American Sniper’ – What Do Iraqis Think?


The Sniper must not be susceptible to emotions such as anxiety and remorse. Craig Roberts, Crosshairs on the Kill Zone: American Combat Snipers, Vietnam through Operation Iraqi Freedom

The movie ‘American Sniper’ has been a box office hit in the U.S. since it opened on Christmas Day 2014, but what do Iraqi’s think of it? You may be very surprised!


Much to the dismay of Hollywood elites, who believe that unless it involves Nazis and WWII, the only American war story worth telling is one of futility. That no one in Hollywood, except Clint Eastwood, would touch this story should not surprise any of us. Unless the script includes soldiers who have come to the conclusion that their broken bodies and disturbed souls were squandered for a lie, that they fought for nothing or worse, that they were the problem and the enemy with whom they engaged were the true noble heroes just defending their turf, it is a story not worth telling.

The tycoons of the American hate machine called Hollywood, certainly want nothing to do with a storyline that features an uncomplicated, decent man who thought of himself as a “sheepdog,” a “protector.” A character who is grounded in traditional American values of God, country and family has no place in the world of Hollywood deception. Nor do they want such an individual lauded and set up as any kind of example for younger men and women to emulate.

Even Alex Jones chimes in with an opinion that the whole project is just another exercise in Pentagon propaganda and suggests that Clint Eastwood must be getting senile for having had anything to do with it. Then he goes on to make some outrageous claims about the death of Pat Tillman and charges the U.S. Army guilty of exploiting the story of Jessica Lynch as a Rambo GI Jane, which may have some validity to it. However, he goes too far when he accuses her of cowering in the vehicle, while the others fought for their lives. Lynch was hurt and unable to move! I like Alex Jones, because sometimes he does put out some good leads, but everything he delivers must be cross checked by other reliable sources, because I often find his work to be a mixed bag of ideas and assumptions.  So with regard to his denunciation of the way that the character of Chris Kyle as portrayed in the movie is false, I will let Maya Elbaum, widow of Marc Lee set the record straight in the video below.

Why is this film making such a powerful emotional impact on most of the American people, as well as the citizens of Iraq?  Perhaps, it is because Eastwood hits hard on the grey areas,  as well as the black and white of armed conflict that make war such a muddy and violent mess. Instead of the general war movie cliché, that Hollywood likes to serve up with what appears to be the slick gravy of authenticity but soon devolves into a tale of soldiers who don’t know what they are fighting for and just want to go home but can’t, Eastwood delivers a savory dish of a mom and apple pie kind of guy, a rodeo cowboy, who knew that he could do more with his life than bust broncos. Chris Kyle was no Achilles, he did not return to Iraq three more times to earn glory by adding more notches to his gun, but to protect the men and women that he fought with. That he may have referred to the enemy as “savages” gets no argument from me. What else would you call someone who jams a child’s ear with a hand drill? How about the man/bastard who sent his wife and child out to throw an RPG at the American tank moving down the street? Yet, regardless of the facts that surround each case of Kyle’s documented kills that justified his actions, such a judgement call can still shred the soul. 

The sniper is someone trained to bury his/her emotions because empathy can condemn others to die. War is all about dehumanizing other human beings. Sometimes that is very easy and sometimes it is very hard to do. Eastwood boldly explores some of the dark rooms of moral and psychological distress that challenge the sniper. What would any of us do in similar circumstances?  Even though the objective is well defined and even though the terms of engagement are clearly met, duty can still suck!

‘American Sniper’ is packing theaters in Bagdad. In fact, the film played to sold-out theaters in the first week. Moreover, it was so popular that Iraqis had to book their tickets in advance. Gaith Mohammed, a 20-ish young Iraqi was interviewed by Susannah George for the “Global Post,” and had this to say about the film,

When the sniper (Chris Kyle) hesitated to shoot the child holding the RPG, everyone was yelling ‘Just shoot him!’

The young man admits that some scenes were hard for him to watch, because he lived in Bagdad during the events depicted, but he liked the movie anyway. When asked if he thought the film was racist or anti-Arab, a charge made by some critics in the West, he replied,

No, why? The sniper was killing terrorists, the only thing that bothered me was when he said he didn’t know anything about the Quran!

This response reveals a down to earth understanding of what American troops faced in Iraq, as well as unfamiliarity with a world beyond the scope of the “Quran.” Mohammed’s solution to “shoot the child” without hesitation says much about a war that for the Iraqi people remains ongoing. Furthermore, his ability to understand that bad things happen and racism has nothing to do with it, is telling. Such insight spoils the flavor of the stew that Marxist race baiters like to spit in the pot to serve the USA up as hopelessly race oriented against non-white peoples.  Even so the Mansour Mall, an upscale theater in Baghdad, pulled the movie after its first week because, 

The hero of this film boasts of killing more than 160 Muslims. 

