Top 15 messages in Clint Eastwood's anti-war masterpiece "American Sniper"

Top 15 messages in Clint Eastwood's anti-war masterpiece "American Sniper"

I just watched "American Sniper. " I learned so much about manliness, honor, and love…

[And no, I didn't pay to see it. They were showing it free at McDonald's so it wasn't a torrent download.]

1. The war in Iraq was about fighting evil.

2. All the people killed by U.S. troops were America-hating bad guys (and women and children).

3. If you question the war, or war in general, you open the door to defeat. (The one soldier who questions the war, very briefly, dies, and Kyle explains his lack of faith in the mission killed him.)

4. No history or context for a war is necessary. What's important is that you are not a pussy and that you protect and get "revenge" for your buddies. (Revenge for being killed after invading a country and carrying out a war that killed roughly 2 million people, if you count the sanctions leading up to it, most of whom were civilians--albeit evil America-hating ones.)

5. Women, and people at home don't get it, so shut up and just worship the heroes that our soldiers are.

6. Chris Kyle was a kind, sensitive man who loved humanity and America and who only fought to protect the innocent from evil (like sheepdogs do). If he didn't do it, pussies and surrender monkeys would allow for terrorists to invade "San Diego and New York."

7. Terrorism stems from the inherent evil of Muslims and other weird brown peoples of the Middle East, not from the legacy of colonialism and Imperialism in the Middle East over the last century and beyond.

8. In the Iraq War, "they started it" by bombing embassies and carrying out the 9/11 attacks, which were totally unprovoked, cuz evil.

9. Falluja was totally evacuated, and anyone who was still there was an evil America-hating terrorist. (Never mind the U.S. use of banned phosphorus and cluster munitions, or that Falluja was a case of mass civilian slaughter that outraged the civilized world. See Dahr Jamail's reporting from Falluja as it happened.)

10. War is always about emotion, heroism, doing the right thing, and courage, and has nothing to do with stupid boring history, politics, or the global economic system that necessitates wars.

11. Iraqis tend to be sadistic, and they tortured people. We're shown this in the movie. They deserved to be killed. Someone had to stop them to protect the few good Iraqis, whom we don't see in the film. (You can tell they're evil by the way they keep trying to kill people invading their country.)

12. Iraqi snipers are evil and smile when they kill. American snipers kill to protect buddies and destroy evil, but feel conflicted about it, being so much more human.

13. PTSD is caused by the brutality of evil Iraqis and the way people at home, pussies, women, especially well-meaning but stupid and selfish wives, and others, don't get how all soldiers are heroes. It has nothing to do with being sent to murder millions of people for capitalism.

14. War is fought not to take land, resources, or control labor, but to protect American buddies, even when you are the invader and aggressor.

15. War is good and the American people need to keep fighting good wars and doing the right thing. If you don't get it you're not one of us.

Thank you Chris Kyle for each and every one of your 161 kills, and the black people, I mean looters, you said you killed in New Orleans.

Comments

Juan Conatz
Feb 1 2015 05:38

I love this. Its crazy the amount of revisionism that this movie has triggered

Steven.
Feb 1 2015 11:38

Hey, this was good so have moved it to the news section. Cheers!

wojtek
Feb 1 2015 16:33

Am I still allowed to have poster of Seth Rogan on my wall after his comments? He was touted as a freedom loving patriot a month ago, now he's banned from obscure steak houses.

Devrim
Feb 1 2015 21:11

I'm sort of curious about this. I really wonder how it's going to play in the Middle East. I know its out in Lebanon already, as a friend went to see it, but it doesn't open here until 20th February.

I wonder how it will go down.

Devrim

AES
Feb 1 2015 22:40

I'm guessing that the film producers will have inaccurate (different) subtitles/dubbing into other languages, especially in countries where the films revisionism of war is known to many and more apparent. Either that or it won't be watched where it is offensive.

Devrim
Feb 2 2015 07:09

I haven't watched it, but I've heard this is a really racist film, which is why I'm interested to see how it goes down here in the Middle East.

In general, AES, the cinema is subtitled not dubbed with children's films being the main exception. You can't alter the subtitles too much because some people at least will notice.

