It was two years ago today that Chris Kyle, who survived four tours of duty in Iraq, was killed by a fellow soldier he was trying to help. Yesterday, I joined the millions of Americans who have made the pilgrimage to movie theaters to watch American Sniper. Like most of those millions who saw it before me, it was something I won’t soon forget.
After watching American Sniper, I could not help but think of the visceral reaction against Chris Kyle by public figures on the Left since the release of American Sniper and its resonance with the public. Michael Moore called Kyle a “coward,” Bill Maher described him as a “psychopath patriot,” while NBC reporter Ayman Mohyeldin accused Kyle of having “racist tendencies” and further asserted that Kyle went on a “killing spree.”
Chris Kyle is dead and cannot defend himself. So let me say a few words on his behalf. What’s cowardly or psychopathic about protecting one’s fellow soldiers? And weren’t some of the soldiers that Kyle was protecting African-American, Latino, and Asian? As for going on a killing spree, I defy Mohyeldin to prove that Kyle killed any unarmed Iraqi civilian merely going about their business. The people that Kyle killed were those bent on killing American soldiers. But I suppose we shouldn’t be too shocked to see Michael Moore defend these terrorists. It was Moore who said in April 2004, “The Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not ‘insurgents’ or ‘terrorists’ or ‘The Enemy.’ They are the REVOLUTION, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow — and they will win.” So, of course, Moore despises Kyle for having killed so many of these so-called “Minutemen.”
But if Moore, Maher, and Mohyeldin felt such deep animus towards Kyle then why didn’t they see fit to criticize him when he was still alive? Moore and Maher in particular were well-known critics of the War in Iraq. Surely they could have made their exceptions to Kyle known after American Sniper had been released in hard cover in January 2012. So why didn’t they? Call it cowardice. Perhaps they were afraid of being socked in the jaw. Also by the time Kyle had released his autobiography, the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq had just been completed and the Left’s priority was getting Barack Obama re-elected, complete with Maher spending $1 million towards that effort.
Then there was former Vermont Governor and DNC Chair Howard Dean’s comment during his appearance with Maher. Not content to pillory Kyle, Dean instead went after the movie’s audience. Dean said, “There’s a lot of anger in this country, and the people who go see this movie are people who are very angry.” He went on to say, “I bet you if you looked at the cross-section of the tea party and people who see this movie there’s a lot of intersection.” Now it’s true that Dean would apologize for those comments, but let us remember that this is the same man who in 2011 called the Tea Party “the last gasp of the generation that has trouble with diversity.” Can there be any doubt that Dean meant every word he said about the people who bought tickets to see American Sniper?
After watching American Sniper I also thought about the news that Bowe Bergdahl was going to be tried for desertion, a story the Pentagon emphatically denied. At the time of Bergdahl’s release, Maher criticized the outrage over the deal claiming that conservatives were only mad because Obama had done it and that the release of five “bearded assholes” wouldn’t make any difference. Yet it makes all the difference in the world. Whereas Kyle saved countless soldiers during his time in Iraq, six soldiers in Afghanistan would die looking for Bergdahl. UN Susan Rice would later claim that Bergdahl “served with honor and distinction.” Under the circumstances, it is not unreasonable to ask Moore, Maher, Mohyeldin and Dean if they concur with the UN Ambassador.
Now I would be remiss if I didn’t mention First Lady Michelle Obama’s remarks about American Sniper during an appearance with Bradley Cooper (who played Kyle in American Sniper) last Friday:
Just look at the latest box office numbers. The number-one movie in America right now is a complex, emotional depiction of a veteran and his family. And I had a chance to see “American Sniper” this week on that long flight we took — (laughter) — and while I know there have been critics, I felt that, more often than not, this film touches on many of the emotions and experiences that I’ve heard firsthand from military families over these past few years.
Now, I’m not going to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t seen it, but this movie reflects those wrenching stories that I’ve heard — the complex journeys that our men and women in uniform endure. The complicated moral decisions they are tasked with every day. The stresses of balancing love of family with a love of country. And the challenges of transitioning back home to their next mission in life.
I’ll give The First Lady this much. She gave Academy voters the space necessary to vote for American Sniper as Best Picture without feeling any liberal guilt. She also neither said anything demeaning about Kyle nor the audiences that have come to see American Sniper. The same cannot be said for Moore, Maher, Mohyeldin and Dean. But….
Although Michelle Obama praised American Sniper, she did not praise Chris Kyle nor his exemplary service in Iraq. Does she, like her husband, think the War in Iraq was “a dumb war”? Are the Obamas more apt to praise Bowe Bergdahl for “serving with honor and distinction” in Afghanistan (the so-called “good war”) than Chris Kyle for “serving with honor and distinction” in Iraq? Could this be the reason that the Bergdahl family got a Rose Garden ceremony while the Kyle family didn’t get so much as a phone call unlike Sandra Fluke.
Perhaps we will see Michelle Obama on Oscar night once again, this time to present the Best Picture trophy to American Sniper. If American Sniper is, as she argues, about “the complicated moral decisions they are tasked with every day,” then a case can be made that no soldier in American history was faced with more “complicated moral decisions” than Chris Kyle. If Michelle Obama ends up bestowing American Sniper with the Best Picture Oscar, then why can’t President Obama bestow Chris Kyle with the Medal of Honor?