Movies

The Elusive Politics of American Sniper

It isn't a hawkish movie, and it isn't conventionally dovish either. But it does have a distinct political perspective.

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(Heads up: Here there be American Sniper spoilers. And, for that matter, spoilers for The Outlaw Josey Wales. Be forewarned.)

A new single from the Guess Who
Warner Bros.

They'll be handing out Oscars this weekend, and that means we're seeing another big burst of debate about Clint Eastwood's American Sniper, the one major box-office hit among the Best Picture contenders. The movie's harshest critics damn it as bigoted war propaganda. (The peace group Code Pink even picketed the picture at a recent Directors Guild screening, carrying signs with such slogans as "American Sniper Fuels Racism & War.") The film's defenders frequently flip that accusation on its head, with the conservative site Breitbart.com calling it a "pro-War On Terror masterpiece." Either way, the viewer's love or hatred for the movie tracks closely with how he or she feels about Chris Kyle, the real-life Iraq-war sniper whose memoir gave the picture its plot.

This is, on the face of it, an odd way to think about the movie. American Sniper portrays Kyle as a Bible-toting Iraq hawk. Director Eastwood, meanwhile, is an agnostic who opposed the Iraq war and who used his appearance at the GOP's national convention three years ago to call for a withdrawal from Afghanistan. Screenwriter Jason Hall doesn't have Eastwood's long history of public comments on public issues, but he was ambivalent at best about invading Iraq and has said that "any war told realistically is an anti-war movie." Whatever else might be going on in this film, it isn't a simple translation of Kyle's worldview to the screen.

Like most movies, American Sniper is open to multiple readings; it's certainly possible to come away from it agreeing with Kyle's outlook. But I think there really is an underlying anti-war worldview here. It just isn't the anti-war worldview that either hawks or doves are used to seeing in Hollywood pictures. At a moment of intensifying U.S. involvement in another Middle Eastern war—and of agitation among the Republican presidential contenders for still more military intervention—this particular sort of war-weariness is a subject with relevance beyond the cineplex.

Let's start with a word that keeps recurring when people criticize the movie: savages. Here's Peter Maass in The Intercept, discussing both the film and the book that inspired it:

Specialist-Administrators of Vengeance, Anarchy, and Global Extortion. In case you were wondering.
Carolco Television

Just a few pages into "American Sniper," Chris Kyle used an epithet to describe the Arabs on the wrong side of his gun scope. "A lot of people, myself included, called the enemy 'savages,'" he wrote. "I only wish I had killed more. Not for bragging rights, but because I believe the world is a better place without savages out there taking American lives." A decorated Navy SEAL, Kyle killed more than 150 "savages" in Iraq, becoming the deadliest sniper in the annals of American warfare….

The film faithfully recycles Kyle's crude language, and while shocking to some viewers, his slurs are the least surprising or objectionable part. Dehumanizing the enemy is common in almost any conflict, particularly for snipers, who see their foes up close. If you regard your target as a savage or an infidel, it's easier to squeeze the trigger. Kyle's blinkered attitude was not unusual among the fighters I spent time with in Iraq. It's the truest part of the movie and belongs in it.

The problem is that the film makes no attempt to tell us anything beyond Kyle's limited comprehension of what was happening.

I was tempted to include a long digression about this movie. Be glad I didn't.
Universal Pictures

The word savages does pop up several times in the film. That is, I submit, not just a product of how snipers spoke in Iraq or how Kyle expressed himself in his book. There is a genre with a long history of using that word, a genre that Eastwood knows well. It's the western, and American Sniper is filled with allusions to it. There are the early scenes of Kyle on the rodeo circuit; there is the moment when Iraq is explicitly called the "wild west"; there is even the fact that the first bullet we see Kyle fire kills a deer, a sequence that calls to mind not just another controversial war film, Michael Cimino's The Deer Hunter, but James Fenimore Cooper's The Deerslayer and his other novels about the frontiersman Natty Bumppo.

So when the film shows Kyle denouncing "savages," it's not just drawing on the SEAL's memoir. It's drawing on one of the oldest archetypes in American storytelling, the image of the savage Indian haunting the wild lands beyond the frontier. And then it stands that image on its head.

Ordinarily the idea of the savage Indian was used to justify American expansion. If the territory outside the community's borders was filled with malevolent natives, that was one more reason to tame the wilderness and remove the indigenous threat. But the image also found its way into anti-imperial sentiment. A vision of the outside world as a hostile wilderness best avoided has an obvious appeal to opponents of military intervention.

This was especially true in light of another anxiety about the natives, one that imagined a more insidious sort of invasion. I described it in my book The United States of Paranoia, so let me quote that:

When the men who built the colonies feared the frontier, they were afraid of more than just Indian attacks. They knew that frontier life lured people away from the discipline of life in a Puritan town, and they were concerned that men and women of European descent might feel the pull of the Indian's ways….When societies are still acquiring a sense of identity, [Richard] Slotkin suggests, "the simplest means of defining or expressing the sense of such a norm is by rejecting some other group whose character is deemed to be the opposite." For many New Englanders, the Indians filled that role, with the undisciplined, Indianized frontiersmen forming a potential fifth column. The temptations of native culture had to be resisted, and clear lines were needed between the community of the devout and the hostile outer world.

In literature, the classic incarnation of the Indianized frontiersmen was Cooper's Deerslayer: a white man raised by red men and forever caught between those two worlds.

Deer are starting to turn into a theme here.
Bostonia

That fear of cultural invasion would play a role in some of the worst crimes in American history, from the brutal imprisonment of the "praying Indians" on Deer Island during King Philip's War—a time when Indians who had converted to Christianity and joined the English colonies were nonetheless treated as a subversive threat—up through the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. But the same frame of mind, turned slightly, can undercut the idea of empire. American Sniper doesn't just portray Iraq as savage country; it shows it transforming the soldiers who go there, altering their bodies and minds, and following them home. At the end of the film, we catch a glimpse of one outside Kyle's door: a spooky-looking fellow who the sniper is about to take to the range. Offscreen, the vet kills Kyle. Kyle joined the SEALs because he wanted to protect the U.S. from foreign savages, but it is an American, transformed by that war, who commits the film's final act of savagery.

This reading of the movie isn't going to reassure Maass. Instead of bringing in Iraqi perspectives, it treats their country as though it's the source of an alien virus. But it also shows the trouble with readings that throw around phrases like "enthusiastic support for American empire" (that's Rory Fanning in Jacobin) or "a Republican platform movie" (David Edelstein in New York). American Sniper is a war-weary movie. It treats the members of the American military with respect and sympathy, but it is very much a product of a time when a majority of Americans think even the Afghan war wasn't worth fighting.

A few years ago, Clint Eastwood balanced a movie showing the American perspective on the Battle of Iwo Jima with another picture presenting the Japanese point of view. I don't expect him to do that again with Iraq. But if the viewer wants to create another double feature, there is one Eastwood movie that would make an interesting companion-piece to American Sniper.

It's The Outlaw Josey Wales, a western released just a year after the fall of Saigon, and it shows us whites and Indians building a little community together, out on the frontier, trying to escape the long arm of the authorities. Its hero, Josey Wales, is a veteran—he fought for the South in the Civil War—and now he's a wanted man. In the film's final exchange, a government man named Fletcher encounters Wales, who's now calling himself Wilson. Fletcher pretends not to recognize him, and he says he's going to go look for Wales in Mexico.

"I think I'll try to tell him the war is over," Fletcher says. "What do you say, Mr. Wilson?"

"I reckon so," says Josey. "I guess we all died a little in that damn war."

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  1. Heads us = heads up?

    1. At least I didn’t put a typo in the FIRST word.

      1. Don’t claim typo. Claim intentional statement that we’re too stupid to understand, so you changed it for our small minds.

