Killing Ragheads for Jesus — Chris Hedges on ‘American Sniper’


26/01/2015 by Don Quijones

Actor Bradley Cooper (r) playing U.S. Navy Seal sniper Chris Kyle in the film ‘American Sniper.’ (Photo: Public domain)

“American Sniper” lionizes the most despicable aspects of U.S. society—the gun culture, the blind adoration of the military, the belief that we have an innate right as a “Christian” nation to exterminate the “lesser breeds” of the earth, a grotesque hypermasculinity that banishes compassion and pity, a denial of inconvenient facts and historical truth, and a belittling of critical thinking and artistic expression. Many Americans, especially white Americans trapped in a stagnant economy and a dysfunctional political system, yearn for the supposed moral renewal and rigid, militarized control the movie venerates. These passions, if realized, will extinguish what is left of our now-anemic open society.

The movie opens with a father and his young son hunting a deer. The boy shoots the animal, drops his rifle and runs to see his kill.

“Get back here,” his father yells. “You don’t ever leave your rifle in the dirt.”

“Yes, sir,” the boy answers.

“That was a helluva shot, son,” the father says. “You got a gift. You gonna make a fine hunter some day.”

The camera cuts to a church interior where a congregation of white Christians—blacks appear in this film as often as in a Woody Allen movie—are listening to a sermon about God’s plan for American Christians. The film’s title character, based on Chris Kyle, who would become the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history, will, it appears from the sermon, be called upon by God to use his “gift” to kill evildoers. The scene shifts to the Kyle family dining room table as the father intones in a Texas twang: “There are three types of people in this world: sheep, wolves and sheepdogs. Some people prefer to believe evil doesn’t exist in the world. And if it ever darkened their doorstep they wouldn’t know how to protect themselves. Those are the sheep. And then you got predators.”

The camera cuts to a schoolyard bully beating a smaller boy.

“They use violence to prey on people,” the father goes on. “They’re the wolves. Then there are those blessed with the gift of aggression and an overpowering need to protect the flock. They are a rare breed who live to confront the wolf. They are the sheepdog. We’re not raising any sheep in this family.”

The father lashes his belt against the dining room table.

“I will whup your ass if you turn into a wolf,” he says to his two sons. “We protect our own. If someone tries to fight you, tries to bully your little brother, you have my permission to finish it.”

There is no shortage of simpletons whose minds are warped by this belief system. We elected one of them, George W. Bush, as president. They populate the armed forces and the Christian right. They watch Fox News and believe it. They have little understanding or curiosity about the world outside their insular communities. They are proud of their ignorance and anti-intellectualism. They prefer drinking beer and watching football to reading a book. And when they get into power—they already control the Congress, the corporate world, most of the media and the war machine—their binary vision of good and evil and their myopic self-adulation cause severe trouble for their country.

“American Sniper,” like the big-budget feature films pumped out in Germany during the Nazi era to exalt deformed values of militarism, racial self-glorification and state violence, is a piece of propaganda, a tawdry commercial for the crimes of empire. That it made a record-breaking $105.3 million over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday long weekend is a symptom of the United States’ dark malaise…

Read the rest of the article at Truth Dig.


Chris Hedges writes a regular column for Hedges graduated from Harvard Divinity School and was for nearly two decades a foreign correspondent for The New York Times. He is the author of many books, including: War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning, What Every Person Should Know About War, and American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America.  His most recent book is Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle.


3 thoughts on “Killing Ragheads for Jesus — Chris Hedges on ‘American Sniper’

  1. IT 2 IT says:

    Korea era draftee EASTWOOD has walked away from some 5 decades
    of anniversaries for the now 21st century DEFINING —-KOREAN WAR.

    And that was during the very heyday of RED CHINA HANDOVER TREASON!

    ‘On board’ franchise slum ‘EYE–CON’ EASTWOOD continues to
    obediently deliver time release POST AMERICA demoralization
    —-disguised—- as ‘heartfelt and gripping americana’.

    “The MOST dangerous SHILLS
    ———————–are those who don’t even know they’re SHILLS.”
    Veterans Today

    BEWARE EASTWOOD and his latest franchise slum ‘SUCK—-CESS’.


  2. FrY10cK says:

    Incredibly irresponsible film perpetuates the myth that the 12-year-long occupation of Iraq is somehow related to 9/11 and never bothers to point out the dishonorable motives of the men who sent Chris Kyle to war against a country that never attacked us.

  3. Kathleen says:

    Just saw the film. Total bullshit. Although it may be so that young and middle aged men believe the Bush administrations pack of lies about WMD’s in Iraq. However millions of us did not and knew young men and some young women would be invading a country that did zero to the U.S. based on those lies. Clint Eastwood did the American public and soldiers alike a huge disservice fueling these lies. Showing the attack on 9/11 and then showed Iraq being invaded soon their after. Never explaining that Al Qeada was not in Iraq before the invasion. Hundreds of thousand of Iraqi people, children killed as a direct result, million Iraqi people displaced. 22 Vets a day committing suicide because they can not live with themselves. What a crock Clint fed the American people and they love to eat this bull for breakfast keeps them from the truth. A huge disservice fueling dangerous, deadly myths

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