The movie American Sniper was released last weekend and brought in more than one hundred million dollars through the box office. Predictably, Hollywood has fueled the controversy around the movie by selectively misquoting Michael Moore. Equally predictably, rednecks everywhere have jumped on Michael Moore’s comments as well as those of Seth Rogen. One particularly small-minded country music singer named Craig Morgan tweeted that Seth Rogen should leave the country because of his comments, clearly demonstrating that even some veterans have no clue what they were fighting for. All of these manufactured controversies are little more than sideline arguments that distract us from the real question. Is it ever a good thing to kill another human being? Our answer has to be “no.” The fact that Chris Kyle, the real human being behind the lead character in this movie, harbored a deep-seated racism and celebrated with an almost orgasmic glee the killing of his targets should be something that makes every thinking and feeling person pause. Perhaps Gen. Tommy Franks said it best several years ago when he said that there are many jobs in the military, some of which require a thick neck and a certain amount of asocial behavior. That fact alone should be enough to make us all work for the end of war. If we’re going to work for the end of war, then we need to stop celebrating the worst of it in the movies.
Of course there will be those who say that my comments constitute failing to support the troops. If you believe that, perhaps I could suggest a course in remedial English. There is nothing about desiring the end of war that constitutes a lack of respect for those who have served our country, unless by “lack of respect” you mean wishing that old men and women would stop sending young men and women to die in war. It is to me a curious use of the word respect when one defines respect as promoting the needless destruction of young lives and young families.