Run, don’t walk, to see American Sniper

308555id1i_TheJudge_FinalRated_27x40_1Sheet.inddUnusually for me, I saw a first-run movie tonight. It was, as you’ve already realized, American Sniper. Also unusually, the Century Cinema, which is Marin’s premiere movie theater, with a big screen and a George Lucas-installed sound system, had an almost completely packed house on the second weekend of a January movie. One expects packed houses for the first week or two of a Star Wars or Harry Potter franchise movie during the summer, but it just never happens for any other type of movie, especially in January. Never. And for the first time in my admittedly experience seeing a movie in Marin, about half the theater broke into applause when the movie ended. Marin’s conservatives are creeping out from undercover to see this one.

Not being a professional movie reviewer, I’m not quite sure where to begin with this one. You already know the story: Texas good ol’ boy Chris Kyle leaves the rodeo circuit, joins the Navy, becomes a SEAL, and heads off to Iraq, where he becomes a legend as the most successful sniper in American military history. After four tours of duty, he returns home and begins helping vets who suffered physical or emotional injuries during the war (or, of course, both). One of those vets, a Marine, murders both him and a neighbor, Chad Littlefield. Throughout it all, Kyle and his wife love and fight and love some more, and have two children who make both of them proud. It’s a simple story, really.

When Chris Kyle died, America mourned.  His funeral cortege and memorial service drew thousands of people, although his former Commander-in-Chief (and still current Commander-in-Chief of the American military) was never heard to mention Kyle’s name. I guess Kyle just didn’t look enough like the son Obama never had — although it seems that Hugo Chavez, Whitney Houston, Robin Williams, Trayvon Martin, and Michael Brown did look like that son, at least if one is to judge by the encomiums Obama poured upon them and the representatives he sent to the hoodlums’, er sons’ funerals.

Unlike me, Clint Eastwood’s film is carefully apolitical. It keeps a very tight focus on one man and the people around him. Just as they were in Kyle’s autobiography, his family by blood and marriage vie for first place in his heart with his SEAL family. Kyle is enormously patriotic. He’s repulsed by the sadism and immorality he sees amongst the Iraqis he fights. He lives to protect his fellow servicemen. And he has troubles transitioning rapidly between war in Iraq and peace at home.

In this regard — the profound disconnect between wartime on Monday and peace on Tuesday — Kyle’s situation reminded me strongly of British WWI fighters who also made almost painfully rapid transitions between home and war. Just as Kyle talks on the phone with his wife while sniping on a rooftop, British troops sometimes received by the afternoon post the mail their loved ones had sent that morning. (For other interesting similarities and differences between the British experience in WWI and the American experience in Iraq, I recommend this book.

To the extent I notice a director’s touch, Eastwood’s was deft and sure.  Those two simple words count as high praise from me. I usually notice the director’s role in a movie when I hate the movie because of the director’s bizarre, irritating, or offensive decisions. Eastwood makes none of those mistakes. His style is smooth, professional and, when it comes to the fighting scenes, incredibly dynamic, while still being coherent enough to keep the audience engaged.

What really makes the movie, though, is Bradley Cooper’s incredible acting. “Acting” actually seems like the wrong word. Cooper doesn’t “act” Chris Kyle; he “is” Chris Kyle. Admittedly, I’ve never met Chris Kyle, so I’m taking a leap of faith by saying what I did. What I really mean is that Cooper inhabits his character’s skin so seamlessly that there is never, ever a sense that Cooper is acting at all. This is a fully realized character. One has no sense of the actor named Bradley Cooper positioning himself on the set and then, when he hears the word “action!” going through the motions of the character named Chris Kyle. There is no actor named Bradley Cooper.  There is just Chris Kyle.

One of the things that makes it clear just how extraordinarily Cooper fills the role is to watch the other actors. They’re all good . . . but you can see them acting. I have a vague memory of having seen Cooper in some other roles and not noticing him. He apparently was waiting for this role.

All in all, American Sniper is a movie that deserves its accolades and blockbuster revenue. Chris Kyle was one of those great, salt-if-the-earth Americans who emerges in times of war — not a man who loves killing for killing’s sake, which would make him no better than the enemy, but a true sheepdog who is willing to get dirty in the fight to protect his flock.  Clint Eastwood, Bradley Cooper, and the rest of the American Sniper paid Kyle his due by creating this great movie.