      2. Walker – you resilient BASTARD!

        /Cliff Hanger

  2. Josey Wales was just like Adam Lanza.

    1. Harry Callahan was just like Adam Lanza

    2. No, William Munny was just like Adam Lanza.

        1. Comparison’s got NOTHING to do with it…

          *shoots Adam Lanza in the forehead*

    3. Tony Danza is an anagram for Adam Lanza

  3. “Endeavor to persevere.”

    And when we had thought about it long enough, we declared war on the Union.

    1. The Outlaw Josey Wales might be the most libertarian movie to ever come out of Hollywood.

      1. Also one of the greatest movies of all time.

        1. It is definitely one of the top five Westerns of all time and in the top 20 of all American movies.

        2. Reckon’ so.

      2. Cool Hand Luke has to be up there as well. Sentenced to an unreasonably harsh punishment compared to his crime, but willing to do his time until his dignity is repeatedly assaulted. And it shows that authority is petty and arbitrary right up until the time it turns murderous.

        1. Plus, libertarians classically LOVE boiled eggs.

            1. Papillion isn’t bad from a libertarian angle.

              1. meh. if it wasn’t all lies passed as truth it would be better.

              2. +1 for Papillion

            1. *narrows gaze and points up to 2:00 minutes earlier*

              PWND!

              1. How far ahead should you read before you comment?

      3. I’d say the Aviator. Entrepreneur battles smarmy pro-regulation Senator.

      4. I’ve been thinking about a project where I take political quizzes (objectively) as the main characters in classic movies.

        Then we look at the results and discuss.

  4. It treats the members of the American military with respect and sympathy,

    Which is why douche bags like Sheldon Richman and Matt Taibi when so insane in response to it. They couldn’t handle the idea of anyone associated with a war they objected to being portrayed as anything but a monster.

    1. John, why should I give the military and it’s members any more respect than the IRS or USPS and it’s employees?

      1. because of stuff and things.

        1. So Spencer, is your goal to make sure that Bo has someone that he looks smart and interesting in comparison to? If it is, you are doing one hell of a job.

          1. I don’t think you understand the question he’s asked- but it doesn’t surprise me.

            Soldiers are paid, voluntary, government employees who follow orders. They are not a defense force. They are not conscripted (which would probably be ok with you, if it was against the russians.)

            So, why should someone who signs on to get paid for doing something then be given extra respect for doing it? Are they not being valued by their pay and benefits? Are they not having a choice but to do what they do?

            You’re response (after mine) was equally as empty as my mock one.

            1. Well, this, but also that military member is likely taking more dollars from my pocket than his IRS and USPS counterparts. It’s like the military gets some magical exemption apart from other federal employees.

              1. military member is likely taking more dollars from my pocket than his IRS and USPS counterparts

                I’m not so sure about that. If all military members are lifers, then sure. But I’m not sure they are.

                1. Of course you’d have to control for length if career for all involved. But the military tends to get things like housing and such that the others don’t

                  1. the military tends to get things like housing and such that the others don’t

                    A fair point. I wonder what the cost of that housing is – would really be necessary to know before making any kind of conclusion.

                  2. Yes, I invite you to live in base-housing and then discuss military perks.

                    Retiree plans – I agree these are unreasonable (as with all government pensioners).

                  3. Single guys don’t.

            2. I think you might be dumber than Bo. None of that has to do with my post. Re read the original post.

              Let me give you a hint, I never said they should be held up on a pedestal. You and Bo only assume I did because you are morons.

              1. So you do treat members of the IRS and USPS with respect and sympathy?

                I wouldn’t have guessed…

              2. I don’t care about pedestals, I’m asking should they be seen the same as. Why can’t you answer?

      2. You can view them however you like. Honestly, I doubt you are smart enough to view any group of people with very much thoughtfulness or nuance. So you view them with however much subtlety and wisdom you intellectual ability allows. And the rest of us can then judge you accordingly.

        1. So, no answer, essentially stuff and things?

          1. I called it first.

          2. No my answer is you are a moron who didn’t even manage to make a cogent point. My point was that people who serve in these wars are human beings and should be viewed as such. Then you respond about how you don’t see why you should see the military as any different than the postal service.

            Bo that answer is so fucking stupid, there is no way to respond to it. It manages to be idiotic and completely non responsive to my point.

            1. So you often chide us to see IRS and USPS employees in a more nuanced way, as decent people just doing a job?

              1. So your response is that I am mean to post office employees. yeah Bo, you are really tearing it up today.

              2. So you often chide us to see IRS and USPS employees in a more nuanced way, as decent people just doing a job?

                You aren’t mentioned in his post, dumbass, but as usual, you need to play Defender of Authors.

                1. Yes, I defend the writers here. What are you doing here?

                  1. Waiting for your mom to put you down for a quickie

      3. John, why should I give the military and it’s members any more respect than the IRS or USPS and it’s employees?

        Because the military is the most politically agnostic chunk of the Federal government – which is basically a Donkey union phone bank anymore (see IRS).

        Also, unlike rest the Federal government, the US military is actually good at what they do. Your Armed Forces have not lost one single engagement in more than fifty years – arguably seventy if you count China’s Pyrrhic disaster at Chosun.

        US history over that span demonstrates the only thing politicians are better at than starting wars is losing them – even after physically defeating the opponent.

        1. I think you’re reading of history needs to be revisited.

          1. No Spencer, it doesn’t. If you think it does, point out why. Otherwise let the adults talk for a while.

            1. oh, a call for a citation of sources from john.

              How about operation Eagle Claw?
              Battle of Mogadishu (less of ours died, but we didn’t secure objective, meaning a defeat).
              Bay of Pigs…

              that’s without even searching.

              1. The military wasn’t involved in the Bay of Pigs. And 2700 Somalis died to kill less than 10 Army Rangers. If that is winning, I would rather lose.

              2. Battle of Mogadishu (less of ours died, but we didn’t secure objective,

                The Battle of Mogadishu was a tactical response in the middle of a humanitarian crisis.

                Are you suggesting if the US Marines were tasked with seizing Mogadishu the skinnies would prevail? Don’t be a fucking moron.

                Eagle Claw was a politicized disaster from the beginning, like everything Jimmy Carter does – including Rosalyn – it was a half-assed job too late.

                And I’m surprised you did not mention the Beirut truck bombing, given your obvious Wiki-scanning grasping for straws here…so you’re welcome.

                1. so, everything except for my examples that disprove your statement are proof?

                  Way to move the goal posts. (also, that was a cursory reach into my brain, no scanning required.)

                  there are also various instances of friendly fire, civilian massacres, etc.

                  1. so, everything except for my examples that disprove your statement are proof?

                    Way to move the goal posts. (also, that was a cursory reach into my brain, no scanning required.)

                    Nope. See my previous response, but actually read it this time.

                    1. You are just mad because he destroyed your claims.

                      How about Vietnam…stunning victory, right?

          2. That’s nice.

        2. “the military is the most politically agnostic chunk of the Federal government”

          What? The military is very politically active, while enlisted and as vets, they just tend to lean more right (because the right loves defense spending).

          “Also, unlike rest the Federal government, the US military is actually good at what they do.”

          I’m having trouble recalling a recent mission they accomplished!

          1. What? The military is very politically active, while enlisted and as vets, they just tend to lean more right (because the right loves defense spending).

            When one sees rallies of military personnel, complete with organizational reps sent to the Republican convention as delegates, call me. Because that’s what every other branch of the Federal government does.

            I’m having trouble recalling a recent mission they accomplished!

            Military has accomplished every clear goal outlined to it in our lifetimes.

