Iraq

Watching American Sniper in Baghdad

Iraqi audiences are flocking to watch the controversial film - and liking what they see.

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Early in American Sniper, the title character, Chris Kyle, stares through his crosshairs at a woman and child who may be preparing an attack on American troops. Even when the woman hands the boy an RPG, Kyle waits to pull the trigger. In one particular theater, with "the entire audience on the edge of their seats," patrons start screaming, encouraging Kyle to "Just shoot him!"

Where was this theater? Somewhere near a U.S. military base, maybe? Or perhaps in the heart of a red state? Actually, this packed theater, "full and rowdy," is in the Mansour Mall, in Baghdad.

As everybody knows, Clint Eastwood's film has been a box-office smash, praised for its directing and its performances, and attacked as a work of bloodthirsty, racist, militarist propaganda. One of the few things about the film that has received little attention is that it has been playing well in the Middle East, including in Iraq.

A piece at Global Post addresses audience reaction at one upscale Baghdad theater, though the article is dependent on a small handful of interviews. The story is credited to "Susannah George in Beirut and a journalist in Baghdad."

Obviously, not all Iraqis are pleased with American Sniper. One theater chain that had booked the movie decided not to show it all, according to an account on a movie trade site, "for fear of inciting protests and violence." Even the management of the Mansour Mall theater pulled the movie after a week, despite the crowds, because, an employee claimed, "the hero of this film boasts of killing more than 160 Muslims."

A displeased viewer agreed with the theater's decision. "To some extent, I considered it against all Muslims." The same man also complained about the scene in which Kyle shoots the woman and the boy, the same scene that had much of the audience cheering for Kyle to pull the trigger.

"The sniper, he has a chance to hit the child and his mother in their foot or anywhere without killing them, but he didn't because he's bloodthirsty like all the American troops." Even so, this same man watched the movie twice at the theater, and a third time on a pirated DVD, according to Global Post.

"I love watching war movies," said a satisfied customer, "because especially now they give me the strength to face ISIS." Asked if he found the movie to be racist or anti-Arab, he said, "No, why? The sniper was killing terrorists, the only thing that bothered me was when he said he didn't know anything about the Quran!"

American Sniper has also been playing to packed houses in Iraq's Kurdish region, right behind Taken 3, including in theaters owned by the same chain that that shied away from opening the film at all in Baghdad.

"The Kurds don't like the Baghdadis that much so they have no big problem seeing them getting shot by an American," said one film exec who operates theaters in Iraq. "So far, the film is working well for our screens in Kurdistan."

The film has also been drawing big crowds in Lebanon. Edited versions have opened in several Gulf states, with cuts to a scene involving the Quran. Jordanian censors originally rejected the film outright, though distributors plan to submit a re-edited version.

An Iraqi filmmaker named Mohamed Al-Daradji says "audiences respond emotionally to war movies because conflict plays such a big part in day to day Iraqi life," according to Global Post's paraphrase.

Daradji said he had not yet seen American Sniper, but he knew his goals both as a filmmaker and a citizen of his country. "There [are] no American films [about Iraq]—and I saw a lot of them—that have given justice to the Iraqi people and the events that happened in Iraq," he said. "That's why we Iraqi filmmakers have to make films about Iraqi people."

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  1. Well, this should give a lot of us something to do during the weekend.

  2. There is no difference between an Iraqi moviegoer and a mass murderer.

    1. Shut down the thread. Hugh won it.

    2. Stop encouraging Hugh. You know how he gets.

  3. Even so, this same man watched the movie twice at the theater, and a third time on a pirated DVD, according to Global Post.

    Every culture has its outrage junkies.

  4. “I love watching war movies,” said a satisfied customer, “because especially now they give me the strength to face ISIS.” Asked if he found the movie to be racist or anti-Arab, he said, “No, why? The sniper was killing terrorists, the only thing that bothered me was when he said he didn’t know anything about the Quran!”

    Haha, I like this fellow.

    1. I am reminded of something an Egyptian college-friend of mine mentioned =

      “The only people Arabs hate more than the Jews? Other Arabs”

      1. Having spent time in the Mid East, I can say this is totally accurate. When I was in Cairo, I had an Egyptian acquaintance with me constantly pointing out the “Gulfies” – the well-off businessmen from Saudi and Qatar and the Emirates and Kuwait who love to show off their wealth to the poor Arabs everywhere else.

      2. Its a fairly iron law – the more a separate group is like yours, the more you hate that group.

        1. But, but…Emos and Goths love each other.

          1. And they both love the vamps even more.

        2. fucking Canadians, Brits, Kiwis ad Aussies. I hate em! After the US they’re the most libertarianish societies on Earth, but I hat eem!!!!

          Seriously I’m not sure that’s true…

  5. “attacked as a work of bloodthirsty, racist, militarist propaganda”

    You’re Kidding? Where?!

    1. And another theadwinner.

      1. No, you only get one threadwinner. Next time maybe you’ll wait unstead of blowing it on the first funny remark.

        1. But we can all be winners!

        2. what about THREADKILLER?! The killer of threads?

  6. I watched it today. Really good, the bad reviews were all stupid, but The Hurt Locker still towers over it (and 99% of movies in general). I don’t know why HL is so much better, but it is. I got a lot more attached to its characters, although I have heard its portrayal of US military ops is totally off.

    Chris Kyle is a hero. His slaughter of evil people and assistance to good people made the world a better place.

    1. You mentioned you were going to see it the other day, so I was wondering what you thought of it. I really liked it, too. It is hard to watch in spots, but it does give you a lot to think about.

    2. You may find HL more entertaining because it was a far less plausible story.

      By far the MOST accurate dramatization of our wars was Generation Kill. That gave me flashbacks much more than any action movie. It had the boredom, stupidity, frustration, laughs, etc…

      1. LAUGHS!?!?

        According to some people in the other American Sniper thread, the fact that you periodically laughed while deployed means you enjoy killing innocents and bathing in the blood of Iraqi civilians.