The Bookworm Beat 1/21/15 — “Post-SOTU” edition and Open Thread

Woman writingI didn’t watch the SOTU. Aside from finding Obama a boring, inelegant speaker, I was helping a client with trial prep. Today, the trial got continued for a few months so, before settling in for a nice 12 hour sleep (I wish!), I can blog — and share with you, among other things, a couple of my favorite SOTU analyses. I’ve got a lot to say, so I’ll just start saying….

My two favorite SOTU wrap-ups

As I admitted above, I did not watch the SOTU, so I can’t actually say if these wrap-ups are accurate. I can just say that I liked them.

From Neo-Neocon:

But Obama long ago concluded that the best defense is a good offense. He has never had to face the consequences of his failures. He has been able to fool most of the people most of the time, at least when it counted. He has skated past disaster after disaster, and gotten away with lie after lie. The biggest repercussion he’s been met with—the 2014 Democratic defeat in Congress—may not stop him. Republicans are somewhat toothless, in part because they are divided among themselves but also because Obama has veto power that will be difficult to override. He’s also got that phone and that pen, and the will to use them. He has successfully transformed the US into a second-rate power and allies into enemies (or at least, into abandoned and confused ex-allies). And he has turned enemies into, if not allies, then gloating and stronger forces in the world for whatever evil they’ve got in mind.

It’s actually worked out very well for Obama. So why not brag?

[Read more...]

“American Sniper” — a Rorschach test separating the wheat from the chaff

308555id1i_TheJudge_FinalRated_27x40_1Sheet.inddI haven’t yet seen the movie American Sniper, but I have read Chris Kyle’s autobiography, on which it is based. I therefore believe that I am qualified to write on the topic.

Although, come to think of it, I’m not really going to write about American Sniper at all. Instead, I’m going to write about some of the reactions to American Sniper, which function as a Rorschach test of American (and, dare I say, un-American?) values.

I have to begin with the fundamental premise, one that drives the Left nuts, which is that Clint Eastwood, with help from a superb Bradley Cooper, has directed an incredibly good movie, one that doesn’t shy away from war’s ugliness, but that acknowledges, not just the physical bravery of our men, but also their moral decency.  As I try endlessly to explain to anybody who can listen, both good guys and bad guys kill. After all, no one will deny that a woman has acted bravely and honorably if she shoots to death the man trying to kill her child. Likewise, only sadistic psychopaths will applaud the broken bodies of Christians, Jews, women, children, gays, blacks, and the “wrong” kind of Muslims that ISIS, Boko Haram, al Qaeda, and other Islamic Jihad organizations leave in their wake.

Let me fall back here on my already wordy poster, one that’s targeted at the buffoonish Seth Rogen, but that addresses the larger issue, which is that why one kills matters as much as the fact that one does kill:

Seth Rogen and history 1

(I also won’t waste time in this post correcting the innumerable personal slurs the Left is now hurling at Chris Kyle, most of which are based upon a failure either to see the movie or read the book. Ian Tuttle, thankfully, takes care of setting that record straight.)

Mentioning Seth Rogen, though, leads me nicely back to the point I want to make in this post, which is an observation I first made to my friends on the Watcher’s Council: namely, that American Sniper has been remarkably effective at flushing weasels out from under cover, proving that good art frequently has multiple virtues.  For example, one of my neighbors, a nice, but rather brittle, angry woman, whose life has not treated her with the generosity she was raised to expect, posted the following image on Facebook:

Stupid Leftists don't understand heroes

Doesn’t that ugly, mean-spirited poster sum up just about everything that’s wrong with the Leftist view of the world? The wrongness of it all begins with the terrible slur against Kyle and all the other American troops who have fought against the same type of men who are now crucifying, raping, beheading, and generally rampaging their way across the Middle East, with occasional detours into Europe.  I know those men.  My Dad was one.

Really, there’s no sugar-coating it.  For five years of his life, my Dad was a hate-filled killer.  He poured  his energy, brains, skill, and courage into slaughtering as many people as he possibly could.  If he could have killed more, he would have.