I saw the movie and do not remember such a statement spoken, but I could be wrong. Guess that I will just have to see it again! Even so, fear of reprisals from ISIS, which now operates out of northern Iraq, may be the real motivating factor here. It does make sense, ISIS would love to slaughter as many people as possible and a packed movie theater would do the job very nicely. Therefore, watching this movie in the safety of home with trusted family and friends has already inspired numerous pirated CDs and under the circumstances, I would probably do the same, sorry Clint.

On the other hand, not all those interviewed had positive things to say about the movie, or Chris Kyle. One Iraqi government employee expressed joy that the movie was pulled because, he thought it portrayed Muslims in a negative light. As for Chris Kyle,  

bloodthirsty, like all the American troops!

Ok, it is unrealistic to think that heroes for some will be loved by everybody. Yet, the man admitted to having watched the the movie three more times, at home. 

So why is this film registering with so much emotional power among many American, as well as Iraqi people? 

I suggest that this is not just a pendulum swing back to old fashioned patriotism, but a ground swell raising from Americans both Conservative and Liberal, who want to take our country back from the progressive forces of Marxist globalism and the growing threat of Islamo-fascism that Barack Obama refuses to call by name. Barry Soetoro’s gig as President of the United States has opened the eyes of many, who can now better understand just how far we have fallen and this makes those who want to “transform” us into their sick nightmare, crazy. Then there is the very real concern of low morale among our military members since Barack Obama ascended to the throne. Never in our history has our military had to endure such a Commander in Chief! Never in our history has such a complete fraud been allowed to continue, but finally ‘Black Privilege’ has bloomed from the sideshow classes of Academia and deep into the culture through our media of which Hollywood has made many contributions over the years and here we are! Puking our guts out over the direction in which this nation is headed. Like Chris Kyle, we all need to take aim and make sure that the bullets of our next votes hit the desired target.  As for the Iraqis, it is good that they understand the sacrifices made by all coalition forces (not just Americans) who tried to help them win a new nation from the nasty grip of Saddam Hussein, but the Iraqis desperately need heroes of their own!

Perhaps our biggest problem in Iraq has been a total lack of understanding with regard to the social and cultural institutions of semitic peoples. The Western mind did not expect warring factions like the Shia Mahdi Army, led by crazed cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, to attack it’s coalition forces that had sacrificed so much to liberate them. Add religion to the picture and the problems increase. So what of Israel, are they not Semites? Yes they are, but after 2,000 years of diaspora throughout regions far removed from their ancient origins, their unity is now fed from vast storage reserves of great knowledge and insight. The people of Israel have the ability to embrace productive ideas that were conceived far beyond their present borders. Israelis can adjust to changing circumstances yet keep the sacred core of their historical identity. Israel is unique to this region and a boil on the ass of Islam.

In conclusion, I suggest that the real reason why ‘American Sniper’ is so popular in Bagdad, is because the citizens of Bagdad are still living in the reality of the war they see in Chris Kyle’s story. The luxury of reviewing the war through the far removed lens of elitist Academia, is for the next generation to exercise, but for now, they cannot afford to rest. ISIS is a vile threat that the people of Iraq must still face and in doing so, they may have to get over some of their old prejudices. Muslims may have to fight alongside Christians and Kurds if they want to defend their land and protect their families. Good grief, even female Kurds are fighting! So if the men of Iraq can gain a little insight from another warrior, a “sheepdog” a “protector” from a land far away who returned over and over again to do what he could, then the film is helpful, because for them the threat remains great.

I love watching war movies because, especially now, they give me the strength to face ISIS. Gaith Mohammed, 28 Jan. 2015, Global Post

Update to the original article.  As in life Marc Lee was portrayed in ‘American Sniper’ as a team mate of and friend to Chris Kyle. Loved by all members of the team, the film specifically examines the impact of his tragic death on Kyle and though she credits the story as “spot on” with it’s portrayal of  Chris and Taya Kyle, Lee’s widow Maya Elbaum wants to set the record straight about her late husband’s legacy.  At this time, I supply her with space to do just that.  

On this revelation, I commend this lady for publicly clearing the record, so that Marc Lee’s memory among those who knew and served with him is not grotesquely distorted by a well meaning but flawed artistic license.  Elbaum’s complaint that the character of her late husband has been sullied by a mistaken and inaccurate depiction based on a letter he wrote that was taken out of context, deserves to be heard and set right. Her assertion that Marc Lee never questioned the nature of his mission and remained steadfast in his devotion to the brotherhood to which he belonged, is surely welcome news to those who might have been disturbed by such an inaccurate portrayal, as well as those who never knew him, but should be properly introduced to the man who had no questions about the right of the fight to which he was assigned. 

U.S. Navy SEALs Badge

The letter to which Maya Elbaum refers can be found here.

When this congressional investigation on Benghazi is over, wouldn’t it be nice if Clint Eastwood, would assimilate all facts revealed and make it into another blockbuster! No need for artistic license with this story, because the truth is brazen enough. Perhaps James Woods can play a part?

Shall we ask him?

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Here’s what moviegoers in Baghdad think of ‘American Sniper

‘American Sniper’ portrayal hides the real Marc Lee