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Taibbi writes: "I saw American Sniper last night, and hated it slightly less than I expected to."

Bradley Cooper in 'American Sniper.' (photo: Warner Bros/Rolling Stone)
Bradley Cooper in 'American Sniper.' (photo: Warner Bros/Rolling Stone)


'American Sniper' Is Almost Too Dumb to Criticize

By Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone

22 January 15

 

saw American Sniper last night, and hated it slightly less than I expected to. Like most Clint Eastwood movies – and I like Clint Eastwood movies for the most part – it's a simple, well-lit little fairy tale with the nutritional value of a fortune cookie that serves up a neatly-arranged helping of cheers and tears for target audiences, and panics at the thought of embracing more than one or two ideas at any time.

It's usually silly to get upset about the self-righteous way Hollywood moviemakers routinely turn serious subjects into baby food. Film-industry people angrily reject the notion that their movies have to be about anything (except things like "character" and "narrative" and "arc," subjects they can talk about endlessly).

This is the same Hollywood culture that turned the horror and divisiveness of the Vietnam War era into a movie about a platitude-spewing doofus with leg braces who in the face of terrible moral choices eats chocolates and plays Ping-Pong. The message of Forrest Gump was that if you think about the hard stuff too much, you'll either get AIDS or lose your legs. Meanwhile, the hero is the idiot who just shrugs and says "Whatever!" whenever his country asks him to do something crazy.

Forrest Gump pulled in over half a billion and won Best Picture. So what exactly should we have expected from American Sniper?

Not much. But even by the low low standards of this business, it still manages to sink to a new depth or two.

The thing is, the mere act of trying to make a typically Hollywoodian one-note fairy tale set in the middle of the insane moral morass that is/was the Iraq occupation is both dumber and more arrogant than anything George Bush or even Dick Cheney ever tried.

No one expected 20 minutes of backstory about the failed WMD search, Abu Ghraib, or the myriad other American atrocities and quick-trigger bombings that helped fuel the rise of ISIL and other groups.

But to turn the Iraq war into a saccharine, almost PG-rated two-hour cinematic diversion about a killing machine with a heart of gold (is there any film theme more perfectly 2015-America than that?) who slowly, very slowly, starts to feel bad after shooting enough women and children – Gump notwithstanding, that was a hard one to see coming.

Sniper is a movie whose politics are so ludicrous and idiotic that under normal circumstances it would be beneath criticism. The only thing that forces us to take it seriously is the extraordinary fact that an almost exactly similar worldview consumed the walnut-sized mind of the president who got us into the war in question.

It's the fact that the movie is popular, and actually makes sense to so many people, that's the problem. "American Sniper has the look of a bona fide cultural phenomenon!" gushed Brandon Griggs of CNN, noting the film's record $105 million opening-week box office.

Griggs added, in a review that must make Eastwood swell with pride, that the root of the film's success is that "it's about a real person," and "it's a human story, not a political one."

Well done, Clint! You made a movie about mass-bloodshed in Iraq that critics pronounced not political! That's as Hollywood as Hollywood gets.

The characters in Eastwood's movies almost always wear white and black hats or their equivalents, so you know at all times who's the good guy on the one hand, and whose exploding head we're to applaud on the other.

In this case that effect is often literal, with "hero" sniper Chris Kyle's "sinister" opposite Mustafa permanently dressed in black (with accompanying evil black pirate-stubble) throughout.

Eastwood, who surely knows better, indulges in countless crass stupidities in the movie. There's the obligatory somber scene of shirtless buffed-up SEAL Kyle and his heartthrob wife Sienna Miller gasping at the televised horror of the 9/11 attacks. Next thing you know, Kyle is in Iraq actually fighting al-Qaeda – as if there was some logical connection between 9/11 and Iraq.

Which of course there had not been, until we invaded and bombed the wrong country and turned its moonscaped cities into a recruitment breeding ground for… you guessed it, al-Qaeda. They skipped that chicken-egg dilemma in the film, though, because it would detract from the "human story."

Eastwood plays for cheap applause and goes super-dumb even by Hollywood standards when one of Kyle's officers suggests that they could "win the war" by taking out the evil sniper who is upsetting America's peaceful occupation of Sadr City.

When hunky Bradley Cooper's Kyle character subsequently takes out Mustafa with Skywalkerian long-distance panache – "Aim small, hit small," he whispers, prior to executing an impossible mile-plus shot – even the audiences in the liberal-ass Jersey City theater where I watched the movie stood up and cheered. I can only imagine the response this scene scored in Soldier of Fortune country.

To Eastwood, this was probably just good moviemaking, a scene designed to evoke the same response he got in Trouble With the Curve when his undiscovered Latin Koufax character, Rigoberto Sanchez, strikes out the evil Bonus Baby Bo Gentry (even I cheered at that scene).

The problem of course is that there's no such thing as "winning" the War on Terror militarily. In fact the occupation led to mass destruction, hundreds of thousands of deaths, a choleric lack of real sanitation, epidemic unemployment and political radicalization that continues to this day to spread beyond Iraq's borders.

Yet the movie glosses over all of this, and makes us think that killing Mustafa was some kind of decisive accomplishment – the single shot that kept terrorists out of the coffee shops of San Francisco or whatever. It's a scene that ratified every idiot fantasy of every yahoo with a target rifle from Seattle to Savannah.

The really dangerous part of this film is that it turns into a referendum on the character of a single soldier. It's an unwinnable argument in either direction. We end up talking about Chris Kyle and his dilemmas, and not about the Rumsfelds and Cheneys and other officials up the chain who put Kyle and his high-powered rifle on rooftops in Iraq and asked him to shoot women and children.

They're the real villains in this movie, but the controversy has mostly been over just how much of a "hero" Chris Kyle really was. One Academy member wondered to a reporter if Kyle (who in real life was killed by a fellow troubled vet in an eerie commentary on the violence in our society that might have made a more interesting movie) was a "psychopath." Michael Moore absorbed a ton of criticism when he tweeted that "My uncle [was] killed by sniper in WW2. We were taught snipers were cowards …"

And plenty of other commentators, comparing Kyle's book (where he remorselessly brags about killing "savages") to the film (where he is portrayed as a more rounded figure who struggled, if not verbally then at least visually, with the nature of his work), have pointed out that real-life Kyle was kind of a dick compared to movie-Kyle.

(The most disturbing passage in the book to me was the one where Kyle talked about being competitive with other snipers, and how when one in particular began to threaten his "legendary" number, Kyle "all of the sudden" seemed to have "every stinkin' bad guy in the city running across my scope." As in, wink wink, my luck suddenly changed when the sniper-race got close, get it? It's super-ugly stuff).

The thing is, it always looks bad when you criticize a soldier for doing what he's told. It's equally dangerous to be seduced by the pathos and drama of the individual solider's experience, because most wars are about something much larger than that, too.

They did this after Vietnam, when America spent decades watching movies like Deer Hunter and First Blood and Coming Home about vets struggling to reassimilate after the madness of the jungles. So we came to think of the "tragedy" of Vietnam as something primarily experienced by our guys, and not by the millions of Indochinese we killed.

That doesn't mean Vietnam Veterans didn't suffer: they did, often terribly. But making entertainment out of their dilemmas helped Americans turn their eyes from their political choices. The movies used the struggles of soldiers as a kind of human shield protecting us from thinking too much about what we'd done in places like Vietnam and Cambodia and Laos.

This is going to start happening now with the War-on-Terror movies. As CNN's Griggs writes, "We're finally ready for a movie about the Iraq War." Meaning: we're ready to be entertained by stories about how hard it was for our guys. And it might have been. But that's not the whole story and never will be.

We'll make movies about the Chris Kyles of the world and argue about whether they were heroes or not. Some were, some weren't. But in public relations as in war, it'll be the soldiers taking the bullets, not the suits in the Beltway who blithely sent them into lethal missions they were never supposed to understand.

And filmmakers like Eastwood, who could have cleared things up, only muddy the waters more. Sometimes there's no such thing as "just a human story." Sometimes a story is meaningless or worse without real context, and this is one of them.


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+231 # Billy Bob 2015-01-22 13:40
This is all just part of an ongoing, well-funded, process of indoctrinating our children, and intimidating law-abiding citizens. You can't live in a state of perpetual war and remain a free society. That seems to be one of the incentives for keeping us this way, in fact. How dare any of us question whether or not each and every soldier of choice is a "hero", right? That's the way it is. We've become imperial Rome, and the only thing setting us apart from the slavery and in-your-face barbarism of Rome, is a technological buffer that keeps us comfortable, blind, fearful, and, most importantly, entertained.
 
 
+5 # Rain17 2015-01-23 15:42
Billy Bob, as someone who works around former and active-duty military, here is my view on the issue. Attacking individual soldiers is not fair because they aren't the one making the policies or sending them into combat zone. The real issue is with those at the top making the policies. Attacking individual soldiers is not going to people to change their minds on issues or reassess their viewpoints.
 
 
+27 # Billy Bob 2015-01-24 02:08
Yes, sometimes the truth is a forbidden taboo. I'm not "attacking" anybody. I'm telling the truth about individual soldiers I know. Pretending reality can just be wished away without facing it honestly has never solved anything.
 
 
+6 # Rain17 2015-01-24 03:12
Here is my issue with it. Many people join the military due to the fact that they can't find jobs in the civilian world or they can't afford college. I just don't like how some people on this board call them all "war criminals".
 
 
+25 # Glen 2015-01-24 08:53
That's true Rain, but specialty jobs are chosen, rather than being assigned. A sniper is a specialty job in which anyone volunteering for that position knows that they will be expected to kill. Kill directly, not as needed.

I have past students who joined the military who do random jobs, others were expected to kill in sweeps. Most wanted out as soon as they could do so and have struggled emotionally ever since.

Some in the military ARE war criminals, most are folks as you describe and are doing the best they can.
 
 
+4 # Glen 2015-01-24 15:13
I'm puzzled why you are getting the ole thumbs down, Rain. Your comments are reality. Most in the military are human beings just trying to get through young adulthood, not the career types who only serve to kill.
 
 
0 # Rain17 2015-01-25 23:47
Glen, also not every military job is in Combat Arms. The reason that I'm getting thumbs down is that I'm not attacking the entire military and generalizing everyone in the armed forces in a negative light.
 
 
0 # X Dane 2015-02-01 02:12
Rain17.
You put your finger on it. The right wing keeps cutting funding for education, so enough poor young people have no way of finding work, other than go into the military.

They are needed to fight the wars of the neocons and the wealthy, who want their interests taken care of, And we must'n forget that the weapons manufacturers need their products used.
 
 
+25 # gdsharpe 2015-01-23 17:15
Sure enough, and it happens every generation. Remember in the Viet Nam war era: "Green Berets", Uncommon Valor", "The Flight of the Intruder", "Uncommon Valor", born on the Fourth of July", et al?
All were, "we are the good guys" and "They are the bad guys" coupled with some lame excuses for the war.
 
