I received the following comment on the “American Sniper” article I posted yesterday and felt compelled to share it as it makes some very strong points about the role snipers play in wartime.
” I think you should read the book or go see the movie and reevaluate some of the statements you made. I knew a navy seal sniper when I was in the military and he never enjoyed killing but he did dehumanize his target to help cope. I believe that the sniper does take on the role of a modern day executioner. Even in our penal system there are methods employed to help alleviate guilt when carrying out capital punishment on a condemned person. The sniper has to wait and observe and then potentially proactively judge and carry out a sentence on a threat to his fellow soldiers. This process can break a person down if some internal firewalls aren’t put in place. To casually say that a sniper enjoys killing is flat wrong. What they do enjoy is seeing their fellow soldiers return home after a tour and having a hand in that action. – just sayin” Peter S.
I agree with the points Peter makes here and I do plan or seeing the movie. A sniper is a modern day executioner and plays a vital role in wartime. Their fellow soldiers rely on them, they have their backs. It’s an awesome responsibility. I also agree that being a sniper can be mentally debilitating and these soldiers need to have a way to cope with what they’re doing. They also need a strong support system when they get back home.
However I also believe that some personality types do who have become snipers do enjoy killing. I think Chris Kyle is one of those types. I haven’t read his book but I did research it before writing my article by reading several excerpts from it. I also watched several interviews he did to push his book. I did not just casually say that all snipers enjoy killing, I said Chris Kyle enjoyed killing and I actually saw him and heard him say it in a CNN interview. He was specifically asked if he liked killing when he was in Iraq and he hemmed and hawed a bit but said yes. The interviewer then said “you went back for four tours, you really must have liked it.” Kyle had a chance to deny that he enjoyed it and didn’t. Of course he went on to say that “it wasn’t a problem to kill someone who wants your people dead, not a problem at all.”
I don’t need to read the book or see the movie to know that what Kyle did in Iraq saved many lives. It was valiant and I have no problem referring to Kyle as a hero. At the same time I have no problem calling every soldier who did a tour of duty in Iraq or served in any war zone a hero. No problem at all.