America has always been a proud country. During times of war we wave our flag and vow to do whatever it takes to protect our nation from anyone who wants to take away our so-called freedom. And in the name of this freedom we invaded Iraq and Afghanistan, taking advantage of the anger and sorrow left in 9/11’s wake. Now, director Clint Eastwood rewrites history in his film “American Sniper,” in an, I’ll admit, successful attempt to spread patriotism and convince us that going to war was a good idea because we’re killing the “bad guys”, the “savages”. He saw the story of former Navy Seal sniper Chris Kyle having the most confirmed kills as a testament to the effectiveness and strength of our troops.
To his credit, Eastwood has created a gripping and emotionally-charged tale of a soldier in the Iraq War that is, according to The Guardian, set to be the highest-grossing war movie of all time. Bradley Cooper makes a complete transformation in his amazing performance as the troubled soldier and Chris Kyle. That’s the problem with “American Sniper”. It is so effective at portraying the Iraqis as evil that it becomes propaganda for the American offensive. It turns Kyle into a hero, justifying him killing over 160 people, including women and children. In his autobiography, Kyle even bragged about his kills calling it “fun” and saying, “I hate the damn savages…I couldn’t give a flying f**k about the Iraqis.” Eastwood ignores Kyle’s blatant racism and portrays him a strong soldier, devoted to both his family and country. A man who would hesitate before pulling the trigger on a woman and her small child despite the fact that they were carrying a bomb.
“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,” wrote Kyle in his autobiography. Though the film addresses this bold statement, Eastwood completely twists his words with Kyle instead explaining to the naval doctor, “The thing that haunts me is all the guys I couldn’t save”. The idea portrayed in the film is that Kyle was motivated by a desire to protect his “guys” and every life he took was to save one of his fellow soldiers’. In reality, his views came across as seeing all Iraqis as the “bad guys” and truly believing that they were evil Muslims trying to kill good Christian Americans.
Kyle’s need to protect his country from these “terrorists” is way off base. The US invaded Iraq under very vague pretenses, the Iraqi people are only trying to defend their home just as we claim to be doing, yet they are persecuted and perceived as the enemy.
“American Sniper”’s skillful direction, exceptional performance from Bradley Cooper, and even Oscar best picture nomination don’t make up for it’s nauseatingly patriotic message and false representation of the most lethal sniper in US Military history.