 
+27 # LeeBlack 2015-01-23 21:02
I'm glad Taibbi included, "no one expected 20 minutes of backstory about the failed WMD search, Abu Ghraib, or the myriad other American atrocities and quick-trigger bombings that helped fuel the rise of ISIL " reminding us that it was the earlier administration that is responsible for the rise of ISIL

Unfortunately history is no longer written by winners but by the moviemakers.
 
 
+239 # fredboy 2015-01-22 14:09
Isn't it amazing how Americans idolize those who kill yet ignore or belittle those who teach or save lives?
 
 
+45 # Ray Kondrasuk 2015-01-22 14:25
Matt, evidently you didn't see Sean Hannity's gushing, full-hour swoon that was top o' the hour to top o' the hour glowing, unabashed promotion of "Sniper". Maybe some of the "Sniper" box office stats will buoy up the saggy Seany.
 
 
+60 # Billy Bob 2015-01-22 19:23
Exactly. As a country, our priorities have been flipped for quite a number of years now. We're starting to reap the "rewards" in our inability to compete with other countries, and our inability to have informed citizens capable of understanding and engaging in civil political discourse. Short of drastic measures taken by a wave of very brave and unyielding liberals, this is only going to get worse and worse.
 
 
+29 # RLF 2015-01-23 06:06
But Billy Bob...we can compete...probl em is all of the spoils have been going to the 1% so that people are on the go so much they don't have time to turn around much less study the issues. America may be less about apathy and more about working 70 hours a week to not lose the house. Not much energy left for anything else.
 
 
+10 # Billy Bob 2015-01-23 12:08
I agree. We "CAN" compete. But, we aren't competing. That's what I mean by our flipped priorities. As my high school wrestling coach would say, "Woulda', Coulda', Shoulda' ". We COULD compete if we wanted to. Apparently, we just don't want to.
 
 
-3 # bmiluski 2015-01-23 09:58
My dear Fred.....unfort unately this is not only an American phenomenon. It is found in ALL countries with a male population.
 
 
+18 # Billy Bob 2015-01-23 12:13
My dear Babs, For every glorified killer I can think of, I know plenty of women worshipping the ground they walk on as "heroes". I'm glad you don't feel that way, but I don't really think this is a "man problem". From my experience, women seem to be every bit as gung-ho and warmongering as men. Not only is our military loaded with plenty of ready and willing women, but most of the "men" involved in killing and getting off on the fantasy, actually have mothers, wives, girlfriends, or sisters.
 
 
+1 # X Dane 2015-02-01 02:26
Billy Bob.
The "ready and willing women",...certa inly the majority,.. joins for the same reason as young poor men. And too many of them are paying a very high price. I am referring to the sickening many rapes.
 
 
+1 # X Dane 2015-02-01 02:30
bmulski.
You are wrong in that assumption. The Scandinavian countries do not glorify war and weapons. intelligence is priced, not guts and glory.
 
 
+86 # jdd 2015-01-22 14:33
No marches or demos against this brutality, right Rev. Al? No comments from the POTUS. What would MLK have said about this garbage. I think we know.
 
 
+47 # Billy Bob 2015-01-22 19:25
Martin Luther King was murdered. If he were alive today, and had the courage to stand up, there's a good chance he'd still be murdered.
 
 
+6 # kgrad 2015-01-24 16:37
I do not doubt that were he alive today, he would have the courage to stand up. That he would still be murdered appears to me to be a foregone conclusion.
 
 
+4 # Billy Bob 2015-01-25 00:09
I agree.
 
 
+52 # firefly 2015-01-22 14:35
Darn. I was busy the last couple weeks but had hoped this movie was worth the effort to see. Guess it is Penguins of Madagascar or something for my next movie-night.

Thanks Matt!
 
 
+23 # RLF 2015-01-23 06:08
What did you expect? Clint did speak at the last Republican convention...th ink you're going to get any brilliance out of this bozo?
 
 
+25 # Billy Bob 2015-01-23 12:14
In fact, from what I saw, he lost a debate against an empty chair.
 
 
+109 # ronnewmexico 2015-01-22 14:56
What is most disturbing about this is..some have done reviews of twitter and other comments, made after this movie has been viewed…and for one reason or another it incites a antimuslim view. Many comments viewed are found to be slams on muslims and their religion.

I doubt if that was in any way intended but it is a real result.

The connection between 9/11 and Iraq by video presentation but not actual verbage…is unconscionable.
It leads to the mistaken perception even now that Iraq had a large to do with 9/11.
Eastwood…sucks. He knows exactly what he is doing..that video leap is no accident.
.
 
 
+19 # lfeuille 2015-01-22 19:43
Quoting ronnewmexico:
What is most disturbing about this is..some have done reviews of twitter and other comments, made after this movie has been viewed…and for one reason or another it incites a antimuslim view. Many comments viewed are found to be slams on muslims and their religion.

I doubt if that was in any way intended but it is a real result.

The connection between 9/11 and Iraq by video presentation but not actual verbage…is unconscionable.
It leads to the mistaken perception even now that Iraq had a large to do with 9/11.
Eastwood…sucks. He knows exactly what he is doing..that video leap is no accident.
.


Why do you doubt that it was intended?
 
 
+70 # Dgreenb1 2015-01-22 15:11
Excellent job by the author. A job that had to be done but will pass over the heads of most Americans. The Italians have a saying- "you get the government you deserve." Well with the exception of the President we now have the government we deserve.mwe also have the movies the American people want. The lack of ability to think critically is frightening. More and better education PLEASE.
 
 
+51 # dickbd 2015-01-22 15:31
I'm not too happy about the president either, with his copious use of the Espionage Act and his drone strikes. I am also unhappy about how he has supported NATO and used the CIA. Other presidents have done the same thing, but I was hoping for more with this guy.

However, I don't agree that we get the government we deserve. How can we vote in a knowledgeable way when we are constantly misinformed by the corporate press--and even by the movies!
 
 
-56 # torch and pitchfork 2015-01-22 15:38
More and better education will only lead to an increase in teen suicide.
 
 
+24 # Rangzen 2015-01-22 16:59
What?!
 
 
+6 # bmiluski 2015-01-23 10:00
Don't pay any attention to torch....It's a TROLL.
 
 
+17 # reiverpacific 2015-01-22 18:27
Quoting torch and pitchfork:
More and better education will only lead to an increase in teen suicide.


Why don't YOU try it? then you can opine on the subject!
 
 
+26 # torch and pitchfork 2015-01-23 10:03
Sorry folks for my "black humor". I wasn't being serious, but you have to agree the more you understand how things really work, the more bleak things become. For me, nothing has changed in humanoids since he stood erect and picked up the first club. Fast forward to America today, the Top 1%, the "elites", can manipulate their wage slaves--those with I.Q.'s under 100-- to go to the polls and out vote those in the top 10%--US--and with 30% voter turnout numbers that has the effect of rule by the minority. That's if you believe in the voting results and we all know it doesn't matter who votes, but who counts the votes. This last election is a prime example.
 
 
+11 # wrknight 2015-01-22 18:16
Quoting Dgreenb1:
Excellent job by the author. A job that had to be done but will pass over the heads of most Americans. The Italians have a saying- "you get the government you deserve." Well with the exception of the President we now have the government we deserve.mwe also have the movies the American people want. The lack of ability to think critically is frightening. More and better education PLEASE.

We got the government we voted for (at least the few who voted). And those who didn't vote got the government wanted by those who voted.
 
 
+52 # tedrey 2015-01-22 18:53
I've been voting constantly for over 50 years, and not only never got the government I wanted, but was never even *offered* the government I wanted.
 
 
+36 # REDPILLED 2015-01-22 20:05
You wrote, "More and better education PLEASE." I strongly agree, but current education 'reform' is designed to produce corporate sheeple for the Empire.

I know this because I taught in a very good school district for more than 32 years and was allowed and encouraged to teach my senior high school students to think critically, including how to "read" (analyze) films, commercials and print ads. I'm now retired, but my friends & colleagues still teaching are faced with the testing mania that precludes teaching critical thinking and analysis of texts, as more and more public school teachers are being evaluated by the scores their students get on standardized tests rather than on how critically their students think.

Critical thinking is vital to the life of a true democracy, which is why it is being forced out of our schools by politicians, not educators, who want to maintain the authoritarian plutocracy they have established and why there is now a war against public schools, teachers, and teacher unions while people such as Ed. Sec. Arne Duncan, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and Campbell Brown and Michelle Rhee want to do away with teacher due process (tenure) and replace public schools with charter schools and vouchers, funded by taxpayers, but proselytizing ideologies inimical to a true democracy.
 
 
+56 # kath 2015-01-22 15:13
What this movie from Eastwood is really for is to finally, finally give the wingnuts something about the whole Iraq war debacle (war crime)to be happy about. No wonder they have clasped it to their manly bosoms, displacing Putin and crowding Netanyahu in the process.
 
 
+71 # wwway 2015-01-22 15:18
A friend is a writer for Hollywood. Storytelling and script must appeal to the 8th grade level or below. I'm in my 60's and have noticed the subtle decline in expectations of the intellectual level of an 8th grader. I'm sure Eastwood will agree.
Garbage in. Garbage out.
I like Eastwood. Over the years he's been involved in some pretty remarkable storytelling.
Given the right wing hysteria over Michael Moore sharing of his uncle having been killed by a sniper in WWII and expressing that he was taught sniper was cowardly I'm now less inclined to spend my patriotic dollar on this movie.
Before you get your pants in hysterical wad, I had a friend who was killed by a sniper. There's something both brave and cowardly about the act of lying in wait to kill. It would be 1st degree murder but in wartime it's part of the game of murder.
 
 
+55 # reiverpacific 2015-01-22 15:31
I'm not a big movie buff for many of the reasons Taibbi lays out but have enjoyed quite a few Eastwood movies for one reason or another, my favorite being "Unforgiven". And he did a great filmed piano jazz essay with Ray Charles, comparing some of the greats of the genré like Art Tatum, Oscar Peterson and Nat King Cole, which you can still catch on Youtube.
But Hell, I even enjoyed one or two John Wayne movies, knowing full well it was tripe, the Indians dehumanized, with Mexicans playing their small parts.
However, this is Hollywood and the era of truly stupid Tea Party-Republica n politicians who couldn't be taken even slightly seriously in any other country, which may help to explain why "Sniper is a movie whose politics are so ludicrous and idiotic that under normal circumstances it would be beneath criticism"! (Quote from article)
So remember that C.E. is a confirmed Republican who was trotted out by these geniuses of the GOP (don't remember if it was 2008 or 2012), to sit talking to a chair like a ventriloquist's dummy and parrot a lot of barely-comprehe nsable, almost senile-sounding drivel on behalf of a bunch of his party hacks.
I lost a lot of respect for him that day!
Pity that this seems to be getting sucked up by the right and the American Military-worshi p mentality!
 
 
+8 # dyannne 2015-01-22 23:38
I lost 90 percent of my respect for him that day. The 10 remains for his movie making. Sometimes he's pretty good.
 
