The book, co-authored by Scott McEwen and Jim DeFelice, is just about as hackneyed and cliched as it can be. If you've ever read Lance Armstrong's first book It's Not About the Bike, you're familiar with the author recounting in infinite detail just how good he was at everything he did. Mr. Kyle shines the light firmly on himself.
If you've ever seen Full Metal Jacket or The Boys from Company C then you can already guess the manner in which Mr. Kyle covers his basic training for the Navy at for the SEALS. He then spends an inordinate amount of time throughout the book regaling us of stories of bar fights and brutal hazing rituals. In Mr. Kyle's world, a SEAL is but a drunk sailor with a temper. No fight is ever the fault of Mr. Kyle or his fellow SEALS - but neither do Mr. Kyle nor his mates seem to understand how to walk away from a barfight.
He then takes us into Iraq and the world of the sniper. Mr. Kyle fought in Baghdad, Fallujah, Ramadi and Sadr City and he paints a visceral picture of what that world looked like to him. Of course he never questions the mission. His job, as he defines it, was to kill the savages that opposed the U.S. Those he killed weren't human - they were animals. There is no concern about their families or the war-ravaged land in which they lived. On the other hand, there is tragedy any time an American is killed or wounded.
The killing didn't seem to bother Mr. Kyle - except for the teenager he shot to death who was carrying an AK-47. The emotional effects of that killing led him to an early exit from Iraq due to health concerns. But his conflict about the shooting seemed to be more about his reaction to killing a teenager than the fact that a child was killed in a senseless war.
As the Marines came in, a teenager, I'd guess about fifteen, sixteen, appeared on the street and squared up with an AK-47 to fire at them.
I dropped him.
A minute or two later, an Iraqi woman came running up, saw him on the ground, and tore off her clothes. She was obviously his mother.
I'd see the families of the insurgents display their grief, tear off clothes, even rub the blood on themselves. if you loved them, I thought, you should have kept them away from the war.That is the callousness that seeing death on a daily basis brings about. This is what we create when we send our young people around the world to carry guns and kill people with whom we disagree. War should not be looked at as an admirable thing. War should be looked at as our failure to act in a responsible manner. Sending our youth to face death and the mind-altering effects of war is despicable.
Mr. Kyle sums up his attitude toward the mission as such:
But I didn't risk my life to bring democracy to Iraq. I risked my life for my buddies, to protect my friends and fellow countrymen. I went to war for my country, not Iraq. My country sent me out there so that bullshit wouldn't make its way back to our shores.
I never once fought for the Iraqis. I could give a flying fuck about them.Looking at the aftermath of most places the U.S. has gotten involved in since World War II, that seems to be the attitude of the people in charge as well.
"The pseudo-courage of Chris Kyle," Pro Liberate (2/5/2012)
(Special H/T. to Mark Bennett for the link)