In case you’re wondering, Daddy wasn’t Dexter or Charles Manson or Stalin.  Instead, he was an ordinary foot soldier in WWII, fighting with the RAF and ANZAC in the Mediterranean theater.

During all those years of fighting, mostly in North Africa with detours into Greece and Crete, Daddy wasn’t glorying in slaughter for the thrill of it.  He didn’t kill to slake blood lust or because he was a racist.  In fact, quite the opposite.  He was killing because he understood the stakes, which was to stop the spread of genocidal racism:  If he didn’t do his bit to halt the Nazis in North Africa, those same Nazis would descend on Palestine, and with the help of the enthusiastic ancestors of today’s ISIS, have slaughtered where they stood every Jewish man, woman, and child in the British Mandate of Palestine.

Chris Kyle and his comrades, as Kyle made clear in his book, didn’t kill Iraqis because they took a sadistic glee in a human turkey shoot.  They killed specific Iraqis who were bound and determined to kill the Americans (which is ground enough to want to kill the Iraqis first) and, moreover, who were equally bound and determined to put into place precisely the ideological governance we now see in the Middle East with ISIS and in Nigeria with Boko Haram.

Ultimately, Kyle and his comrades were killing humans fatally infected with a deadly ideological disease.  These men understood (and, wherever they still fight, understand) that people infected with genocidal, imperialist, tyrannical values need to be exterminated just as surely as we kill a rabid dog or, 70 years ago, as we killed rabid Nazis.  Unfortunately, the reality of war is that, when we kill the guilty, we sometimes kill the innocent.  My Dad knew that, amongst the Nazis he was fighting were ordinary Germans who were forced by circumstances to fight for those same rabid Nazis.

Knowing that didn’t stop Daddy, or any of the other Allied troops.  They understood that this is how the world works.  (For more of my thoughts on that specific topic, you can check out my annual Passover post.)  As Daddy once said, you cannot fight a war if you don’t hate your enemy — by which he meant if you don’t hate the values your enemy seeks to advance.

So, clearly, one level of Leftist stupidity is its members’ complete inability to understand that soldiers can hate the ideology without doing the Leftist thing and turning everything into some agonized Greek tragedy about racism, sexism, homophobia, and third world victimization.  Smart people are able to winnow out good from bad, and they know in which directions to aim their guns.

But there’s a second level of stupidity at work in that ugly, mean-spirited poster, and that’s the stupidity that is unable to comprehend that, without the sheepdogs, the sheep aren’t able to go around sweetly and smugly ministering to the less fortunate among them.  Please believe me that I don’t intend to be snide about charity.  I think charity is a wonderful thing, provided that it’s not forced upon people through government coercion.  It’s one thing for me, while exercising my values, to donate my time, money, and labor to aid those less fortunate than I.  It’s another thing entirely when the government, with a gun aimed at my head, announces that I’ve volunteered to donate 50% of my annual income to help those that the government deems should be recipients of government beneficence.

Putting aside my irritation at a government that denies me the opportunity to redistribute my own wealth, let me get to the real issue and the real stupidity behind that poster:  There is no charity when there is no civil society.  Charity works when society is sufficiently stable, free, and predictable that people can actually earn and keep money — and then give it away if they want to.  A strong, infrastructure underlying a free, market-based society creates both extra time and extra wealth, not to mention a capacity for empathy that is utterly lacking when people are suffering under either complete anarchy or sadistic, malevolent totalitarian rule.

You, my dear, smug Leftists, are able to boast in self-aggrandizing tones about your ability to shake down hard-working citizens only because men like Chris Kyle are willing to do the dirty work of keeping both tyrants and anarchy at bay.  You’re like the person who dines in style on the steak, but sneeringly describes as a hillbilly the rancher who raised that cow and as a murderer the butcher who got that lovely filet mignon to your table.

Great art not only opens our minds, but it enable us to see with clarity those minds that cannot and will not open.  People who value freedom understand that there’s a price to pay for freedom’s blessings and we are appropriately and eternally grateful to those who are willing to do the dirty work that goes with paying that price.