        When you’re in the army, you should spend your entire enlistment in a state of constant misery and torment. That appears to be the logic of a certain set of anti-militarist libertarians.

        1. . . . you enjoy killing innocents and bathing in the blood of Iraqi civilians.

          Well, who doesn’t? I spent my time in the Navy – we had to get the Marines to send us back the blood to bathe in.

          I just feel sorry for the AF – sure, they had cappuccino machines and kiddie pools to lounge in, but you think the *Army’s* gonna share some blood with them?

          1. OTOH the flyboys sometimes get to bail out over territory they just bombed. That has to be a thrill.

        2. Some people are sheltered douches who have never had to deal with real fear or stress. Laughter is the healthy way to purge some of that shit. When I was in, I steered well clear of anyone devoid of humor – they seemed to brittle to me.

          1:45 – hardest I ever laughed at anything on TV.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Wqa4-V6qgU

        3. you enjoy killing innocents and bathing in the blood of Iraqi civilians.

          Is this so wrong?

          anti-militarist libertarians.

          Better term: peacenazi

        4. anti-militarist libertarians.

          IOW, libertarians.

      2. I thought HL was based on the main character’s diary entries?

      3. I’ve only watched the first few episodes of GK so far… does it get funny later on? Or are we actually supposed to be entertained by Ziggy 2.0?

        1. Maybe the stick up the ass SsgtMaj is too inside. Makes me laugh that he’s walking around a battlefield chewing people out for facial hair or losing a helmet in a firefight. Marines all know the type.

      4. Absolutely. Generation Kill is completely outstanding. And it’s hilarious.

    3. I heartily recommend “Letters from Iwo Jima”, which is one of my favorite Eastwood films. There just aren’t that many WW2 films told from the perspective of Asians made specifically for American audiences.

      In that film, the Japanese soldiers were portrayed as human beings. “Those Japs weren’t heroes, you dumbasses, they were hired by the government to kill people”, Sheldon Richman would say.

    4. I enjoyed the part where he punched out Ventura. Oh wait, never nevermind.

    5. The Hurt Locker still towers over it

      That movie sucked, so that lets me know what I need to know about this new one.

  7. “the hero of this film boasts of killing more than 160 Muslims.”

    Meh.

    /ISIS

  8. Even when the woman hands the boy an RPG, …

    Skyrim?

    1. I am still getting quality entertainment from Skyrim. I keep my 360 around just to play it.

      1. I am going to play it on a computer I think that’s where it’s at for RPGs.

    2. If you’re not playing Wizardry, you’re not playing a CRPG

  9. I went to American Sniper and it was as bad as Troll 2! (is the thread shut down yet?)

    1. so, is that better or worse than House 2?

      1. I don’t know. Troll 2 is so bad it doesn’t even have any trolls. Does House 2 at least have a house?

    2. “They’re shooting him, and next they’re going to shoot me! OHHHHH MMMMY GOOOOOOODDDDD!”

  10. patrons start screaming, encouraging Kyle to “Just shoot him!”

    So Bush *was* right – the Iraqi’s *did* welcome us as conquering heroes.

    1. The effect was delayed, but it happened! YAY WE WON

    2. Iraq is a diverse and weird place – I got to visit in ’91 and have no desire to return.

      My unit handled thousands of prisoners. Most were peasants who didn’t give a fuck about anything except going home. They looked like real beaten-down sad sacks.

      We also met some captured some Special Republican Guard – straight up Nazis with a bit of a medieval streak. Too cliche to be believable in a modern movie.

      Finally, we had a young guy walk up to us in a typical shitty Iraqi uniform and surrender flag and say in perfect English – “about fucking time you guys got here!” Apparently he was a college student in California who got conscripted while home for summer break. We let him out the pen and shot the shit with him for hours.

      1. Finally, we had a young guy walk up to us in a typical shitty Iraqi uniform and surrender flag and say in perfect English – “about fucking time you guys got here!” Apparently he was a college student in California who got conscripted while home for summer break. We let him out the pen and shot the shit with him for hours.

        That’s funny, in a horrifying sort of way. What a shitty situation to get caught up in.

        1. “That’s funny, in a horrifying sort of way. “

          You should look up the story of the Korean Nazis captured on D-Day.

          Oh, shit = they made a movie about one of them

          I think i first read about them in a Stephen Ambrose book.

          1. Didn’t Stephen Ambrose get caught making a bunch of shit up?

            1. Not technically “making shit up”.

              He plagiarized material for his book about the….uh, army air corps? “Wild Blue” At the time he was churning out books like a machine.

              most of the best-seller books he wrote were compilations of the oral-history stories he picked up from the archives @ U. New Orleans? Or curating the Eisenhower library, or something like that. Not ‘cut & paste’ jobs, but close to it. He eventually mixed his sources. his books helped create the entire genre of “pop WWII history”. Most of the earlier ones are really good, however. Citizen Soldier, D-Day, Band Of Brothers, his Nixon biography…. are all excellent books. Not John Keegan-level type stuff, but extremely readable and detailed.

  11. ‘”The sniper, he has a chance to hit the child and his mother in their foot or anywhere without killing them, but he didn’t because he’s bloodthirsty like all the American troops.” Even so, this same man watched the movie twice at the theater, and a third time on a pirated DVD, according to Global Post.’

    Wow. This Iraqi has some really tremendous insight into warfare. Apparently a sniper can magically make their bullet hit you in the foot and it’s also possible to shoot someone in the leg with a .50 caliber sniper rifle without killing them.

    Shoot its motherfucking foot.

    1. Seriously.

      “You want me to shoot her in the foot? Fine!”

      BANG!