 
+8 # GreenBee 2015-01-25 09:30
Yes, Clint is pretty right wing and intolerant and not much for inclusions: and when he built a resort hotel in California he refused to follow the ADA regs that mandated wheelchair accessible doorways then mad a film that dramatized suicide as the way to escape a significant disability. This is a man who when he decided to leave his wife of many years (Sondra Locke) didn't bother to tell her anything, just one day changed the locks and prevented her from entering her own home. he should get the "Marie Antoinette Award" for crass narcissistic insensitivity.
 
 
+77 # jdd 2015-01-22 15:32
Reluctant to criticize a soldier for doing what he is told? Please, that didn't go over so well at Nuremburg. This creep was a war criminal who relished killing. What's frightening is the reported response in the Taibbi's theater, indicative of why this movie is the number one box office hit in the country right now. True heroes despise war, and seek to avoid it, and fight only what St. Augustine called a "just war," such as the American Revolution or Civil War. Perhaps we, as Americans, are not aware of how the rest of the world views us. Our government, which has been taken over by Wall Street, is the greatest perpetrator of violence and war on this planet, all in our name. And sometimes seemingly proud of it.
 
 
+4 # bmiluski 2015-01-23 10:15
Quoting jdd:
.

Our government, which has been taken over by Wall Street, is the greatest perpetrator of violence and war on this planet....."

Really Jdd, try religion as the greatest perpertrator of violence and war.
 
 
+20 # Billy Bob 2015-01-23 12:18
I believe it's a myth that religion is the cause of war. I think all wars are fought "for fun and profit".

Religion, is a rallying cry to get poor saps and the easily manipulated on board with the plans to enrich the true winners of every war (the profiteers). Without religion, there's always another way to pinch people into action and play on their fears and feelings of tribal arrogance. That's what flags are for, for instance.
 
 
+44 # jsluka 2015-01-22 15:32
Eastwood made two movies about the battle of Iwo Jima - "Flags of Our Fathers" and "Letters from Iwo Jima." The first presents the American perspective, and the second the Japanese one. I wish Eastwood would have the guts to do the same with this movie "American Sniper"; how about a sequel presenting the perspective of the Iraqi fighters? That would be a real eye-opener and challenger! If Kyle killed 255 people, as he claims, then that implies 510 bereaved parents and several thousand bereaved siblings. I can't find the original, perhaps a poem, of the saying "some mother's son," but here's the lyrics of the Kinks song with that title: (see below)
 
 
+53 # jsluka 2015-01-22 15:34
Some mother's son lies in a field
Someone has killed some mother's son today
Head blown up by some soldier's gun
While all the mothers stand and wait
Some mother's son ain't coming home today
Some mothers son ain't got no grave
Two soldiers fighting in a trench
One soldier glances up to see the sun
And dreams of games he played when he was young
And then his friend calls out his name
It stops his dream and as he turns his head
A second later he is dead
Some mother's son lies in a field
Back home they put his picture in a frame
But all dead soldiers look the same
While all the parents stand and wait
To meet their children coming home from school
Some mother's son is lying dead
Somewhere someone is crying
Someone is trying to be so brave
But still the world keeps turning
Though all the children have gone away
Some mother's son lies in a field
But in his mother's eyes he looks the same
As on the day he went away
They put his picture on the wall
They put flowers in the picture frame
Some mothers memory remains
 
 
+5 # vt143 2015-01-22 16:09
jkluka: Who is the author of this poem??
 
 
+5 # jsluka 2015-01-22 17:52
Vt143 - Sorry, but I couldn't find any author except the Kink's member Ray Davies. There's another poem with this title from World War I, but its different. Maybe Davies wrote this version, inspired by the 1916 version by Eva Jones.
 
 
+27 # db4635 2015-01-22 15:59
If you saw Eastwood's performance at the 2012 Republican convention -- talking to the chair, pretending it was Obama -- you could have guessed this was not going to be up to par with his good stuff years ago.
 
 
+3 # GreenBee 2015-01-25 09:37
Psychologists teach that diseases of denial get worse with age. His advanced stage denial psychosis is getting more evident and more pathetic as time passes.
 
 
+11 # lfeuille 2015-01-22 19:49
Quoting jsluka:
Eastwood made two movies about the battle of Iwo Jima - "Flags of Our Fathers" and "Letters from Iwo Jima." The first presents the American perspective, and the second the Japanese one. I wish Eastwood would have the guts to do the same with this movie "American Sniper"; how about a sequel presenting the perspective of the Iraqi fighters? That would be a real eye-opener and challenger! If Kyle killed 255 people, as he claims, then that implies 510 bereaved parents and several thousand bereaved siblings. I can't find the original, perhaps a poem, of the saying "some mother's son," but here's the lyrics of the Kinks song with that title: (see below)

That was safely in the past. This is current and Eastwood is a Republican partisan.
 
 
+26 # ronnewmexico 2015-01-22 15:35
Knaan..the somalian singer, sings a song about his girlfriend being shot dead by my take by a sniper…12 or so years old, both, at the time…speaks of how they were to go here and there.. visit a park…..now she is dead. Snipers being very commen a few years back in somalia(him muslim).

The presentaton of PTSD so widespread following the Iraq war, the vietnam war, but not the second world war…is the finding in part..one is doing a evil thing for a wrong reason.
Five minutes in VN and you knew none want you there…I expect Iraq…that was about the same..

Then you kill or be killed... but it is not for any real reason other than the most basic sort….to protect you and your buds.

But this is never ever mentioned. Really involvement wise numbers of soldiers and all…world war 2 should have seen a major major influx of PTSD….it never happened. Some but really pretty rare..most came back, went about their business, and that was that…a bad thing forgotten. No mass suicides.

Now no…it haunts them. No offense to them, as they are innocents in this(most wanting to do good)..but to my view it is clearly they identify in that place... they find out quite clearly and quickly..they are generally doing evil. For no good reason are they there….In WW2…real good reason.

Why no movies on that? You may not hold that opinion..but believe you me…it is a opinion and is out there. PTSD has to do with the why of a war as well as the specific.
 
 
+21 # db4635 2015-01-22 16:17
Do more research ronnewmexico. PTSD in WWII soldiers has been well documented.

"Another myth of good wars versus bad wars is that only the combat veterans from Vietnam suffered lasting adjustment problems; the 1945 vet came home to enjoy prosperity, satisfied with a job well done, and with few qualms about the war…But some suffered an anguish that damaged their lives and that of their families. For some, the stress continues even today."-Michael C.C. Adams, The Best War Ever: America and World War II

"About 25-30 percent of WWII casualties were psychological cases; under very sever conditions that number could reach as high as 70-80 percent. In Italy, mental problems accounted for 56 percent of total casualties. On Okinawa, where fighting conditions were particularly horrific, 7,613 Americans died, 31,807 sustained physical wounds, and 26, 221 were mental casualties."-Ad ams, 95
 
 
+6 # db4635 2015-01-22 16:22
Another quote from Adams. "Of sixteen million military personnel, 25 percent never left the United States, and less than 50 percent of those overseas were ever in a battle zone."-Adams, p. 70
 
 
+19 # twocents 2015-01-22 16:38
they called it shell shock in those days (PTSD)
 
 
+15 # Nominae 2015-01-22 17:43
Quoting twocents:
they called it shell shock in those days (PTSD)


There has never been a war without the equivalent of PTSD. It is simply part of the human condition that certain thresholds of horror cannot be incorporated into some healthy minds while expecting those minds to remain healthy.

As you say, PTSD in WWI was called "Shell Shock". In WWII they changed the name to "Battle Fatigue" (talk about an empty phrase).

PTSD need not be clinically diagnosed in many cases. It was written all over the faces of many troops in Viet Nam.

We simply called it the "Thousand Yard Stare". Everyone knew that the mind behind that stare had literally burned out some time back, and that this troop was moving on auto-pilot and likely to shoot anything that moved - friend, foe, animal or insect.

These men were usually given a wide berth, because no one really knew what else to do with, or for them.

People making comments like those of ronnewmexico need not tell us that they have never spent a day in combat, or have even closely known anyone who did.

The disconnected state of cluelessness says it all.
 
 
-16 # ronnewmexico 2015-01-22 20:49
Character assination little serves to say a think about how valid or not valid is my point. You know nothing quite obviously about me, or my knowing of any one… closely.

So my point is invalid because….

You are saying the PTSD rates of WW2 and Korea equaled current rates….. ."here has never been a war without the equivalent of PTSD."

That is your infernal..you may back aeay from that…but if you say that, I say firmly…you lie.
 
 
+8 # Nominae 2015-01-22 21:17
Quoting ronnewmexico:
Character assination little serves to say a think about how valid or not valid is my point. You know nothing quite obviously about me, or my knowing of any one… closely.

So my point is invalid because….

You are saying the PTSD rates of WW2 and Korea equaled current rates….. ."here has never been a war without the equivalent of PTSD."

That is your infernal..you may back aeay from that…but if you say that, I say firmly…you lie.


Pardon me, Sir, but if that diatribe is directed at me, I regret to say that it is just too incoherent to merit a reply.

I am simply unable to understand the scrambled writing.

From what I am able to gather, however, much of this inability to communicate stems from an *egregious* misreading on your part of my own, and other's comments.

Given the above condition I will, in the future, simply overlook your comments, and I would be appreciative if you might be so kind as to return the favor regarding my own postings.

Thank you.
 
 
-11 # ronnewmexico 2015-01-22 22:04
You say this about me…"People making comments like those of ronnewmexico need not tell us that they have never spent a day in combat, or have even closely known anyone who did.

The disconnected state of cluelessness says it all."

That is a personal attack and does not add any of the slightest kind to the argument, nor refuting my argument which as stated early on is this..

"But this is never ever mentioned. Really involvement wise numbers of soldiers and all…world war 2 should have seen a major major influx of PTSD….it never happened. Some but really pretty rare..most came back, went about their business, and that was that…a bad thing forgotten. No mass suicides."

So if my comment is :to incoherent to merit a reply"…why are you replying?
You are apparently a person of mystery, my friend, not the least of which is the mystery of your argument…which you again do not verse, but do accompany with another personal attack.
 
 
-14 # ronnewmexico 2015-01-22 16:50
I will not…what I will do is throw a big red flag of BS on that.

I in my early days knew very very many vets form WW2 and none of them expressed a problem of this nature. To include one who actually participated in the clean up of the concentration camps. The attitude was…it was bad done and over with..now we forget it.

VN…are you kidding. Virtually every single person I have ever talked to that was over there…came back with some form of PTSD..

Liars figure and figures lie….there is much in the way of the defense industry that wants it very firmly to be thought why we fight a way…..it not so important.

So stuff that study where the sun doesn't shine…this directly conflicts with my antidotal experience which in this specific is a grand grand one of large number.

Honestly I do recall of one peson one of my friends knew who was described as shell shocked,which is yes..how they called it back then. One and I had exposure to thousands.
BS..pure bs from the defense industry and the psychologists they employ…study for design and intention.

I have a relative who is involved exactly in this area…know his most common complaint as regards to injury and why one a soldier cannot return to duty.. now currently this is what he does….he is military..PTSD.
WW2..sorry no dosen't pass the sniff test…bs. It happened I don't doubt that ands societal approval of the conflict had a to do with some of it..but that is pure BS.
 
