SEAL sniper killed—not exactly an eulogy

PATRICE GREANVILLE

chrisKyle-SEALsniper
Kyle: “No regrets”.

Like most of today’s Death Star troopers serving the American juggernaut, Chris Kyle, “America’s deadliest sniper,” never understood what he was doing overseas. Soaked from the cradle in the chauvinist Texas cultural DNA, he was thoroughly indoctrinated to believe in all the dense mythologies comprising the self-righteous national  propaganda canon, especially as it relates to foreign adventures (er, I mean crusades) to save the world or protect the homeland, no questions asked.

Obviously a gun enthusiast, war lover, upright Christian, G.W. Bush supporter, and a committed hunter, he was proud of his skill as a precision killer, and morally undisturbed by his mission in Iraq and elsewhere. Macho to caricature dimensions, by his own reckoning he killed upwards of 160 people, perhaps more. His first kill was a woman cradling a toddler, supposedly about to toss a grenade into a nest of Marines. Apparently the incident never haunted Kyle too much. Suffering from serious empathy deficiency and zero political knowledge, it never occurred to him that a mother with a toddler and a grenade only occur under very desperate circumstances, when a citizens’ irregular and vastly outgunned army is forced to repel a superpower’s mighty invading force. Wars are ugly by definition but colonialist wars even more so, since the disproportion in firepower is beyond grotesque.  Such things never bothered Kyle, either, a poster boy for wingnuts everywhere.

Yes, he was a “natural warrior”—the sort of specimen that the ruling orders have cultivated and adulated down the ages. They use such massively ignorant yet narrowly skilled people for their own ends. Now Kyle is dead, victim of a bizarre incident probably triggered by PTSD (see below). Karmic justice? Maybe. If you believe such notions. The sad thing is that he will never know what he really contributed to. Not that such clarity would have arrived for sure if he had lived longer. Still, it would have been nice to see Kyle struggling with his conscience after he finally figured it all out. Too bad that ingested propaganda (especially when moored in a conservative upbringing) is a very hard thing to overcome.

Kyle is now being remembered as a hero, but in reality he belongs to a much more morally equivocal category, those legions who serve evil as a result of misguided patriotism. Many (you know who) will argue he was brave and loyal “to his country.” But bravery is no excuse, as the hundreds of thousands who died fighting in an SS uniform ought to reminds us.  And “loyalty to country” —always an ethically slippery construct— cannot apply to  wars of aggression waged behind a curtain of lies. That much was settled by the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal and later ratified by the United Nations and the US Congress.

One thing now seems certain. With America’s military involvements around the world extending into the indefinite future, with a wobbly economy that offers little solace to a growing sector of the lower (and middle) middle class, with a constant demand for well-trained, dull-witted killers, Dante’s Seventh Ring will surely become a pretty crowded place before long.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Media and political observer Patrice Greanville is The Greanville Post’s founding editor.

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Chris Kyle, America’s deadliest sniper, offered no regrets
By Alan Duke, CNN

CNN) — Chris Kyle had no regrets about any of the 160 people he killed as a Navy SEAL sniper during his five combat tours in Iraq. His first kill was a woman who cradled a toddler with one hand and held a grenade in the other. “I had to do it to protect the Marines,” Kyle told Time magazine a year ago. “You want to lose your own guys, or would you rather take one of them out?”

Standing 6 feet, 2 inches tall and weighing a muscular 220 pounds, Kyle developed a deadly reputation in Iraq, prompting insurgents to put a bounty on his head, according to his autobiography. “I’m a better husband and father than I was a killer,” he told Time. “I’m pretty comfortable with not having to kill anyone. Now, don’t take deer hunting away from me.”

When Kyle’s military career ended after a decade, he joined other former SEALs to start Craft International, a security company with the motto “Despite what your momma told you, Violence does solve problems.”

Friend: Kyle ‘a guardian of Marines’ SEAL: Insurgents knew how to identify me Former Navy SEAL killed at gun range Timeline of events in Navy SEAL death
He also became a best-selling author, a reality TV personality, a supporter of fellow vets suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome, an avid hunter and an outspoken opponent of gun control.

Kyle, 38, was shot to death Saturday — by a former Marine, police say — while shooting for fun on a Texas gun range. Another veteran was also fatally shot.
A west Texas native, Kyle studied agriculture at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas, after graduating from high school in 1992. He left college after two years to work as a ranch hand until he joined the Navy in 1999.

He left the Navy as a chief petty officer in 2009 with a chest full of medals, including two Silver Stars and five Bronze Stars, according to his service record released by the Pentagon.

It was another distinction accumulated during Kyle’s five tours of Iraq that has brought him the most attention. He wrote about it in a best-selling book published a year ago, titled “American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History.”