      “YOU BLEW OFF HER WHOLE LEG!”

      “Hey, you’re the idiot that doesn’t understand ammunition calibers.”

    2. Snipers don’t *normally* use .50 BMG as most of those guns are in the 30lb+ range.

      1. Not that the idea that a sniper has enough skill to reliably hit a foot – even if the foot isn’t moving.

      2. A .308 is no joke, and they also have sniper rifles in .300 Win Magnum, which will carry as far as the .50, with better accuracy.

        1. What about a .338 Lapua Mag?

          1. Also a very good round, but the Army decided not to go with that. Not sure about USMC.

        2. He mainly used 7.62 and sometimes .300 winmag In the book. Not sure about the movje because I haven’t seen it yet but he always went along on a lot of house to bouse raids typically with a 5.56. One of the interesting things about the book was even without street names I could find some of the buildings he was shooting from on google maps bases on his descriptions of landmarks. First time I think I had followed a book I waz reading that way.

    3. 1. Big no-no for snipers to shoot anywhere except center mass unless they have an obstructed shot.

      2. If you shoot somebody carrying a live grenade in the leg, s/he will live in pain until the grenade explodes. Just risking the chance that he’ll still be able to throw it at the Marines.

      1. Big no-no for snipers to shoot anywhere except center mass unless they have an obstructed shot.

        When you consider the purpose of having a sniper in the first place, shooting to wound doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

        Presumably snipers aren’t just randomly shooting people because they have poor sartorial taste.

        1. “Presumably snipers aren’t just randomly shooting people because they have poor sartorial taste.”

          I dunno, does GILMORE have a rifle?

          *ducks thrown rotten vegetables*

          1. What? And leave their poorly-attired corpse out in the street? For everyone to see it??

            Pshaw! The discriminating critic follows them home and *burns their house down*

      2. That’s what Kyle said he always did. Center mass. Yeah, when you consider cross winds that can’t be accuratly measured you’re ot going to shoot someone in the foot at long range.

    4. Lon Horiuchi, call your office.

    5. I thought he should of shot the woman as soon as he saw that she had the grenade, then with luck the kid would have just run off in fear (he was clearly doing this under some measure of coercion).

      Instead, for some reason, Kyle waits for the woman to give the kid the grenade, then shoots the kid, then when the woman picks up the grenade, has to shoot her to.

      I guess chivalry can kill.

  12. You know, ranged weapons are probably one of the most important things that made humans the dominant species on earth. I mean, a lion or a bear can kill you, but not from 100 yards away without you even seeing them first.

    1. Oh, but they’re learning, they’re learning.

      http://gizmodo.com/were-in-a-t…..harliejane

    2. We didn’t need much in the way of ranged weapons to establish dominance over animals. Early on we were hunting animals to extinction with a limited weapon set.

      What ranged weapons have primarily brought is a better ability for humans to kill other humans. Let’s not fool ourselves there. But like any ability it can be used for good or bad in this world.

      1. We were doing quite well at killing other humans before.

        Really, you could say that until that advent of rapid repeating weapons there was even a drop in lethality as before, once combat was engaged, you were in the thick of things and had to keep hacking about – when guns came around you fired, missed, and reloaded (rather than charged the guy who was often a relatively short distance away) amongst your mates.

        1. But distance matters doesn’t it? If you have ten guys charging you, you could pick them all off before they even get to you with a good weapon over distance. Hacking them all up close and personal would take considerably more effort.

          1. Except that the ranged weapons meant that no one was charging anymore. Obviously the *first* guys with effective ranged weapons had an advantage – until everyone else had them.

            As a matter of fact – in the firearms age most of the famous charges are famous for getting the chargers massacred, but they’re famous because they’re so rare.

            1. No one was charging?

              US Civil War? WWI?

              1. Was gonna say, the Poles tried a cavalry charge in WW2. But I guess they’re just slow.

                Btw, anyone seen “To Kill the Irishman?” What do you do when a Pollock throws a grenade at you?

                1. Pull the pin and throw it back.

    3. The evolution of throwing rocks.

  13. “The sniper, he has a chance to hit the child and his mother in their foot or anywhere without killing them, but he didn’t because he’s bloodthirsty like all the American troops.”

    When did Sheldon Richman visit Iraq?

    1. Richman made some awful mistakes in that article, but his triggering of the right leaning posters’ automatic pro military and patriotic spasm reflexes was worth it IMO

      1. FYI, the “awful mistakes” part is sort of canceled out by the “worth it” part. Also, judging from the reactions in those comments, it puts you in company with the likes of PB and american socialist.

        1. I’m betting you’re conflating a bit there.

      2. He compared Kyle to Adam Lanza of the Sandy Hook massacre. Do you agree with this? Because this was the gist of his article.

        1. The article was awful, it’s the reflexively pro military and patriotic responses by some I felt worth it.

          1. My favorite part was when that article got linked on a bunch of right leaning sites (it was mentioned on Twitchy, for example) and all of the sudden hardcore AMURICA! fetishists showed up.

            There was also that great appearance put in by Underzog where he claimed that all libertarians are Holocaust deniers. That thread went some directions I could never have suspected.

            1. I only caught some of it (classes are back in session), but it seemed wonderful. I basically agreed with you that those that reflexively condemn or praise the film and Kyle are goofy, but that Richman’s article was incredibly over the top (what with both Lanza and Godwinning).

              1. Here’s Richman’s chief mistake, other than the absurd, laughable hyperbole of it.

                He sees the War on Iraq as Wrong. OK, most of us I think agree with that. But he then goes on to essentially say, well, since the war was Wrong that means it’s in with all the other Wrong wars and therefore is essentially equated to them.

                That’s silly. What most libertarians mean when they say the Iraq War was ‘wrong’ is not that we were the bad guys, but that the war was stupid. It did not serve our interests, it did more harm than good, it wasn’t worth it.

