Hero or Murderer?

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Chris Kyle, a former Navy SEAL, and the U.S. military’s most lethal sniper, was deliberately and fatally shot recently by another veteran while on a gun range.

According to Star and Stripes, Kyle had been awarded two Silver Stars, five Bronze Stars with Valor, and two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals. He is officially credited with more than 150 kills during four tours in Iraq; he is unofficially credited with up to 255. Kyle won’t say just how many people he has killed.

“I don’t care about the medals,” Kyle told the Star-Telegram in a 2012 interview. “I didn’t do it for the money or the awards. I did it because I felt like it was something that needed to be done and it was honorable.”

I blogged about Kyle twice last year, once in January and once in February. I included this quote from him:

It was my duty to shoot the enemy, and I don’t regret it. My regrets are for the people I couldn’t save: Marines, soldiers, buddies. I’m not naive, and I don’t romanticize war. The worst moments of my life have come as a SEAL. But I can stand before God with a clear conscience about doing my job.

And also this excerpt from his book, American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History:

Savage, despicable evil. That’s what we were fighting in Iraq. That’s why a lot of people, myself included, called the enemy “savages.” There really was no other way to describe what we encountered there. People ask me all the time, “How many people have you killed?” My standard response is, “Does the answer make me less, or more, of a man?” The number is not important to me. I only wish I had killed more. Not for bragging rights, but because I believe the world is a better place without savages out there taking American lives. Everyone I shot in Iraq was trying to harm Americans or Iraqis loyal to the new government.

Will Grigg also wrote about Kyle in 2012.

After Kyle’s death, I blogged that “You reap what you sow.” However, what really got apologists for the U.S. military in a tizzy was this tweet by Ron Paul: “Chris Kyle’s death seems to confirm that ‘he who lives by the sword dies by the sword.’”

Conservatives, naturally, because they are in love with all things military, were quite upset. But others expressed their “concerns” as well.

Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer chastised Dr. Paul, calling his tweet “insane,” and calling Kyle “a modern, American war hero.”

Another veteran said that “Ron Paul has been reading too much Laurence Vance.”

Senator Rand Paul responded: “Chris Kyle was a hero like all Americans who don the uniform to defend our country. Our prayers are with his family during this tragic time.”

Some libertarians weren’t too happy with Paul’s “social media strategies, or basic skills of persuasion.”

Wannabe-libertarian Glenn Beck (“I’m becoming more and more Libertarian every day”) termed Paul’s statement “despicable,” “ugly,” and “offensive.”

But there is nothing honorable or heroic about anything Chris Kyle did in Iraq. He defended no American’s freedoms. He didn’t fight “over there” so no American would have to fight “over here.” Soldiers who kill for the state in unjust wars are murderers, not heroes. As Future of Freedom Foundation president and Army veteran Jacob Hornberger recently wrote: “Since the U.S. government was the aggressor in the war on Iraq, that means that no U.S. soldier had the moral authority to kill even one single Iraqi. Every single soldier who killed an Iraqi or who even participated in the enterprise was guilty of murder in a moral, religious, and spiritual sense.”

Here is a simple test to determine whether a soldier is a murderer or a hero. There are only fifteen questions and only one of two responses is possible so you should be able to keep track of your answers.

1. A soldier from a country thousands of miles away travels to the United States and throws grenades at Americans. Hero or murderer?

2. A soldier from a country thousands of miles away travels to the United States and incinerates Americans with a flamethrower. Hero or murderer?

3. A soldier from a country thousands of miles away travels to the United States and blows up Americans with a land mine. Hero or murderer?

4. A soldier from a country thousands of miles away travels to the United States and blasts Americans to kingdom come with a tank. Hero or murderer?

5. A soldier from a country thousands of miles away travels to the United States and drops bombs on Americans. Hero or murderer?

6. A soldier from a country thousands of miles away travels to the United States and cuts Americans in half with a machine gun. Hero or murderer?

7. A soldier from a country thousands of miles away travels to the United States and launches missiles at Americans. Hero or murderer?

8. A soldier from a country thousands of miles away travels to the United States and shoots Americans with a pistol. Hero or murderer?

9. A soldier from a country thousands of miles away travels to the United States and maims Americans with mortar fire. Hero or murderer?

10. A soldier from a country thousands of miles away travels to the United States and fires rocket propelled grenades at Americans. Hero or murderer?

11. A soldier from a country thousands of miles away travels to the United States and shreds the flesh of Americans with cluster bombs. Hero or murderer?

12. A soldier from a country thousands of miles away travels to the United States and burns Americans to a crisp with napalm. Hero or murderer?

13. A soldier from a country thousands of miles away travels to the United States and destroys Americans with attack helicopters. Hero or murderer?

14. A soldier from a country thousands of miles away travels to the United States and kills Americans as a sniper. Hero or murderer?

15. A soldier from a country thousands of miles away travels to the United States via drone and performs targeted killings of Americans. Hero or murderer?

I don’t know of a single American who wouldn’t say, and say it fifteen times, that these foreign soldiers were murderers.

But why is it that when American soldiers do these things they are heroes but when foreign soldiers do them they are murderers?

Time for another test. Again, there are only fifteen questions and only one of two responses is possible so you should be able to keep track of your answers.

1. Should we excuse foreign soldiers because they wore a government-issued uniform?

2. Should we excuse foreign soldiers because they were just following orders?

3. Should we excuse foreign soldiers because they joined the military to serve their country?

4. Should we excuse foreign soldiers because they were patriotic?

5. Should we excuse foreign soldiers because their government said America needed a regime change?

6. Should we excuse foreign soldiers because they joined the military because they couldn’t find a job?

7. Should we excuse foreign soldiers because they were just obeying their commander in chief?

8. Should we excuse foreign soldiers because they didn’t make their country’s foreign policy?

9. Should we excuse foreign soldiers because they were drafted?

10. Should we excuse foreign soldiers because their government said there were communists in America?

11. Should we excuse foreign soldiers because they joined the military because their father had been in the military?

12. Should we excuse foreign soldiers because they just did what they were told?

13. Should we excuse foreign soldiers because their government told them they were fighting a defense war?

14. Should we excuse foreign soldiers because their politicians are the ones responsible for their actions?

15. Should we excuse foreign soldiers because they thought they were defending the freedoms of civilians in their country?

Then why do we excuse American soldiers for these same reasons?

U.S. foreign policy is aggressive, reckless, belligerent, and meddling. We don’t need a foreign policy that strikes a balance. We don’t need a foreign policy that we can afford. We don’t need a foreign policy that is like Reagan’s. We don’t need a foreign policy that is less interventionist. We need a wholesale repudiation of the past century of an evil and murderous U.S. foreign policy.

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