Chris Kyle -- a True American Hero

Chris Kyle’s story is told in the powerful film American Sniper, based upon the book of the same name.  Anyone who liked the movie should definitely read the book because the approximately two-hour and thirty minute film cannot tell his whole story. Chris’ story is at times funny, scary, sad, and intense. He was a cowboy, military warrior, father, and a soul mate to his wife Taya. 

What many critics do not understand about the film is that it is not just about war.  It chronicles how Chris Kyle impacted people, how this warrior-hero endured combat, and how serving one’s country put a strain on family. Yet, it seems that those who criticize him and the movie missed these points. Michael Moore called Kyle out for calling Iraqis “savages.”  While that is true, he missed the whole context of that statement. Chris previously noted to American Thinker in an interview, “The enemy are savages and should not be humanized.  I was trying to make that evil go away. I stand by my quote in the book: 'I believe the world is a better place without savages out there taking American lives.’ The enemy rules by fear.  They will cut a person's head off in a family so the rest of the family will bow down to them. They dragged our captured guys by their hair down the street.  Little kids got their teeth knocked out and eyes burned out.  This is savagery. I don't worry about what other people think of me.” 

Had Moore done his homework he would have realized that Chris made a point to distinguish between terrorist jihadists and all Muslims, commenting in that interview about his Iraqi interpreter, “he is a devout Muslim who served with us.  We fought side by side against the enemy.  I would trust him with my life." But it was a mutual feeling because the Iraqi interpreter noted to American Thinker that he trusted Chris completely and thought of him as a real hero.

Moore also stated that “snipers are cowards” and “I think most Americans don’t think snipers are heroes.” Although Taya did not make this comment as a response to Moore she did tell American Thinker about her late husband’s profession, “Part of war is accepting the fact that difficult choices will need to be made.  It comes down to either letting an American or ally die, people Chris was trying to protect, or taking out the threat coming at them. The heartbreaking part is we don’t pick the threat.”

Seth Rogen tweeted, "American Sniper kind of reminds me of the movie that's showing in the third act of Inglorious Basterds." However, he is now backtracking, saying he only compared the movies “because they both involved plots about the most lethal of snipers." This is coming from someone who hid in his house because there were threats after his movie The Interview was publicized. Somehow I don’t think Chris Kyle would have been afraid. Inglorious Basterds had Germans killing Americans.  Rogen’s comment is idiotic because Chris did just the opposite.  He was a savior for many American soldiers who were able to safely return to their families. 

Chris is no longer around to defend himself, but he did make an interesting comment in an earlier interview about politicians and lawyers. But given the recent tweets, he would probably add Hollywood leftists to this quote, “I highly resent the politicians who interfere and the lawyers who draw up the rules. The way I figure it, if you send us to do a job, let us do it. Some fat ass Congressman and lawyer sitting in a leather chair smoking a cigar back in D.C. in an air conditioned office should not be telling me when and where I can and cannot shoot. Are we heading over to serve them tea and cookies or are we there to conquer our enemy?” We can now add “Hollywood Idiots” to that comment.

But Hollywood leftists are not the only critics, as there are also many terrible reviews. This Washington Post comment is a good example, “the movie also reveals a man remarkably unburdened by conscience.” Actually, this reviewer also got it wrong because in the book, the movie, and the interview Chris always pointed out how he was haunted by his sniping duties.."I definitely have my nightmares, but not for the people I killed, but for the people I could not save: my brothers who died next to me, on top of me, or in my arms. When one of those guys was brought out on a stretcher, I felt like a failure for not giving them the protection they required. I don't worry about what other people think of me. My only regret is not being able to save more American lives. When I try to take someone out, it's because they are attempting to take the life of one of our soldiers. If I take out that evil, that means one of our American troops are safer for another day. The red in our flag is for the fallen soldiers' blood.  We all should be reminded that freedom is not free and these fallen soldiers have paid the ultimate price."

Part of the strong appeal of both the book and movie, which most of the critics ignore, is the family’s reaction and sacrifices to having a loved one deployed. The film touches on the fact that more often than not, Chris was away from his family. Taya commented to American Thinker that during the last three years Chris served, he was home for less than six months. “Even when he came home he would be sent out of town to train for combat, which was a lot more intense than normal training. While serving, their immediate families are fellow military personnel, and their true family becomes the extended family.”

The movie expertly shows how Taya went through a dichotomy of emotions. It was frustrating for her that when Chris was home he was not all there; yet, at the same time she felt badly for those feelings. “Before he started deploying he made me feel like the most important person in the world.  I knew he loved me but I was upset because rightly or wrongly I felt it was not as much as he loved being a SEAL.”

Many consider Chris a role model, but the movie also shows that Taya is an important role model as well. Since fewer than two percent of Americans are connected to someone in the military it is through her eyes the public can understand the other side, where she had to navigate the family, many times by herself, and still be supportive to Chris. She thinks the screenwriter did an excellent job in showing the nuances of their relationship, something she hopes people can relate to. “Anyone in a marriage can understand there is something that pulls the partners in a different direction. This movie is a human story, a story about people. Any military spouse has a constant mental Olympics in trying to balance logic, emotions, faith, and imagination.”

Because she understands firsthand the struggles and issues a marriage must endure for those in the military and special responders, she founded She stated this is joint legacy for her and Chris since “it goes back to the basics as to why you love each other. One of my favorite and special memories of our time together was the gift weekend my mom gave us. We went to a local hotel and did not leave the room. We just talked and hung out. The main issues breaking couples apart are all the same. That is why this foundation was set up, to help couples not just survive but thrive. We treat these very special people to an expense paid two-night get away in their home town. I am hoping that it brings couples closer together as that weekend did for Chris and myself.”

After seeing the movie and/or reading the book, it becomes obvious that Chris and Taya Kyle are true heroes. They sacrificed for Americans to have life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness here at home. Chris is truly a legend and will be dearly missed, while Taya is dedicated to keeping his legacy alive. American Sniper, the movie, does just that by showing Chris as a guardian angel to all those who had the good fortune of coming in contact with him.

The author writes for American Thinker.  She has done book reviews, author interviews, and has written a number of national security, political, and foreign policy articles.