                Even if you buy his idea that it was a ‘War of Aggression’ (which it kind of was) it was a war of aggression against a horrible, horrible regime.

                So equating Kyle with Nazis…I mean, wow.

                1. He sees the War on Iraq as Wrong. OK, most of us I think agree with that. But he then goes on to essentially say, well, since the war was Wrong that means it’s in with all the other Wrong wars and therefore is essentially equated to them.

                  Not only that, but he assumes that because the war is wrong everyone who fought in it must be evil. He comes to this conclusion by claiming that the people they killed were Iraqis defending their property. The problem is that a huge portion of the insurgency was comprised of foreign fighters and members of the Baath party.

                  The people Kyle would have been killing therefore weren’t innocent Iraqis nobly standing against the invader, they were Syrian and Yemeni terrorists drawn into a power vacuum. Now that power vacuum wouldn’t have existed if we didn’t go in there, but that’s Bush and Rumsfeld’s fault, not Chris Kyle’s.

                  1. I mostly agree, but I’m betting at least some of the ‘insurgents’ were Iraqis that were, well, ‘disaffected’ by the events surrounding us coming in and breaking the place based on an incredibly arrogant and chauvinistic set of premises.

                    Of course, that can all be so and we’re still light years from Kyle=Nazi Lanza.

                  2. Honestly, hyperbole is a temptation for us all. As a fan of open borders, I don’t buy into any nativist sentiments.
                    To put it another way, if I were a libertarian freedom fighter in a country other than the one in which I hold citizenship, I would still consider myself a libertarian freedom fighter.

                2. I read it differently. We? There is no ‘we’. Our self-appointed (democratically elected) leaders engage ‘us’ in a war that serves no one anywhere anything positive. It’s entirely based on the hubris of smart top men who think up the latest American imperialist hegemony for the region.
                  I agree Hitler and Lanza were poor choices, though admittedly more sympathetic to Richman’s thesis, I can see more nuance in those choices. Clearly, he could have coined a term like ‘kissingerheit’ or ‘bushivism’ to better convey his points, but as for now, I’ll generally side with noninterventionism as a matter of personal policy.

            2. I’ll have to reread the thread, that’s hilarious.

              Regarding the article, I am far from reflexively pro-military or a ‘Murica fuck yeah! type and I don’t really think Kyle is a hero, but that article was honestly the worst thing I’ve ever read on Reason and if I were editor would be grounds for termination. Not even mostly because of how outrageous the comparisons to Nazis and Adam Lanza were, but because if you can’t make the case that Kyle wasn’t a hero without referencing Nazis or Lanza, then you a terrible writer.

              1. I don’t know. Sure, crazy hyperbole, but you can see the logic behind Richman’s article. He’s a strict, strict NAP deontologist, applying it even to foreign affairs. We instigated the aggression, they had a right to resist, our troops that followed orders were complicit in aggression.

                I don’t agree as I’ve explained, but it’s no worse than some of the conservative leaning ‘deontology’ I’ve seen thrown around here.

                1. “Sure, crazy hyperbole, but you can see the logic behind Richman’s article.”

                  Sure, but that doesn’t mean I can’t call that logic absurd.

                  “He’s a strict, strict NAP deontologist, applying it even to foreign affairs. We instigated the aggression, they had a right to resist, our troops that followed orders were complicit in aggression.”

                  You yourself and Irish have already explained the problems with equivocating this with the Nazis.

                  “I don’t agree as I’ve explained, but it’s no worse than some of the conservative leaning ‘deontology’ I’ve seen thrown around here.”

                  It would depend on what exactly you’re referring to. I have seen a lot of bad deontology of that nature here, and I have argued quite a bit with some of the more right-leaning members here, but aside from blatant trolls like American, Sam Haysom, or Underzog, I’m having trouble thinking of any such example that was as bad as US soldiers = Nazis and Adam Lanza.

                  Furthermore, back to the point I was originally making, even if you bought Richman’s argument, he could have made the argument that Kyle was not a hero in a way that would have convinced a lot more people and been much less criticized by those that disagreed with it. That’s what I mean by bad writing.

                  1. I think it’s best explained by this: a lot of left-libertarians are so because they really identify with the non-violence aspect of the NAP. They’re basically pacifists. And they would see the film and Kyle’s story as a glorification of aggression and violence.

                    Their problem is actually very similar to many right leaning folks here, it’s one of having no sense of scale within that. Earlier today John said essentially that it was hard to imagine a President that would harm this country more than Obama has. I’m no fan of Obama, but what? Things are bad, but we’re not exactly fighting a horrendous Civil War right now, among other low points in our history.

                    Richman is like that, but on the left.

                    1. To be fair to John, he might have meant among people who could realistically attain the presidency. Still not necessarily true, but not nearly as unreasonable. Taken literally, it is pretty ridiculous, I agree.

                    2. NAP is not pacifist. It says that I won’t punch first.

                    3. I think it’s best explained by this: a lot of left-libertarians are so because they really identify with the non-violence aspect of the NAP. They’re basically pacifists.

                      The NAP doesn’t preclude violence. It precludes initiating it.

                    4. The NAP doesn’t preclude violence. It precludes initiating it.

                      Now think about why Richman says the US are the aggressors and why he says the insurgents’ actions are at least understandable.

                  2. he could have made the argument that Kyle was not a hero in a way that would have convinced a lot more people and been much less criticized by those that disagreed with it. That’s what I mean by bad writing.

                    It’s not like Sheldon’s previous article wasn’t about how it’s bad that libertarians are more interested in patting themselves on the back rather than convincing people…oh wait!

                    I also liked the part where he said he wasn’t going to review the book or film American Sniper. So rather than trying to actually explain why Kyle is no hero we get comparisons to Nazis and Adam Lanza.