 
+8 # jsluka 2015-01-22 17:56
Interesting Ronnewmexico, and I strongly agree with your point about the different psychological consequences of fighting in just and unjust wars. But it does seem like many people do tell anecdotal stories about WW2 that might be evidence of PTSD. I was told that my uncle drove a tank in the war in the Pacific, and "never got over" having to drive over the bodies of dead and wounded soldiers, theirs and ours.
 
 
-5 # ronnewmexico 2015-01-22 18:15
J there are negative consequences to war. One of them you describe. The different aspect to PTSD is generally... it impairs functionability and leads in many situation to suicide. PTS as opposed to PTSD.
A quote from a study of the national institute of health on the prevelence estimates of combat related PTSD…

"US Combat veterans demonstrate a two- to four-fold increase in prevalence of PTSD compared to US civilians, depending on the subject cohort and research methodology used. Estimates of the point prevalence of PTSD among community samples of adults in the US is 5 – 6% [40,41], with overall lifetime prevalence of the disorder estimated at 7.8%, [42]. Overall PTSD prevalence in Veterans Affairs (VA) primary care clinics is 11.5% [43]. The numbers of veterans seeking VA mental healthcare for PTSD has grown dramatically over the past ten years [44]; a large proportion of which is due to newly diagnosed Vietnam veterans [16], with lowest rates among veteransof WWII

There are many reason why.. to include personal…WW2 vets were of the mind set to just tough it out, and the war was considered a good war for good reason, in the society at large…but the facts are the facts..WW2 vets just had a lot less of it. Even now when we know what it is and they then did not.

Context can not be disallowed. Paramedics see thousands shot killed dying …PTSD…not so much. Docs..same thing…context is a big part of it.
The industry wants to disallow context for reason.
 
 
-5 # ronnewmexico 2015-01-22 18:28
I could show many stats which seem to show the same thing in relations to WW2 vets on suicide rates, and others, age bias at this point is a impactation, on any result. The actual VA disabiity rate payment for this disorder was something like 12,000 WW2 vets and 200,000 Vets from Vietnam. 30-50 thousand from our recent engagements.

That aside few in the field, would not allow that all thinigs conisdered WW2 vets has less actual PTSD (not simple PTS).
For whatever cause they simply did.

It is simply not wanted to be known we must carefully consider our wars or else suffer the result. Part of this result is likely more PTSD. It is yes…my opinion, but I consider it a well thought and not arbitrary one.

I did in my first comment shoot from the hip, as I am so firmly knowing that as fact..looking it up a bit now…I find it firmly reasserted in study and fact by no less than the NIH, in a peer review study of the highest authoritarian sort, and multiple other source.

This guy in the movie real life…... was killed by another with PTSD. He had PTSD. How we characterize PTSD has great relevance to this. Removed from context... is how hollywood and the defense industry is playing this tune.
Killing hurts always and inevitably(even just the seeing of it)…the context of the killing is all the more so, the impactation of that hurt. The who and why of the killing, even if only seen or known of. And our part in it….simple really…but it is so denied..
 
 
+7 # polfrosch 2015-01-23 10:29
Quoting jsluka:
I was told that my uncle drove a tank in the war in the Pacific, and "never got over" having to drive over the bodies of dead and wounded soldiers, theirs and ours.


I can assure all readers here PTSD affected many in WW2 and all humans suffer from war, not only soldiers. The US experience is special, because you did not live through a war for 150 years or so.

Here in Germany there is a full generation of children who feared nearly each night for their lives, when the allied bombers came. My mother in law told me her greatest wish as a child was to get a full night of sleep without air raid alarms and rushing to the cellar to fear to be buried alive and then die from the firestorms - heat and/or no oxygen.

In Russia there is a similar civilian generation for whom death by the germans was a daily horror. (10 million civilians and 10 million soldiers were killed.)

The tank scene is, strange enough, described very similar several times in the book "The Sorrow of War" by the north vietnamese Bao Ninh, fighting in the Vietnam war, one of a handful of survivors from his 500 man (or so) unit.

The book is truly excellent, he suffered from PTSD himself but didn´t know what it was - but he found a literary form to describe it.

Look for it on Amazon and read what US veterans have to say: Bao Ninh is closer to them than the people at home - because they share the wounds in their souls.
 
 
0 # Radscal 2015-01-23 13:41
There is a reason why the Allied "Strategic Bombing" campaign was termed by the generals themselves as "Terror Bombing."

As if the immorality of bombing civilians was not reason enough to never consider it, the British themselves saw the strengthened resolve of citizens made targets by the Nazi bombing of London, etc. So they knew how humans react to being made targets.
 
 
+27 # Nominae 2015-01-22 18:15
Quoting ronnewmexico:
I will not…what I will do is throw a big red flag of BS on that.

I in my early days knew very very many vets form WW2 and none of them expressed a problem of this nature.....


Oh, for cryin' out wet !

There is archival footage by the freakin' boatload from WWII showing men flopping about in uncontrollable paroxysms of panic and fear from which many never recovered. Clear symptoms of what is now called PTSD.

The reason you never heard about it is because WWII vets would die before they would ever admit to a lick of it. It was considered a mark of cowardice back then.

There has never been a war ANYWHERE free from some form of PTSD. It is a normal human reaction to sensory overload and horror beyond the capability of many humans to absorb. Not simply over what they had seen, but also over what they were forced under orders to *DO*.

As a Viet Nam vet from a family with continuous military combat service since WWI, I encourage you to gain some grasp of what you are talking about before you open your bomb-bay doors and let fly.

Add to that the fact that there is no guarantee that every dogface you met ever *saw* combat, no matter what their stories.

The evidence of PTSD in WWII vets would flood many a Superbowl Stadium. Take a moment or two to follow the research.
A simple search engine check would enlighten greatly.

Or just try VA.gov and hit the archives.

As it is you are simply embarrassing yourself.
 
 
-12 # ronnewmexico 2015-01-22 18:41
No reason to say anything different really so I repeat…
J there are negative consequences to war. One of them you describe. The different aspect to PTSD is generally... it impairs functionability and leads in many situation to suicide. PTS as opposed to PTSD.
A quote from a study of the national institute of health on the prevelence estimates of combat related PTSD…

"US Combat veterans demonstrate a two- to four-fold increase in prevalence of PTSD compared to US civilians, depending on the subject cohort and research methodology used. Estimates of the point prevalence of PTSD among community samples of adults in the US is 5 – 6% [40,41], with overall lifetime prevalence of the disorder estimated at 7.8%, [42]. Overall PTSD prevalence in Veterans Affairs (VA) primary care clinics is 11.5% [43]. The numbers of veterans seeking VA mental healthcare for PTSD has grown dramatically over the past ten years [44]; a large proportion of which is due to newly diagnosed Vietnam veterans [16], with lowest rates among veteransof WWII
 
 
-9 # ronnewmexico 2015-01-22 18:48
I could play this game all day..from NBC…

Among the services, the Army lost the most active-duty members last year to suicide: 182. Inside that branch, as two wars raged then waned, the annual suicide pace climbed. During 2001, nine out of every 100,000 active-duty soldiers killed themselves, while, during 2011, the suicide rate was nearly 23 per 100,000, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Compare that sobering trend to conflicts and peacetimes past. During the final three years of World War II, the Army’s annual suicide rate didn’t budge above 10 soldiers per 100,000, and during the Korean War in the early 1950s, that annual pace remained at about 11 soldiers per 100,000, according to a study published in 1985 by the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research.
 
 
-7 # ronnewmexico 2015-01-22 18:54
Medical daily…
Historically, suicide rates among soldiers in the U.S. army have been lower than that of civilians. However, since 2004, one year after the armed conflict began in Iraq, this changed dramatically. From that time, the Army suicide rate has spiked and it now exceeds the civilian rate. The Veterans Administration estimates there is one suicide each day among active duty soldiers, while among all veterans — this would include Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines — there are 22 (or more) suicides each day. While veterans contribute only about 10 percent to the total U.S. adult population, according to the Center for Public Integrity, nearly one in every five suicides nationally is a veteran.
 
 
-8 # ronnewmexico 2015-01-22 19:03
Another NIH..2009
he U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that PTSD afflicts:
Almost 31 percent of Vietnam veterans
As many as 10 percent of Gulf War (Desert Storm) veterans
11 percent of veterans of the war in Afghanistan
20 percent of Iraqi war veterans"

Incidence estimates from other source of korean and WW2 vets…7-9%
 
 
-9 # ronnewmexico 2015-01-22 19:04
How many do you want..a thousand? Would that do?
 
 
-7 # ronnewmexico 2015-01-22 19:09
Cleveland dot com.

2008 numbers.

"Veterans affected
Number of veterans by war receiving PTSD compensation from the Veterans Benefits Administration for end of fiscal 2008
World War II: 24,145
Korean Conflict: 12,381
Vietnam War: 229,682
Iraq/Afghanistan: 55,000
 
 
-8 # ronnewmexico 2015-01-22 19:15
How about some personal comment from vets…
My experience talking with former members of my (VN) infantry company would confirm the above. Very common for vets to have waited decades before finally checking in to the VA. What is least understood by the public (along with those affected) is that PTSD is a chronic condition, that doesn’t diminish with time, especially if allowed to fester with vice.
I fully expect the Iraq/Afghan vets to be plagued with PTSD, perhaps worse than the VN era vets if not mostly because of the yo-yo multiple deployments, then the simple mind rotting proposition of doing the endless dirty work of an unpopular occupation army in an ungrateful foreign culture."

How about that last line then…how about that?
 
 
+24 # Billy Bob 2015-01-22 19:29
My dad was a WWII vet with PTSD. He had a feeling of responsibility for the lost lives of many people who died alongside him. He witnessed some of the most gruesome things imaginable (helped "clean up" a Nazi death camp, for example).

By the way, my dad NEVER sat through a war flick. They always disgusted him. I'm very proud of that fact.
 
 
-9 # ronnewmexico 2015-01-22 19:53
BB PTS is not PTSD. PTSD without treatment is a complete disability, one cannot eventually function. Was your dad disabled due to this?

The consequence of moral insult as being a part of PTSD is not apparently my invention…I came across this in mother jones, part of a much larger thing on it…

"The authors found that emotional distress was caused less by fear of personal harm than by the dissonance between what soldiers had done or seen and what they had previously held to be right.

Moral injury seems to be widespread, but the concept is something of an orphan. If it's an injury, then it needs treatment, which puts it in the realm of medicine, but its overtones of sin and redemption also place it in the realm of the spiritual and so, religion. Chaplains, however, are no better trained to deal with it than clinicians, since their essential job is to patch up soldiers, albeit spiritually, to fight another day.

Yet the idea that many soldiers suffer from a kind of heartsickness is gaining traction. The military began to consider moral injury as a war wound and possible forerunner of PTSD when Litz presented his research at the Navy's Combat Operational Stress Control conference in 2010. "

I am not out in left field on this idea apparently. How a local community responds to you as a protector in our governments eyes but a enemy in their eyes can produce moral injury.
 
 
-1 # ronnewmexico 2015-01-22 21:19
AS a aside Billy..your dad's response to the event of war..seems a most rational and accomodative one.

