I usually don’t spend much time arguing with critics of my movies and I’m not going to today. I’ll just refute those who accuse me of glorifying war or, at minimum, celebrating a man they scream online was a “psychopathic killer.” Listen, I’m not trying to transform Chris Kyle, the American Sniper who killed more than a hundred sixty enemies during the war in Iraq, into a perfect man. Watch the damn movie. I portray Kyle as a soldier who from the first shot was disturbed about pumping bullets into people and who shot by shot and tour by tour – he served four in Iraq – grew more tormented. So did his wife, Tara. They had a baby, and Chris kept reenlisting even after their second child. He said he had to eliminate enemies of the United States and those who were trying to kill his comrades in Iraq and ignored Tara that others could now do his job and he had to come home soon or she and the kids wouldn’t be there.
Some have said I needed to provide a prologue about why the United States shouldn’t have invaded Iraq in 2003 since either the George W. Bush administration lied about a link to Al Qaeda and weapons of mass destruction or, at minimum, made a tragic decision based on faulty intelligence. I let viewers interpret the story. They already know what they think about the second invasion of Iraq, and they’re going to bring those feelings to the movie even if the director does preach. Preaching, by the way, is for artists who lack touch. I don’t glamorize the war. There aren’t any immaculate corpses in American Sniper. They’re bloody and maimed. That’s why Chris and so many others suffered from post traumatic stress disorder. They couldn’t leave the horror behind. Like I’ve said, “The guy had a hundred sixty kills, he’s got to have some baggage there.” Wouldn’t you?
But you haven’t been there. And the loudest critics of Chris Kyle have never been in combat, either, and might hide if the draft returned. If you believe there’s no such thing as bad guys, you must’ve been sleeping in history class and today read fairytale news accounts. Okay, you think Americans are sometimes the bad guys, like in Vietnam and Iraq in 2003 and beyond. That’s your opinion. I’m not trying to change it. Let politicians and pundits do that. I make movies. This one’s about Chris Kyle hiding on rooftops and shooting our enemies. We’ve always needed guys like that and, trust me, we’re going to need more. We also need guys like Chris who tried to help fellow vets also suffering from PTSD. One of them shot him in the back. I doubt the guy wanted Chris face to face.