            Kick Iraq out of Kuwait? Done.
            Seize Afghanistan? Done.
            Seize Iraq? Done.

            Kill Osama – oh wait! They want to negotiate from their redoubts in Torah Borah, so, hey military, stop beating asses and…oh, Osama got away.

            You can repeat the Osama item twice when it comes to crushing the Mahdi Army and kill al-Sadr.

            See the pattern here?

            1. “When one sees rallies of military personnel, complete with organizational reps sent to the Republican convention as delegates, call me. Because that’s what every other branch of the Federal government does.”

              Have you never heard of the VFW, American Legion, etc?

              “Kick Iraq out of Kuwait? Done.
              Seize Afghanistan? Done.
              Seize Iraq? Done.”

              Nice try but the military itself sees those missions as more than just ‘seize.’

              1. VFW and American Legion are ex-military. If you do not see the difference there, I won’t waste my time further. Enjoy your world.

                Nice try but the military itself sees those missions as more than just ‘seize.’

                Tell me more about how the military works and perceives things, greenhorn.

                1. “. If you do not see the difference there, I won’t waste my time ”

                  So you give pubsec union retirees a similar pass?

                  1. So you give pubsec union retirees a similar pass?

                    Absolutely. AFSCME, however, is not necessarily retirees now, is it? Come to think of it, what is the big outfit representing retiree interests of government employees? Oh, wait, there isn’t one.

                    Why is there a military one? Probably because the military doesn’t engage in campaigning and electioneering until they’re out of the service.

                    See the pattern here?

                    1. So they have to wait until out to explicitly organize, that’s your critical distinction?

                    2. So they have to wait until out to explicitly organize, that’s your critical distinction?

                      No government employee could organize as a political constituency until Kennedy. Two generations later, actuarial and political disaster.

                      So, yes, that is the critical distinction.

                2. If it was comprised of Bos I’m sure it would work like pissing themselves while getting the shit kicked out of them and having the Sadz

                  1. Camping us reduced to internet tuff!

          2. The military is very politically active, while enlisted and as vets, they just tend to lean more right

            That may be the case in terms of how they vote, but that’s not the point.

            The military doesn’t get used to go after political opponents of the party in power. Unlike the IRS. Which is what I think John’s point was.

          3. I’m having trouble recalling a recent mission they accomplished!

            Too clever by half.

            The our army and air force routed the Iraqi army. Hence, very good at their job.

            You can argue that the generals and politicians failed to have a plan in place for the aftermath that would work, absolutely. But not the rout of the Iraqi Army.

            1. Sorry, but the military itself set as it’s goal something more than ‘defeat the Iraqi army.’ They wanted to occupy and nation build, like we did in Germany and Japan. They failed at this, as they have failed in most insurgencies they’ve fought in recent history

              1. I think that was the goal of the politicians – the civilians that control the military. The military doesn’t like to nation build because that isn’t what they are trained for (though I think this might be changing?). They are trained to kill people and break things.

                It was the wrong goal and it failed. You are correct.

                I don’t think that detracts from the superiority of our forces.

              2. Care to provide any substantive support for the claim that it was the military that set more than the goal of defeating the Iraqi army, rather than the U.S. government

                1. That’s a non sequitur Bill, the nature of the military is that the government gives it it’s missions.

                  1. That’s a non sequitur Bill

                    Not a non sequitur at all but in fact the very heart of the problem with the invasion of Iraqi.

                    1. You can’t say ‘the military did it’s job of seizing, their failure to occupy and build is not theirs but their commanders’ because the military’s job just is doing the missions assigned to it. They seized Iraq on orders and they tried to occupy on orders. It’s bizarre to credit them for the first but the order givers for the second.

                      Maybe the order givers shouldn’t give them such missions, but they did and the military failed them. Spectacularly

                    2. Except they didn’t fail to occupy Iraq. They did so quite efficiently. That the occupation of Iraq didn’t have the consequences the civilian decision-makers wanted is hardly a failure on their part.

                      Unless you can show that the military somehow failed to hold their position, your argument doesn’t make sense.

                    3. A screwdriver will drive a nail very badly if it all. DO we blame the screwdriver for this misuse? If you use the incorrect tool for a job do not blame the tool.

              3. “the military itself”

                What the hell is that? Some kind of hive mind?

                The branch of the American military are organizations trained and equipped to win battles. They do what civilian leadership tells them to do. That’s all.

                1. The way the military works is the CoC, joint chiefs, DOD Sec etc come up with the mission. It’s silly to say ‘oh, they failed at that but that wasn’t the military’s mission, that was the generals and executive heads that wanted that done.’ They wouldn’t have done any of it if they had not been ordered to by the same ‘brass’

                  1. The way the military works is the CoC, joint chiefs, DOD Sec etc come up with the mission.

                    So, the JCS came up with the mission to invade Iraq? Not President Bush, the Commander in Chief?

                    1. I think I listed him first

                    2. CoC

                      An inconvenient typo.

                      So the Commander-in-Chief, the civilian authority, comes up with the mission, right? Not the military?

                    3. You realize he comes up with the mission to invade and to occupy, right? One isn’t a ‘military mission’ that the military gets credit for and the other not, they are both missions given. They succeeded at the first, failed at the second.

                    4. Yes, I do realize that, Bo. I just wanted to make sure you did. It wasn’t clear in your line of discussion. You made it sound like the military came up with the mission and the civilian authority agreed to it. That was a bit chilling to me.

                    5. Blaming a knife for being inefficient at driving screws is foolish and not a fair judgement of its effectiveness as a knife.

                  2. It’s silly to say ‘oh, they failed at that but that wasn’t the military’s mission, that was the generals and executive heads that wanted that done.’

                    So, by your reckoning, Windows 8 is a failure because all of Microsoft failed implementing it – and not the fucktard MBA’s who dreamed it up and specified the shitstorm be the EXACT shitstorm it is?

                    1. If you asked me if Microsoft succeeded there I’d say they didn’t. That MBA giving orders, that’s part of what Microsoft IS.

              4. Sorry, but the military itself set as it’s goal something more than ‘defeat the Iraqi army.’ They wanted to occupy and nation build, like we did in Germany and Japan.

                The military does what it is told, within the confines of its political masters, including the personalities involved.

                And I think the military – indeed the United States – did a better job with Japan and Germany postwar than just about any other example of such a thing in history.

                There is also a lesson in Japan specifically about nation-building: You start with a clean slate.

                I guarantee you if the US attitude towards pacifying Iraq included firebombing square miles of major Iraqi cities in one night, night after night, then nuking Fallujah and Mosul three months into the firebombing, the US would have found a far more complacent population.

                Don’t you?

                1. I think if ifs and buts were candy and nuts…

                  The point being debated is: has the military successfully completed ‘every’ mission it has had. It clearly hasn’t. You just want to fall back on ‘well, that doesn’t count because they shouldn’t have been given that mission!’

                  But they were, and they did not accomplish it.

                  1. has the military successfully completed ‘every’ mission it has had. It clearly hasn’t

                    Yup. You win, Bo.

                    Can you just clarify for me who gave the military it’s mission to invade and occupy Iraq? Was it the military itself as you indicated above, or was it the Commander in Chief and his civilian authority?

                    1. The latter of course.

                  2. You just want to fall back on ‘well, that doesn’t count because they shouldn’t have been given that mission!’

                    Not at all. The military was told to seize Iraq, which they did – and did I might ad with an ad-hoc strategy implemented week of the invasion after the Turks got cold feet.

                    Then the military, after seizing Iraq, were told to engage with the local populace through a Byzantine set of rules. So they did. They were told to follow the diktats of some guy from Harvard named L. Paul Bremer (remember him?), so they did.