Devrim

fierman
Feb 2 2015 12:50

A spoiler here, so no need to waste 1.5 hours of your time watching this hollywood crap:

The movie is based on the life of Chris Kyle (Cooper), a Navy Seal sniper nicknamed The Legend. He was credited with over 160 kills over 1000 days and 4 deployments after 9/11. The movie focuses on his ability to balance his wife and 2 children, and his feelings of responsibility to save his brothers in arms.

Several of his friends are killed by an enemy sniper, and after he finally kills Mustafa, the notorious enemy sniper, he quits the military and returns to his family, but is unable to adapt to civilian life, suffering from PTSD.

He finds therapy in helping wounded veterans by taking them to the shooting range.

He finally finds peace with his life and family, but is shot and killed by a Marine Veteran he is attempting to help.

Steven.
Feb 2 2015 15:33
noclass wrote:
Capitalists convert parts of the working class to soldiers and cops to maintain their mastery over workers life. Clint Eastwood is a capitalist and work for his class, do not expect much. Kyle was brainwashed by educational system and media to love this war. If we stop brainwashing machines around the world of capitalism, we can save people like Kyle and those who he have killed. I do not say if I was in his situation I would not do what he has done, but I need to say that we need to do something that I won't be in his situation.

it's not a straightforward as that, he wasn't an ordinary soldier he was a murderous psychopath and a racist, who also boasted about murdering lots of other people: hence the reference in the text above to the Katrina survivors he claims to have killed. Which is not mentioned in this film, funnily enough…

Steven.
Feb 2 2015 21:19

On a related note, a good article by another US Army sniper who served in Iraq here, who has very different views on his service to Kyle:
http://www.salon.com/2015/02/01/i_was_an_american_sniper_and_chris_kyle%E2%80%99s_war_was_not_my_war/

boozemonarchy
Feb 2 2015 21:36
noclass wrote:
Capitalists convert parts of the working class to soldiers and cops to maintain their mastery over workers life. Clint Eastwood is a capitalist and work for his class, do not expect much. Kyle was brainwashed by educational system and media to love this war. If we stop brainwashing machines around the world of capitalism, we can save people like Kyle and those who he have killed. I do not say if I was in his situation I would not do what he has done, but I need to say that we need to do something that I won't be in his situation.

I think the whole "brainwash" thing doesn't really give people enough credit and isn't an accurate representation of the people involved in institutional violence (Kyle, all the cops, others). While I fully recognize the extent of psychological fucked-upedness that happens in boot-camps and other military-like environments, I can't help but suspect that some people, who get their kicks by engaging in extreme anti-social behavior, are simply attracted to these institutions in the first place and hardly need the encouragement of "brainwashing" in order to be down with the program.

As long as the institution is there, I'm afraid that some people will be irrevocably attracted to the seemingly endless opportunities for anti-social behavior they provide as well as the nominal impunity they afford.

boozemonarchy
Feb 3 2015 16:13

I guess I just take exception to the "brainwashing" thing. To me, its a very specific type of psychological abuse. To call propaganda dissemination like American Sniper as part of a brainwashing program just seems hyperbolic.

Chilli Sauce
Feb 3 2015 22:08

Yeah. I find "ideological reproduction" - in itself not a perfect term - a far better description of this sort of thing.

br0wne
Feb 4 2015 22:01

This all seems a bit one sided to me... I didn't think Chris Kyle was likeable at all in the film as a person, but what was obvious was that he was a good sniper (shooting wise!), which he was... This is what the film is about. It isn't about the Iraq war. It is about a certain psychology which comes out in war.
Anti Arab, capitalist propaganda is quite frankly ridiculous. It'd be as ridiculous to say "enemy at the gates" is communist propaganda.

bastarx
Feb 5 2015 00:57

No doubt he was a good sniper. He had the technical skill to shoot people from a long distance and more importantly the psychological ability (probably psychopathy, helped by massive doses of reactionary ideology) to keep doing so.

Now fuck off you fascistic troll.

Khawaga
Feb 5 2015 01:22
Quote:
It'd be as ridiculous to say "enemy at the gates" is communist propaganda.

If it came out during the Second World War, then yes, it would've been Soviet propaganda. Difference between that movie and American Psycho... I mean Sniper, is that the latter comes out when there is still a war.

