“American Sniper” Review


Brianna Commerford

“American Sniper” is an autobiography written by Chris Kyle that was recently made into a movie. Directed by Clint Eastwood and written by Jason Hall, it depicts the life and hardships of US Navy SEAL, Chris Kyle. There have been many controversial conversations and comments made about this movie that I feel are important to discuss.

For those who did not read the book or see the movie, it is important to first understand the context of the story. Chris Kyle was nothing more than a Texan man, cowboy wanna-be, and expert hunter up until his early thirties. In his thirties he discovered that he had a craving for a different lifestyle–one where he would be able to express his true talent (shooting) through helping America in the war against terrorism. Ever since he was a young boy shooting on the range with his father, he had the accuracy of an expert.

Kyle joined the Navy SEALs, which stands for Sea, Air, and Land. A SEAL is trained in all three of these aspects in order to operate in all environments and conditions to prepare for extreme climates, such as the freezing arctic, the sandy deserts, the scorching jungles, or the middle of the ocean. All of Kyle’s time spent as a SEAL took place in the elusive, risky Iraq locations of Fallujah, Baghdad, and Sadr City where high-priority terrorist targets were located. He was a sniper.

As a SEAL who served in four tours from 1999 to 2009, Kyle earned himself the nicknames, “The Devil,” by the Iraqis he hunted and “The Legend” by his fellow SEALS. Throughout his career, he was credited with 160 confirmed kills–the most in the United States history by a sniper. He was feared so much so by Iraqis that they coined him the name “Al-Shaitan” which means devil, and placed a $180,000 bounty on his head.

For those who read the book or saw the movie, they have learned that Kyle’s real life struggles did not take place during his missions in war, but actually during his time at home. Once returned, he was faced with the challenges of feeling helpless towards the war and towards his wife and children. Overall, Kyle was truly an American war hero and deserves endless credibility and respect.

However, none of that was attributed to him On Thursday morning’s “Morning Joe” episode. Controversy was stirred up when NBC News foreign Democrat correspondent, Ayman Mohyeldin, made comments about the language of the novel and movie. He referred to Kyle as “racist,” and that “he went on killing sprees” in Iraq.

Immediately, co-host Joe Scarborough was taken back by the comment and questioned it; “Killing sprees?! Chris Kyle went on killing sprees?”

Mohyeldin went on to add, “A lot of the description that has come out from his book and some of the terminology that he has used, people have described as racist in his personal attitudes about what he was doing overseas when he was on assignment.”

In my opinion, Mohyeldin’s comment was highly inappropriate, childish, unintelligent, and un-American. How could he say that Kyle went on “killing sprees”? Of course he killed them…that’s his job. He had a duty and a mission. By saying that he went on killing sprees is simply an ignorant thing for Mohyeldin to say.

Next, Mohyeldin cannot get any more senseless when he refers to Kyle as “a racist.” How could one refer to a true American hero as a racist? It is clear that Kyle developed a hatred towards the Iraqi race, however, it was inevitable due to the circumstances. Kyle was exposed to the grueling harsh reality of Iraq terrorism that we, as civilians, can not even imagine. Kyle never acted out of place and hurt, killed, or even harmed innocent Iraqis in any way. Kyle is someone who protected Mohyeldin’s freedom yesterday, today, and tomorrow. To turn around and to call him a racist is simply inaccurate, ignorant, and ungrateful.

Many people believe that Mohyeldin’s comment stemmed from democratic beliefs. However, I do not believe that is the issue. This is not a Democratic or a Republican issue. This is an American issue. No matter what political stance one has, they are American. And an American should never speak poorly of their own military. Rather, they should praise and be grateful for the free life that was given to them through the military’s braveness, sacrifice, and unity.