Disorder as in a opposed to order implies a societal negative response to the stress of war.
All ww2 vets in combat had the negative expeience of war. The accomodative response to it was however customarily not one of disorder but order…Tony Bennet for instance…a stance against all war he formulated as a result of his experience.

Disorder as in PTSD…..I will admit it occured... by far far significnatly less than currently. And vets of WW2 to my experience they never admitted to it….it would for one show unmanliness in their cultural context. Anyone one saying they talked to WW2 vets and they admit to PTSD….I think they are not really saying what they say. that is my experience.

I also guess you dad never admitted to that if he knew of it.
 
 
+7 # Billy Bob 2015-01-22 23:56
I'm not sure I follow all of the things you write.

That said, yes, my dad did admit to it. It was part of who he was. He had a very tough life and it informed the person who raised me. I agree that, in his case, he wasn't "dysfunctional" . In fact, he had more integrity than any human being I've ever met.

But, he did know plenty of people who never got over that war. He confided in me once about the way different people react to serious battle (the kind our current vets know nothing about - the kind where more than 1/2 of you will end up dead and your enemy has as much chance of winning every battle as you do - the kind where you don't leave the battlefield to recoup). He said that some people really got off on it. Some people really loved the killing, and no longer being able to do that was a let down for them. The truth is that no one knows how you'll act in a Normandy invasion until you're faced with one.

A few MAJOR differences between this "war" and all the other major wars this country has fought in the last 100 years:

-We have an ALL VOLUNTEER military. None of these people were dragged into this position. Many of them signed up because they couldn't wait to do some killin'. Don't pretend that isn't true. I'm related to one, and I've met a few others.

-We now have the technological advantage to virtually ensure people will be safer killing abroad than many were at home.

-Clearly, this "war" has been brazenly and solely for fun and profit, all along.
 
 
-1 # ronnewmexico 2015-01-23 00:16
Well my experience is that vets of WW2 will readily admit to the negative experience of war, and verse upon that. To admit that and include that, in the context of PTSD which is a form of mental illness…I just never have seen that.

So if your father did express that in that context to my experience he was not the norm in doing that. AS to PTSD existing, i do not deny that. In the group of vets from WW2 it was in the 7-9% range, which is no where close to the large percentage we see nowadays particular to Iraq.

The idea as one poster states ...that we have large large soignificant percentages of those rendered mentally ill, basically, due to world war 2 events, with the inferal this extends into the WW2 experience overall, as I context my statement….rema ins completely totally false.

There was PTSD in WW2, that they admited to that…I say not.. as it was not possible for them, as any mental deficiency at that time was never admitted to by that group, it was a cultural no no.

There was PTSD but it was low in frequency... considerably lower than in present times.
WE can venture this or that is the why and you present one view..I present another which Mother Jones by a article I quote, reinforces.

My contention remains, and really has not been refuted ,despite all the personal references by others….the context of the war, such as going there and finding they do not want us there…we have been told a lie …has a lot to do with PTSD's demonstration later.
 
 
-1 # ronnewmexico 2015-01-23 00:32
Some people do love to kill, as the fellow in this movie ... he did in a way love it.

At that time and place he was for all intents and purposes functionaly psychotic, kill number lists and all. Did he remain that way…seemingly not, as he did try to help peoples in other ways.. Did he recover from PTSD..I would guess not.

The movie regardless…it seems to be total crap. I admittedly did not see it will not see it and will never see it. i will not participate voluntarily in things of propaganda, intentional or not…this is that. A lot of Stallones stuff…same thing…total propogandistic garbage..I will not see it.

I do expect Matt T and others tell me the truth in this.

PTSD I again state is a disorder, abstract from the normal. War is abnormal so unusual responses to a abnormal thing are called for. When the stress of war PTS enters into PTSD is when it becomes a necessary to be treated illness.
All suffer from war. Some so much so they can no longer function..those are PTSD suffers…a disorder of response.
PTS..all who suffer combat suffer PTS.
Your fathers response…a normal educated response to PTS.

I heard a story once..on one of the troop ships returning from the war.. they showed a John Wayne propogandistic type war movie. After they showed this movie, in the place where people would normally be clapping and cheering…they all fell very silent, these vets.
That is PTS responded with intelligently, not a disorder a educator, to truth.
 
 
+5 # lfeuille 2015-01-22 19:51
Quoting db4635:
Do more research ronnewmexico. PTSD in WWII soldiers has been well documented.

"Another myth of good wars versus bad wars is that only the combat veterans from Vietnam suffered lasting adjustment problems; the 1945 vet came home to enjoy prosperity, satisfied with a job well done, and with few qualms about the war…But some suffered an anguish that damaged their lives and that of their families. For some, the stress continues even today."-Michael C.C. Adams, The Best War Ever: America and World War II

"About 25-30 percent of WWII casualties were psychological cases; under very sever conditions that number could reach as high as 70-80 percent. In Italy, mental problems accounted for 56 percent of total casualties. On Okinawa, where fighting conditions were particularly horrific, 7,613 Americans died, 31,807 sustained physical wounds, and 26, 221 were mental casualties."-Adams, 95


They didn't use the term back then, but they condition was the same. I had an uncle who suffered from it.
 
 
-5 # ronnewmexico 2015-01-22 19:59
If they were the same then in frequency.. why this result..

"Among the services, the Army lost the most active-duty members last year to suicide: 182. Inside that branch, as two wars raged then waned, the annual suicide pace climbed. During 2001, nine out of every 100,000 active-duty soldiers killed themselves, while, during 2011, the suicide rate was nearly 23 per 100,000, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Compare that sobering trend to conflicts and peacetimes past. During the final three years of World War II, the Army’s annual suicide rate didn’t budge above 10 soldiers per 100,000, and during the Korean War in the early 1950s, that annual pace remained at about 11 soldiers per 100,000, according to a study published in 1985 by the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research"

They did not of course measure PTSD back in the day but they did measure suicide rates which are directly related to PTSD rates.
 
 
-4 # ronnewmexico 2015-01-22 20:22
It may be as simple as this perhaps…
"A couple of decades ago, Dave Grossman, a professor of psychology and former Army Ranger, wrote an eye-opening, bone-chilling book called On Killing. It begins with the premise that people have an inherent resistance to killing other people and goes on to examine how the military overcomes that inhibition.

On Killing examines the concerted effort of the military to increase firing rates among frontline riflemen. Reportedly only about 15%-20% of them pulled the trigger during World War II. Grossman suggests that many who did fire "exercised the soldier's right to miss." Displeased, the US Army set out to redesign its combat training to make firing your weapon a more reflexive action. "

The result is now virtually all soldiers in the US now shoot to kill, as the training has been enhanced over the years.. Combine that to my opinion, with the local populace not supporting you in any manner…and you produce a circumstance combined with many others which favors PTSD.
That PTSD frequencies were equal to todays..is simply not true, it is a lie.

It is not that PTSD did not exist in WW2..but that it did not in such a largly present manner as it does today, and in VN.

Largly due to media and war games gaming.. people think killing is easy…that is a fabrication. It is never easy.
 
 
+3 # torch and pitchfork 2015-01-23 10:37
"people have an inherent resistance to killing other people and goes on to examine how the military overcomes that inhibition". Muscle memory--"What's the spirit of the Bayonet?", shouts the drill sergeant, "To Kill, sergeant" comes the reply. Unfortunately, the military hasn't developed the reverse of that process. Soldiers come home from experiencing the hell of combat, are released into society and left to figure it out for themselves. Some do, while those that don't or can't, are left in dismay of guilt and anger at the system that denies funds for their care and treatment.
 
 
+4 # Billy Bob 2015-01-23 12:24
Often, the ones who come back happy are the true psychopaths. The ones who come back conflicted, only feel that way, because they still have a soul and a conscience with some moral compass. Discovering your own soul isn't always easy. People who never suffer from anything are often completely unaware of the real world, or are so arrogant and successfully manipulative that they've gone this far with the world at their feet.
 
 
+3 # Radscal 2015-01-23 13:46
Our military training devotes months to turning generally normal humans into killing machines.

It seems only reasonable that we should spend at least as much time rehabilitating them before releasing them from the military.
 
 
-1 # Rain17 2015-01-23 15:36
You do know that every military job is not in combat arms, right? There are many people in the military who will never see combat or kill anyone. The military is more than infantry and those on the front lines.
 
 
+2 # Radscal 2015-01-23 16:06
Even those sent into war zones rarely actually see combat.

All go through training to learn to kill, whether or not they actually do. But I would grant that those who actually saw combat should be given far more in-depth rehabilitation than those who didn't.
 
 
-3 # brux 2015-01-24 23:51
Oh you mean how life in Palestine turns people into murdering terrorists, kind of like that ?
 
 
+4 # Rain17 2015-01-23 15:38
What I often find amazing is that, as someone who works with many active-duty and former military, is how they willingly support Republicans who will do nothing about the VA. The irony is that Senator Bernie Sanders has done a lot for veterans, but most of my coworkers would never vote for that "Vermont Socialist".
 
 
0 # Billy Bob 2015-01-24 02:15
The fact that you're a gay man constantly surrounded by active duty military Republican extremists, says an awful lot about why you're so unwilling to accept the fact that most of the country has moved far to the left of Killary Clinton. I now see why you spend so much time trying to defend her against the tide.

I contend that you really don't realize how little the views of the majority in this country are represented by your day-to-day experience.
 
 
0 # Rain17 2015-01-24 03:10
Well, if the country has moved so far to the left, the GOP wouldn't have won the 2014 midterm elections in a landslide. I love how you and other people say the country is "so far to the left" when the electoral results contradict that.
 
 
+2 # Billy Bob 2015-01-24 09:25
Are you literally not paying attention? Am I the first to inform you OF THSE 3 THINGS?:

1. The Democrats had a lot more seats to defend.

2. The election saw a huge rate of non-participati on, due to liberals having no liberal choice to vote for.

3. Democrats still got a few million votes MORE than Republicans, nationwide. In other words, if it had been a presidential election, the Democrat would have still won. Imagine if it had been a Democrat who actually represented the left (i.e. NOT Killary)!
 
 
-1 # Rain17 2015-01-24 16:12
As for #2, if far left stayed home, they deserve everything that happens. The same applies to 2016.

Billy Bob, I don't want to go back to elections like this:

1972
1980
1984
1988

And I suspect, that if people like you had your way, that is what would happen. We would go back to 40 or state more landslides.
 
 
+1 # Billy Bob 2015-01-24 23:42
I wouldn't worry too much about going back to 1972, unless you have a time machine and you're afraid demographics will suddenly, and without explanation, shift back to what they were several decades ago.

If people like you had your way, nobody would ever fight for anything. Does bending over backwards to please the right have a benefit we'll eventually see?

Seriously, you're like an abused wife.
 
 
+1 # Billy Bob 2015-01-24 23:42
In case you haven't been paying attention. 1988 was 28 years before 2016. You were about 10 at the time. I was an adult. I actually remember it.