Radical, jihadist, fundamentalist Islam (or whatever other nouns and adjectives you wish to apply to the 10% of the world’s Muslims who seek only to destroy) must be destroyed, lest we are all destroyed.  My problem is that I’m a tiny middle-aged Jewish woman, who is a great target, but a lousy fighter.  I live because Chris Kyle, and the SEALS, and the Marines, and the Navy, and the Army, and the Air Force put themselves in front of me, as a living barrier protecting me from the abyss.

I pity those people who don’t appreciate the gift they’ve been given, and do nothing more than set themselves up as the socialist twins to those murderous Islamists that the Kyle’s of this world fight.  Because, really, once you strip away those smug words about the personal virtues of government funded charity, you discover that the Left and the Islamists are pretty much the same people.  It’s just that the Islamists have gone further down the path necessary to achieve their ultimate ends:

Radical Islamists and Leftists have identical beliefs

Why I don’t like today’s war movies — it’s not the plot, it’s the people behind the movie

Someone gave us tickets to see a play called Black Watch, about the famed Scottish regiment in the British Army.  The play premiered in 2006 in Edinburgh, at the height of anti-War fervor.  It tells the story of a regiment that goes back 300 years, that bore the brunt of a bad attack in Iraq, and that was later folded into another regiment, to the distress of its members and many in Scotland.  The genesis for the play was a series of news reports about returning vets getting into bar fights, etc.  (Of course, when I heard that, I immediately wondered if these guys would have gotten into bar fights regardless, consistent with their working class Scottish demographic, and then made news solely because of their Black Watch affiliation.)

Here’s a YouTube promo that gives you an idea about the play.  I got tired just watching it:

Although everybody on the Left who wrote it, produced it, acted in it, or reviewed it insists that it’s “even handed,” I have to admit to having my doubts.  I’ll try to keep an open mind, though.  It might indeed be a moving tribute to a long-standing regiment.  (My Dad — who was in the RAF, but ended up in ANZAC, and then somehow served as an infantryman — fought aside the Black Watch in El Alamein.  He carried with him memories of being piped into battle.)

The good thing is that the actors I’ll be watching are all actually Scottish, so they’ll have the accent right.  The bad news — and the reason I have an icky feeling about the play, even if it is well-done and is even-handed — is that I’m absolutely certain that the majority of them are anti-War.  I mean, think about it:  young, Scottish, in the Arts — they’ve got to be Leftists.  I certainly don’t have proof, but I have a reasonable hypothesis, right?

What this means is that those who are ostensibly paying respectful homage to generations of Black Watch soldiers in fact think of soldiers as sadistic baby killers.  For such actors, every depiction of a good soldier is a parody, because there’s no such thing.  And every depiction of a bad soldier — whether on the field or off — feels right because, after all, that’s what troops are . . . BAD.

This is why I hate modern war movies.  It’s not just because I’m squeamish.  It’s because I know that the actors, producers, and directors making those movies hate everything the troops stand for:  their masculine culture (which is why the huge push for homosexuals generally and women on the front lines), their religion (which is why Obama’s Pentagon has hired a rabid Christian hater to work with it on “tolerance”), and their belief that war is the only way to solve some problems (“War, for the times when a ‘Coexist’ bumper sticker just won’t get the job done.”).

To me, it’s a cruel travesty to watch poncy Hollywood (or Scottish) actors bound around pretending to be masculine and brave.  It’s not just that they’re scared little boys pretending; it’s that they’re scared little boys who despise the real thing.

All of this makes it very ironic that Steven Spielberg, he of the anti-War left, has signed on to make a Chris Kyle biopic.  Chris Kyle wasn’t politically correct.  He loved war when it was just, he loved fighting, he loved the manliness of his military environment, and he absolutely and completely hated the people against whom he fought:  the savage barbarians of Islam.  One can bet, though, that in Spielberg’s limp hands, Kyle will become an anguished figure, trying to come to terms with the havoc he’s wreaked upon the innocent people of Iraq.

