we had invaders here and they lionized the fellas that shot the most of us, I doubt we’d think they were heroes.

      To each his own. But we are missing a couple trillion dollars, has a less safe world and now have vast numbers of military suicides – besides the deaths of ours and others…that THAT is the result of this debacle. Again, not the fault of Chris, but nothing to celebrate either.

  156. Using your logic, I should feel free to kill anyone invading our country and be a hero in your eyes.

  157. Thanks Reason for publishing this polarizing counterpoint to the popular narrative, I reject it on the merits but it did make me think.

  158. Okay, let’s get a few things clear here:

    1.) Congress never officially declared war on Iraq which makes this war illegal. The Constitution and federal law specifically state that only Congress has the power to declare war, not the president. So our actions in Iraq were illegal.

    2.) There was no draft, so all the soldiers in Iraq were volunteers, volunteers that swallowed the propaganda line.

    3.) Saddam Hussein never invaded us, had no connection to 9/11 or Al Quaeda, and was not a direct threat to us.

    4.) The Nuremberg Trials have set the standard that “I was following orders” is no excuse for committing a war crime.

    5.) Chris Kyle was a soldier in a part of an occupying army that had no business being there in the first place.

    In conclusion, Chris Kyle is not a hero at all and in fact, he is guilty of war crimes.

    1. Well articulated. There is of course some truth in some of your facts, and some subjectivity as well. However, I think the overall problem with Richman’s article, and some of the points you make above, is that it engages in the same lazy, hackneyed, and incorrect moral equivalence that we’re more used to hearing from Noam Chomsky and Micheal Moore. Indeed, simply “following orders” is no excuse for war crimes, but if we are going to make moral and ethical comparisons across space and time motivations and intentions do matter. Saying that Mr. Kyle and the Nazi’s, or a deranged school shooter, are on the same moral plane is like making the same comparison between a drunk driver and an EMT because they both drive fast down the road and put other lives at risk.
      If Eastwood’s depiction of Mr. Kyle is at all accurate, then it’s hard to imagine the Whermacht displaying the same kind of moral consternation that Mr. Kyle and his fellow servicemen did in their comparatively restrained and judicious use of force. I don’t know of any record of the SS going to any effort to protect civilians from community thugs, or trying to repair the infrastructure that they had just destroyed in places like Poland or Russia in WWII.

    2. More to the point, Richman could have made all of the otherwise valid points (that you also make) about the war in Iraq without this tasteless ad hominem attack on a man that by the depiction in the movie was a thoroughly decent and honorable. Mr. Kyle did not make policy, or the decision to invade Iraq, and the way conducted himself and did his duty is indicative of how American military power has been used since WWII, and especially since the end of the Cold War. A use characterized by an amazing amount of focus, restraint, and humanity. In the context of war of course.

      1. No, but Kyle did make the decision to volunteer in the military even after the Saddam link to 9/11 was debunked and no weapons of mass destruction was found.

        ” and did his duty is indicative of how American military power has been used since WWII, and especially since the end of the Cold War. A use characterized by an amazing amount of focus, restraint, and humanity. In the context of war of course.”

        Engaging in regime change, trying to assassinate foreign leaders we don’t like, holding mock elections, and killing innocent people through economic sanctions is focus, restraint, and humanity. Not to mention all the drone strikes. By the way, you may not like this, but 9/11 was blow back for our foreign policy, not for our freedoms.

  159. Sheldon Richman I do not see you putting your life in harms way for this country, all I see you do is disrespect and trash the ones that did. To me ALL who serve in the US Military are hero’s everyone of them. They are my hero’s.

    1. Kyle didn’t put his life in harms way for this country either. As Richman pointed out, Iraq never attacked the US, was never a threat to the US. You have bought into the propaganda that our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were “to defend out freedom”. They were nothing of the sort. Afghanistan started out as revenge against Al-Quada for 9-11 – I’ was okay with that, not for staying. And why didn’t we attack Saudi Arabia for 9-11? That is where all the 9-11 terrorists were from.

      Anyway we were the invaders. The Iraqis fighting us were defending their country from foreign invaders – us. You can pretend otherwise, but I suggest you try and take the blinders off while re-reading Richman’s 9th paragraph.

  160. What is this doing on Reason.com? Note to self: Avoid “Future of Freedom Foundation” at all costs.

  161. I can agree that it’s a stretch to call Chris Kyle a hero, but you lost me after that. Comparing Chris Kyle to Adam Lanza is one of the more foolish things I’ve heard in a long time. Right or wrong, it was the government that decided to invade Iraq. At the very least Chris Kyle was excelling at the position he had chosen to take in the military. He sacrificed home comforts to serve the country. I can agree that doesn’t make him any more of a hero then some other common soldier, but to try and put the blame on him for him being there is just foolish.

    This was my first article from this author/website. Sadly, it is filled with so much recklessness that I doubt that I will be visiting the site anymore.

    There’s no story here. There’s not even really an opinion. There’s just thoughtless emotion.

    1. Was there a draft for this war? No. That means Chris Kyle made a choice to go there. Can’t blame the government for that.

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  163. Clear reason and logic that doesn’t dance around the subject of americans actually being the villains in this war. We went into another person’s country uninvited with guns then want to turn around and play victim. This war was unjustifiable, poorly executed, and downright criminal. Anyone who expresses this is labeled a bleeding heart liberal who is irrational. The most irrational people are those who use patriotism as an excuse to commit global crimes. This guy based off his actions, judgement, and motivations was in no shape or form an hero. Ironically he died at the hands of someone ‘patriots’ paint as a hero.

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