                  3. If you re-read the article, it’s Bush/Cheney who are regulated to the Nazi-level but still then, not full-Godwin. No equation with genocide.
                    I think his central argument is that no one gets to be a hero in an unjust war. I think that’s a fair point. The Lanza part was saying that success in your art, in this case, killing, is not a display of heroics. That’s a fair point as well.
                    That Richman chose incendiary examples when he could have chosen non-incendiary ones is indisputable. The largesse of postings attributes that.

                    1. Nazis were executed at Nuremberg for waging wars of aggression. With this perspective, we can ask if Kyle was a hero.

                      No, he is explicitly comparing him to a Nazi.

                      The Lanza part was saying that success in your art, in this case, killing, is not a display of heroics. That’s a fair point as well.

                      No, it’s still pretty stupid. Like saying that any politician who passes his passed his agenda.

                      That Richman chose incendiary examples when he could have chosen non-incendiary ones is indisputable.

                      So Richman is a hypocrite, that is indisputable.

                2. “We instigated the aggression”

                  Not to pick nits with the resident monkey,

                  but technically iraq and the US remained in an ongoing state of conflict since the first Gulf War in 1992

                  We were still maintaining armed overflight of the kurdish territories (“Northern Watch“) in the late 1990s, and the Iraqis would regularly shoot at our aircraft, eventually prompting a minor flare-up in 1998 (“Desert Fox“); Iraq during the period vacillated between occasional compliance with UN resolutions and outright defiance.

                  None of which is an endorsement of an invasion; simply pointing out that people often seem to pretend that the Iraq War emerged ex nihilo, and was entirely the invention of George Bush and his cabal of Oil Industry Republican-Vampire-Child-Rapists. Saddam had a decade or so to re-appraise his relations with the West and didn’t rank ‘world peace’ particularly high on his own agenda

                  or, as my mom used to say, ‘it takes two to tango’

                  1. What ridiculous neo-con technicality tripe.

                    1. I mean, you whine and moan because I call you a crypto-neocon, then you pull out these talking points straight from the Project for the New American Century.

                      Next you’ll start saying ‘well, Saddam was in violation of all these UN resolutions!!!!!’

                    2. You must have missed this part:

                      None of which is an endorsement of an invasion; simply pointing out that people often seem to pretend that the Iraq War emerged ex nihilo, and was entirely the invention of George Bush and his cabal of Oil Industry Republican-Vampire-Child-Rapists. Saddam had a decade or so to re-appraise his relations with the West and didn’t rank ‘world peace’ particularly high on his own agenda

                      Gilmore is not a neo-con, he’s explicitly said he’s more of a Realist. He doesn’t pretend to be as anti-intervention as most people are around here, but his arguments aren’t in any way neo-conservative unless your definition of neo-con is ‘anything that isn’t non-interventionist.’

                    3. Or, given the almost entire discredit neocons have fallen into, he’s doing what they are doing and just concern trolling.

                      ‘This isn’t to defend the invasion (which everyone now hates, dagnabbit!), but really, there was a real basis for this foriegn adventurism. Really and truly!’

                    4. “unless your definition of neo-con is ‘anything that isn’t non-interventionist.'”

                      (finger touches nose)

                    5. ” then you pull out these talking points “

                      Technically those are referred to as “facts”

                    6. Facts applied with the literalism of a fundamentalist.

                    7. I mean, that’s exactly what a ‘technicality’ is: something that is ‘technically’ a fact but upon which reliance shows someone to be something of a literalistic nut.

                    8. Facts applied with the literalism of a fundamentalist.

                      Facts applied with literalism? What does that even mean? How else would you apply facts other than as immutable, fixed points?

                      It’s like just when I’m ready to give you the benefit of the doubt you justify everything your detractors say about you.

                    9. It’s not tripe. He’s absolutely right, and it is an important part of the argument.

                      I’m always hearing that the Iraq War was ‘illegal’ but it actually wasn’t illegal because it could be justified on legal grounds by Iraq breaking the terms they’d agreed to in the 90’s.

                    10. That’s tripe. Big, heaping servings of it. It’s based on the kind of technicalities that would make a New Testament Pharisee blush.

                      Bush and his neocons used 9/11 as their justification for an insane plan to ‘remake the Middle East,’ and, of course, finish Daddy’s job.

                    11. “That’s tripe. Big, heaping servings of it.”

                      if you say so. They were mostly just links to wikipedia

                      the triggering of your your one-dimensional, low-information anti-military, moral-narcissist spasm-reflexes was worth it IMO

                    12. It’s not the links that were tripe, it was the argument you constructed from them.

                      But I like the ‘anti-military’ jibe, shows your orientation.

                    13. ” I like the ‘anti-military’ jibe, shows your orientation.”

                      Cis-hetero, sorry

                    14. “Bo Cara Esq.|1.30.15 @ 8:25PM|#

                      It’s not the links that were tripe, it was the argument you constructed from them.”

                      Which was what?

                      “…technically iraq and the US remained in an ongoing state of conflict since the first Gulf War in 1992”

                      True

                      “…We were still maintaining armed overflight of the kurdish territories (“Northern Watch”) in the late 1990s, and the Iraqis would regularly shoot at our aircraft, eventually prompting a minor flare-up in 1998 (“Desert Fox”)”

                      True

                      “…Iraq during the period vacillated between occasional compliance with UN resolutions and outright defiance.”

                      True

                      “…people often seem to pretend that the Iraq War emerged ex nihilo, and was entirely the invention of George Bush and his cabal of Oil Industry Republican-Vampire-Child-Rapists. Saddam had a decade or so to re-appraise his relations with the West and didn’t rank ‘world peace’ particularly high on his own agenda”

                      I’m still missing what exactly i said that inspires your sanctimonious-schtick

                    15. Your argument is clear: it takes two to tango.

                      As if Iraqis occasionally firing on our planes as they patrolled what was their country is somehow equivalent to our invasion of their country.