Incidentally, one of the reasons WWII war films worked so well, and are still watchable, was because the people in them supported the war effort.  Some enlisted, some served, some were in the Army Reserve since 1937 but couldn’t serve because of bad vision (that would be Ronald Reagan), and all believed that America needed to beat the Axis.  Yes, a lot of the actors were scared little boys pretending, but they admired the real thing, rather than despising it.

After I’ve seen Black Watch, I’ll let you know what I think of it, and whether my fears were realized.

Obama almost aggressively ignores Chris Kyle’s death, but sends significant delegation to Chavez’s funeral

Chris Kyle and Hugo Chavez

It’s been more than a month since military hero Chris Kyle died, and President Obama has yet to say a word about Kyle and his service to our country.  It’s been two days since Venezuelan Hugo Chavez died, and the President has already made arrangements to send a three-man delegation to his funeral.

The former Navy-SEAL was an extraordinarily heroic sniper who recorded the highest number of kill shots in American history.  He claimed he was just lucky (there were so many enemies around him that it was like shooting fish in a barrel), but it’s obvious that luck was only a part of it.  He was naturally talented, well-trained, meticulously prepared, and extremely courageous.  Although he had nothing good to say about the barbarians he fought, Kyle never had a bad word to say in public about this country or its leaders.  He truly and proudly loved America.

Hugo Chavez was a “socialist” despot who wrecked Venezuela’s economy, not for the people’s benefit, but to enrich himself.  Current estimates are that he squirreled away about $2 billion dollars of the Venezuelan people’s money in his own bank accounts.  His favorite people were the world’s worst dictators, whether in Cuba, the Middle East, or Russia, and he tried hard to help these regimes out with the oil he robbed from his people.  He aggressively supported Latin American drug and Leftist terrorist groups, and he practiced the usual dictator’s trick of blaming the Jews (who are a tiny minority in Venezuela) for the economic troubles he created.

And of course, like any despot, Chavez hated America.  In a memorable 2006 appearance at the U.N., Chavez said of President George Bush that “The devil came here yesterday.  It still smells of sulfur today.” President Bush wasn’t his only target.  In the same speech, he told the world that America and President Bush promoted “a false democracy of the elite” and a “democracy of bombs.”

When American hero Chris Kyle died, Obama said nothing.

When America-hater Hugo Chavez died, Obama issued a wordy statement that said nothing about the fact that Venezuela and the world are large are better off without the dangerous despot who desperately wanted to be a big player in the world’s Axis of Evil:

At this challenging time of President Hugo Chavez’s passing, the United States reaffirms its support for the Venezuelan people and its interest in developing a constructive relationship with the Venezuelan government. As Venezuela begins a new chapter in its history, the United States remains committed to policies that promote democratic principles, the rule of law, and respect for human rights.

When American hero Chris Kyle was mourned at his memorial service, Obama did not attend, he did not send a taped message (or even a telegram), and he did not send an official White House representative.

Now that America-hater Hugo Chavez has finally died, Obama has arranged for an impressive delegation to attend the official funeral in Caracas.  According to the Washington Times:

The Obama administration has dispatched an official delegation to Caracas to attend Friday’s funeral for deceased Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

In addition to James Derham, who presently serves as Charge d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in the Venezuelan capital, the State Department said Thursday that the delegation to the socialist revolutionary’s funeral will include U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks, New York Democrat, and former U.S. Rep. William Delahunt, Massachusetts Democrat.

Not to put too fine a point on things, it is disgusting that President Obama (who is the American military’s Commander in Chief) completely ignored an American military hero’s death; and now, just a month later, pulls out the stops when an anti-American, pro-terrorist, socialist robber baron dies.  If you need a snapshot of the Obama administration’s values, this is it.

(Written by Bookworm; originally published at Mr. Conservative.)

Friday morning round-up

If ignorance is bliss, ’tis folly to be wise — especially when the subject is Islam.

Today is the day that Obama (at extraordinary cost) flew all over the country to hype as Armageddon.  I got out of bed this morning, looked up, and saw the sky right where it belonged.  “Wow,” I said to myself.  “The sky didn’t fall.  I think someone lied to me.”  Krauthammer thinks the same.  The Dems were on to something with their “never let a crisis go to waste” policy.  Where they erred was in thinking they could use that policy effectively by faking crises.  That might have been a mistake for them — and I hope it was a big mistake.