You really do have Stockholm Syndrome, when it comes to conservative politics. I hope I never need you for anything. I'd hate to have you as a lawyer or an E.M.T. Your inability to fight for anything or stand for anything of substance is just amazing. You seem to have no morals or ethical standards whatsoever that you're not willing to forget completely for temporary convenience. I'm going to clue you in on something (since you're so much in the habit of lecturing the rest of us about how stupid we are to actually stand by our principles): Sometimes, you actually have to fight for something and take a stand. You can't go through your whole life being a coward.
 
 
-6 # brux 2015-01-24 23:49
What do you have parkinsons that you have to comment on everything twice?
 
 
0 # Billy Bob 2015-01-24 23:57
What is your problem? Do you realize that that happens often by accident? I couldn't post the same comment twice if I tried. The system prevents you from doing that, but it often posts the same comment twice for no reason.

Why are you so fucking arrogant? Do you get off on generating negative comments every time you spout off?
 
 
+3 # ronnewmexico 2015-01-22 15:49
Knaan lyrics..
Picture the morning, taste and devour
We rise early, pace up the hour
Streets is rustling, hustling they heart out
You can't have the sweet with no sour

Spices, herbs, the sweets and the flower
She came out precisely the hour
Clouds disappear, the sun shows the power
No chance of a probably shower

I fell in love with my neighbor's daughter
I wanted to protect and support her
Never mind, I'm just 12 and a quarter
I had dreams beyond our border

Is it true when they say all you need is just love?
(Is it true?)
What about those who have loved
Only to find that it's taken away?

And why do they say that the children
Have rights to be free?
(To be free)
What about those who I've known
Whose memories still lives inside of me?

Fatima, what did the young man say
Before he stole you away on that fateful day?
Fatima

Fatima, did he know your name
Or the plans we made
To go to New York City?
Fatima

And after school, we studied the lessons
I asked God to slow down the seconds
He does the opposite, that's what I'm guessin'
I better chill and count my own blessings

Fatima, Fatima, what is the matter?
How come you ain't come up the ladder?
So we can be like there is no tomorrow
Damn, you gon' make me wait 'til tomorrow
 
 
+57 # kevenwood 2015-01-22 15:50
Matt, this article is brilliant. You saw the movie last night and spit this article out the next morning. You are keenly skilled at cutting through the BS and telling the truth. I hope this article gets the attention it deserves. Well done!
 
 
+27 # progressiveguy 2015-01-22 16:59
The dumb ass conservatives will cheer this movie. The same assholes who approve of torture and don't care how many innocents we kill. I observed this during the Vietnam conflict, Nixon's silent majority didn't care how many civilians we killed in Vietnam or how many American military died. Republicans want to keep the wars going, they believe the economy of the wealth will continue to prosper. God bless America? The phrase should be, "May God Forgive America."
 
 
+20 # Stilldreamin1 2015-01-22 17:27
Americans are only opposed to violence when we're the target. When zionists succeeded in destroying British/Palesti nian infrastructure and taking the lives of non-Jews,the audience cheers. Obviously,they' re the bad guys. What's not to like. The Contras visited widespread,trag ic violence on the people of Nicaragua. Reagen paid the bill, by hook or crook,and the neocons cheered him on. Terrorism is only evil when our side is on the receiving end. Otherwise, one does whatever it takes to win.
 
 
+18 # dyannne 2015-01-22 17:30
BEST damn movie review I've ever read. And I've read a bunch. Even written a few. I saw some of the comments on Michael Moore's tweet about this film, and sat there shaking my head at the anger and stupidity of those people. I couldn't bring myself to add my thoughts on it. I knew it wouldn't sink skin deep into those tiny brainwashed minds. Why waste the energy? I won't be seeing this film. I'd pretty much decided before your review. But I am so glad I read your review! It's powerful. I so agree with the man above my comment, "kevenwood." You are keenly skilled. Your truths should be read by all.
 
 
+8 # Stilldreamin1 2015-01-22 18:09
GREAT to read this response to Hollywood's pablum in the mass circulation Rolling Stone! Accolades to Matt and to the publisher!
 
 
-1 # janla 2015-01-22 18:17
Quoting twocents:
they called it shell shock in those days (PTSD)

Dances with Wolves - about a white guy who becomes more Indian than an Indian is less than a year. Bleeck
 
 
+4 # janla 2015-01-22 18:18
Quoting janla:
Quoting twocents:
they called it shell shock in those days (PTSD)

Dances with Wolves - about a white guy who becomes more Indian than an Indian is less than a year. Bleeck

This got out of context - a CE movie that had great visuals, but glorified the white guy at the expense of the Indians.
 
 
+5 # kenrogers 2015-01-22 18:35
Tabbi and others may want to consider the extent to which Hollywood is yet another propaganda outlet for the Military-Indust rial Complex and the Deep State that rules the US. As Ben Affleck says, "Hollywood is full of CIA agents."

https://socioecohistory.wordpress.com/2014/10/08/ben-affleck-hollywood-is-full-of-cia-agents/

Read about and/or watch the film about what happened to a Hollywood screenwriter who was a CIA asset, but who got off the reservation:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2905392/Hollywood-screenwriter-mysteriously-killed-20-years-ago-working-CIA-hands-sent-autopsy-200-years-old.html
 
 
+3 # Radscal 2015-01-23 13:55
And yet Affleck made the CIA promo, Argo.

I actually grew angry watching that propaganda piece, because Goodwill Hunting made clear that he and Dillon understood the profound evil of for-profit war making.
 
 
+6 # Starheart 2015-01-22 18:38
Kyle stories are fabrications of a weak ego who was dependent on trying to inflate his self-esteem through lies, as well as a smear campaign against Jesse Ventura.
 
 
+4 # Jim Young 2015-01-22 19:43
Quoting jdd:
...True heroes despise war, and seek to avoid it...


From what I remember in Vietnam, Carlos Haycock, the most respected Marine Sniper there, didn't brag, nor to my knowledge, try run up a score (wouldn't tell how many), I think preferring to get the most important real enemies. A Vietnamese Recon Marine friend had great respect for the best snipers, like Haycock(on both sides), but, on a 7-man mission along the Ho Chi Minh trail, took out an NVA sniper that shot his best friend between the eyes. Realizing this was something he seldom talked about,and knowing I had a pretty good idea of how ill-advised that could be with the advantages the snipers had, we couldn't talk about it for a good 3 months after.

They were the ones that did the toughest jobs, without glorifying them.

P.S. There were very many Vietnamese I would trust my life to, and by far most I met wanted us there more than the NVA. Many in the countryside just wanted to be left alone by both sides. Look up Tom Hargrove "I Remember Honda Rice" for an interesting look at helping without fighting (he unknowingly made friends with the local VC leader).

Anyway, I will always suggest people ask the Vietnamese here, what they thought of as the American War (they are who we were supposed to be fighting for, so their opinions matter most to me).
 
 
-4 # ronnewmexico 2015-01-22 20:04
I contend it is the toughest as it has the most potential for moral consequence. In battle normally a enemy is attacking you so one is defending.

A sniper…one is killing, for good reason perhaps in war, but the target is not remotely going to kill oneself…so it hazards internally ,more moral consequence. Not necessarily thought consequence but still more so.
 
 
-2 # ronnewmexico 2015-01-22 20:35
AS to héros and all that..a lot of people go military as simply they need a job... the health care benefits that provides and the potential of acadamic assistance.
You live in a place of 40% unemployment.. which is many of the native reservations…yo u join the military as you have to..there is largly no one, or any one else, that is offering that.

You just can not understand the consequences of 40% unemployment….y ou will do anything.
 
 
0 # kgrad 2015-01-24 17:05
Well put!
 
 
+2 # Jim Young 2015-01-23 20:48
Different people deal with the moral consequences in different ways,I am most appreciative of how Sheriff Randy Liberty helps all of them. See http://video.mpbn.net/program/matter-duty/
"A Matter of Duty details Kennebec Sheriff Randy Liberty’s personal battle with PTSD and several veterans in his charge at the Kennebec County Jail. Liberty’s honesty about his own condition and his efforts to help other veterans vividly depicts the continuing impact of war on the men and women who have served our country."

I volunteered for Vietnam to see what was going on for myself. Like Bing West describes in "The Village" only 20% of our guys really tried to do their best for the Vietnamese people, most of the rest were more concerned about looking out for each others. A few went looking for trouble, carelessly abused Vietnamese, or worse. Leadership made a huge difference, as did a CID in prosecuting the worst offenders (out of the public spotlight). A CID troop I told about one of the very troubled guys from My Lia, spent about 4-1/2 hours with me and told me they had something like 16 soldiers convicted of murder in the Long Binh Jail.

They started covering up after My Lai though, letting things get worse. My goal was always to stop those that were so far beyond any moral authority (responding in kind) for what they did that they made more enemies than needed, endangering everyone that followed them, or having those with them have to try to live with tough moral dilemmas.
 
 
+2 # Radscal 2015-01-23 14:08
Thanks for sharing your well-earned perspective.

Most of the Vietnamese I know in the U.S. were more or less allied with the U.S. in the "American War." That's why they came here.

But even most of them understand that almost all Vietnamese saw the fight against first the French and then the USians as their Revolutionary War. They were fighting to end colonialism.

You may know that FDR, Churchill and Stalin had agreed to allow "IndoChina" independence once we routed the Japanese. But when Truman became President, he told De Gaulle that France could try to reinstall its colonial rule.

I'm sorry that you, my dearest friends and millions of other USians were sent to fight (and suffer or die) against the revolutionaries . I'm very sorry for the millions of SouthEast Asians killed and tens of millions whose lives were uprooted.

This is not to diminish those acts of heroism by some of our fighters. To put oneself at risk to save others is bravery of the highest order, regardless of the cause of the situation.

Peace and Love to you and yours.
 
 
0 # Jim Young 2015-01-25 23:23
Quoting Radscal:
...Most of the Vietnamese I know in the U.S. were more or less allied with the U.S. in the "American War." That's why they came here...


I believe the third highest ranking VC came to the US (along with more than some might think) since the NVA threw them under the bus in the Tet 68 General Offensive/Gener al Uprising. The people didn't join the "uprising," and captured document revealed they thought they lost 80,000 VC and the war. Walter Cronkite surprised them with a different view, though, so they launched the May offensive, which not to discount some tough fights for our guys, was in some places such a pitiful waste of even more VC. I actually felt sorry for the VC sacrificed as the North Vietnamese took over the major command of the fight, essentially booting guys like the high ranking VC that left with so many others in 1975.
 
 
+2 # Mark1974 2015-01-23 16:53
"I will always suggest people ask the Vietnamese here, what they thought of as the American War (they are who we were supposed to be fighting for, so their opinions matter most to me)."

There were of course plenty of Japanese soldiers in the invasion of China in the 1930s and 1940s who wanted after the war to look upon Imperial Japan's invasion and occupation the same way.

And in fact there were Chinese who benefitted from the Japanese occupation. Not only were they able to make a decent living as translators, drivers, and so forth, but some of them looked on Japan's industrial success as a model for all Asia.

Those Chinese who worked with the Japanese and lost out badly after Japan's defeat were a pretty limited sample of opinion, but the same is true of Vietnamese living in the US.

