Op-Eds Opinions

American Sniper: Where’s The Humanity?

[Zachary Martell] [Staff Writer]

“But I wondered, how would I feel about killing someone? Now I know. It’s no big deal.” These are the words found in Chris Kyle’s memoir of the Iraq War, recently adapted into the blockbuster film, American Sniper. Over the past few weeks the media has focused a on Chris Kyle, a former Navy Seal scout sniper who has been deemed the most lethal sniper in history. His estimated kill count is close to 300 insurgents. The conservative right has praised him for his heroic actions. Many liberals have condemned him as a bigot and psychopath. In some aspects both sides are right, but the over-simplified glorification of violence and war, not to mention the way Kyle viewed the conflict itself, is disgusting. Truly, Kyle was a guardian angel to hundreds of soldiers. He shot and killed many who had no regard for human life. He made sure that 18 and 19 year old sons made it back safely to their loving families. He did so however at the cost of his humanity and the lives of many Iraqis. Glorifying his actions in an unrepentant memoir and action-packed movie make matters worse. He viewed Iraqis as a savage people- “the bad guys”- and his only regret was that “he didn’t kill more.” He depicts the Iraq War as a holy war against evil. In light of our celebration of Martin Luther King, he is the epitome of everything King fought against. His life was defined by mindless machine-like killing. Never did he admit regret for those who died. Maybe he doesn’t owe any apologies. His sacrifice stands in stark contrast to the irreparable damage that he caused. His legacy preserves the hatred and killing that continues to destroy the Middle East. Taking another life is a “big deal.” When we stop viewing death through sniper scopes and high definition movie screens, maybe our country can begin to come to terms with the humanity of all people? Iraqis as well as Americans.

About the author

Zachary Martell