Monday, September 14, 2015


It takes more than a lie to win a war


This is a great film not so much by the true story it tells as by the meaning Clint Eastwood tries to set on the table with force and poignancy.

In spite of all the heroism, the patriotism and the courage of these American men (note there are no women) sent to Iraq the war is lost and totally sinking in a quagmire of a cesspool because it is a useless and absurd war: there is no support for the Americans? There is no gratefulness from the Iraqis. The American troops only speak one language which is Arabic, and with interpreters in-between, which cuts them off from the vast majority of the population who speak Kurdish or Farsi, two Indo-European languages. Arabic is the language of the minority Sunni Iraqis, and what’s more the language of the “tyrant” the Americans came to rid the country of.

The film shows in the worst possible horror the fact that this war has no future, had no future and it has led to an even far worse situation than before. And it was all based on a lie.

But the film can in no way be reduced to that.

The film is about the real damage done on these men (once again no women). They come back traumatized and blocked in their patriotism that becomes the cover-up of their trauma. They are going through a Post-Traumatic-Stress-Syndrome and no one can ever negate that. This sniper killed more than 160 people, most of them one by one in direct one-on-one fire since he was aiming his gun at them with the will to kill them and no others, and with only one bullet for each one, with the excuse that it was to protect his fellow soldiers. That goes against the very human instinct of survival which is that of the species and that should mean killing non-human dangers. That implies the enemies are not human. That implies the sniper is then completely deadlocked in his artificial though perfectly real mental coffin. He cannot speak. He cannot relate even to his children or to his partner.

That in itself is a crime against humanity. And yet Chris Kyle manages to get over it by dedicating his post-war life to helping the veterans who are suffering like him. By helping them he alleviates his own suffering. And that’s when the film is a masterpiece for something like five or seven minutes. He is killed in the USA by one veteran that he takes one day to some kind of one-on-one session of physical exertion to help that veteran step over his PTSS. He is killed by one of his own side who cannot bear the consequences of his actions in Iraq, who has become insane with that Trauma. Clint Eastwood is of course extremely cautious not to imply, like a series is doing on TV, that this veteran was more or less manipulated by the insurgents in Iraq. This is here a pure act of insanity caused by the PTSS of one man.

This film is also very interesting because it shows with the periods between the four tours, with the birth of the children and their growing up, the passage of time, of years, and yet at the same time from one tour to another there is no change in Iraq itself the way the film describes the situation, we can even wonder if it is not getting worse. The final killing of the insurgent sniper by this American sniper will not change anything because one disappears and probably two or three can rise, or pop up where they are least expected.

That’s when we really understand that we made a mistake by going there in the very first place. The fall of a “dictator” has to come from the “victims” of this “dictator” and not from foreign troops. Saddam Hussein was not Hitler with his armed forces occupying about twelve countries if not more. We completely overlooked the linguistic and cultural situation, and we go on doing so. The Kurds are in the front row against Isis but some factions of these Kurds take advantage of the situation to restart the civil war against the Turks. And some in the West want to send troops on the ground? There is no folly that is unreachable to some politicians. They never learn.

And how many Islamist propagandists are among the “refugees” that are trying to flow into Europe right now? It is so easy to be a war refugee since by principle war refugees have lost everything and first of all their identity papers and birth certificates. We humanely must help these “refugees” but we have to know that they are not all “refugees,” which implies they go through sorting out camps where they will be humanely treated but also identified and cleared up on their motivations, and also that they are going to be the new slaves of the west because they will have to work sooner or later. They are not doctors and engineers most of them, probably even nearly all of them.

This film tries to make us feel that when one mistake is made there is no end to it and even stepping out of it is not an end because the problem comes back through the window when it has been swept out through the door, and if there is no window it will use the chimney. The war in Iraq was a typical 19th century colonial war and it led to the very same catastrophes. Will we ever learn the lessons of Vietnam and Algeria, to give two examples? I guess not.


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