American Sniper

Discussion in 'Movies and Television' started by maressa, Jan 21, 2015.

  1. Mitlov

    Mitlov Shiny

    Well, some Americans do--citizenship doesn't magically make someone not commit terrorism or murder--but there's no evidence that Chris Kyle ever did. And that's what's important in this thread.

    Of Chris Kyle's claimed 255 kills, 160 were confirmed. Even if some of those above 160 were either false bragging or honest mistake, 160 confirmed is still a huge number.
  2. FunnyBadger

    FunnyBadger I love food :)

    Ok please reality il break it down for you.

    -politicians decide to invade Iraq. Common soldier has no influence on this.

    -generals decide the rules to be adopted during the invasion/occupation (using Law Of Armed Conflict, Geneva convention, Hague treaties etc). Common soldier has no influence on this.

    -officers decide the missions to be carried out. Common soldier has little to no influence on this.

    -NCOs break down the missions into individual tasks. Common soldier has little influence on this.

    At the end of this process an individual order is given. The order is non-negotiable and the boots on the ground have almost no power to decide what their orders are going to be. Other people have made the decisions and the soldiers on the ground have no choice but to comply. As a result they can not be held accountable for their actions if they act in accordance with their orders on a tactical, strategic and legal level. Any deviation from that set of orders is investigated and where appropriate punished.

    I would also like to add on a more personal note that implying I have a cavilier attitude to the killing of civilians is quite unfair as I have explicitly stated that I oppose it and have at no point shown any support for the killing of civilians. I have however stated that some times it is unavoidable.

    Civilian casualties are unavoidable in some circumstances because of the tactics often employed by insurgents (not just in Iraq). Operating in civilian areas and blending with the local populace is common strategy. They deliberetly make it hard to avoid civilian casualties in order to use public opinion as a tool and to try to make counter insurgency more difficult as they are very aware of the rules of engagement used. Wherever possible civilian casualties are minimalised and only allowed when the ends are deemed to justify the means, again not a decision made by the soldier on the ground but by senior officers and politicians.
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2015
  3. PointyShinyBurn

    PointyShinyBurn Valued Member

    Since Nuremberg this simply isn't true. For example the US military and Supreme Sourt clearly delineates the concept of illegal orders:
    Neither US nor UK forces even systematically count civilian casualties. So how can it possibly be said they seek plans or procedures to minimise them?
  4. FunnyBadger

    FunnyBadger I love food :)

    The link you have provided is talking about unlawfull orders. The point i have been making is that those orders were lawfully given. The politicians who authorised the Iraq war made it lawful as defined by military law. As has been said on many occasions with reference to Iraq the issue is political and not military.

    With reference to civilian deaths look into Distinction and Proportionality as defined by the Law Of Armed Conflict (there even a link on the site you posted). All military action has to be in accordance with LOAC. Civilian deaths are minimised as failur to do so would violate LOAC. Violations have occurred and as I have said before they have been investigated and punished where appropriate.

    It is also worth noting that the majority of civilian deaths come from air strikes and other forms of indirect fire not from small arms fire. That's not to say no civilians have been killed by small arms fire though but it would represent a small percentage of the civilian casualties.

    I can not speak on the methods used to record civilian casualties as I know nothing about the statistical process used.
  5. Southpaw535

    Southpaw535 Well-Known Member Moderator Supporter

    Also, I can't remember the percentage but I know in the Afghanistan war something like 90% of civilian casualties weren't caused by ISAF forces. "X civilian deaths in the Iraq War" doesn't necessarily mean they're caused by the US.

    FunnyBadger's also right about lawful orders. When I had an interview to join here I was told the only situation I could refuse an order was if it was illegal under either UK law, the ROE, or the Geneva Conventions. It was framed in a question to see what I would do if given an illegal order but the point was still the same.
  6. philosoraptor

