Chris Kyle, Warts and All: American Sniper AND American Hero
Watching American Sniper this weekend (at a 10:15 PM showing that was SOLD OUT) did not make me want to run out and join the Navy to become a SEAL sniper. It did not make me think Chris Kyle was a saint, infallible, or Superman. Nothing in this movie glorified this man's job during the Iraq war. Indeed, I am convinced more than ever that I want no part of walking 10 feet in Chris Kyle's boots or any other SEAL, Marine, or soldier's boots.
What it did do is make me thank God that there are still men like Chris Kyle and so many others willing to make incredible sacrifices for me and my family and every American family. People they will never know or meet. I was able to spend the weekend doing some neglected chores around the house and running a veritable bicycle gang around the neighborhood with all six of the Adams family members on two wheels (not counting some training wheels). We looked like a fearsome lot and the neighbors might be nervous.
In other words, I spent the weekend enjoying the blessings of freedom and liberty.
American Sniper, directed by Clint Eastwood, and starring Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle tells the story (with some Hollywood embellishments) of the deadliest sniper in American history and his four tours of duty in Iraq. It is a very personal story about Chris and his wife's struggles to deal with his voluntary deployments and the toll they took on their young family. To be sure, Chris was an exceptional warrior and that is a key part of the story. But, the family struggle is something that many thousands of American servicemen and women go through. I am not sure we have seen a war movie that dealt so up close and personal with those hardships in such an intimate way (We Were Soldiers, comes to mind).
There is an effort afoot to try to tear down Chris Kyle. He was apparently fond of some tall tales (but not when it came to the 160 confirmed kills he made in Iraq defending American and Iraqi soldiers). Some are offended that he referred to the enemy he fought in Iraq as "savages." I cannot think of a better term.
At the end of the day, I will grant anyone that Chris Kyle was a politically incorrect, stretcher of the truth. He was also a killer. I don't know about you, but I do not want my SEALs to come any other way. We damn sure need more men like Chris Kyle. We need more "sheep dogs" as Chris's dad puts it in the movie. Because, this world is filled with wolves and much much worse.
American Sniper is good movie. Chris Kyle was a great man, warts and all. American hero? Absolutely.