The enormous popularity of Chris Kyle’s memoir and the movie based on it shows that many Americans are still unwilling to face the truth of what happened in the Iraq War. This war was not about “fighting terrorists”, but about invading a country in order to control its resources. Unless and until people are willing to acknowledge this, they will not be able to make sense of this country’s recent history. Unfortunately, many people prefer a Hollywood fantasy about soldiers fighting “savages” to the truth.
The Iraq War was based on bluster and self-delusion. It is only fitting then, that its most famous hero was a liar and a braggart. The many stories Kyle made up suggest that he may have had difficulty distinguishing fantasy from reality, which would make him very typical of our times.
A few days ago Michael Moore tweeted:
- My uncle killed by sniper in WW2. We were taught snipers were cowards. Will shoot u in the back. Snipers aren’t heroes. And invaders r worse
Moore’s remark was clearly aimed at Kyle, but when he was pressed on the matter, he became coy, changing the subject by saying that he liked Clint Eastwood’s film about Kyle. (“Costumes, hair, makeup superb!” Well, now you know what Michael Moore looks for in a movie.)
Moore has always had a thing about cowardice. You may recall that he spent much of the 2000’s trying to prove that George W. Bush had gone AWOL from the Texas Air National Guard. This was a matter of grave concern to Moore as well as to many other liberals at the time. These people seemed to have suddenly forgotten that the Vietnam War was both immoral and unpopular. They thrilled to John Kerry’s Vietnam War stories of derring-do. If you ask me, Bush’s avoidance of serving in Vietnam actually speaks well of him. (It is the only thing that speaks well for him.)
Whether it’s John Kerry or Chris Kyle, heroism in the service of an immoral war is not something to be proud of.