And yeah, what bastarx said.

br0wne
Feb 5 2015 19:55

Wow, You two and the rest of people like you should probably stop going to the cinema eh?

Bastarx. That's exactly right, that's what i said. The point is that is what the films about.
Do you honestly believe that most people watch this film and think he is a hero? if you do its because the media, after the fact is pointing the cameras at the most reactionary patriotic people, and then reactionaries like you go off on one on your moral high horse thinking everyone else is stupid.... And then the film gets more viewers.

Waga, again, I didn't say he was a nice person, I'm not condoning war I'm defending action films and war films and the ability of audiences to be able to think for themselves...
Chris Kyle may or may not have been psychopathic, probably was, but neither of us know that. He obviously killed a lot of people which is tragic (again.....).
Also I can see your point with what I said about enemy at the gates- but you're cutting it with a blunt knife.

Carry on preaching comrades... Down with freedom of the subject! Down with realism!

Khawaga
Feb 5 2015 20:35

Obviously you're not capable of reading anything but the so-called overt meaning of the film. There is a subtext and you can do what is termed a symptomatic reading (basically reading for what is not there; this often speaks volumes about the movie is really about). Reading American Sniper symptomatically reveals a lot about the political posittion of its creators.

Having said that, clearly I don't believe that everyone that watches the movie will come to the same interpretation as you (or me). The audience has agency, but clearly there are a lot of people that think he's a hero, and believe that arabs are vermin scum that needs to be eradicated (just look at some tweets and social media postings in the wake of the movie). So what you're accusing us of (moral high horse, everyone is stupid; your words btw) you're just as guilty of as us.

And I actually love war movies (even the action-based ones), and I am perfectly capable of understanding how the audience can come to its own conclusion (point of fact; I am actually teaching a course on the audience, media effects and how different audiences will interpret cultural products depending on their specific contexts).

But why do you think that such a movie has gotten uncharacteristically high US box office (plus $300 million last I checked)? Just a good movie, or does it say something about the stories Americans want to hear about the was in Iraq, where the US were heroes and all the Arabs were terrorists? Again, not saying that people aren't seeing it purely because they find it entertaining or whatever, but completely discounting the context is just silly.

Tyrion
Feb 6 2015 03:08
br0wne wrote:
Carry on preaching comrades... Down with freedom of the subject!

Libcom on the road to fascism.

boozemonarchy
Feb 6 2015 03:45
noclass wrote:
Chomsky uses: indoctrination. Whatever, ... the point is that their ideological machine works every second like their factories.

Understood. Sorry for the semantic-side-track, years of hanging around anarchoids calling even moderately shitty things fascism has got me in a grump I guess smile

boomerang
Feb 6 2015 05:49

Excellent post. Also, since when does McDonalds show movies?

fidel gastro
Feb 6 2015 08:25

Great post but kinda depressing that it's a popular film, heard some guy in the street the other day telling someone what an exellent film it is. People are so dumb and horrible it makes me wonder if the revolution ever has a chance.

fidel gastro
Feb 6 2015 08:37
boozemonarchy
Feb 6 2015 12:33
red and black riot wrote:
Great post but kinda depressing that it's a popular film, heard some guy in the street the other day telling someone what an exellent film it is. People are so dumb and horrible it makes me wonder if the revolution ever has a chance.

I get the attitude, shits frustrating. I'd like to say something hopeful like "its darkest before the dawn" but I don't think that accurately captures what happens in revolutionary situations. Blaming the current situation on "people being shit" is an easy way to surrender our own agency and dodge responsibility.

jef costello
Feb 6 2015 21:39

[quote=br0wne

Waga, again, I didn't say he was a nice person, I'm not condoning war I'm defending action films and war films and the ability of audiences to be able to think for themselves...
Chris Kyle may or may not have been psychopathic, probably was, but neither of us know that. He obviously killed a lot of people which is tragic (again.....).
Also I can see your point with what I said about enemy at the gates- but you're cutting it with a blunt knife.

Carry on preaching comrades... Down with freedom of the subject! Down with realism!

Well if all the film boils down to is a psychopath killing people then we can lump it in with other slasher movies and forget it. If there's no attempt to examine any of the reasons etc. then you're just enjoying a guy killing people.