                    The military in 2004 was basically told to sit outside Fallujah until the American election was over, and put up with Sunni clowns seizing and fortifying the entire city while they waited. So they did.

                    Then, after the election, they were told to seize Fallujah – but with casualties etc. minimized much as possible, even at expense of tactical advantage and extra casualties. So they did.

                    When the politicos were out of ideas and needed a scheme to bail the mess out, the politicos said give me a plan and execute it. So the military did.

                    Where did the military fail here?

              5. Sorry, but the military itself set as it’s goal…

                You’re an idiot. Guess ConLaw either a) didn’t happen b) was completely worthless c) you leaned nothing or d) some combination of the above…

                Cause we’re not a juanta idiot. The military is under direct civilian control. Their goals are given to them.

                As experts, they are supposed to be able to do what’s necessary to affect those goals, but we know in many cases the civilian authority goes further and directs things such as rules of engagement.

                And the military, in spite of this crap, succeeds in almost every case.

                PS: if you’re honestly having a difficult time finding enough differences between the average soldier and the average postal worker I honestly feel sorry for you. Seek help.

            2. You can’t blame the military because the political objectives of their civilian politician commanders were not met. If you expect your military to do anything other than…. well, military things like kill people and break things then you will be disappointed.

              Military objectives are “seize this piece of territory” or “defend this mountain pass” or “destroy this sea port”. “Make this dictatorship into a democracy” is a political objective.

              Sure, you can use a flathead screwdriver as a chisel. You might even have some success under the right circumstances. But if you fail to achieve the delicate carving you wanted, it isn’t the screwdriver’s fault.

            3. You can argue that the generals and politicians failed to have a plan in place for the aftermath that would work, absolutely.

              A shortcoming that lies firmly upon the shoulders of the politicians.

              In order to win a war, there must first be an achievable military objective. Some goal that constitutes winning. Without it, you are simply endlessly killing people and wasting your own precious resources.

              We are still fighting, 14 years later, because politicians are about as ignorant as Bo and Cytoxic when it comes to military strategy.

              1. I bet most of the Rangers gearing up for Afghanistan in 2001 assumed it was a retaliatory raid. Kill a bunch of assholes and go home.

                They, like me, wrongly assumed that the politicians weren’t stupid enough to attempt nation building in Afghanistan.

              2. Pretty much Fransisco. We are still fighting because our goal was to get other people to fight for themselves. You can’t do that. All Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam were, were aid programs with guns. And like all aid programs, they failed.

                1. Well I can think of one such aid program that worked. The frogs leant us a hand with our revolution and that worked out pretty swell for the first 20 years or so.

                  1. Well I can think of one such aid program that worked. The frogs leant us a hand with our revolution and that worked out pretty swell for the first 20 years or so.

                    Big difference is we wanted to fight. We also had highly competent leadership for our rebel army. Afghans wanted to fight too, when it was all about killing Russians.

                    1. Big difference is we wanted to fight.

                      THIS

                      Invading someone else’s country and telling them they need to fight to be just like the US is a completely different scenario than the American Revolution where people were fighting to liberate themselves.

                      Ya gotta want it, you can’t be forced into wanting it.

                2. This is like saying the Seattle Seahawks beat the New England Patriots, it was the coaches of Seattle that lost.

                  1. No, it isn’t. It’s actually the opposite.

                  2. Bo, you just can’t shut up, can you? You don’t know fuck-all about warfare, the military, the national command structure, national strategy or military strategy, let alone how they interact to produce desired political outcomes.

                    You are surrounded by people who do, and instead of learning something, you just keep digging. Are you trying to prove how smart you are? Because, let me tell you, it’s having the opposite effect.

                    1. Fd’A,

                      Yep you nailed it. It’s painful to watch The Intersection of Stupid and Ignorance try and make a cogent argument.

                  3. Bo, let me see if I can explain it to you. Let’s say I told you to save a million dollars by spending five thousand dollars a day. You can execute my command to spend five thousand dollars a day. In that you succeeded. The fact that you won’t save a million dollars that way is not the result of your failure to execute my plan, but the fact that my plan wouldn’t produce that end. It’s not the military that set the nation building scheme for Iraq.

                  4. If the military were in charge of its budget, staffing resources, and meta strategy it would make sense to blame them specifically for operational failures. But they aren’t. We easily have the best military in the world, no competition. It’s why we train everyone else.

                    Conflating it and its soldiers with the rest of the executive branch is intellectually pedantic. The reason soldiers deserve more respect than postal workers is that they’re willing to die to accomplish what our citizenship want and, despite how you view them, are still a defense force and will be the first people lining up to die for you if anyone attacks our country. Postal workers will deliver your mail. If you don’t see a difference then I can’t help you.

                3. The French only helped us when it looked like we could win – and they did so to poke the British in the eye after a long losing streak to them in world wars.

      4. “why should I give the military and it’s members any more respect than the IRS or USPS and it’s employees?”

        How about just more respect than you afford Adam Lanza? I would hope that isn’t a very high bar to clear.

        1. Sure, that was an insane comparison.

          1. So you agree they are human beings and should be treated as such. Good, thanks for admitting you have no point here other than to screw up the thread.

            1. So, you see the USPS and IRS employee similarly? And if someone here criticized them harshly your going to chide them?

              1. So, it’s police rather than police abuse you object to.

                1. It’s double standards more than anything. People who go on and on about how awful government employees are but then talk about how we need to give the DOD sympathy and respect are living in an interesting world…

                  1. People who go on and on about how awful government employees are

                    cite missing

                    1. So you don’t think I can find people here bad mouthing IRS and USPS employees? Want to wager on that?

                    2. I think you can’t find your nuts because they haven’t dropped yet, but yeah, do the other thing too.

                    3. Wagers have consideration. What are you putting up?

                  2. It’s double standards more than anything. People who go on and on about how awful government employees are but then talk about how we need to give the DOD sympathy and respect are living in an interesting world…

                    Oh, au contraire, I don’t give the DoD sympathy whatsoever. The F-35 is a boondoggle. The Osprey’s procurement was scandalous and deadly. Littoral Combat Ship is a contractor nightmare.

                    And that’s to say nothing of the contractor brigades that now accompany DoD everywhere – KKR, Halliburton, et al, all at the trough. That is a very disturbing development. And the civilian bureaucracy at DoD now outnumbers uniformed personnel, the bloat is revolting.

                    But to give you idea of difference between military and rest-of-feds, look at recent history. What was military’s political response to base closings at end of cold war? They followed orders and closed the bases, that’s it.

                    Look at sequestration; lots of inner-sanctum squabbling over budgets with Congress – which is actually a function of the military, procuring budgets – but not one rhetorical bomb thrown politically by anyone in uniform. Nothing.

                    1. “What was military’s political response to base closings at end of cold war? ”

                      Er, where they had to set up a special commission because the closures were so hotly contested?

                      “Look at sequestration; lots of inner-sanctum squabbling over budgets with Congress – which is actually a function of the military, procuring budgets – but not one rhetorical bomb thrown politically by anyone in uniform. Nothing.”

                      http://www.stripes.com/news/us…..y-1.278153

                    2. The article you provide proves my point. What other branch of the government can definitely tell the public what budget cuts actually, physically, entail in the future? The ‘reducing national security’ line is a response to requirements mandated here:

                      http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-…..y-strategy

                      Note where the report is hosted, indicating who the authors of the strategy are based. This is the law, and has been the law since the NSA of 1947.

                    3. Er, where they had to set up a special commission because the closures were so hotly contested?

                      Oh yeah, that part. The commission was established etc. to deal with politics brought on by Congressmen who did not want to lose all the jerbs etc. associated to those bases in their respective polities. It was for, by, and run by political (civilian) leadership.