Although the military does not release such statistics, the book claimed Kyle had 160 confirmed combat kills from a distance of up to 2,100 yards. He holds the record for a U.S. military sniper, previously set at 93 by Marine sniper Carlos Hathcock during the Vietnam war.

Kyle seemed humble during a guest appearance to promote his book on TBS’ “Conan” last year.

“I had more kills, but that doesn’t mean I’m better than (Hathcock) is,” Kyle said. “I was just put into a position where I had more opportunities. I definitely cheated. I used a ballistic computer that tells me everything to do. So, I was just a monkey on a gun.”
He showed O’Brien a sense of humor when talking about the $80,000 bounty placed on his head by Iraqi insurgents. “I was worried about my wife coming home, because I thought my wife would turn me in,” he joked.

Kyle modestly acknowledged to the Time interviewer that he was “decent” at killing.
“The first time killing someone, you’re not even sure you can do it,” he said. “You think you can, but you never know until you actually are put in that position and you do it. … And then, you’re worried when you get home, are the politicians going to hang you out to dry and put you on trial for murder?”

Did he regret any of his 160 kills? “No, not at all,” he told Time.

Kyle’s opinion of the American public’s ability to understand war was poor.
“For the most part, the public is very soft, you live in a dream world,” he said. “You have no idea what goes on the other side of the world, the harsh realities of what these people are doing to themselves and then to our guys. There are certain things that need to be done to take care of them.”

His combat persona, though, could be turned on and off, he said. “You’re a little more aggressive when you’re at work and when you come home, you relax and try to be the different person,” he said.

Kyle helped established the FITCO Cares foundation, a charity that helps U.S. war vets “who have survived combat but are still fighting to survive post-traumatic stress disorder,” the group’s website said.

Life back home was a challenge for Kyle, who acknowledged that he turned to alcohol for comfort at one point. “After I was discharged from the military, it was difficult trying to become a civilian,” he told a lawyer during a deposition for a lawsuit last November.
“You’re in a combat zone one day,” he said. “You come home, and then you have to readjust, and it takes a few days. We just sit in the house, hang with the family and then things get better. But it’s simple things of trash blowing across the road, reminded of an (improvised explosive device), you might want to swerve. So that’s why you just stay at home.”

Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura filed a lawsuit last year accusing Kyle of defaming him in the book by exaggerating his description of a fight between the two at the wake for SEAL Mikey Monsoor, who was killed in Iraq in 2006.

The book quoted Ventura, also a Navy veteran, as saying he “hates America” and telling Kyle, who was mourning the death of a SEAL teammate, “You deserve to lose a few.” Kyle described punching Ventura out at the Coronado, California, bar.

In the suit, Ventura denied making the statements in the book, contending that “the entire story about a confrontation with and physical assault and battery of Governor Ventura was false and defamatory.”

At his deposition last November, Kyle continued to insist his book accurately described his clash with Ventura.

“He was complaining about the war, that we shouldn’t be there,” Kyle testified. “Complaining about Bush, that, you know, Bush was a war criminal. How we were killing innocent men and women and children overseas.”

Kyle acknowledged in his deposition saying that he hated Ventura “with a passion.”
His relationship with another politician was warmer. His company did some security work for former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, whom he met while on the “Stars Earn Stripes” reality TV show with her husband, Todd.

“Chris was a wonderful man, a good friend, and a true American hero who loved our country and served honorably. He was loved and admired by so many, and he will never be forgotten,” the Palins said in a statement Sunday.

Much of Kyle’s time since leaving the military was spent building Craft International, which offers military training for law enforcement and provides security services.
His company also organizes “civilian and corporate shoots” at gun ranges, he said. “It is only fun day shoots, self-defense, or weapons familiarization,” he said.

In a Guns.com interview at a gun dealers convention in Las Vegas last month, Kyle was asked about President Barack Obama’s gun control proposals, which he said he believed to be aimed at “trying to ban everything.”

Banning 30-round magazines for assault rifles would be “opening the door to start taking more of our rights,” he said.

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NOTE: A number of readers, among them, Kurt B, posted thoughtful replies to this article on OpedNews. I have provided a tentative reply to Kurt in the below comment, and invite him to respond further, if he should like to do so, free of space limits. Everyone stands to win by enlightened dialog about these urgent topics. —The author.

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2 comments on “SEAL sniper killed—not exactly an eulogy

  1. THANKS EVERYONE FOR YOUR COMMENTS. Much appreciated.

    THESE LINES ARE CHIEFLY IN REPLY TO KURT B., who responded to this article on OpedNews.