As you wisely note, "they are who we were supposed to be fighting for," -- supposed to be. In reality, Imperial Japan and Imperial US were fighting for the same thing: control of markets, resources, and cheap labor markets, which they now have. Each invader saw the control of the occupied country as key to their control of the rest of the region. American and Japanese soldiers were cannon fodder.
 
 
0 # Jim Young 2015-01-25 23:56
Quoting Mark1974:
"...Not only were they able to make a decent living as translators, drivers...


I'd suggest reading "I Remember Honda Rice." See http://www.scribd.com/doc/47572320/I-Remember-Honda-Rice-Rice-Today-feature#scribd It was written about Tom Hargrove's experience near Ca Mau, as far south on the roads as you could go, and my first field trip out of about 60,000 miles through most parts of Vietnam and Thailand. He revisited the area in 1988 and the Vietnamese friends he made (and got a huge surprise). I didn't get to talk to the people there, but could sense their wariness. Tom Hargrove was later captured by the FARC in Columbia, and the movie, "Proof of Life" was based on that episode of his life. I wish they would do a movie on Honda Rice and the areas where USAID worked best.

That story on IR8 Rice, and Bing West's "The Village" come closest to my views on what the best of our guys did.

I've always thought it is easy to lose track of the mission when you are trying to help one side in another country, but just not getting involved leaves a vacuum that other bad guys are all too ready to fill. Unfortunately how you avoid the vacuum can intensify the insanity on both sides,especiall y if profiteers gain control (as far as "our side" goes).

P.S. The new Hirohito "documentary," presents a bit of a different impression than I got from a former POW family friend, captured at Corregidor, and student of decades of their politics.
 
 
+2 # Mark1974 2015-01-22 20:07
Maybe a big part of the problem is Matt Taibbi's use of the word "we" to refer to the Pentagon and the CIA and their wars. In fact, some writers use "we" when referring to the Pentagon ("we put that guy in power down there") and "they" when referring to the American people, instead of the other way around.

This is quite a contrast from the chant "We are the 99%." Unfortunately that slogan doesn't seem to have made its way into discussions of wars that our rulers -- in this case oil companies and war profiteers -- have dragged the country into.
 
 
+1 # neis 2015-01-22 20:45
"(The most disturbing passage in the book to me was the one where Kyle talked about being competitive with other snipers, and how when one in particular began to threaten his "legendary" number, ..."
This reminds me of the two Japanese officers who, in the early days of the invasion of China, had a competition to see how many heads they could collect using their officer's samurai sword. Bet they were considered war criminals, if they survived to 1945.
And Kyle? and the others?.....?
 
 
-5 # ronnewmexico 2015-01-22 21:00
Nanking but I wouldn't get to excited with the war criminal thing….the representative of the emperor, the royalty who ran the thing of Nanking…was exempted by the US for prosecution though he certainly did know had to know and did actually order some of the atrocities.

He retired in Japan to a life of leisure, his hobby being designing golf courses, died quite peaceably of natural causes.

Decided not to be prosecuted…as he had the notation of being of the royal family.
And quite interesting is to see the guest list of who who's of the american politic who attended the emperors funeral…

The whole thing stinks to high heaven.
This guy was psychotic..but war crime,, I say not.
If he did kill looters in NO as some have stated he claimed to do…that of course would be chargeable. Did he really do that..I'd guess not.

He was sick with PTSD. By my guess not fully treated.
 
 
+1 # RHytonen 2015-01-23 00:12
"..and the band played 'Walzing Matilda'...."
 
 
+5 # RHytonen 2015-01-23 00:38
"Sometimes a story is meaningless or worse without real context..."

And it does go a step beyond even the Bush/Cheneys -and the Speculator/Exxo n/Halliburtons who hide behind THEM - of war.

As Buffy sang, of The Universal Soldier: "..their orders come from far away, no more."
Neither do their victims.

Come out to the frack fields -sacrifice zones- and see where the corporations' wars (really, more like undefended class genocides)are being fought today - against US.

Our own domestic killing (and incarceration) for profit, will never be stopped by the corporations or their politicians.
And most of all it will not be stopped by those who continue to be their Stockholm Syndrome dupes, in effect turning the sniper rifles (and chemical weapons of resource extraction) on themselves, the earth and their peers, next door and around the world; instead of where they belong.. against the real perps.
 
 
+2 # ronnewmexico 2015-01-23 00:40
I will add this. We all have to participate in things to a extend. We can not but help to be part of the problem, if we live in the west. We buy gas and this and that.

But going to a movie is not one of the things we have to do.
You who go see this….you should be ashamed of yourselves. your going to it…helps to see it profit and helps to see to it others of this kind will be made.

You betray your values by doing so. You help to ensure the american public will see more of the less real and less of the real.

The american public does not need to see more propaganda. Their cup is quite full with that.
Matt T is doing a great public good by reviewing the movie in this regard. We should firmly do him service..by not going to see it.

He did this for us..we should do that for him.
Impelled to consider it by friend family lover or spouse…just don't go. Rental online DVD whatever…don't do it.
 
 
-4 # Rain17 2015-01-23 15:34
I'll go see the movie. I want to see what is actually in the movie. I don't agree with Kyle's politics but that's not going to stop me from seeing the movie.
 
 
0 # sharag 2015-01-23 02:03
Great propaganda recruiting film! ISIL will love this. Thanks Clint, thanks Hollywood. A bang up professional job.
 
 
+2 # brux 2015-01-23 02:44
All ... well, the vast majority of American movies are too dumb to criticize because we have taken this turn in our country where we have to drag everything down to the lowest common denominator.

If there is such a thing as a crime against humanity, there ought to be such a thing as an insult to humanity, and these days to not use every device at our disposal to try to get people to learn and get smarter is an insult to the people of this country and the world.

Movies should be learning experiences, as well as entertaining and intended to mean something. Instead they are usually brain dead escapist fantasy.

When Clint Eastwood tries to make a statement about anything more contemporary than cowboys he might as well be talking to the chair.

That said, I did like "Heartbreak Ridge", "White Hunter, Black Heart" and "The Unforgiven" ... thought those all were good stories well done.
 
 
+6 # Guy 2015-01-23 10:19
The making of movies like this makes me wonder if they are not preparing the public for war .The gung ho will now want to go out and shoot the enemy .That enemy is the enemy they will tell us is the villain .That favorite other that they have been demonizing in our MSM.
What madness has gained control of this planet!
 
 
+1 # Radscal 2015-01-23 14:15
Yes indeed. The propaganda arm of the MIC is constantly preparing us for war, because we've been in armed conflict almost constantly, certainly since WW II.
 
 
0 # Edwina 2015-01-23 11:52
As a political philosopher (Paul Sweeney?) pointed out some years ago, by turning an event into a spectacle, you can transform or obscure its meaning. That's what "Apocalypse Now" and "Platoon" were about. Since we identify with other humans, it's easy to make the war(s) about them.
 
 
-1 # Rain17 2015-01-23 15:23
Well, as someone who works with many former military and active-duty military, and who will probably see this move this weekend, here are some of my thoughts on the issue.

1. If your goal is a movie that deals with the motivations of Bush, Rumsfeld, and the civilian leadership at the Pentagon who decided to go to war with Iraq, this is not your film. I honestly think that expecting this movie to address those issues is inherently unrealistic.

2. I say it over and over again here to no avail, but individual soldiers are not the ones making the decision to go to war. It angers me a lot to see so many people denounce those who received orders to go over there as "war criminals." I have friends who served and/or have served. Calling them "war criminals", as some people in this thread have, is unfair and unreasonable.

3. As for Kyle attacking him personally for the policies of civilian leaders is unfair. Most of my friends who have served are conservative and I don't agree with their politics, but they aren't bad people either. I don't agree with Kyle's politics, but I don't think attacking him for doing his job is fair. I wasn't in favor of the Iraq and the ones to criticize are Bush et al, not those who received orders to go.

Continued in next post. . .
 
 
0 # Rain17 2015-01-23 15:29
4. Inherently I think that some on the left simply are hostile to anything connected to the military or intelligence community. Although I have not really liked Michael Moore since he voted for Nader in 2000, who ironically helped make Bush President and the Iraq war happen, I did like his movies SiCKO and Capitalism. But Moore opening his mouth doesn't help progressive causes.

5. Attacking individual soldiers is not going to get Americans to listen to the left or get those on the right to reconsider their viewpoints. I get a lot of flack here; but, as I've said it before, messages that say "America sucks" or imply that "America sucks" aren't going to convince people to reevaluate their viewpoints.

6. This becomes even harder for people like me because, when my coworkers ask why I am a Democrat, they bring up stuff like this. And the ironic part is that many of them should be Democrats, but aren't, because of messages like this. They think that everyone on the left hates the military. Even though people like Moore and some of those on this board are a shrill minority, they think everyone on the left hates them or doesn't respect their service.

7. I'm not sure what those attacking Kyle hope to achieve. You're not going to convince most Americans, including many liberals, to hate the military and those who serve. And what you're going to do is alienate more Americans who might willing to support liberal causes.
 
 
-2 # Rain17 2015-01-23 15:33
8. The one point that I will say about military--and perhaps this is the one critical point that I will make--is their hostility to the government helping anyone else besides them. Those who serve receive generous housing allowances, the GI bill, VA loans, free to low-cost healthcare while in the military, and so forth; but they are often the first people to rant against the government helping others. Many of my coworkers, for example, are extremely hostile to the Affordable Care Act, yet they have no problem accepting government benefits themselves connected to the military service. Now I fully agree that they have earned those benefits, but their hostility to the government helping others always struck me as unfair.

9. This is why the far left will never truly influence public opinion or get anywhere politically in this country. Attacking the troops is not a politically wise strategy.

10. And lastly some people join the military because they don't have opportunities in their home town or in the civilian world. Or others can't afford college either. To denounce them for pursuing opportunities that would enable them to complete college or get training they couldn't get in the civilian world is unfair.
 
 
+4 # Radscal 2015-01-23 16:22
I've been an anti-war activist since a friend in our car club sent us a letter describing his first kill in Vietnam (a probably pubescent girl). My dearest friends fought in that war, and most joined me in working to end it (and others since).

I've never seen the reported spitting and name-calling of veterans, nor would I have countenanced it if I had. Whether drafted or enlisted, those our government sent to war are not responsible for the wars.

They are, however responsible for their conduct at war. And there are war criminals. The Vietnam War produced a good number of them. Kyle was apparently something close to a psychopathic serial killer. I read his second book, but not the one upon which this propaganda film was based.

Excuse-making is why "liberals" never effect substantive change in governmental policy, as is made so obvious by our current President's "kill list" from which he personally chooses individuals on his "Terror Tuesday" meetings.

I am a firm believer in defense, even the use of deadly force to defend self and others from aggression. That is why I cannot fault either the Vietnamese or the Iraqis for fighting against the U.S. military. That is why I continue to work to end U.S. wars of aggression.
 
 
-1 # Rain17 2015-01-23 18:25
I don't think Kyle was a serial killer. He was a sniper doing his job. Unfortunately, in the military, you need to have snipers.

