In review: American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History by Chris Kyle, Scott McEwen, and Jim DeFelice. HarperCollins Publisher, 2012.
In American Sniper Chris Kyle comes across as a boor. He is more than a little racist and a border-line war criminal. My three-year-old son is capable of a higher level of moral reasoning and complex thought than Kyle is.
Kyle’s cavalier and crass attitude towards the Iraqis does little to convince me that America’s soldiers are making the world safer. If foreigners take his attitude as emblematic of the American ethos, it is no wonder half the world hates us.
Kyle’s vicious and juvenile behavior towards his fellow American citizens is offensive and reprehensible. For example, he claims that he was trained to hot-wire cars by the CIA. His final test was boosting a civilian’s car, joyriding around in it, and returning it unnoticed. On another occasion he and his fellow SEALs demolish several cars in a parking lot. He constantly assaults those he doesn’t find worthy of respect. Chris Kyle was a violent troglodyte who used the mantle of “patriotism” to sanctify his evil impulses. As do all fascists.
Contrary to popular opinion, Kyle was not an honorable man. No honorable man unabashedly lists his priorities in this order: “God. Country. Family.” Country before family -again, that’s fascism. He attempts to modify his priorities (slightly) near the end of the book, but his effort feels half-hearted.
Furthermore, there is no literary merit to this book. I listened to the audiobook and the narrator’s affectation of a Texas drawl is inane. Is it coincidental that the narrator pronounces “Saddam” as “Sodom”? The book’s only use would be to a cultural historian trying to understand the psychology of red-state fascism in the early 21st century.
American Sniper is fascist propaganda and conservatives should disavow it. Americans need to have a serious debate concerning the justice and prudence of the Iraq War. We do not need to mindlessly celebrate a soldier who refuses to analyze the situation, claiming he was only doing his job. Since when did we throw out Nuremberg?