    philosoraptor carnivore in a top hat Supporter

    Y'know, I think you're right, I am being unfair to American cultural memory. By the same token, it's troubling to me that this is the fellow that we would choose to lionize. I don't know Chris Kyle. From his quotes, he said some terrible things. I'm sure that's true of most people. I've said some awful things about my students when I've been behind closed doors, at home, or drinking with my colleagues. You just gotta let steam off sometimes. Maybe that's what Kyle was doing, maybe not. What's troubling to me is that we're willing to overlook that dehumanization as normal, and to be honest, probably wouldn't strike most people in the US as overly problematic. I guess that callousness and the willingness we have to other the people we go to war with as either victims needing to be saved or villains we need to blow up really, really bothers me, and it's a common depiction I've seen in many forms of media. I think that we do have an animus towards the Middle East as a whole, one that's covered up in the same manner as Kyle's statements.
  7. philosoraptor

    philosoraptor carnivore in a top hat Supporter

    Do you know where that data was obtained? I've read some sources alleging that the US counts any man between the ages of 16 and 70 as an enemy combatant. It makes me wary of these sorts of stats.
  8. Southpaw535

    Southpaw535 Well-Known Member Moderator Supporter

    Best I can do is a quick wiki with statistics from 2011:

    Insurgent forces:

    ISAF forces:

    So its not as unlikely as I said it was, but its still not a simple case of pointing out the total number of civvie deaths and saying ISAF were to blame. In Afghanistan at least. Iraq is a whole other kettle of fish but my example was using Afghanistan since its the one I'm far more comfortable with.

    edit: Original source rights/March PoC Annual Report Final.pdf
  9. philosoraptor

    philosoraptor carnivore in a top hat Supporter

    Thanks! Yeah, I might be thinking of Pakistan and the drone war over there to be honest as well.
  10. Please reality

    Please reality Back to basics

    I appreciate the effort but it is really pointless. I am already familiar with what you are trying to explain. Nowhere did I say he should have disobeyed orders. What I am saying is that despite the "legality" of his orders, he was the guy pulling the trigger. No amount of explaining or make believing will change that.

    In the end I believe you reap what you sow, and we are not faultless so we will have to answer for our foreign policy at some point. If you live by the sword, you may die by the sword, karma is hard to escape.
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2015
  11. Southpaw535

    Southpaw535 Well-Known Member Moderator Supporter

    Not necessarily needlessly. I don't know enough about Iraq now to comment properly, but we can't pretend it was a happy place before 2003. And to be very controversial, if it turns out in the end it was all a war for oil then you could argue that's not needlessly either. Its an important resource after all. Course that's a moral nightmare but if we're discussing if it was a pointless war it deserves some thought.

    People further up the ladder.

    I've said the exact same thing about UK soldiers dying and UK hostages being executed. Not to say it doesn't matter but because "people die in war" is a fact of life. I also wouldn't disagree they're a murderer. Soldiers are paid murderers and armies exist as an armed way to push government policy. I don't think its a tough concept just one the public at large is unwilling to accept since its far less glamorous than the picture people, particularly American people, like to paint of the armed forces.

    If you're talking about Kyle's actions specifically then its impossible to know. That is far too contextual for us to judge and is often very subject to hindsight and armchair quarterbacking. As far as his actions as a part of a larger whole that comes down to your own beliefs about the armed forces and is embedded to deep in personal morals to be worth talking about.

    I'm not sure what they are exactly but the punishments for disobeying orders are severe and I'm not going to fault anyone for not wanting to face them. Killing someone because you're told to is, at its core, the entire point of the combat arm of any armed forces. If someone isn't ok with that morally I have no idea why they would join up. And since morality is an entirely subjective construct we can't say definitively if its morally or spiritually justified. We can only give our own opinion which ultimately means nothing.

    Pretty much. I think some people would be less demonizing if they got over the fanciful ideas of what the army exists for though. Not a knock at you but a general observation of things I read when the Iraq or Afghanistan war is discussed. This idea of armies fighting for liberty and the freedom of a nations citizens is just propaganda that a great deal of people seemed to have swallowed for some reason.
  12. Ero-Sennin

    Ero-Sennin Highly Skilled Peeper Supporter

    How I would have responded in 2011:

    Animals? They're less than that brah'. I would think twice about shooting a dog or cat than one of these disgusting Muslim pieces of crap. Death to them all.

    How I would respond now, since I'm not trying to kill anyone or having anyone try to kill me:

    That's how the world works right now, and that's the best way to turn yourself off to do that kind of job. Even you're not really human yourself, you're the embodiment of foreign relations and a war effort and you get treated as such. You know what wondering if you should pull the trigger does in country? It gets somebody killed at that time or later on down the line. True story: whenever our sniper team left our patrol base to go run missions at another, that patrol base would get shot at every day. When we got back and laid some people out, nobody had the balls to shoot at the base anymore. They knew when we were and weren't there, and they knew when they could mess with the PB and when they couldn't.

