The American Hero

It is Feb. 2, 2017. Exactly four years ago, a tragedy straight out of Hollywood, broke millions of American hearts. Chris Kyle, the fabled war veteran, one of the most celebrated snipers in American military history, had been murdered by Eddie Ray Routh, a troubled veteran possibly suffering from a psychological ailment.

The world mourned Chris Kyle for not only his bravery but also for everything he represented. As he described himself in his autobiography, ‘American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History.’

Kyle had 160 confirmed kills to his name. As a highly decorated Navy SEAL, his actual number of kills have unofficially been reported as close to 255. And in his sharp eye as a marksman, lies the heroic nature of his exploits, all committed in a bid to safeguard his beloved country America.

“I do not believe any of the kills I had during the war will be among them. Everyone I shot was evil. I had good cause on every shot. They all deserved to die,” says Kyle in his memoir, while talking about himself as a Christian. He says that if God asks him about his sins, his kills made as a sniper won’t count.

And he is right. He served in Iraq for four tours. He personally knew every last man he shot, had seen his victim commit acts of brutality because second sight is a gift every American military man is born with.

“But I didn’t risk my life to bring democracy to Iraq. I risked my life for my buddies, to protect my friends and fellow countrymen. I went to war for my country, not Iraq. My country sent me out there so that bullshit wouldn’t make its way back to our shores.”


Chris Kyle/Image source: File Photo, Associated Press


He clarifies emphatically that he is a patriot first and then anything else. In another part of the book, he says that he didn’t choose which war he was sent to fight, he only chose to enlist. And in this context, it is important to understand that the American hero is about his duty and when it comes to America, his morals are very clear.

“Savage, despicable evil. That’s what we were fighting in Iraq. That’s why a lot of people, myself included, called the enemy ‘savages’…. I only wish I had killed more.” There is no denying that Kyle believed in his American values to the hilt and was prepared to give the ultimate sacrifice for it; the sacrifice of his conscience.

And the American people should be grateful for it. The Truth is an uncomfortable, essentially contested concept. And so, it would be decidedly unpleasant to go into the nitty-gritty of Kyle’s kills. That’s why, as long as he killed for something he truly believed in, he can be remembered as an honorable man. And there is that little detail, that as far as we should be concerned, a decorated SEAL like him could never have been misguided. It is just not possible. Just like it is not possible for bacon to be made out of soy protein.

“I have a strong sense of justice. It’s pretty much black-and-white. I don’t see too much gray.”

And he needn’t have. The color gray is not pure like white. And Kyle’s truth was white like snowflakes. But that probably wasn’t the analogy he even thought about. Historically, white is clean and anything not white needs to be dusted or recycled or thrown away if it cannot be made white again.

Kyle’s sense of forgiveness is overwhelming. His need to do the right thing was only tapered by his strong sense of poetic justice.

“A teenager, I’d guess about fifteen, sixteen, appeared on the street and squared up with an AK-47 to fire at them. I dropped him. A minute or two later, an Iraqi woman came running up, saw him on the ground, and tore off her clothes. She was obviously his mother. I’d see the families of the insurgents display their grief, tear off clothes, even rub the blood on themselves. If you loved them, I thought, you should have kept them away from the war. You should have kept them from joining the insurgency.” 

Kyle could see that there was no way he could identify with the mother’s pain. He wasn’t misguided. He could not understand why this teenage kid was so misguided. And like a good man, he identified that the problem had been bad parenting. These things are so far removed from what life is like in America, where we take our children to church from an early age and teach them that democracy is a virtue we can kill and die for. Better yet, if it comes with some oil, international prestige, patriotic fervor, and a sense of bringing light to those parts of the world that are governed by savages and brutes.

Let us face it. There is no better way of doing it. Look at all the countries that were once British colonies and are now independent states. Many of them arrived at a democratic system of governance after such political debate and instability. Isn’t it more pragmatic to do so with something simple and basic like war? It is like shoving medicine down the throat of a toddler who doesn’t know what’s good for him.

And these international NGOs do nothing. They collect money and use it for useless things like refugee camps, medicines, education, women’s health and personal rights. Yeah, all those things are great too. But again, why take the longer route when you can simply force the people to be free, just like we are, in America.

Look at how united we are; so many shades of light and dark, standing opposite to each other on a chess board. We are so advanced scientifically, that this country alone does not suffer from Global (minus America) Warming. And the jobs. It is soon going to rain jobs, because now, under the Trump administration, all of America will have no choice but to join in the process of rebuilding the nation, after the significant changes that will come from how we are restructuring and realigning our position in the world. Of course, you are wondering why do this, if the nation will have to be rebuilt as a result of this?

You don’t understand. This is just another sacrifice. And this time, you will get a chance to play the American hero.

Note: This is a work of political satire. If it offends you, I feel sorry for you. 


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