                    16. THREAD WINNER!

                    17. Irish and Gilmore,

                      I agree that those points aren’t minor, but I still don’t think it changes the fact that the US was the aggressor in the 2003 Iraq War. You can argue such aggression was justified (I don’t think it was, obviously) but I don’t think you can reasonably twist it so that the US was not the aggressor.

                    18. Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s equivalent to the Nazis invading Poland and conducting the Holocaust.

                    19. I absolutely agree that the US was the aggressor. My point is just that the argument that the Iraq War was ‘illegal’ doesn’t hold water.

                      In fact, the Iraq War being completely legal and still being wrong is a good argument to make. The problem with people saying ‘BUT IT’S ILLEGAL!’ is that they’re behaving as if international law is an arbiter of morality. It’s not, and if people want to argue against the Iraq War they should do so on rational grounds rather than appealing to the authority of UN bureaucrats.

                    20. This argument started by Bo talking about aggression, not legality. And rereading the thread, it seems like he was referring to insurgents (who often hated Sadaam themselves) more than Sadaam’s army, so the relevance of the legality of invading Sadaam’s Iraq seems even less relevant.

                    21. Yup.

                    22. I also question the entire point of whining about international law when there is no international enforcement mechanism since nobody has a monopoly on the use of force.

                      A legal system requires someone who has a monopoly on the use of force and is able to use that force to bring people who break the law into line. Internationally, no one has that power. As a result, the entire concept of international law is a ridiculous farce based on utopian fantasies with no bearing in reality.

                      That’s also why I laughed at Obama’s big climate change treaty with the Chinese. Who’s going to enforce that if one or both sides just ignore it? Pretty much every country that signed the Kyoto Protocols failed to meet their emissions goals, and what punishment did they get? Nothing, because there’s no one to effectively punish people who don’t abide by the terms of treaties.

                      International law does not exist. It’s a fiction people tell themselves so they can pretend international relations are fare more orderly and less chaotic than they actually are.

                    23. “I also question the entire point of whining about international law”

                      Who has been doing that? Isn’t it you? I haven’t.

                    24. “I don’t think you can reasonably twist it so that the US was not the aggressor.”

                      I wasnt even remotely trying to do so.

                      I was simply putting the fact out there that the reason the Neo-cons saw an opportunity to “remake the middle east” was because Iraq had remained an open-sore for over a decade, and whether or not Bush invaded, it was still “problem #1” on his agenda *for good reason* before 9/11 even happened.

                      if you go back to articles here in 2004 you’ll find me ranting about what a stupid fucking idea the Iraq invasion was. I was at anti-iraq protests at the UN while Bo was probably still in junior high

                      forgive me for bothering to offer ‘context’

                    25. “it was still “problem #1″ on his agenda *for good reason*”

                      Of course, it was a laughable reason.

                    26. Im sure middle-eastern regional security issues were a big topic of discussion in 7th grade study-hall

                    27. I love this ‘I’m older, therefore wiser’ argument.

                    28. “Bo Cara Esq.|1.30.15 @ 8:53PM|#

                      I love this ‘I’m older, therefore wiser’ argument.”

                      No, its “i’m older and also wiser”

                      and i also spent a decade before the Iraq invasion actually reading about foreign affairs, and my girlfriend at the time worked at the UN, and I have a lot of friends and family who served overseas in both the Gulf and in Iraq.

                      but whatever; “old man is old” qualifies as above-average wit for you.

                    29. “and i also spent a decade before the Iraq invasion actually reading about foreign affairs, and my girlfriend at the time worked at the UN, and I have a lot of friends and family who served overseas in both the Gulf and in Iraq.”

                      lol, this is sad!

                      I read some books, and I dated a girl who worked at the Un, and I know people who served!

                    30. Gilmore,

                      I don’t disagree that a full discussion of the Iraq War would need those sort of details. I’m just saying that given that Bo was not even agreeing with Richman’s argument (which he was summarizing) and that you aren’t even really disputing the part you took exception to, I don’t think it was all that necessary or relevant in this instance.

                    31. And for the record, I don’t think you bringing those things up makes you a neocon.

                    32. ” I don’t think you bringing those things up makes you a neocon.”

                      Lol

                      thanks but i don’t need a pat on the head just because Bo hasn’t even figured out what his favorite derogatory term actually means

                    33. I didn’t mean it as a pat on the head, I just wanted to clarify that I was not fully agreeing with Bo’s response to your argument.

                    34. roger that

                    35. I wouldn’t think that either. it’s Gilmore’s consistent rejection of traditional non-interventionism that’s largely the basis of that. This talking point is just additional.

                    36. “Gilmore’s consistent rejection of traditional non-interventionism”

                      If you pay attention, you might notice that i don’t actually have to bitchslap other people’s ‘non-intervention’ around quite so much, because they aren’t *idiots*

                      Its just you, bo. Not “non-interventionism”

                    37. No, you can be counted on for apologia for interventionists.

                    38. “”interventionists“”

                      IOW,

                      ‘everything except your extremely narrow left-libertarian foreign-policy non-theory which has zero historical basis or practical application in modern international economic/security relations’

                      covers a lot of ground, that.

                    39. Bo, not being a non-interventionist does not make you a neocon. I consider myself a non-interventionist for the most part, and have had plenty of arguments with Cytotoxic, John, and even Gilmore himself in the past, but I can acknowledge that disagreeing with me doesn’t mean one is necessarily a neocon.

                    40. I think Bo needs to define the word ‘interventionist’ as he means it.

                      Fact is, the only true 100% non-interventionists are pure pacifists. And frankly, pacifism is just insipid. So even a reasonable non-interventionist (who is honest) will admit there are plausible circumstances in which intervention is justified. Similarly, interventionists even of the most aggressive kind are still highly selective about when and where they intervene (hence why Charles Krauthammer isn’t demanding we invade China to liberate Tibet).