      5. why should I give the military and it’s members any more respect than the IRS or USPS and it’s employees?

        Because they’re doing one of the few jobs in the federal government that can be justified on libertarian grounds. They do so at risk to their own personal well being. That you can’t draw a distinction between someone whose job it is to protect your rights and someone whose job it is to violate your rights doesn’t say much for your insight.

        1. “Because they’re doing one of the few jobs in the federal government that can be justified on libertarian grounds. They do so at risk to their own personal well being”

          You could change one word here and get cops, right?

          1. You could change one word here and get cops, right?

            There is no item in the Constitution regarding ‘provide for the common defense’ for cops.

            The institutions of the US Navy and US Army predate any other branch of the Federal government, indeed the modern United States.

            And cops like playing soldier; when one associates cops and the military as somehow equivalent, one inadvertently validates their piggy little fantasies.

            So stop.

            1. The one word was ‘federal’

              1. The one word was ‘federal’

                Really? Let’s try it:

                “Because they’re doing one of the few jobs in the cops government that can be justified on libertarian grounds. They do so at risk to their own personal well being”

                Still don’t get it.

                1. You certainly don’t.

                  1. That’s because it makes no sense. Please enlighten.

      6. John, why should I give the military and it’s members any more respect than the IRS or USPS and it’s employees?

        Nominally anyway, soldiers sign up to lay down their life in my place.

        Maybe in the days of the Whiskey Rebellion and Pony Express IRS and USPS employees did the same but, those days long past, the military is the last vestige of civil servants laying down their lives for civilians (and those days are dwindling as well).

        I’m no hero worshipper, but to act like the military contains no heroes the way the USPS or the IRS *does* is misguided.

      7. Military personnel make sacrifices to protect our country. Civilian federal workers tend to be lazy leeches who profit off our backs and make our lives miserable.

        This is obvious. Not sure why you need to ask.

    2. Hey, Botard asks why someone should do something different than from what you posted.

      Don’t feel obliged to answer.

      Bo, you shoulda stayed home till Monday like I suggested….you had ONE job….

      1. I am not really sure why it is that Postal employees are Adam Lanza like monsters. Is Bo a golden retriever that has learned how to use his owner’s computer while he is home alone every day?

      2. Conservative no like hard question about our heroes!

        1. You seriously want to double down on this? No one les some unpatriotic punk.

      3. Hey, pal! Do you have TEH CREDENTIALZ to question your betters, hmmm?

  5. When it comes to biopics, I’ve always wondered why the common assumption is that the politics of the subject are shared by the filmmakers.

    Patton was a fascist. Does that make Francis Ford Coppola a fascist?

    1. By the way, I’m not entirely sure “fascist” is the correct description for Patton.

      But I’m just saying. Does Francis Ford Coppola have to share Patton’s politics just because he was a screenwriter for his biopic?

      1. That is the thing. The people like Richman who went so crazy in response to it don’t think any politics other than theirs has a right to exist. How dare someone make a movie that shows someone with different politics as anything but a monster. That is really all that went on with this movie.

    2. Patton was not a fascist. He was a romantic and a bit of a nut, but he was not a fascist.

      1. *Patton surveys the carnage of a tank battle* “I love it. God help me, but I do love it so.”

        I don’t think you can watch Patton without thinking the guy was a gifted leader and strategist but also off his rocker.

        I like that it came out aroud the same time as Altman’s MASH, which just shows that any perspective on war or any other given subject can make for a great movie.

        1. Both are great movies.

        2. “Give me two weeks and I’ll have a war on with those Commie sons-of-bitches, and I’ll make it look like their fault!”

          Patton in peacetime, gotta love it. Only critter with stars crazier was probably LeMay.

          1. NOBODY has managed to out crazy Curtis LeMay…thank God.

            1. Hear, hear.

              (And that’s from an AF guy.)

          2. He was an accident waiting to happen for sure.

        3. I don’t think you can watch Patton without thinking the guy was a gifted leader and strategist but also off his rocker.

          He was off his rocker *and he knew it*.

          He recognized the irrationality of passion and war of his age and realized that the days of stirring a mass of irrational zealots to mass murder was at an end.

          There’s no reason to assume there haven’t been plenty like Patton since, but society has stifled the bloodlust required to propel them to greatness in war.

    3. Indeed. I don’t understand why anyone thinks a film or story needs to be “balanced” or be an insight into the creator’s head. It can have a POV, one that the creator may not share and one in which you’re not supposed to approve of.

      This shouldn’t be too controversial. Assuming you’re an adult. Hell, I don’t recall Taxi Driver giving us much insight outside of Bickle’s demented mind; how many of those outraged at this movie get similarly indignant about Scorcese?

    4. I don’t think Patton had much in the way of politics.

  6. Like most movies, American Sniper is open to multiple readings

    It’s almost as if people are bound and determined to see exactly what they’re looking for.

    1. its kind of like religion that way isn’t it. In fact all movies and all books and just about everything people seem to see what they want to see or think it should be. I once wrote a business response to a person and he blew his top I just calmly told him to re read it since what he thinks I wrote is not what I wrote, I never heard back from him or his lawyer.

    2. Are you saying I suck dick?

  7. And it shows that authority is petty and arbitrary right up until the time it turns murderous.

    You got to git yore mind right, Son.

    1. What have here is, failure to….

        1. …takin’ it off, boss…

          1. You’re gonna have to kill me.

  8. There are really two things that critics of American Sniper just don’t get or refuse to acknowledge:

    1. Eastwood first obligation as a filmmaker is to make a good movie. A good movie is engaging, has characters the audience cares about, and respects the intelligence of the audience enough to let them draw their own conclusions about what they see.
    Eastwood is not obligated to go off the rails showing every perspective on Iraq to assist the audience in processing what they are watching.

    2. Kyle’s views were Kyle’s, not Eastwood’s and he can portray what Kyle thought of Muslim insurgents without condoning that viewpoint. Again, he’s not obligated to offer a counterpoint to it, although he does when one of Kyle’s platoonmates is killed and has an anti-war letter he wrote read at his funeral.

    Eastwood has made some pretty profound anti-war movies in his career. God forbid he make one about Iraq that depicts the experiences and perspectives of a man with a talent egregiously wasted in a senseless war.

    1. I actually agree here. He’s making a movie about the guy, telling his story and hopefully a good story. It’d be ruined if he felt the need to overbalance ever ideological perspective surrounding the topic.

      Amazingly, our society seems to demand more straight answers from those who make films of wars than they do the politicians who start (and continue) them.

      1. This movie would have stunk on ice if it had the kind of ham-handed Hollywood liberalism that we saw in the MASH series.

      2. …telling his story…

        Or more likely, Eastwood’s interpretation of his story.

        1. Kind of hard to get Kyle’s interpretation.

          1. And, I didn’t know Kyle, but I think if you had asked him to make a list of people to direct the telling of his story…

    2. 1. Eastwood first obligation as a filmmaker is to make a good movie.

      Maybe one of these days he’ll actually follow through on that.

          1. Deserve’s got nothing to do with it…

      1. Unforgiven and Mystic River were good.

        Million Dollar Baby is so overrated, I refuse to italicize.

        1. Agreed. I think it was ham-fisted.

        2. I liked Million Dollar Baby overall but it wasn’t his best.

          Mystic River gave me several sleepless nights in a row. I can’t watch it again.

          I really liked Gran Torino.

      2. Heartbreak Ridge? El Camino? Million Dollar Baby?

        You need to watch more Eastwood films

        1. Gran Torino, not El Camino.

          El Camino takes place in LA and not Detroit. 😉

          *back to the kids table for me*

      3. Are you fucking kidding?

    3. I saw the movie then read the book, and I agree with these points. Regarding the first one, there are some things added to the movie to make it more dramatic or more entertaining. For example, the first kill in the movie is a mother and a kid, but in the book he never shot a kid. And in the book, the rival sniper was mentioned in about a sentence, and never crossed paths with Kyle.