    He says:

    KurtB
    The true enemy
    We have no business executing resistors in the Middle East whether it is done with Chris Kyle’s sniper rifle or Barrack Obama’s drones.

    To those appalled at the thought of shooting a mother holding a baby, were you equally appalled when an agent of your government did the same thing to Vickie Weaver at Ruby Ridge as she held her infant daughter but no grenade?

    It’s time to stop the demonization of “Right-wingers’ and see the true enemy: those who control the apparatus of government both Left and right.

    Kurt, I understand your feelings and sense of rage. What happened to Vicky Weaver should not have happened, other methods should have been employed to reach a civilized settlement to that standoff.

    But, let’s face the facts. The US is now a mess. And there is no way to get out of this stalemate in policy because the country is deeply split between irreconcilable factions.

    There are three distinct factions:The right, which, however it wants to see itself, or be seen, always manages to side with the corporate powers that be, in other words, the owning class, the superrich.

    Then there’s what passes in America for the Left, that is “the liberals.”. (More on that below). The right and the pseudo left are about matched in social power and numbers. And then there’s the real left, which is next to invisible, tiny in numbers, its powerlessness inflicted by the establishment’s total victory in the media.propaganda wars. The establishment, much noise to the contrary, comprises both the right and the liberals. Keep that in mind.

    The right and ultra-right, with a very upside down view of history and reality, are bathed in the mental rot of religion, and wholly supportive of “American exceptionalism”—that is imperialist approaches to foreign policy (and authoritarian measures at home, too). These people, who constitute at least half of the population of America specialize in shooting themselves in the foot when it comes to defending their own interest or that of America at large. (Check out, What’s Wrong with Kansas?).

    Knee-jerk “patriots” —mostly middle and lower middle class with little property to their names invariably support tough-talking rightwing politicians like George Bush, Cheney and total scum like Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe, and their ilk who govern the country on behalf of the plutocracy. They care little and understand less about environmental problems, now reaching catastrophic proportions around the world. This crowd ends up giving their time, muscle and money to the plutocracy (government of the rich, by the rich and for the rich) that is really the problem we all face.

    These people gladly support big government when it comes to throwing obscene amounts of money into the bottomless corrupt military-industrial well, but —in the misguided and heavily propagandized notion of “proud self-sufficiency” and strong rugged individualism, oppose any policies that would support aid to the weak, the poor, the unemployed—in other words “the losers” in this lottery type of society we call capitalism (“free enterprise”). Libertarians to the marrow, they also oppose (as did the Obama liberals) any policies that would make this nation more egalitarian and civilized, like having a single payer healthcare system. This obviously hurts them, in many cases ruins them, but no matter. They support whatever nonsense they hear from Fox News and other precincts of rightwing propaganda denouncing “commie” approaches top social organization. This leaves us, among other things, in the hands of the worst possible vultures, the pharmaceutical and health insurance rackets, the petroleum bandits, and the rest of the criminal Wall Street-led corporatocracy.

    But no matter, to these folks it’s better to eat mud than to elect a “pinko” politician that will cuddle gays or tolerate abortion—two of their stupid busybody obsessions. Note, please, that while the rank and file of the right follows and embraces such notions, THOSE WHO EXPLOIT SUCH OBSESSIONS, the politicians, the toxic media buffoons (Hannity, Limbaugh, etc.), the superrich, and the religious charlatans who pull the strings, laugh all the way to their big fat bank accounts and multiple palatial residences around the world.

    Incidentally, for people who shout so much about freedom, it is the Right that has supported most vehemently the passage of the Patriot Act and other ugly police state laws that keep reducing American freedoms and dismantling Constitutional guarantees.

    You may also want to ask why we need this super-armed and invasive police system in America now. To protect us from “terrorists”? Ha ha ha ha—let me have a good belly laugh. Terrorists, such as they are, have been almost entirely spawned by the powers that be, and by bipartisan accord. They issue as a response from a stinking, criminal, smug and exploitative foreign policy that makes us the object of hatred and derision around the world. And those engaged in just revenge against The American invaders and so on are the “legitimate” ones, people who, if you and the rest of the Rightwing crowd, could see more clearly, would doubtless identify under normal circumstances as patriots resisting colonialist invaders armed to the nuclear teeth. But there’s another category of “terrorist” in the world. Much more sordid. These are the completely manufactured terrorists, those created and controlled by the American state and its accomplices around the world. People who engage in false flag operations to maintain a climate of world tension to justify the present insane situation, and to keep scaring Americans into surrendering their freedom for the sake of “security.” So much for the right and what it purports to be.

