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Fri Feb 6, 2015, 12:33 AM

As a veteran, I see ‘American Sniper’ as dangerous, but not for the reasons you’d think

As a veteran, I see ‘American Sniper’ as dangerous, but not for the reasons you’d think
Brock McIntosh
February 3, 2015


Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle in “American Sniper.” (Warner Brothers)

After watching the movie “American Sniper,” I called a friend named Garett Reppenhagen who was an American sniper in Iraq. He deployed with a cavalry scout unit from 2004 to 2005 and was stationed near FOB Warhorse. I asked him if he thought this movie really mattered. “Every portrayal of a historical event should be historically accurate,” he explained. ”A movie like this is a cultural symbol that influences the way people remember history and feel about war.”

Garett and I met through our antiwar and veteran support work, which he’s been involved with for almost a decade. He served in Iraq. I served in Afghanistan. But both of us know how powerful mass media and mass culture are. They shaped how we thought of the wars when we joined, so we felt it was important to tell our stories when we came home and spoke out.

I commend Chris Kyle for telling his story in his book “American Sniper.” The scariest thing I did while in the military was come home and tell my story to the public — the good, the bad and the ugly. I feel that veterans owe it to society to tell their stories, and civilians owe it to veterans to actively listen. Dr. Ed Tick, a psychotherapist who has specialized in veteran care for four decades, explains, “In all traditional and classical societies, returned warriors served many important psychosocial functions. They were keepers of dark wisdom for their cultures, witnesses to war’s horrors from personal experience who protected and discouraged, rather than encouraged, its outbreak again.”

Chris Kyle didn’t view Iraq like me and Garett, but neither of us have attacked him for it. He’s not the problem. We don’t care about the lies that Chris Kyle may or may not have told. They don’t matter. We care about the lies that Chris Kyle believed. The lie that Iraq was culpable for September 11. The lie that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The lie that people do evil things because they are evil...

http://wagingnonviolence.org/feature/focus-chris-kyle-distracts-real-problems-american-sniper/

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