Thoughts on American Sniper

Despite the fact that my buddies online include a couple of former snipers, and the fact that I myself have avoided being turned into one by recruitment officers on several occasions… I won’t be going to see this movie. Mainly… It sounds like nothing but a masturbatory propaganda piece released just in time to incite people into American Exceptionalism to try and distract them from the horrors uncovered by the CIA torture report, and the fuel the war machine to get the support going for the endless wars in the Middle East.

That said. I do have to say something about the psychology of the sniper. Within the ranks, snipers are generally regarded as outcasts in much the same way as Untouchables in caste driven India, and before and after service are socially isolated and treated as pariahs. Which seems completely unfair to me. Snipers don’t really have a choice in the matter; they are selected as early as possible by the machine for their optic and logistical abilities. Hell, I was 15 and not even a member of any organization when they tried to recruit me. And I have to admit, even though at 15 I was already staunchly anti-war and considered a rebel against society, it did sound pretty bad assed. The recruiters spent half an hour working me and left me with all kinds of info, including trying to stroke my ego by telling me I could attend a prestigious military college on the govt dollar, and totally ignored the fact that I was only talking to them because my friend was an officer in cadets and wanted to join.

So I totally get why someone would end up on the end of a scope. I don’t really understand the fear of snipers, or the strange cult of admiration they seem to inspire, but I do “get” them. They’re just folks with a special kind of talent. And by and by large, that talent has been abused by the system, and the individuals with it.

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