    Next we have the big mass of centrist-rightist liberals. The Clintons, the Obamas, the Pelosis, the Max Baucuses, and so on. These folks are seen (wrongly) by right-wingers as “the left.”. This crowd would like to have it both ways: a national system that is more “humane”, democratic, and egalitarian (you do believe in equality, don’t you?) but without seriously overhauling the capitalist system from the root up. Unfortunately, it is capitalism that causes inequality all the time, it is capitalism and its logic that seeds the soil for war, and which opposes democracy in all its forms. Thus, since they (liberals) won’t touch the beast in its lair, their policies satisfy no one; they are terrifically inadequate and hypocritical. They give reform a bad name because all reform should be seen only as a way station on the road to complete eradication of the ills that cause a particular social problem, not the perpetuation of mild sedatives in place of radical cures. Thus, at the end of the day, both right-wingers and liberals support the empire’s illegal wars around the world, they both support the rotten status quo, and whatever differences exist are in method, pragmatic questions of approach and not principle. The morality or immorality of such actions is never discussed. Yes, liberals are worthless, and despicable in many ways, but they are not the left.

    Finally we come to the left. The left sees things for what they are. They tend to reject capitalism because it is a predatory and immoral system whose time is way past. There is no way to reform capitalism because its very core dynamic is about exploitation and constant expansion in a finite planet—thereby a constant threat to the survival of all life. (This does not seem to bother a vocal segment of the right, the “Christian fundamentalists” who believe in the deranged notion of the “Rapture.”).

    So the core of capitalism is rotten and the RIGHT, OPENLY AND VOCIFEROUSLY, SUPPORTS IT, WHILE THE TREACHEROUS LIBERALS DO, TOO, BUT IN A MORE EQUIVOCAL WAY.

    Leftists see a world in which we respect each other and support each other as generous people should. They care and insist on protecting the Earth, for our well being and that of future generations, not like the corporadoes and their unwitting idiotic supporters who live in the here and now, in the world of short-term gain and to hell with what may come a few years from now. They support honorable peace. And they support democracy, non-meddling in other nation’s affairs (which includes not sending our huge military machine to destroy their countries in the name of “freedom” and “democracy” but really only to the benefit of the ultra rich around the world). For them it’s imbecilic to shout, “My country right or wrong!” as this is the signature of anyone who has put worshiping a tribal identity over morality itself. How many crimes have been committed and ARE being committed by those who think this way?

    In sum, there’s no need to DEMONIZE the right or the mainstream liberals. They both stink. To describe accurately what they are and do, to tear down their rationalizations, evasions and hypocrisy, to make a dent in the thick wall of self-inflicted ignorance, more than suffices to take away their legitimacy. Just like a simple description of what the SS Nazi troopers did in Russia, for example, suffices to condemn these people as war criminals of the worst kind, “misguided patriots”, in the service of a rotten philosophy.

    A world run by “leftist” ideas would be a better world (please save yourself the effort to point out the crimes of Stalin, and Mao, and the rest of that thick propaganda muck about “totalitarian communism” , as the history of the world, Soviet Union included, and the truth about the US system of government (carefully kept from view) are far too complex to be debated through propaganda slogans).

    But the real left in the US and much of the developed world is miniscule. This is not accidental. The right with its minions in all the levers of power and owning the media outright (all media are rightist or centrist-rightist) has kept it that way. The left represents the truth more than any other political position.

    All I can say is that if you ever understood clearly what the right represents, and what the left represents, you’d probably choose the latter. But I’m not counting on it because I know how tough it is to step out of the Bubble. People do not yield to facts unless something truly horrendous forces them to reevaluate their beliefs. For the most part our political positions (whenever we are enmeshed in incomplete information) are built on temperamental choices, and the latter cannot be changed so easily. That’s why the right continues to have a hold on America and the world, and why liberals also prosper. Upholding terribly wrong interpretations of reality, grounding themselves in selfishness, they mirror a world still largely mired in superstition, ignorance and mediocrity.

    One final point. I agree with you in the sense that the current government of the US does not speak for me and my interests, those of the ordinary citizen. This is proved just about every day in words and deeds big and small. From the shameful neglect of Katrina and more recently Sandy’s victims, to the continuation of economic and war policies patently immoral and inimical to the vast majority of the American population and the world. In that sense, ‘it’s not my government.” But, friend, “government is not the problem” because government is merely a tool. We make it what we want it to be. Right now it’s in the hands of an usurping Wall Street cabal, a class that will not alter its criminal ways until they confront the focused anger of the great majority of Americans. But for that we need unity. That will not happen as long as the rightist mob continues cynically posturing as friends of the people, while “liberals” implement rightwing policies behind the label of progressivism and “security.”
    —P. Greanville
    Editor, The Greanville Post

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