American Cowboys grow up to be snipers
I chose to delay seeing the movie American Sniper until after I had read the book.
Chris Kyle starts his autobiography by recounting his first kill in Iraq. It was a woman with a grenade; after shooting her down in the street to protect the advancing troops, he calls her evil.
What if the circumstances had been reversed and America had been invaded by a Mid-Eastern illegitimate force. Would not any NRA card carrying female come out to fight in her hometown?
Chris Kyle was a Texas cowboy raised to use guns and enjoyed the challenge of rodeo riding and bar fighting. He was perfect for the Navy BUD/S school and passed the rigorous training for sharpshooter.
When the twin towers fell, everyone in the military seemed eager for some “payback”.
The cowboy in the White House sent the redneck cowboy sniper to Iraq full of anticipation on getting some of that “payback”, never mind that Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with the attack on 9/11, and was too poor to have any great hidden stock of “weapons of mass destruction”.
When his time was up in the war, and he had to rotate home, he became depressed, and could hardly wait until he was back in the thick of the action.
He claimed that his priorities were God, Family and Country. His long suffering wife states that he had the last two reversed, and there was quite a bit of tension at his always wanting to leave his family to get back to war. He felt he was obligated to “protect” his fellow combatants, and that he was falling down on his patriotic duty if he could not get back to them.
His attitude was that he did not fight for democracy in Iraq. His words” I don’t give a flying fuck about Iraq”. I am there for my buddies.
He claimed to be a patriot, and a Christian referring to his church going as a young man. He seemed to get the heavenly father mixed up with his earthly father, and admits that he deserved the belt strappings as a rebellious child.
His worship transferred to the Big Cowboy who sent him to war, and settled down to thoroughly enjoy his job.
The reason that we laud his efforts and give him the title of the “Most Lethal Sniper” in U.S. Military History is that each shot he took against his targets was documented and witnessed. It seems like God’s commandment of “Thou shalt Not Kill” did not apply in wartime, and there were rules that had to be followed to make a sniper into a legal executioner and not a murderer. He did refrain from shooting children when they were sent out in the open to retrieve a weapon from a fallen “insurgent”.
The children were probably proud to help out their tribe, and like rock throwing Palestinians, earned the praise from the elders.
Chris Kyle was not in the war to understand why he was fighting. He took his government’s word that it was a good fight, and never had any self- doubts about going in and clearing out fanatics who would give their own lives for their cause.
He was glad to put another notch on his gun, and had a fondness for all his equipment.
In his story, he made more than a half dozen statements about how he enjoyed killing. He only wished he could have killed more
The aftermath of his career was text book. At home he could not be awakened suddenly. He fought with wife and at bars with strangers. Counseling was offered and he did get his emotions under control.
His choice of business was of course dealing with training others in the use of guns.
At the end of his story he talks a lot about his clean conscience. He says that he did not believe that any of the kills that he had during the war would be counted as sins.
To quote him directly,” Everyone I shot was evil. I had good cause on every one. They all deserved to die”.
His personal payback came in the form of a mentally disturbed vet that turned his weapon on Kyle and a friend while they were at a shooting range.
Did this killer think that he was saving the world from a sniper? Who knows, but the Biblical maxim seems to apply here.
“Live by the sword, die by the sword”.