Thursday August 13, 2015
Last January the movie American Sniper was breaking box-office records and generating a national debate over the nature of war and how the movie depicts war. The movie revolved around Chris Kyle, a real-life US soldier who had four tours in Iraq as a sniper and, in the process, set a record for the number of people killed by a US sniper.
The Left criticized the movie for glorifying war and for celebrating Kyle’s heroics. Clint Eastwood, who directed the movie and who is a conservative, responded that the movie made “the biggest anti-war statement any film” can make.
Both the Left and the Right, however, miss the central issue with respect to Iraq, one that I believe is the principal reason that Kyle and so many other American troops came back from the war psychologically disturbed: In this conflict, the United States was the aggressor nation and Iraq was the defending nation.
Why is that important? Because it means that US soldiers, including Kyle, had no right, morally or legally, to kill even one Iraqi. It means that the soldiers who did kill Iraqis did so wrongfully. It means they murdered them. And murder is not something anyone should be glorifying or celebrating.