      Second, the screenplay was influenced a lot by Kyle’s wife after his death. The book is mainly a gung-ho, war-story book. He discusses how his family is affected somewhat, but he does mention that if he didn’t have family obligations, and if it was ok with his wife, he’d have re-enlisted again. The movie has more emphasis on how the war affected him and his family psychologically and emotionally.

    4. Well said. In my opinion all too many people expect every movie to spoon-feed the audience the “correct” conclusion.

      These people are usually rather full of themselves; they’ll say shit like “…well, I’m smart enough to get it. But all the other moviegoers aren’t!”

  9. While I fail to see how killing people in Iraq and Afghanistan protects my freedom, I do respect that the people doing the killing believe that it does.

    So while I have no desire to watch the movie, I’m not passing any judgement on it either.

    1. ditto.

      Not seeing it – just don’t want to. Don’t care if others do, and not questioning whatever Kyle believed about what he was doing.

    2. So you respect people who are killing people for no reason?

      Seems legit.

      1. Yeah, that’s not what he said. But you knew that…

      2. I respect that the people who are doing the killing believe in what they are doing. Again you miss the point.

        1. Cops who choke people out on the street for selling loosies believe in what they’re doing too.

          1. No they don’t. The only thing they believe in is their power.

          2. False equivalency.

      3. Most of the people who join the military don’t do it for the chance to kill people for no reason. They mostly buy into the whole protect-your-country story because they’re normal Americans, not Bastiat-quoting libertarians who argue about the merits of Friedman vs. Mises.

        As a bonus, they get a few perks and some mostly nominal glory if they come back from the war du jour with body and mind intact.

        There are a few horse’s asses who want you to bow and scrape because they wore a uniform, but most veterans merit sympathy for what the executive branch put them through, not scorn.

        1. They don’t deserve sympathy. They volunteered, got paid and were lucky enough to come home in one piece. The people who didn’t deserve sympathy sure. But not everyone else.

          I hate the “poor vet” meme almost as much as I hate the bullshit put out by people like Bo.

          1. Because volunteering to join the military is like being an employee of the IRS?

            Either volunteers are exploited by the state and put into impossible situations or they’re responsible for the crimes they commit (assuming we agree that the various idiotic wars that the US has perpetrated are crimes). Pick one.

  10. I think what lefties don’t like about American Sniper is the Americans are clearly the good guys and the ‘insurgents’ are pieces of trash. No nuance bullshit, the insurgents are just worthless fucks.

    I watched the movie two weeks before its wide release at ArcLight up in Hollywood, and (spoiler alert) the whole crowd in the theater – remember this is a Hollywood crowd with attendant political dispositions – cheered when Kyle blows the primary antagonist camel fucker away. I remember thinking then that the cultural powers-that-be could not like this movie – especially since its a Clint production – and needed to tear it down. So far, no dice.

    I like the movie because it did a good job capturing what it was actually like being among the Sand People doing population control and urban renewal. And I know a couple Marines who don’t like the movie because the Marines are always in need of some SEAL-rescuing, and Marines think SEALs are so overrated – because they are.

    But I liked it regardless.

  11. The people like Richman who went so crazy in response to it don’t think any politics other than theirs has a right to exist.

    That’s hilarious, coming from you.

    1. something something pots, kettles something

    2. pretty much

    3. You only think that because you have no politics Brooks other than being a prick. I have read your posts for years and I honestly couldn’t indemnify a single political view that you hold. Every single post you do consists of some variation of you making some prickish comment like this one.

      I guess everyone has to have an act. But damn doesn’t yours one ever get old? Don’t you ever feel even the least bit tempted to try and think about something? Just once?

      1. well, not indemnifying is a first step. reading might be a good second one.

      2. Shorter John: Stop picking on me!

        1. No one is picking on me. And you in contrast do have some thoughts. That is when you manage to express them instead of yelling Strawman and Red Tony.

          1. You’ve got a thin skin, John, which makes picking on you fun. If you grew some skin then people would pick on you less because it wouldn’t be as much fun. And while you think about that, here’s something to fap to.

            1. I don’t have a thin skin, I just pick back. You are just projecting. I never whine about you picking on me. I just give it back and you don’t like it.

              You are the one whining not me.

              1. …whined John…

                1. How is that whining? I am not a whiner. I am an asshole. My sin on here is that I get too nasty with people if they piss me off. I have a lot of faults but whining isn’t one of them.

              2. That’s not how it appears.

              3. I never whine about you picking on me.

                Yeah, says the guy who has begged and pleaded for me to quit posting Daily Fatties in his name. Delicious!

                1. I have never asked you to stop posting pictures of fat women Sarcasmic. I have only advised you to admit your obsession with fat women is a problem and seek help.

              4. I don’t have a thin skin, I just pick back. You are just projecting. I never whine about you picking on me. I just give it back and you don’t like it.

                The correct riposte should be:

                You know who else has thin skin? Fucking Terminators, that’s who. Proceed at your own risk.

                Much snappier.

            2. + Johnporn

      3. idemnify?

        The work of a genius.

        Thank you.

  12. Ah, Code Pink. An American soldier = Bad! A Marxist dictator = Good!

  13. Eastwood was fair to Kyle. But if anyone knows Eastwood, you would know the guy is the most consistently anti-war filmmaker ever.

    Which is amazing. He made an anti-war movie that criticized the war, not the real-life human beings who fought the war.

    1. You do realize that human beings are the ones who make war, don’t you?

      1. Talk about missing the point.

        1. I know, right? I mean criticizing an institution without criticizing the people whose actions constitute it is completely incoherent.

          1. Soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen don’t choose where and when to fight. Politicians make those choices. Politicians decide to make war not the actual warriors. Warriors damn sure don’t want to go to war, aside from the few that are less than sane.

            1. They sign up for military service knowing full well that killing people in senseless asinine wars is potentially part of the job.

              Even under conscription, soldiers aren’t immune to criticism. With an all-volunteer military they are ripe for it.

              1. They may not see the wars as senseless and asinine.

                1. Then they can be criticized for that belief.

                  1. Then go ahead. I’m not going to criticize people for believing that they are fighting to protect my freedom. That’s why I don’t criticize soldiers. Cops on the other hand, I will criticize them all day long because the only people they protect are each other, at the expense of those they are supposed to serve and protect.

                    1. It’s a testament to the robustness of the human psyche that you are able to function under the weight of such cognitive dissonance.

              2. They volunteer to fight when ordered to fight. The fact that they get ill used by political scumbags to kill people for the wrong reasons is our fault for voting in those scumbags and not holding them accountable.

                Sometimes war is necessary. Having a strong military helps to avoid wars but such a military provides a seemingly irresistible temptation for the executive to use all of those expensive toys.

                Personally I believe we should radically shrink our military and only fight wars to defend our home. Most of the conflicts this country could have been avoided and war must be only used as the last possible resort to defend the country.

                At least our soldiers aren’t used against us, unlike the scum working for the IRS, DEA, FDA…

                1. The fact that they get ill used by political scumbags to kill people for the wrong reasons is our fault for voting in those scumbags and not holding them accountable

                  Bo’s fault, just as I suspected

                  1. To be fair, Bo wasn’t old enough to vote at the time.

          2. Soldiers sign up to fight for their country. It’s not their fault that politicians send them on pointless adventures.

          3. The “institution” that took us to war is the government. It took voters, politicians, bureaucrats, civil servants, officers, soldiers, sailors, marines, contractors, and a lot of capital to wage war.