                      So clearly, this is not a question of whether or not, but of how much, and handwringing over what label you put on yourself or others themselves is meaningless. Unless one really is an all-out pacifist.

                    41. … You can argue such aggression was justified…

                      Actually, I think the argument is that the aggression was legal.

                      Legal != Justified

                  2. Some of us rejected the rationale of the first Gulf War.

                    1. Something about the US having “No opinion” on the Iraqi dispute with Kuwait.

                    2. ITT, Full Botard. “He doesn’t kneel before dogmatic non-interventionism? HERETIC! NEOCON! BURN THE WITCH!”

                      1) America was not the aggressor in either Iraq war. The Iraqi government was a vicious dictatorship and therefore had no rights. America has every right to annex, invade, and change the regimes of states as long as they are freer afterward. The more sophisticated understanding of the NAP is one of the advantages held by Objectivists.

                      2) The time to oppose the Iraq War was in 1991 (although it should be noted that Sadaam funded anti-American terrorists even before GW1 ex Abu Nidal Organization). There was no alternative to getting rid of Sadaam in 2003. Anyone saying otherwise is engaged in fantasy and is willfully ignorant of the untenable situation at that time. Collapsing sanctions, low-intensity forever war with Iraq, Iran not being contained at all. No good.

                      3) The initial invasion and liberation of Iraq was a huge success. The creation of the Kurdistan entity made it worth it on its own. Then Bush took an easy victory and turned it into a costly, extremely bungled nation-building effort that still ended in victory over AQI and affiliates, albeit at a ridiculous expense.

                      In conclusion, everyone is wrong and I am right.

                    3. (1) There was no war in either case until the US got involved. And if we hadn’t been propping up his regime in the 1980s there wouldn’t have been a Saddam to deal with. Your view of the NAP is like a “vegetarian” that eats chicken, pork, beef, and lamb.

                      (2) Iraq had been listed as a state sponsor of terrorism in the 1980s until the US wanted to transfer dual use technologies to help keep the Iranians from winning the war. So the White House took them off the list. And Rumsfeld got to play Santa. I believe this was after we knew he gassed the Kurds. We went back in 2003 because Saddam started selling oil in Euros. His air force wasn’t going to start bombing the east coast. His navy wasn’t about to threaten the pacific shipping lanes. It is a shame everyone with a boner to deal with him back then didn’t go under their own banner and on their own dime.

                      (3) We created a power vacuum. And bad guys filled it. Shocker. But we did blow a lot of my money and make more people pissed at the country where I live than were that way before. And we killed a lot of people. Some of them on their soil.

                      Feel free to wage war with China, North Korea, Russia, and Iran. Just don’t expect me to pay for it and please do so as a different tribe.

                    4. 1) That’s a lie. In 1991, Iraq had already invaded Kuwait. In 2003, Iraqis were firing in American planes all the time.

                      2) We went back in 2003 because Saddam started selling oil in Euros.

                      BAHAHAHAHAHAHAH *gasp* BAHAHAHAHAHA

                      It’s incredible that there are people dumb enough to believe this.

                      His air force wasn’t going to start bombing the east coast. His navy wasn’t about to threaten the pacific shipping lanes.

                      This is a strawman. A non-contained Sadaam posed a different kind of threat.

                      At Salman Pak, a facility south of Baghdad, “videos and other materials turned up after the invasion that showed terrorist training footage, where the targets were clearly Americans, along with other Jihadist propaganda,” Divine, who also operates NavySEALs.com, told me last week

                      http://www.defenddemocracy.org…..onnection/

                      3) There were already ‘bad guys’ filling the power vacuum as the above link indicates. As Syria demonstrates, strong men can engender instability as easily as anything else. Sometimes, the fate of a nation is inevitable. The emotions of the Iraqis are irrelevant; they can be as pissed off as they like.

                      The USG is obligated to wage war if it is the best way to defend American individual rights. This does not appear to be the case with China, North Korea, Russia, and Iran. It likely was with Saddam.

                    5. (1) Kuwait wasn’t being invaded. It had been invaded. And last time I checked, it wasn’t part of the United States. Should we attack Russia for going into Crimea? Or attack China for “annexing” Tibet? Think about this: Iraqis were firing at US airplanes that were flying over Iraq.

                      (2) Amazing that most of the Eurozone allies that assisted in Afghanistan completely or near completely sat out the invasion of Iraq. Why was that? And what would happen if the dollar stopped being the oil reserve currency? It is incredible that double digit IQ people continue to ignore this.

                      Not strawmen – I was pointing out that Iraq was not a threat to the United States. Which it wasn’t.

                      I indicated that they were a state sponsor of terror. So was the Republic of Ireland. And just about every other ME country. Should go get them too? And I can probably find such material on YouTube.

                      (3) I lost individual rights because of the military adventurism in the ME. And money. And more people want to do harm to my country than before the invasion.

                    6. 1) The US can and should use force if necessary to protect strategic interests even if those interests aren’t directly owned or populated by Americans (jus bellum). Also, US planes flew over Iraq in an agreed upon (with Iraq signing on) no fly zone. This was part of the cease fire agreement to which the US abided and Iraq did not.

                      2) So there wasn’t enough consensus? And you’re still arguing we went to war to prevent something that wasn’t going to and did not happen?

                      (In case the above wasn’t clear, the number of people/countries/entities/etc who agree with you is wholly irrelevant as is magical hypotheticals which didn’t and don’t exist in reality.)

                      3) Speaking of irrelevance… Not in the same way as the above, but irrelevant due to meaninglessness.

                      Since you’ll likely disagree that point 3 contains zero rational or useful thought, feel free to elaborate. Specifically:

                      Name one single right Americans lost directly due to any ME war and exactly how that given conflict directly impacted said right(s)?

