Ross Caputi, a former marine who participated in the US’s second siege of Fallujah, writes that the reason the American Sniper book and film have been so successful is that they “tell us exactly what we want to hear”: that US America is “benevolent” and “righteous”. That, he says, is why the book and film are so popular; their popularity speaks volumes about US society, and signals more danger ahead for the rest of the world.
The killings for which Chris Kyle is idolized, Caputi notes, were perpetrated during his participation in the second US siege of Fallujah, which Caputi, from firsthand knowledge, calls an “atrocity”.
Specifically of the siege, Caputi notes:
- “All military aged males were forced to stay within the city limits of Fallujah” [while women and children were warned to flee through the desert on foot]
- “…an estimated 50,000 civilians were trapped in [Fallujah] during this month long siege without water” [since the US had cut off water and electricity to the city]
- “…almost no effort was taken to make a distinction between civilian men and combatants. In fact, in many instances civilians and combatants were deliberately conflated.”
- “The US did not treat military action [against Fallujah] as a last resort. The peace negotiations with the leadership in Fallujah were canceled by the US.”
- “[The US] killed between 4,000 to 6,000 civilians, displaced 200,000, and may have created an epidemic of birth defects and cancers“
- “[The siege was] conducted with indiscriminate tactics and weapons, like the use of reconnaissance-by-fire, white phosphorous, and the bombing of residential neighborhoods. The main hospital was also treated as a military target.”