“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” Mia Farrow inadvertently said something very important.  “Bob Woodward burned his cloak of impartiality.”  What did Woodward do to start this conflagration?  Acting as an actual investigative journalist, he reported that Obama lied about the sequestration.  In other words, “impartiality” means “the Obama party line.”  I have a friend who loves Jon Stewart.  He cannot understand when I say that, aside from finding Stewart too puerile and crude to be funny, I don’t like his biased humor.  “Bias?  There is no bias,” says my friend.  According to him, the impartial truth is that, 90% of the time (per Stewart) conservatives are stupid, mean, and wrong, while that’s only true (maybe) about 10% of the time for Democrats.

I couldn’t agree more with this article urging that schools have children read the Bible, not as a religious book, but as literature.  The King James Bible is, without doubt, one of the most beautifully written books in the English language, and one that enriches our speech every day.  And if a little morality rubs off along the way, well, who’s to say that’s a bad thing?

Who knew that Michelle Obama had so much in common with ancient Sparta?  Following her fitness program is now a “patriotic obligation.”  Considering that Sparta was a, well, spartan, warlike, slave state, I’m not sure I like this.  It’s one thing if people want to be physically fit (as I do).  It’s quite another thing when the state makes it a civic obligation that, ultimately, as a civic obligation, will be enforced using all the state’s power.

One of my long-time blog friends, and one of the smartest women in the conservative blogosphere has a fascinating post up at PJ Media about the transition from liberal to conservative — one that sees many of us following a Churchillian political trajectory.  I think many Bookworm Room readers will recognize themselves in her post.  I certainly see myself.

Also at PJ Media, David Goldman brings some of his always interesting insights to bear on the warped, and definitely pre-modern, mental life of Obama’s favorite political leader, Turkey’s Tayyip Erdogan. Erdogan, as you may recall, is the Muslim political leader who just the other day called Zionism a “crime against humanity.”

When Whitney Houston, the pathetically drug addicted diva, died in her bath, Obama paused in his busy campaign to acknowledge her passing.  To date, Obama has said nothing about Chris Kyle, a man who fought ferociously in the military that Obama heads, given his constitutional status as Commander in Chief.  Keith Koffler rightly calls Obama out on this revolting silence.

I’m sure I’ll have more to say as the day rolls on, but this is a start.

 

Obama and the deaths of famous people

Keep in mind as you look at this poster that Obama is the military’s Commander in Chief.  This means that, in theory, although clearly not in fact, Chris Kyle was one of Obama’s own:

Obama's responses to death

Incidentally, I don’t reprint this poster to denigrate Houston’s tragedy (which was drug addiction), but merely to point out that our President’s values don’t align well with traditional morality or patriotism.

Chris Kyle leaves for his final resting place *UPDATED*

Chris Kyle

Having read Chris Kyle’s American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History, I keep forgetting that I never actually met the man.  The book was so vivid, not just about his war-time experiences, but also when it came to his life and personality, that my memory creates false images of my actually having spoken with Kyle.  I’m not delusional.  I know they’re false memories.  It’s just that a very real person stepped out of those pages.

Today, that vivid man was laid to rest, beginning with a memorial service before approximately 7,000 people at Cowboys Stadium, followed by a long drive to Texas State Cemetery in Austin, Texas:

Slain ex-Navy SEAL Chris Kyle was a devoted husband, father and friend who will never be forgotten, his widow told mourners at his memorial service Monday.

Taya Kyle said she was broken but that the family will “put one foot in front of the other” to get through their grief. She told her two children that they will remember Chris Kyle’s silly side, Texas twang and prayers they prayed together.

“Chris, there isn’t enough time to tell you everything you mean to me and everything you taught me,” she said through tears.

Nearly 7,000 people, including former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and her husband, attended the service at Cowboys Stadium. Dozens of military personnel and others were seated in front of the podium near the star at midfield, where Kyle’s flag-draped coffin was placed at the beginning of the service.