                    7. When you say that we invaded Iraq because we were upset that oil was being sold for Euros, do you mean that we had discovered that Iraq was abusing the shit out of the “Oil for Food” program, including using it to obtain kickbacks used for things like funding terrorist attacks and obtaining weapons in violation of sanctions, and that Iraq’s chief accomplices in this were Russia, France, and China?

                      If that’s what you mean, then yes, I agree, and I think it’s shameful that some people want to rewrite that particular chapter of history simply for that anti-American chic the hipsters love so much.

                    8. Standard of care

                      Your manifest destiny foreign policy is equivalent of the general welfare clause being used to justify the ACA.

                      You need to fund your military adventurism via deficit spending (China thanks you for borrowing $T from them) and the federal reserve system. Borrow and print. Now that is magic!

                      I don’t give a rat’s ass about Saddam violating a UN contract (oil for food) – it was coercive when it was set up.

                      I like Dick Cheney’s take on it:
                      https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=6BEsZMvrq-I

                      Use of military force should always be authorized by congress (without fabricating evidence to justify it).

                      The US had a history of not taking care of veterans to the level that is needed. I don’t think I will see the day when my contributions to Wounded Warriors will no longer be needed.

                      As before, feel free to pay your own way and for your own gear and do so under your own banner.

            3. I got out early. Derp attracts derp of the opposite polarity (Coulomb’s Law).

      3. Mistakes were made.

    2. “he’s bloodthirsty like all the American troops”

      Hell, I was always running out of blood to slake my thirst – durn PX always was out too.

      In the words of Epi “collectivize much?”

      1. Oh the fun that Iraqi man will having in explaining the methods of “non-fatal sniping” to these guys when they shall inevitably roll into his village.

  14. American Sniper Thread Part 2: Electric Boogaloo.

    You know what, let’s talk about another Eastwood movie. Anyone remember Letters from Iwo Jima? One thing I really like in that movie is that it shows Allied war atrocities, which is something you don’t really get to see in WW2 movies (unless it’s on the Eastern Front).

    1. I think Eastwood is a very good filmmaker.

    2. Letters From Iwo Jima is my favorite Eastwood movie. The scenes back in Japan are great too, where they show how much of a police state wartime Japan was.

      1. Agreed, good point there about the depiction of wartime Japan.

        I liked how it illustrated how silly warrior fanaticism and extreme honor codes can be from a tactical angle: some of the troops could have been useful if they retreated and such, but they were so fearful of the dishonor of being taken prisoner they killed themselves instead.

      2. I think Eastwood missed out on making a biopic about Yamamoto. That has to be one of the most interesting lives ever lived in the turmoil of state, position therein and war.

      3. Letters from Iwo Jima bored me.

        Favorite Eastwood files:
        Unforgiven, Mystic River, Gran Torino, perhaps also The Outlaw Josey Wales.

        1. Never saw Letters or Mystic River. The other 3 are favs. The westerns are some if mt all time favs period.

    3. Letters From Iwo Jima is fantastic; together with Flags of Our Fathers one of the best war films ever made. Managed to make its point without feeling heavy-handed or preachy, which is rare in that type of movie.

      1. Agreed.

    4. Gran Torino. Much better than anyone has so far noticed, really.

      It’s also Eastwood’s only comedy thus far. Or semi-comedy. I thought it was hilarious.

      It’s got Clint Eastwood with a shotgun telling some hoodlums to “get of my lawn”. What’s not to love?

      Bill Murray tried to do the same thing with ‘St.Vincent’ and failed, miserably.

        1. Bang bang stick.

        2. M1 Garand

      1. Yeah, I enjoyed Gran Torino. Million Dollar Baby was pretty good too.

  15. On facebook:

    *A picture of Chris Kyle*
    Caption: “Without this American Hero You’d probably be speaking Islamic. Like and Share if you love America.”

    Um…

  16. Obviously, not all Iraqis are pleased with American Sniper. One theater chain that had booked the movie decided not to show it all, according to an account on a movie trade site, “for fear of inciting protests and violence.”

    You know who else decided to pull a movie because of the fear of inciting protests and violence?

      1. No, Hillary and Barack..

  17. Start working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life….
    Open this link to get the opportunity , as like i did and i am feeling crazy.. it realy works,
    ????? http://www.Workvalt.Com

  18. Some of these comments border on the ludicrous.

    1) The war was not illegal. It wasn’t illegal for numerous reasons, one of which is a vote was held by our legislative branch. The AMUF has plenty of problems, such a open ended GWOT forever but that wasn’t the issue then.

    2) Non-intervention is stupid and naive. There are plenty of reason for military intervention. Personally, I wish the West would care a touch more about genocice, but enough to run for public office or post on Salon.

    3) The war in Iraq as stupid because regime change is never quick and easy. I found the idea that we would invade and American democracy would sprout from the ground to be inane. The ME has a different background from the Western world. Their root don’t trace back through time into a democratic heritage.

    Also, I wonder how many of the movie goers were Shiites and had no problem watching Sunnis get schwacked.

    1. Man, I need to stop posting on my Kindle. The autocorrect does me no favors.

  19. “The sniper, he has a chance to hit the child and his mother in their foot or anywhere without killing them, but he didn’t because he’s bloodthirsty like all the American troops.”

    Just to be clear, it’s not “bloodthirsty” to kill people who are trying to kill you. You could send them to Guantanamo Bay where — after their wounds from being shot in the foot healed — they could be released back into the war theater to kill you a second time.

    No thanks! I think I’ll just kill them the first time.

  20. I’m coming late to this thread, but no one has mentioned our intervention in World War Two. I was nine years old when it ended and have read a good deal about that war, and I’m glad we pushed our way into it. Ditto for the Korean War.

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