Incidentaly I think Motupu has hit the nail on the head with this idea of solidarity amongst troops, and with the troops as a way of shutting down any real thought.

Good guys protect their friends so as long as we stick together we're always the good guys!

A bit like the massively deluded British belief in fair play.

br0wne
Feb 7 2015 17:53

Contemporary film polarises opinion and therefore makes a lot of money. It's doubtful it'd make anyone want to join the army or want to support the war.
So.... Does it deserve an oscar for best editing??

Khawaga
Feb 7 2015 18:05
Quote:
It's doubtful it'd make anyone want to join the army or want to support the war

Really? War movies in general are propaganda for the armed forces, it's the reason why the US Army often let movie studios use their equipment. It is basically "product placement". The army see it as advertising, indeed use war movies as a recruitment tool. Sure, then we're not talking about just one war movie, but a lot of them that glorify war and the US military. And clearly, some people (but not all) will join because of watching a lot of war movies, some will support war. Saying that the audience is completely immune from what movies tell us is just as silly as saying that the audience is completely passive.

Whether it deserves an Oscar for best editing? Maybe. But it'll likely win a lot of Oscars precisely because of its simple jingoistic storyline.

br0wne
Feb 7 2015 20:52

It seems to me if you follow that line of reasoning to the end you'd be saying... "Drama should have peaceful protagonists only", The point of drama is to have a representation of a story and to show development of character. American sniper is obviously very one sided, it treats Iraqi civilians as minor characters. Their lives and their deaths are not a major part of the films story. And the film is, because of this, loaded because it's based on a true story.

But In most films with action there are minor characters who die... Seen that bit in Austin Powers where it cuts to the friends of a guard mourning his death in a bar? Despite the fact that American sniper deals with a real conflict with real lives would it be a better film if it included a subplot for example about the family of an Iraqi insurgent who Chris Kyle killed? Maybe it would but maybe not.

I should say I didn't see until just now the sign off about Chris Kyle killing 'looters' in New Orleans after the hurricane. And I hadn't heard of that before. He's either a psycho or a compulsive liar or both for sure..

I thought the film was interesting. I wouldn't have spent a tenner though. I'd have battle of Algiers any day. Anyone who says anything I've said is fascist can fuck off frankly.

Khawaga
Feb 7 2015 21:17

I'm really questioning your reading comprehension now; or you are just interpreting my comments in the least generous way as possible.

dumb br0wne wrote:
It seems to me if you follow that line of reasoning to the end you'd be saying... "Drama should have peaceful protagonists only",

What had I just commented:

Khawaga wrote:
And I actually love war movies (even the action-based ones

So clearly I am rather fond of very violent protagonist. And it's very cute that you try to be condescending; you're clutching at straws. I really am not getting what your point is. I've said that the audience is relatively active, but still you go on insisting that I somehow believe that the audience is incapable of thinking for themselves (even though their thinking will, as is the case with all of us, be determined by the society they grew up in). But recognizing that, means recognizing that propaganda does have effect, in particular if it alredy matched up with your worldview.

And tbh, I really have no clue what you're trying to argue at this point. Arguing for the sake of it or not losing "face"?

br0wne
Feb 7 2015 22:39

Dumb br0wne is too cute and condescending I can't stand it!

If you're confused I'll recap what I'm saying.

If you like this film it doesn't make you a fascist. The film was produced to make money. I think (but I don't have any figures to back me up..) that this film, as a piece of political propaganda is quite poor. more likely, the producers were just interested in Chris Kyles character and decided a film about him would sell, which it is. I think you're overblowing this films power of persuasion, although I'm not saying it has none.

What I'm confused about is where do you draw your line? What's a good action film and what level of propaganda are you willing to enjoy before it all becomes too dangerous? Is it when it has an American flag on the cover?

boozemonarchy
Feb 8 2015 01:20

Fucksakes brOwne, the OP is a look at the messages within the film and its useful to identify them in any media, also interesting. You seem to be towing this bizarre line that American Sniper is existing in a state of pure entertainment bliss completely separated from its social context. Further, nobobdy, least of all Khawaga, is towing the frothing-at-the-mouth line that this film is like "the most dangerous shit ever" or what ever the fuck you're going on about in the above post. You give me the impression of the contrarian in Philosophy 101 who won't shut the fuck up.