Dennis Jett, a professor of international affairs at Penn State University, took time out of his busy schedule recently to pontificate from his cushy, Ivory Tower vantage point on “American Sniper” Chris Kyle.
He admits he did not see the movie, but writes in The New Republic the film makes a “straightforward situation more complex than it is.” Essentially he argues, as the title of his piece suggests, “The Real ‘American Sniper’ Had No Remorse About the Iraqis He Killed.”
But the film portrays how complex, confusing, stressful, horrific and gut-wrenching war is, not only from the warrior’s standpoint, but for the wife and kids at home, too.
Nevertheless, Jett bloviates:
… Bradley Cooper, who plays Kyle, seems beset by uncertainty and moral anxiety in the above scene. But anyone who has read Kyle’s autobiography of the same title knows that his bravado left no room for doubt. For him, the enemy are savages and despicably evil. His only regret is that he didn’t kill more. He laments that there were rules of engagement, or ROE, which he describes as being drafted by lawyers to protect generals from politicians. He argues instead for letting warriors loose to fight wars without their hands tied behind their backs. At another point, he boasts that the unofficial ROE were pretty simple: “If you see anyone from about sixteen to sixty-five and they’re male, shoot ‘em. Kill every male you see.”
That kind of thinking, compared to Kyle’s portrayal by Eastwood, prompted Lindy West to write an article for The Guardian asking, “The real American Sniper was a hate-filled killer. Why are simplistic patriots treating him as a hero?” One answer to that question: Because many Americans are unable to accept that nothing was won in Iraq, and that the sacrifices Kyle and others made were not worth it. More fundamentally, treating Kyle as a patriot and ignoring any other possibility allows Americans to ignore the consequences of invading a country that had no weapons of mass destruction, had nothing to do with 9/11, and had no meaningful ties to Al Qaeda (our invasion, of course, changed that). …
Ironically, it is Jett who is guilty of making a “straightforward situation more complex than it is.” Kyle was an American hero who served his country honorably and saved lives.
We can debate until we are blue in the face about going to war in Iraq – but as Kyle pointed out in the movie: Would you rather radical Islamists come to New York or San Diego to wage their war?
Not only that, Kyle was out there saving American lives, but Jett tries to throw him under the bus as some sort of bloodthirsty killer. That is not the case.
“American Sniper” is a movie that tells the story of the emotional journey of our service men and women who go to war, and it isn’t pretty, and it leaves them at best scarred and at worst dead.
But leftist elitists can’t help but portray it in a light that paints America and the military as the aggressors that get what they deserve.
Jett’s comments remind me of the Charlie Hebdo killers’ sympathizers – who said the satirists had it coming for making fun of Mohammad. Meanwhile, guys like Kyle are out there risking their lives – and dying – to protect Jett’s right to say it.
Jennifer Kabbany is editor of The College Fix (@JenniferKabbany)