Let’s be honest, Islamic State (IS) militants and Chris Kyle, the US soldier portrayed by Bradley Cooper in the new movie American Sniper, share strikingly similar characteristics. The list of connections includes a love for killing a high number of people, a conviction that those they are killing are evil, an obsession with God, prophets, and guns, and the belief that racism and murdering makes a man out to be some kind of hero or martyr.
The “hero” depicted in American Sniper murdered 150 people – some women and children – in Iraq, an occupied country that experienced a crime against humanity at the hands of money-hungry war mongers. The movie, as author Max Blumenthal mentioned on Twitter, shows that he killed four Iraqi children. Blumenthal sarcastically adds that “Two were ‘terrorists.’ One was [a] son of a ‘terrorist.’ The fourth was tortured to death.” For some Americans, the sniper was just doing his job of “protecting America.” These people typically argue that all Iraqi children are inevitably terrorists simply because they were born in Iraq and into the Islamic faith. Americans, however, rarely acknowledge that Iraqis had nothing to do with 9/11 and everything to do with corporations, alongside their banking allies, pillaging Iraq for profit.
Those who defend American Sniper are likely unaware of the fact that the US government installed Saddam Hussein into power in Iraq through a terrorist campaign. For years, Washington politicians called Saddam a “moderate” leader and even gave him diplomatic, material, and intelligence support. Washington’s Blog nails the hammer on the head in stating that the US state is quick to abandon its humanitarian adventures and partake in the worst kind of crimes if it provides the elite power holders in American society a strategic political and financial advantage.
The sniper, ironically, had a lucrative book deal upon his arrival back in the US. In the book, he regularly used the term “God” to justify his actions and referred to Iraqis resisting the invasion as “savages.” He was, in essence, a “Christian jihadi,” who appeared to think of himself as some type of “holy warrior” saving the world from “barbarism.”
American Sniper, as a Fox News film critic put it, is for “simplistic patriots.” Twitter is already loaded with statements from these “patriots” saying things like “If you don’t like American Sniper, you’re a terrorist.” These kind of comments exist because people have been brainwashed by US state-run propaganda. Other ridiculous comments on Twitter include: “American Sniper made me want to run outside with a flag on my back and go kill a terrorist and listen to Tim McGraw.” Obsession with a piece of cloth, hatred of Muslims, and country music. Is this what American has become? It reminds me of an IS militant holding the black flag, hating non-Muslims, and forbidding music from society altogether. What’s the difference?
The main character portrayed in American Sniper is not a hero, but rather an indoctrinated “Christian jihadi” with American roots who defended racist neo-colonialism. He did not defend freedom or the stars and stripes, but rather he killed for the transnational companies and elite businessmen who invaded and pillaged Iraq of all her beauty and resources.
The psyche of the American sniper is not entirely his own fault, as he, like many other US soldiers, was conditioned to believe that Iraqis actually posed a threat to the US and that the US was engaged in an existential battle against Muslims worldwide. Prior to his departure, the sniper was fed American-style propaganda that brands Muslims as terrorists and heightens fear against Islam. He was told that America means freedom and that killing other “non-freedom” loving people was the best thing that he could do for his country. This is a truly maddening and sick mentality and not very different from the education of IS militants in a different context.
There is little doubt that I will be labeled “un-American” for these thoughts. Perhaps I will be placed on some “terrorist” watch list. To be honest, it does not matter because it must be said that American Sniper glorifies US state terrorism.
The time is ripe to have an honest debate about our double standards when it comes to defining “terrorism.” Whether we like to admit it or not, the American sniper is our terrorist, a raged-filled killer bent on murder and war.
Sounds a bit like the Islamic State to me.