‘American Sniper’ as viewed by real American snipers

23 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘American Sniper’ Opens Across Middle East, Including Iraq.

In “American Sniper,” the wildly successful yet controversial film that tells the story of Chris Kyle, said to be the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history, the titular marksman has a clear foe: A mysterious insurgent dubbed “Mustafa,” believed to be a former Syrian Olympian. WASHINGTON — For all the debate surrounding the movie American Sniper, few people know the moral choices involved in the job better than those trained to pull the trigger.As reported in the New York Daily News, Baldwin has come out in defence of fellow actor Seth Rogen’s right to criticize American Sniper, which is nominated for best picture at next month’s Academy Awards.The box office success of “American Sniper” could hurt the jury box when it comes to the real life murder trial of the man accused of killing Navy SEAL sharpshooter Chris Kyle, who is portrayed by Bradley Cooper in the critically acclaimed film. While the film portrays Mustafa as a mighty rival to Kyle, in the autobiographical book upon which the film is based, Mustafa earns just one paragraph.“From the reports we heard, Mustafa was an Olympics marksman who was using his skills against Americans and Iraqi police and soldiers,” Kyle wrote. “Several videos had been made and posted, boasting of his ability.

For the sniper, killing is more personal, placing a heavy burden of responsibility on those that take up the profession. “It takes a lot of introspection, faith and care to yield that level of power,” Pedry said. Navy SEAL who killed more than 150 Iraqis during four tours of duty, American Sniper opened across much of the Middle East on Thursday, backed by widespread support from regional cinema chains. I enjoy war movies too but, since serving in Iraq during the war, you would’ve all but had to point a loaded gun to my head to get me to watch a Hollywood version of the Iraq war. The Clint Eastwood-directed film that earned six Oscar nominations and is selling out in theaters around the country has brought in more than $110 million in four weeks.

The musician took particular umbrage with the Bowling for Columbine director’s statement that Moore’s uncle was killed by a sniper in World War II and that he was raised to believe snipers were cowards. “Fuck you Michael Moore, you’re a piece of shit and your uncle would be ashamed of you,” Kid Rock wrote on his website. “Seth Rogen, your uncle probably molested you. I never saw him, but other snipers later killed an Iraqi sniper we think was him.” It’s not clear who Mustafa was or if he ever existed, but there were similar legends of Iraqi insurgent snipers. While Warner Bros confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that the film would be “releasing in the region,” without specifying which particular countries, theaters in the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar, Lebanon and even Iraq itself have been pushing the title on various social media channels. Not because the experience of war was that bad for me – it was – but because I’m deathly afraid the war movie that Hollywood is going to produce will be.

I hope both of you catch a fist to the face soon.” He also paid his respects to the deceased Navy SEAL whose story was the basis of the movie. “God bless you Chris Kyle,” he wrote. “Thank you for your service.” On the movie’s opening weekend, Moore tweeted his comments and added, “Snipers aren’t heroes, and invaders are worse.” He later claimed that his tweet wasn’t about American Sniper in particular and posted a lengthy Facebook missive to clarify his thoughts. Probably the most famous was that of “Juba,” a sniper with the Sunni insurgent group Islamic Army in Iraq, whose exploits were touted in several videos released between 2005 and 2007. Some attributed scores, even hundreds, of kills to the sniper, and accounts from the time suggest that he got deep under U.S. troops’ skins. “He’s good,” Spec. In the U.A.E., the region’s biggest box office, all three major cinema chains — Novo, Vox and Reel — were heavily promoting American Sniper on their websites and via Facebook.

Critics left and right came out of the woodwork to either praise or tear the film apart – and then many began criticizing the soldier, Chris Kyle, on whose story the movie is based. And we, in our grubby boots and utilities, were an audience uniquely qualified to say we would not be taken in by John Wayne and his faded brand of American invincibility. Travis Burress, a sniper based in Camp Rustamiyah near Baghdad, told the Guardian in 2005. “Every time we dismount, I’m sure everyone has got him in the back of their minds. Meyer took offense. “How does a man who never served … call the men and women who have the most skin in the game on behalf of our nation cowards,” he said.

Friday afternoon and evening screenings at the Middle East’s largest cineplex — Reel Cinemas in The Dubai Mall (also the world’s largest mall based on total area) — were completely sold out. I’ve had them in the past, and anything that has significant national attention makes it hard to pick a jury.” Routh’s trial is scheduled to begin on Feb. 11, two years and nine days after Routh allegedly killed Kyle at a Texas firing range where the U.S. military hero was trying to help Routh cope with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder by taking target practice.

Moore’s comments, which he later said were not directed at the movie, “did tap into a very long-running idea that sniping is not fair and Americans play fair,” Pedry said. In Iraq, the Empire Cinema in Erbil, the largest city in the Kurdistan region and just 88 kilometres from the ISIS-controlled city of Mosul, announced on its Facebook page that it was screening the film. I never read his book, but after it was released back in 2012, Time magazine asked Kyle if he had any regrets about killing over 160 people during his five deployments as a Navy Seal. Then we’ll talk.” Enter Baldwin, who went onto the Twitter account for his arts foundation (@ABFalecbaldwin) the same day to tweet, “Did @RealDeanCain threaten Seth Rogen?

