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L. Neil Smith's
Number 813, March 15, 2015

[Police] are not our friends, no matter
what the NRA or anyone says. They are the
pointy end of the spear of dictatorship.
They are exactly the standing army that
the Founding Fathers didn't want.

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American Sniper: A Movie Review
by Sean Gangol

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Special to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise

For those who haven't been keeping up with the current cinema, American Sniper is a movie directed by Clint Eastwood and has received several Oscar nominations, including Best Picture. It has also picked up 300 million dollars at the box office, along with a certain amount of controversy (mostly by those on the left).

American Sniper is a movie adaptation of the book that chronicles the life of Navy SEAL sniper, Chris Kyle. For some reason this movie seems to have invoked such hatred by many prominent and not so prominent leftists, who have called Chris Kyle everything from a racist to a psychopath. They have even quote mined certain parts of the book to reinforce these views. While I didn't know Chris Kyle personally, I will say that using the art of quote mining to defame a person is not only dishonest, but flat out cowardly since that person is no longer around to defend himself.

As for the movie itself I would have to say that American Sniper is not only one of the best war movies that I have seen in recent memory, but it was also one of the best movies of 2014. I also want to point out that many people on the right have called this movie pro-War on Terror. Personally I don't think this movie comes off being pro-war at all. If anything the movie actually comes off somewhat anti-war. This isn't just my opinion, Clint Eastwood himself has said on at least one occasion that he was aiming for an anti-war tone.

What really made the movie great was that Eastwood didn't spend much time beating us over the head with an anti-war message as the lesser anti-war movies have. Instead he concentrated on the most important aspects of a movie: plot and character development. From the very beginning we see all the ugly situations that our protagonist had to endure during his time in Iraq. We first see him in one of these situations when he is forced to kill both a mother and her child when they attempted to hurl a grenade at a squadron of American soldiers. Later on in the movie we see that Kyle is once again forced into another bad situation when a nine-year-old boy picks up a RPG and aims it at a convoy. Not wanting to end the life another child, he prays for the kid to drop the RPG.

While the movie is about a Navy SEAL sniper, it doesn't spend too much time on Kyle's sniping ability. What the movie was really about were the horrors of war and how they take their toll on those who fight them. Not just physically, but psychology as well. When Kyle finally comes home from Iraq, we realize that he hasn't come home unscathed, at least not emotionally. Like many servicemen before him, the war left Kyle with post-traumatic stress that he couldn't easily shake. This inspired him to create a form of therapy for his fellow veterans that unfortunately led to his tragic death.

For those who have called the movie propaganda, I can tell that not a single one of them have seen the movie. American Sniper isn't one of those overly patriotic movies that sugarcoats the realities of war. Of course if you know Eastwood's style of directing, sugarcoating is something that he doesn't do very often.

For some strange reason people on the left seemed to have an adverse reaction to the movie. I think it has much to do with them being butt-hurt about the success of American Sniper, while most of the overly political anti-war movies haven't so much as even made a dent at the box office. What they don't realize is that contrary to what Howard Dean has said about the movie, I'm pretty sure that most of the viewing audience that dished out their hard earned money to see American Sniper are not angry Tea Partiers. In all likelihood they are people who find it refreshing to see a war movie that tries to woo them by giving them a decent story, instead of trying to shove some agenda down their throats.

I understand how one may feel about the War in Iraq, since I am one who believes that we should never have invaded the country in the first place. I just think that it is somewhat misguided to take it out on Chris Kyle or any of our servicemen. What the anti-war crowd has failed to understand is that some of the worst victims of war are those who are forced to fight them. American Sniper showed firsthand what happens both physically and mentally to the people who have to endure the horrors of war. Instead of spending so much time venting a misguided hatred of Chris Kyle, the anti-war side should have embraced this movie instead of promoting falsehoods about it. Talk about a missed opportunity.

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