In the Cross Hairs AMERICAN IDIOCY
After railing against it and passionately commiserating with those who decried it, I finally watched Clint Eastwood's "American Sniper" in its entirety. I forced myself. I had watched long bits and pieces and read a ton of articles and was appalled at what I thought its message was. I am STILL dismayed it got more attention than the film"Selma" directed by a black woman, Ava Du Vernay, which is about the Civil Rights Movement in America, and I can see why troglodytes (insert caveman grunts here) would interpret "American Sniper's" message to be Arabs Bad, Americans Good or how arch conservatives used it to further their hawkish, bigoted agendas or others still are using it as a pretext to attack Muslims or Arab looking folks. But that is on them. After watching it and thinking on it, I cannot say that Eastwood intended this. The real Chris Kyle might have been an unremorseful bigoted killer but that is not how Bradley Cooper chose to essay the role. The character was a beefy, corn fed white boy fueled by a potent mixture of post 9/11 patriotic fervor and testosterone, but, there is a balance there. There is moral confusion and conflict. It's not what I thought it was.
However, some of my students who are veterans refuse to watch it because they feel no fiction can adequately capture the horrific realities of the war there and that it undermines their sacrifice and suffering. There is also the fact that many of them now understand they were lied to; that it was not a righteous conflict.
The film itself is not perfect, it's not great storytelling, it might not have been worthy of 6 Oscar nominations and hype, it glossed over our presence in the region, and it might have unwittingly stirred the deeply anti-Islamic and fascist beast that is present in the hearts of too many Americans, but it is not as simplistic and callous as many have made it out to be. The problem is and always will be that, once again, the white man is shown to be a brown people's savior. It is entirely possible that since Selma did not have a discernible white saviour, it was punished for it by the Academy. That notion is disturbing to me because it is indicative of the increasingly polarised social climate in this country.
This week an intellectually challenged freshman senator spearheaded an "open letter" to Iranian leaders—all but seven Republican senators signed this idiotic missive that served to highlight just how ignorant Americans are. Sen. John McCain is now grudgingly admitting it might have been a mistake. These are our elected officials.
The letter, penned by junior Republican senator Tom Cotton, who has no foreign policy credentials, was meant to intimidate Iranian leaders into backing away from a nuclear deal with the US. None of those who signed the letter know all the specific details of the negotiations but are merely reacting to the notion of the President sitting down with Iran in the first place and stated that any agreement negotiated by this administration would not be honored by the next one. It was a dangerous, irresponsible move on the part of the GOP and, more than anything, meant to undermine President Obama's authority. Moreover, it undermines the security of the American people and shows what the rest of the world has known all along, how hawkish, bigoted and plain dumb so many Americans really are.