Unfriendly Fire - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Unfriendly Fire

Hollywood produces an endless stream of decadent and objectionable movies. Few of those generate any outrage on the Left. Often they inspire praise and spirited defenses. Clint Eastwood’s pro-euthanasia movie Million Dollar Baby won an Academy Award for best picture and best director. Eastwood was hailed for his “thoughtful” and “humane” treatment of a difficult subject.

But members of the Left feel less enthusiasm for his latest film, American Sniper. The Dr. Kevorkians can win their sympathy but not snipers, whom filmmaker Michael Moore calls cowards who “shoot people in the back.”

The Left reserves its moral anguish not for the killing of the unborn or the enfeebled but for the killing of terrorists and criminals, which Eastwood’s new film has the audacity to celebrate. There is no evidence that the film’s subject, the Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, targeted any innocent people, but that doesn’t stop the Left from viewing him dimly. That he killed an estimated 160 terrorists is suspicious enough. He is a “psychopath patriot,” say Moore and Bill Maher.

Making him even less sympathetic is that Kyle didn’t repent of his sniping. If he had regarded himself as a war criminal, he might have been worthy of a movie in the Left’s estimation. But he saw himself as a Christian who was doing his duty: “…when God confronts me with my sins, I do not believe any of the kills I had during the war will be among them. Everyone I shot was evil. I had good cause on every shot. They all deserved to die.”

The Left sees psychopathy in his killing of terrorists but not in its pacifism. Letting murderous thugs kill innocent people and American soldiers is somehow morally superior to stopping them.

To Moore and Maher, it is psychopathy to kill terrorists, and to Howard Dean, it is psychopathy to applaud those who do. Dr. Dean diagnoses the popularity of the film as evidence of a troubling “anger” in the American people: “There’s a lot of anger in this country, and the people who go see this movie are people who are very angry. And this guy basically says ‘I’m going to fight on your side.’…I bet you if you looked at a cross-section of the Tea Party and the people who go to see this movie, there’s a lot of intersection.”

The Left treats normal patriotism as evidence of neurosis. Its hostility to the public’s embrace of this movie is similar to its tut-tutting of the pro-American chants after the killing of Bin Laden. It was “disturbing” that Americans felt pride in their country after their worst enemy had been captured and killed. It never occurs to leftists that such criticisms, which contain a neurotic sympathy for America’s enemies, might be a little off.

The true psychopathy lies in the insistence that terrorists are misguided minorities provoked into a defense of their country by a “fascist” America. Eastwood is faulted for making a movie without sufficient ambiguity, which basically means that the Left wants the category of “bad guys” to include American soldiers.

According to Moore, they are “invaders.” So they may even be worse than the bad guys in Eastwood’s film.

After Eastwood’s Dirty Harry appeared in the 1970s, leftists protested, saying that “Dirty Harry is a rotten pig.” Their feelings toward Kyle might not reach that level, but they are getting there. They view America as a Dirty Harry on the world stage, taking justice into its own hands.

The popularity of the Dirty Harry movies annoyed the Left to no end. Benighted Americans were rewarding Eastwood for his “neofascist approach to social unrest.” The success of American Sniper revives this resentment toward Eastwood. Now he is “glorifying” a fascist approach to terrorism, which, according to Noam Chomsky, makes America worse than the terrorists. America, says Chomsky, is engaged in the “most extreme terrorist campaign of modern history.”

The Left is upset that Eastwood isn’t speaking to empty chairs anymore but full ones, and that what is drawing Americans to them isn’t a display of avant-garde morality but traditional heroism. At a time when Hollywood is celebrating transgender performances, he had the gall to make a movie about brave soldiers and exploit the audience’s appetite for justice against terrorists. Of all the appetites Hollywood seeks to exploit, that apparently is the lowest, according to the Left. It would prefer Eastwood stick to euthanized female boxers.

George Neumayr
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George Neumayr, a senior editor at The American Spectator, is author most recently of The Biden Deception: Moderate, Opportunist, or the Democrats' Crypto-Socialist?
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