    All in all I laugh at the notion of people who have never been to war (which includes a lot of people IN the military as well) or having had to even defend themselves or others from violence having opinions on this type of thing. Not that I think their opinions are good or bad, but the fact that they've never been in a situation as extreme and they honestly don't know what the hell they would think. Most people are basing their response off of what they know in their 1st world life of comfort where even the dirt poor are safer and better equipped for life than people doing awesome financially in these countries we're in. Most people also lack the imagination to put themselves into a situation mentally to try and understand. It'll just keep on the pressure of unrealistic expectations of people fighting wars I suppose. "Honor and integrity" isn't meant for the enemy : P.

    It's kinda' like the armchair crowd for professional sports or something. You might think different if you had actually done it, if you were even capable of doing it. You might be the meanest, nastiest person going in and find altruism and dignity, or you might be a saint and come out death incarnate. /me shrugs.

    Not a response to you Please reality

    I don't really see the disconnect going on for understanding what Please Reality means in his posts; it's pretty crystal clear. He's saying that we all have a choice for our actions and are accountable for them, regardless of the governing bodies over us.

    I agree with him, but I disagree with his judgments. With the way I look at the world his judgment of individuals seem a little pompous and self-righteous, but he's not really wrong in the main message. Let Karma come though, I have a big sword for it ; D.
  13. philosoraptor

    philosoraptor carnivore in a top hat Supporter

    Yeah, I can understand all that. I have not experienced it, I don't know what it's like, but I can understand that that is someone's experience and that that experience is valid. I don't have difficulty with that, and don't feel like Kyle is a bad guy because he's said any of it, hell, even if he acted on it. Because you're right, war does that to people. What I have difficulty with is the social view points that people, especially civilians, maintain back home. I think you and I have similar problems with the myth of the American soldier - neither of us thinks that it's an honest portrayal. Further though, I would say that invoking that myth is used to encourage nationalism and ultimately encourage us, as a society, to be ready and willing to go to war.

    The dehumanization that soldiers find necessary to survive in wartime situations is present in the American populace as a whole, though none of them have the justification that soldiers do.
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2015
  14. philosoraptor

    philosoraptor carnivore in a top hat Supporter

    Ero, I'd like to thank you (and really everyone) for giving me space to articulate my discomfort with the film and the US treatment of the Middle East in general. I know these are heavy topics, especially for someone who has lived through them the way that you have. I think we agree more than we disagree, but thank you for disagreeing so respectfully. I value our conversations tremendously. I'm not here to showboat or debate, but actually gain and learn a lot from talking these things out with all y'all jerks.
  15. Ero-Sennin

    Ero-Sennin Highly Skilled Peeper Supporter

    My ex wife came home from a dinner party one of her law school friend's parents had thrown. She tried to get me to go, but I never went to stuff like that because of my prior service and the questions people tend to ask. They were also hardcore Republicans. She came home and told me what they had talked about, and told me some comments the father had made about the "dirty Muslims." I got angry almost instantly. I tend to get angry quicker at people who jump on board the "hate train" than I do the people who would spit in my face for having taken part in war over there. The latter I just want to understand my view, the former needs a reality check.

    I also never talked much about things with my ex wife. I remember telling her about a time where we almost laid a 4-5 year old kid out because they were probably using him to spot where we were. We decided we didn't have enough evidence to kill a kid like that, so we didn't.

    She laughed.

    Needless to say I wasn't too pleased. As a civilian who hadn't been through anything like that, I would expect her to be sad that situations like that have to play out in such an environment. How I feel as a person, just me, is totally different than how I felt back in 2011. As a person today living in the society I live in and what I want the world to be, I was disgusting and depraved. It was appropriate for that environment and I have no shame about it, but that's no longer me. I've been lucky enough to be intelligent and resilient enough to accept that, a lot of people aren't.