Despite those compliments, he criticized the way the movie’s characters call Iraqis “savages” and alleges that Clint confused Iraq for Vietnam with his movie. John Plaster, a retired Green Beret sniper instructor, told ABC upon seeing the tape. “And he has the judgment and discipline to take a shot, wisely choose an escape route, and immediately depart to avoid capture. Because of their precision, snipers have proven their worth in combat where insurgents often hide among civilians. “Using snipers shows the greatest amount of restraint,” said Jim Lechner, a retired Army lieutenant colonel who served alongside Kyle in Ramadi, Iraq. “Innocent people are not getting killed.” Sharpshooters have been around for centuries.

And isn’t that the same kind of troubled thinking that got Chris Kyle killed?” Shortly after, Baldwin took another shot at Cain with the tweet, “Help me out here @RealDeanCain. Rogen sparked Kid Rock’s ire by comparing the movie to the fictional Nazi propaganda film, Nation’s Pride, screened within Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds. Journalist Rania Khalek, who has written for The Nation and Al Jazeera America, described it as “brilliant propaganda that valorizes American military aggression while delivering Hollywood’s most racist depiction of Arabs in recent memory.” Khalek tweeted passages from Kyle’s autobiography aimed at highlighting the late soldier’s “hatred, bigotry and unrepentant bloodlust,” later claiming that she was deluged with death and rape threats from the soldier’s supporters. You want to lose your own guys, or would you rather take one of them out?” As a former infantryman, that makes sense to me, but I know that many civilians might not get it.

He was awarded two Silver Star Medals, five Bronze Star Medals, one Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal and two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals. But today’s snipers are the product of training and technology that has made the profession as much science as art. “This is a thinking man’s game,” said Marine Col.

That they don’t isn’t helped by those in the media who read Kyle’s memoir primarily to use certain passages from it to try and paint Chis Kyle as some kind of a monster. Iraqi insurgents dubbed him the “Devil of Ramadi,” but the soldiers he protected by taking out would-be bombers and enemy counterparts simply called him “Legend.” On Wednesday, the comic actor showed up at a NBA game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the New Orleans Pelicans at the Smoothie King Center to film a scene for his upcoming comedy titled Daddy’s Home. It’s almost as if moviemakers took a look at “The Green Berets” and said “never again.” What we have gotten since is a hard, look-at-the-hell-we’ve-created kind of war movie. “The Green Berets” was clearly meant as a feel-good movie about Vietnam. Students are taught sophisticated camouflage techniques and must crawl undetected across several hundred yards of terrain while instructors peer through binoculars in an attempt to see their movements.

Brendan Hobbs told Stars and Stripes in 2007. “We’ve built up this myth ourselves.” Certainly, some of the higher death tolls attributed to Juba seem far-fetched. Many videos claiming to show “Juba” in action still float around the Internet, purportedly showing the mysterious sniper picking off American personnel.

All the criticism made me feel compelled to watch it: I had to find out for myself if either the hype or the criticism it’s received were valid, good marketing or simply a byproduct of Americans’ ongoing divisions over the war in the first place, once again transposed onto the soldiers sent to die in it. And Bradley Cooper moves a long way from “The Hangover” to bring us Chris Kyle, a Texan raised with a rifle in his hand who went on to become the most deadly sniper in American military history. That doesn’t mean they are rogue — they have rules of engagement drummed into them before they set out on a mission. “It’s got to be very specific criteria when they can take their shot,” Parker said. After the movie ended, I got up and followed the red carpet towards the exit – it reminded me of the red carpet they laid out for us when we got off the plane after returning from Iraq; as if we were all now celebrities.

It spares us the glory and goes right to the fear and the death and the gruesome tragedy of civilians caught between forces they don’t understand and want no part of. In Ramadi, the efforts of snipers like Kyle helped prove to insurgents that they no longer controlled the city, once an al-Qaeda stronghold in western Iraq, Lechner said. Hollywood is a for-profit industry and, with the success of American Sniper, I’m sure they’ll be plenty of other Iraq and Afghanistan war films to come. It’s just actors playing roles, all of whom have already moved on and none of whom suffered any PTSD afterwards or experienced any loss of limbs while filming. I’m pretty sure it’s the only Vietnam movie that shows a soldier performing the most dreaded duty of all — burning the waste of his fellow soldiers. “American Sniper” is like that, I think, only better.

Command had us stop our vehicles after one of our snipers called in over the radio that they had eyes on an individual setting up an improvised explosive device in a traffic circle through which we frequently rolled on our routine patrols. A mental health physician at the Department of Veteran’s Affairs once advised me not to watch war movies and I think she’s probably right; she also told me not to drink.

I pick up on all the anti-war messages these days – the ones that, unfortunately, didn’t quite register with me when I was a kid, and the same anti-war messages that are all throughout American Sniper, not that anyone else seems to notice amidst all the arguing about whether Chris Kyle was a bad person or not.

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