After Taya Kyle’s eulogy, country singer Randy Travis sang “Whisper My Name,” which he said Taya Kyle had told him was a meaningful song for the couple, and “Amazing Grace.” At the conclusion of the two-hour service, bagpipers played as military personnel carried out Kyle’s coffin, and many in the crowd saluted.

His friends and fellow service members told mourners that Kyle was more than an excellent sniper feared by U.S. enemies — he was a dedicated family man known for his sense of humor, compassion, selflessness and generosity.

Some who served with him said that Kyle was a man, myth and legend because he would do anything for his fellow SEALs. Some of his childhood friends recalled his mischievous side, and one said he and Kyle played with BB guns as kids — and Kyle “wasn’t a good shot back then.”

(Read more here.)

Kyle was a larger-than-life character, and I suspect he would have appreciated this larger than life funeral.  I don’t just suspect, though, but know with absolute certainty that he would infinitely preferred to have spent a long life with the wife and children he adored.

R.I.P, Chris Kyle.  You were a man of courage and honor, you touched many lives, and you will be greatly missed.

UPDATE:  Typically, the Daily Mail has the best coverage.

Obama: it’s not just what he says, it’s what he doesn’t say

A friend forwarded me this Facebook page:

Obama's deafening silence

Perhaps, though, we should be grateful. You just know that Obama would have wanted to say something along the lines of Ron Paul’s execrable statement about living and dying by the sword. (And we know how stupid that is in this context.) Given half a moment and a bully pulpit, Obama would have dressed up Chris Kyle, the ultimate warrior, as the poster child for draconian gun control.

Chris Kyle, RIP

Chris Kyle

Back in June, I reviewed Chris Kyle’s American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History.  I gave the book a thumbs up — it was an enjoyable, informative read about life on the front lines from a tough guy who became a SEAL, and then went on to become, as the title says, the most lethal sniper in U.S. Military history.  Along the way, Kyle picked up, just to name a few the honors bestowed upon him, two Silver Stars, five Bronze Stars with Valor, and two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals.

One of the things that struck me about Kyle’s book was how earthy and irreverent it was.  I compared it to Marcus Luttrell’s equally enjoyable, but very different, Service: A Navy SEAL at War, which struck a more reverent note.  Kyle was a rough, tough man, who lived hard and loved his wife and family with the same passion he brought to everything else he did.

That rough, tough, passionate, loving man managed to survive front line service in Iraq only to die yesterday in Texas when a crazed former Marine shot him and Chad Littlefield at point blank range, killing both:

The deadliest sniper in US history has been shot dead at point blank range by a veteran suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.

Chris Kyle, 39, was blasted in the back by Eddie Ray Routh, 25, after taking him on an outing to a shooting range to help him deal with his demons.

Routh also allegedly shot dead his neighbor Chad Littlefield, 35, who was on the trip too.

I’m not blind to the irony that a man who made his career shooting people died by being shot. I don’t have to go to Left wing blogs to know that they’re probably celebrating this “karmic” end to his life. This point of view is, of course, wildly and completely wrong.

As Kyle fully understood — as every person on a battlefield has understood — there is a difference between war time and peace time. During war time, an enemy is arrayed against you and yours. If you don’t kill him, he will kill you, and your friends, and your family. Provided you are fighting against a true enemy (one who genuinely seeks your destruction), killing in war is a righteous.

My Dad may have had nightmares about the Nazis coming to kill him at El Alamein, but he never had nightmares about the Nazis he killed.  Individually, I have no doubt that there were decent men amongst the Nazi troops, men who were patriots, rather than genocidal maniacs.  When a country goes to war, decent individuals too often find themselves on the wrong side.  Sadly, though, the nature of war means that, to destroy an evil nation, one has to destroy its military — including the cannon fodder forced into that nation’s war.  Kyle understood this.

At home, though, in peace time, Kyle was not a crazed killer.  He was a family man and an educator.  He sought to protect innocents.  Living as a man of peace, in peace time, his murder was just as terrible as it would have been if he’d spent the last decades being an accountant, rather than a SEAL.

I enjoyed the funny, rough, pragmatic man I met in Kyle’s book.  If you haven’t read it, I bet you’d like him too.  Perhaps now is the time to buy the book, since I’m sure his wife and children will need the royalties from its sales.