Do I agree with Kyle's political views? Definitely not. But I don't think he is like Jeffrey Dahmer or other serial killers.

As for Obama's policies I really don't have a problem with them by and large. The fact is that there are terrorists who do want to harm the United States. I think that you and others who think that, if the US simply pulled out of various countries and let terrorists run free, they would leave us alone, are just idealistic and wrong. There are bad people who do want to hurt Americans.

I was against the Iraq war, but I have no problem with how Obama has generally handled the War on Terror. I just don't think the view that somehow, if the US simply pulled out of the Middle East, they would leave alone is right.

And lastly calling Kyle a serial killer and attacking individual soldiers is not going to bring the change you want. All you are going to do is alienate more people from your cause.
 
 
+4 # Radscal 2015-01-23 18:50
"I don't think Kyle was a serial killer."

Though I haven't read his first book, I've certainly read enough quotes from it, and seen his interviews in which he proudly describes his delight in killing, and how he just never got enough of it. In particular is his competition with another sniper in which, seeing that this other sniper was approaching Kyle's "record," suddenly a lot more Iraqis who were targets (wink, wink) appeared in his sights.

"As for Obama's policies I really don't have a problem with them by and large."

Yeah. 'Nuff said there really. Tens of thousands dead in Libya, hundreds of thousands in Syria, bombing wedding parties, supporting a military coup to overturn Honduras' first elected government, etc. etc. etc. Yeah, all good with you partisan "liberals."


"I just don't think the view that somehow, if the US simply pulled out of the Middle East, they would leave alone is right."

You of course are free to believe whatever you wish. And, we'll never know as long as we keep electing these shills, since both Republicans and Democrats have made it clear they'll never stop our support of dictators and corporate theft of "others'" natural resources.

How would you feel if, say China installed a puppet government or invaded the U.S. to control our resources?

Why would you think people in the Middle East are any different?

Lastly, I think all humans are responsible for the crimes they commit.
 
 
-3 # Rain17 2015-01-24 03:06
The bottom line here is that you and I just have different worldviews. And I just don't think politicians of either party, especially those who want to win elections, adopting it.
 
 
+1 # Billy Bob 2015-01-24 09:29
Yes. Yours is a conservative view and you fashion yourself to be some kind of a "strategist", hopefully, to convince others to vote against their own interests, or to keep their mouths shut about issues you, personally, find too controversial.
 
 
+3 # Radscal 2015-01-24 14:13
Thanks, Billy Bob. It is "liberals" like Rain who continue to vote for ever more conservative Democrats that have permitted the party to become more rightwing than the Republican Party of Nixon.

Regardless of whether they do so out of some sort of "Stockholm Syndrome" or because they really are reactionary conservatives (like Ms. Clinton) doesn't matter. We have to stop pandering to them if we are to affect substantial progressive change.
 
 
+2 # Billy Bob 2015-01-24 14:51
Thank you. I think you get it. It's frustrating to see the Democratic Party shoot itself in the foot, by listening to the argument that "the only reason we don't beat Republicans more is that we aren't enough like them".
 
 
-1 # Rain17 2015-01-24 16:09
Billy Bob, attacking military personnel is not going to win elections. Even among many Democrats and liberals you're not going to win many people by attacking individual soldiers personally. And even you should know that.
 
 
0 # Billy Bob 2015-01-24 23:37
I actually know my relatives. I'm not running for public office, so I'm not in a position where I must lie for a living. I'm perfectly within my legal rights to tell the truth.

I really think Radscal has you pegged.

"Stockholm Syndrome" is a perfect description for your entire political philosophy.
 
 
+1 # ronnewmexico 2015-01-23 21:50
Agree 100% in the demonization of this guy is totally out of line. I stated that earlier(and got many red marks, oh well)….

But he did develope into a sort of psychopath. Psychopaths are great in wars, you want them on your side., Military training with its destruction of self concept and exchange with soldier as self concept may be refered to as a form of controlled mental illnes for purpose..How else can you get people to do things unnatural such as kill people..you make them a little crazy.
Later on he became more human and his main thing in the end was in helping others with PTSD like him.

All that aside.. we are attacked by terrorists usually for the chief reason that we hold military bases in muslim areas…it violates some of the fundamentalist interpretation of islam. If we had no bases/soldiers there..likely they would disregard us. That was Al Queda chief complaint. They would then fight eachother suni and shia.. as that is what they do at times.

It is not our business nor our fight. We cause most of this trouble, that we find….. in one way or another.

Bin Ladnes dead and gone….really why are we there. We have problems this all can be done by marine ops with carriers and such as the opposition is so small scale. We are not fighting armies out there…..no bases are necessary anymore.
 
 
-5 # Rain17 2015-01-24 03:08
I can understand some of the grievances those in the Muslim world have toward America, but that doesn't give them the right to engage in terrorist attacks. That doesn't give them the right to kill a cartoonist because he published a comic they found offensive. The fact is that, even if the US left the Middle East, some elements of these groups would still want to harm us.
 
 
+2 # Billy Bob 2015-01-24 09:32
That's true. Of course that has nothing to do with the reason why our military and tax dollars are actually in the Middle-East.
 
 
-1 # ronnewmexico 2015-01-24 13:14
Yes rain they would still want to harm us…but they would not bother….
 
 
-3 # brux 2015-01-24 14:25
>> Yes they would still want to harm us…but they would not bother….

You can't know that ...

... and implying that it would always be so is irresponsible.
When you are dealing with existential threats or theats
that may grow to existential proportions you need to
think differently.

You made some sort pandering sort of pro-military
comments but the reason the military has the place in
our nation that it does and studies war very carefully and
deeply as is possible about existential threats is to give
us the data to help make those decisions.

Once made, they are the experts, and even if they are
wrong, and they can be, there is no guarantee that anything
humans do can be made perfect - we go with their best
advice - and that includes trying to get the public on-
board with the decision. It is the state of the art.

I am all for criticism and information transparency as much
as possible, but what we can do now is what we can do.
We do more and better when people think of innovations
and new ideas.

Perhaps that is what we should me talking about. How to
ramp up the whole technology and research process in the
military ... but I think that is what we are doing with all
these mini-wars.
 
 
+3 # randi1randi1@yahoo.com 2015-01-23 15:52
More glorification of the credo of Western violence and the men who perpetrate it.
 
 
-3 # brux 2015-01-24 01:43
Let's hope you never have to face a real crisis in your life ... for which that so-called Western violence you spit contempt at has kept you save for your pathetic existence.

I'm kind of happy that we don't have bands of murdering maniacs roving through our land.

I'm glad we don't have high officials who drive around and kidnap women and rape them and murder them.

There are a lot of things that the thoughtless people who don't know anything about it make up stories and scare themselves about, but our military, sad to say that it needs to be this way, is the core of our country, and priority #1.

It creates the technology that drives our economy and trade.

It drives social change by forcing its diverse members to work with each other respect each other.

It has saved our existence many times.

And in its use and evolution has had its share of disappointments and downright horrible mistakes, like Viet Nam, and Korea.

However, unlike many people and many organizations our military is one of the fastest adapting organizations in the world, and that is why it needs to be used and stay in practice to be the best in the world.
 
 
-1 # ronnewmexico 2015-01-24 13:13
Disagree with the entire context of this comment. We cannot demonize any in the military... many are actual heros deserving the highest of societal honor.

However the military itself is always of a secondary nature to our democracy . It's founders clearly held opposition to a standing army and the implications of that. Most considered this its greatest danger, hence the lack of standing armies in the US for many years following its inception.

They do not provide our freedomes... they protect them…a world of difference is there in that.

WE provide our freedomes and part of that is our seeing to it our society does not reflect overt malitarization.
The eventual effect of overt malitarization in a demcracy is a progression to facism.

Military is always secondary to democracy.. not primary. That is as the founders intended.
That is clear in the historical record.
The 4th amendment's contextual presence actually speaks to that exactly. Militias are referenced, local responding military ententies which temper a standing army context. Weaponry is allowed consequent to that….a standing army supposition.

Standing armies nor rights of those within them is never metnioned in any context in the constitution nor amendments….tha t was no accident but for specific purpose.
 
 
-1 # brux 2015-01-24 14:17
>> We cannot demonize any in the military... many are actual heros deserving the highest of societal honor.

Ron, you seem to go around posting more than you are thinking ... what the bejeebers are you talking about demonizing the military?

Your reply has nothing to do with anything my comment.

How do you get demonizing the military out of my comment - or are you just being careless and replied to the wrong post?

Take some time and look before you leap?

I really don't get you guys who post comment, onto the end of your own comments one after another
 
 
-1 # Billy Bob 2015-01-24 14:50
Physician, Heal thy self.
 
 
+1 # ronnewmexico 2015-01-24 14:32
Now you are off into your little thing of criticizing other posters, which serves little any purpose.
If a thing posted makes no sense to you…think perhaps how the poster intended that thing. few will post things that have not sense in them. Part of our task as the reader is to find the intention of things.

That aside.. the other posters are demonizing soldiers, specifically this guy.. It is a point I agree with you on…it is baseless largely and unwarranted and some times despicable.

That all aside…you present in your context ... the military as paramount….it is secondary always in our democracy.
A necessary evil.

As to this…"I really don't get you guys who post comment, onto the end of your own comments one after another"

You are making a statement as opposed to really posing a question which would be the right thing to do, but regardless…
The issues presented here are complex as generally is the subject material 1500 characters often does not allow the space to address this,

If you have a question on why a poster is doing this or that or have a real question on a thing that doesn't make sense…ask the poster? They can clarify.
 
 
0 # brux 2015-01-24 19:30
Is it too hard for you to figure you who and how to respond to someone's comment?

That is not my "little thing" of criticizing other posters. There is a protocol for communicating, and thinking, and you seem like you are oblivious to that.

Your comment is in response to the article, yet you say "It is a point I agree with you on" right after I replied to you about another reply unrelated to a comment of mine, but in reply to it?

I did ask you ... you have not clarified.
 
 
-1 # ronnewmexico 2015-01-24 19:54
You start with this..
"Is it too hard for you to figure you who and how to respond to someone's comment?"

This is another slam. What is wrong with you? Can't you communicate without slamming people?

I will clarify…your post here, (about the third up now),, was talking about how we should thank the military…I agree with that. It goes on however to state the military is core to us "but our military, sad to say that it needs to be this way, is the core of our country, and priority #1".….I disagree with that.
 
 
-2 # brux 2015-01-24 23:15
If you see it as a slam that I am trying to help you understand that if you want to reply to my comment HIT THE FUCKING REPLY BUTTON ... I guess that's a slam. SLAM!

Do you see how my comment appears nested under yours? That is what I mean ... why do you think that is a slam, other than after repeatedly being informed you do not either understand or are unwilling to work the way the website wants you to work?
 
 
0 # brux 2015-01-24 23:18
>> I disagree with that.

OK, so, by hitting "Reply" you have a place to tell me why you disagree with that? Can you please please try that maybe so I can see your comment and know you replied to me, otherwise I may not see it, and anyone will not be able to follow it as well?
 
 
0 # Pops07 2015-01-25 16:48
Matt... Sal would have loved it.
 

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