            The guy who delivers your mail is not singularly responsible for every failure of the USPS any more than Chris Kyle is singularly responsible for every action undertaken by the United States government in pursuit of war.

            Never go full Richman.

            1. Every one of those people who contributed to that institution is open to criticism for the part they played in its actions.

              Nowhere do I claim that soldiers are are singularly responsible for the wars they fight in. But they are responsible for the people they kill and the things they destroy.

              1. But they are responsible for the people they kill and the things they destroy

                Are the responsible for anything positive or is that all your own doing?

              2. To what extent? Is every soldier to be drummed up for murder charges? How exactly, as a soldier on the ground, are you supposed to deal with somebody who wants to kill you?

      2. You do realize that human beings are the ones who make war, don’t you?

        Human beings fight wars, politicians make them.

        1. Human beings fight wars, politicians make them a cluster fuck.

  14. I think this is over thought, but then again

  15. American Sniper is a war-weary movie.”

    Did not read the book or see the movie (and shan’t do either – I don’t need to run through someone else’s memories). But if true – then that is somewhat accurate in light of what I saw and experienced. I was wiped out, drop dead bone weary by the time I would finish 14 months – and saw men who had it worse than me look like weariness made flesh and put in uniform.

  16. Don’t you ever feel even the least bit tempted to try and think about something? Just once?

    I don’t owe you anything. Stop pretending you’re some sort of Professor John, phd, come down from the lofty heightds to educate poor, ignorant unwashed me.

    And you’re right. I’m not a TEAM player. If you find that discomfiting, tough shit.

    1. You are right. You don’t owe me anything. I am just really naive and optimistic and think that perhaps you might have something interesting to say for once.

      I am silly like that sometimes.

  17. You bore me, John. You ooze hatred like rancid hangover sweat. You poison the air.

    1. I have to hand it to you Brooks, that is one hell of an accomplishment on my part. I managed to bore the most boring prick on earth. That is pretty epic, when you think about it.

    2. Yeah Brooks, I ooze hatred and you are just Mr. Happy sunshine yourself.

      1. I think you two just need to get in that tent and break the back of that mountain!

        1. Well Brooks does live in Montana….

          1. *plays “bowchickawowwow” music*

  18. I was a little surprised that people who actually see the film think it was pro-war. I thought it was pro-SEAL, Marine, whatever… and fairly anti-war.

    I was in the first Gulf War and was damn glad we got to fight out in the desert instead of in those shitty cities. What a nightmare.

    1. I think people heard so much about how pro war it was supposed to be, they go in expecting that and see what they want to see.

      1. Any movie like this, people are going to see what they want to see and interpret it in whatever way confirms their pre-conceived biases.

  19. Jesse ignores the explicit message of the film–that the world is divided into “sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs”–very little different from the message of Clint’s earlier films–“the world is divided into pussies, punks, and Dirty Harry.” For a–dare I say it?–better take, go here:

    http://avanneman.tumblr.com/po…..-largely-a

    1. That is because the world is like that. And here is a hint, Vanneman, you are not a sheep dog.

    2. How is that relevant to the discussion?

      1. It’s not, but it gives him an excuse to pimp his blog as if anyone cares, so…

    3. I was just thinking “what does that shallow moron Anal Vanneman think about this?” and voila, here you are to let me know!

    4. What a detestable blogwhore you are, Anal.

    5. Jesse ignores the explicit message of the film–that the world is divided into “sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs”

      That is not “the explicit message of the film.” It is a view passed on to Kyle from his father. As I said, it’s a mistake to assume that Kyle’s worldview is the movie’s worldview.

      I did think about mentioning it, if only because I wanted to call it “a G-rated version of the ‘dicks, pussies, and assholes’ speech in Team America,” but even my digressions have a limit.

      1. That phrase isn’t unique to the movie. I first read it as an excerpt from a book called On Killing by somebody Grossman.

        It has broader implications on how some people in the military view the world, foreign and domestic.

        1. Lt Col Dave Grossman

          http://www.killology.com/bio.htm

          He’s sort of a popular figure in the same vein as Jeff Cooper.

      2. That was definitely Kyle’s world view (though the quote was not taken from the book). It is the world view of someone who joins the military, who puts himself through years of extremely difficult training, and who re-enlists so he can keep fighting.

        But as I mentioned earlier, after Kyle’s death, the screen writer visited Kyle’s wife and made many revisions to the script, taking into account the family’s perspective. So I don’t think sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs was the explicit message of the film.

    6. Alan Vanneman|2.20.15 @ 3:34PM|#
      “Jesse ignores the explicit message of the film–that the world is divided into “sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs”–”

      Hey, Alan! Thanks for a comment every bit as simplistic as we expect from a half-wit!
      If you ever have a comment worth reading, why, you can post it here.
      And then find out it isn’t; you’re really not capable of doing so.

  20. I would like to thank Walker for a second opportunity to discuss this film because I just didn’t get enough the first time around.

    1. +1 Millenial Poll

    2. You should thank Jesse. At least Reason has now published an intelligent article on the movie.

  21. …puttin’ it back on, boss….

  22. What was that fucking crazy Matt Damon movie where he was a Warrant Officer running around finding conspiracies on the eve of the war? As if he wouldn’t have been doing push-ups in a hallway 5 minutes into the movie.

  23. Director Eastwood, meanwhile, is an agnostic who opposed the Iraq war

    Huh. After the Dirty Harry movies, this is like learning that Reagan had a soft spot in his heart for Hinduism.

    A few years ago, Clint Eastwood balanced a movie showing the American perspective on the Battle of Iwo Jima with another picture presenting the Japanese point of view.

    On the basis of those films and the rest of his uneven work, I have a hard time figuring whether Director Eastwood is a talented autodidact or a hack amateur. Not having made a movie before, I suspect that most of being a good director depends on the quality of your producers and staff.

    And the Japanese/Korean remake of Unforgiven is worth watching, even if it loses some of the subtleties of the Peoples script.

    1. I suspect that most of being a good director depends on the quality of your producers and staff.

      Cahiers du cinema haz a sad.

    2. Director Eastwood

      After the Dirty Harry movies

      Acting = Directing?

      Do we take The Dead Pool as Jim Carry’s definitive take on drug-addled rock stars or ad the be-all/end-all of Liam Neeson’s commentary on Hollywood directors?

      1. Clint Eastwood – based on the Sergio classics – obviously was agnostic about the Civil War as well.

        RACIST!

        1. And making two mexes take the barn apart for banquet tables speaks volumes about his stance on immigration.

      2. So…Clint Eastwood was a slave when he was delivering the anti-natural rights dialogue in Dirty Harry?

        I can’t tell when my fellow libertarians are having fun and when they’re being serious. I presume you’re having fun here.

      3. Are actors slaves?

      4. What a shock that Team Red apologists trot out every possible excuse for neocon bullshit. Maybe we should’ve learned to expect no less from mad.casual.

  24. I don’t care how the movie alters facts, what its message is, or whether it is nauseatingly patriotic (or that poster, Jesus). I care that it’s become a tribal signal, and the tribe that has embraced it wants everyone to forget that the Iraq war was sold with lies, that the people they voted for did it, and that they have yet to apologize for that or even acknowledge it, and that this massive fuckup created the shitstorm currently happening in the Middle East. I care that this same tribe is currently, from the comfort of their recliners, throwing a bitch fit because the POTUS won’t validate their Islamophobia. I care that a huge proportion of my countrymen are stupid, uncritical bigots who base their entire political worldview on who they hate and what they can get other people to shoot them with.

    1. cool story

    2. “a tribal signal”

      So sayeth Chief Speaking-Bull-Talking-Points, medicine man for Bluest Tribe in land of Bluethink.