    I'm an open book when it comes to this. I see a psych for control issues, not the traditional "what I saw and did" issues the media likes to play on. You would be surprised at how much I agree with your statements. Everything you've said is something I wish our society would shift its mindset to. The reality is a big shift like that happens slowly. Some people tend to judge others based on the ideals of a better world instead of judging them by the standards of what the world is today, and that's the only thing I ever really take issue from.

    All in all, I think war should be old testament biblical. Kill all the men, women, and children and burn their lands. Don't even let an animal survive. That's the only way you're going to indefinitely win anything.

    And because I believe it should be that severe, it's a card in the deck that I would accidentally leave at home every time I went to the Foreign Relations Gaming Expo. : P
  16. philosoraptor

    philosoraptor carnivore in a top hat Supporter

    Reviving a dead thread, but I wanted to discuss two articles with y'all.

    First, both of these are from Salon, an especially liberal magazine. Anyway, I'm willing to bet that you can see through the slant.

    I think this article is relevant due to the disservice that American Sniper did to Marc Lee's character.

    Then, I thought this article was extremely interesting due to the contrast of narratives that emerge from a conscription based army vs a volunteer army.
  17. philosoraptor

    philosoraptor carnivore in a top hat Supporter

    I guess the thought of this vomits up on me, because I watch conservative news and listen to talk radio (my first mistake), and the language that seems to dominate the calls to war is not nuanced, thought out conclusions about the cost of war and its possible consequences, but saber rattling and posturing. "We must find ISIS and punish them at any cost!" "We have to stop them there so they don't come here!" etc., etc. These calls to war seem more based on adopting the same verbiage that we see in 'war porn' movies.
  18. narcsarge

    narcsarge Masticated Whey

    Having read both articles, and there was definitely a 'liberal' slant to both, I appreciate the posting. Though I am definitely one who would be considered a Hawk I am extremely cautious about sending our troops any where without a goal of victory and the full support to achieve the goal. I have 2 friends that were snipers in the U.S. military; 1 Army and 1 Marine (survived the bombing of the baracks in Lebanon). Our history has shown that if we become isolationist we become susceptible to attacks here. Our leaders won't secure our borders. This enemy seeks to destroy everyone it believes is against it's beliefs. They have been killing for years and on a global scale. Would you have us wait and deal with attacks only to the U.S.? This country, and the rest of the world too, has pretty much ignored the genocide in Africa. Seems to me that being 'hands off' has lead to immeasurable suffering. :hat:
  19. philosoraptor

    philosoraptor carnivore in a top hat Supporter

    I'd point out that there are options beyond military intervention. Thus far that has not secured substantial success in the war on terror, indeed, I think that a sober analysis will show that it has instead destabilized the region even more than it had been and has laid the groundwork for many new terrorist organizations. America has not really been 'susceptible to attacks' in the last hundred years or so (we certainly weren't isolationist in the lead up to Sept. 11, and Japan's attack of military installations is something quite different).
  20. Thomas

    Thomas Combat Hapkido/Taekwondo

    I haven't read the book, but I watched the movie.

    There were a few things I took away from the movie that I thought were though provoking.

    I liked how some of the characters mentioned that as soon as they came back to the US from a war zone, it was as if no war was going on. There is little coverage on TV and not a lot of coverage in the media, despite the large numbers of casualties (and damage) that have accrued. Few people talk about it - we have a lot of troops overseas but no one says much about it.

    The use of an all volunteer military takes a lot of pressure off of society - people can say "well, they are just doing their job; they get paid well; they chose to do it". With an even partially draftee military, there seems to be a lot more interest in where we are/what we are doing/ and for how long. For people who want to stay in and make a career, they are getting sent on multiple tours over and over.

    Our volunteers are really taking a mental beating. I know guys in the (US Army) infantry who do tour after tour. In Vietnam, you were obligated to serve for a year... now, our volunteer military can end up doing tour after tour. No one speaks up about much because, again, of the reasons above.

    I am a (non-combat) veteran and I worry about the direction our Armed Forces are heading. The constant pressure has to be decimating our NCO corps and morale. I worry about the long term impact on those who serve (and especially on those who come home less than whole). I worry about the disconnect our general society has as far as what our government is doing foreign-policy wise and what the true cost is.

    Like I said, I enjoyed the movie. I don't know anything about who-made-up-what or who-punched-whom and I don't really care. I liked what was going on to the side of the fighting. I think it was well presented.

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