      1. Nothing wrong with belonging to a tribe. Everyone does. It’s what the tribe decides to do with itself that matters.

        1. So your prior point is effectively translated as ‘RED MOVIE!!!! = BAD!!!’

    3. Note how Tony claims to care about a war ‘sold with lies’ but suddenly doesn’t care when Obama is selling his foreign policy on lies about ISIS not being Islamic (ignoring the dozens of other idiotic lies he’s used to back his policies). Funny how Tony arbitrarily ‘cares’ about only very specific things done by specific people.

      Meanwhile, Tony is preparing to lick the boots of a very pro-Iraq War Clinton come 2016. She, of course, should not be held to any kind of standard in Tony’s world.

      Whine harder Tony, your sycophantic nature isn’t getting through enough.

      1. We should just eliminate his kind. They never go away on their own.

      2. Yes, that’s the kind of bitch fit I was talking about.

        The president knows that ISIS members are Muslims. Glad I could clear that up.

    4. Goddamnit just a treasonous piece of shit, aren’t you?

      1. You think we’re better off for having occupied Iraq for no reason? Even if you don’t care about the hundreds of thousands of humans we killed for no reason, usually you morons care about the federal budget at least. Was the cost worth it? Or is maybe Dick Cheney the most treasonous piece of shit to come along in a long while?

    5. You cool that the blue tribe’s likely 2016 POTUS candidate voted for the Iraq Invasion?

      1. Nope. Better than the brother of the guy who actually did the invasion.

      2. We came, we saw, he died.

    6. This “massive shitstorm” is nothing compared to the shitstorms of WWI, WWII, or Vietnam. In fact for us wars are getting safer.

      I digress, my actual point is that this shitstorm did not begin when we invaded Iraq. It began when the last Caliphate fell and some Imams got together and came up with a prophecy. This prophecy states that the Khorasan group will be forged in the wars in Khorasan or the Afghanistan region. They would emerge in a time of turmoil for the Middle East. They would liberate all Muslims and establish a new Caliphate. This in turn would initiate the end of the world according to God’s plan. This was Bin Laden’s vision from the beginning. One of the reasons he was so enthusiastic about fighting in the Ghan was so he could play his part in this self fulfilling prophecy.

      There are those in the Muslim world who have been waiting for their chance to fulfill this prophecy.

    7. I care that this same tribe is currently, from the comfort of their recliners, throwing a bitch fit because the POTUS won’t validate their Islamophobia.

      I throw a bitch fit from the comfort of my recliner because I originally voted for POTUS to end this madness, and instead Obama has turned out to be a bigger war monger and liar than Bush.

      I care that a huge proportion of my countrymen are stupid, uncritical bigots who base their entire political worldview on who they hate

      Well, you are a prime example of this, and idiots and bigots like you exist in abundance in both parties.

  25. I was wondering why the number of comments was so high (248 and counting). Then I scrolled down and saw that it go Bo-tarded in the middle of the thread.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQZ3urQKoYY

    1. I’m sure much wisdom was shared

      1. Something was shared, not sure if I’d call it wisdom htough.

  26. I’m really confused by the reaction to this film. In no way could this be construed as a pro-war film. Not even close.

    This is an anti-war film that delivers its anti-war message by showing what war does to those who fight it. By taking a “war hero” as the protagonist and showing that even a super-hero warrior comes home seriously damaged, Clint makes his point powerfully. It is a pretty deft bit of film-making to present a war-hero film in a format that we are familiar with and will easily accept while actually making a movie about how hard it is to come back home.

    This is squarely aimed at today’s hawks who are pro-military and pro intervention – folks like Hilary Clinton and Jeb Bush and, well, pretty much all of the politicians on the national scene.

  27. Sounds like a plan to me dude. WOw.

    http://www.AnonWeb.cf

  28. Chris Kyle is a convicted liar.

  29. This movie was hard to watch. A cold-blooded American killer hid and killed women, children, and untrained citizens with antique rifles. Americans were the invading savages. Mr. Kyle did not protect the United States; -whatsoever. Mr Kyle was addicted to killing those he deemed savages. The child who picked up the RPG and struggled to play with it and maybe try to shoot it was the only scene that implied any shading of the conscience normal humans should ALL have. This “savage” child could barely lift the weapon and was a threat to none but himself? Where were the invading “savages” this child endangered?

    This movie let conscientious American’s see themselves as the invading savages and killers “we” ALL were.

    hero : a person who is admired for great or brave acts or fine qualities : a person who is greatly admired

    I do not admire Mr. Kyle or consider him the tiniest bit brave. I feel only pity for Mr. Kyle’s family and the other American “savages” who were killed during this forced regime change. American’s were tricked into believe this U.S. aggression protected the United States. NOT! This aggression made the U.S. much, much less safe. This movie revealed this “war” to be nothing beyond a forced regime change that turned into a crime.

    1. Why do you feel the need to comment when you haven’t read or responded to any of the other comments?

    2. Nice dead Thread-fuck attempt.

    3. Savage makes simplistic comment; Sevo not impressed.
      Pretty much self-righteous twiddle, right, savage?

  30. I’m kind of new here, so I didn’t really understand the anti-Boism. Then I saw this thread. Fuck me running, even the Jesuits would be ashamed of this sort of lame casuistry.

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  34. To Bo and any others hanging shit on the U.S. military–go serve a hitch, even a 2 year hitch, and then come back and talk shit.

    I know this will open me up to abuse to the keyboard warriors amongst us, but to have you hang shit on the military and try to compare them to civil service employees is deeply offensive.

    How are they different? I’ll tell you how they’re different. They’re young, mostly late teens and 20s. And if they fuck up mildly, their boss can take their freedom for 3 mos on his signature alone, along with 1/3 of their pay for 3 mos. How about your lawyer gig Bo?

    Competent? Hell ya they’re competent. Left alone to do their jobs, our military will DESTROY any other fighting force on the planet. Our military is the envy of the entire world. It’s the politicians who screw things up with pansy ass ROE and nation building. The military is a tool (not in the pejorative sense) of the idiot politicians who wield it. Don’t like the military missions? Get new politicians.

  35. Part 2 because the first part was too long:

    How about day to day life in the absence of war? They typically march off into the woods (or go to sea) for months at a time to train for war. To be strong, efficient, and deadly so other nations think twice before they screw with us. Think of that–3 months at a time, sleeeping in the woods, not getting a proper shower, eating MREs frequently and not seeing their families.

    Until you’ve done the equivalent, you can kiss my wrinkled white ass. Fuck you and fuck everyone else who thinks like you.

  36. Is the politics/meaning of Kyle’s “It’s [this war] not what I expected” after shooting a woman and kid elusive?

    What I see is that Kyle joined up to protect the USA, and found it wasn’t what he expected. Was the woman and child forced to take up arms, or were they protecting their way of life? Perhaps they were paid by Saddam Hussein’s government, and wanted that back. After shooting a womand and kid, Kyle might question the war. I sure would. But Kyle doesn’t, and instead follows orders as he agreed to do when he signed up.

    The politics of the war eludes Kyle, perhaps because once he joined, it didn’t make any difference to him. And all he could do was protect our soldiers. I thank him for protecting our soldiers. I wish he’d consider the politics, but then, he’d be second guessing a decision he already made, and might make him wish he questioned the politics before he joined.

  37. http://www.fms.treas.gov/fr/13…..t-2013.pdf

    Page 6 (40).

    Welfare and Warfare are connected at the hip.

    I really don’t like the USPS, but my mailman is a pretty nice guy.

    See?

  38. I have no problem with the military in general. But anybody who signed up for the wars in the last 30 years is a bloody fool; they have nothing to do with defense or security.

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