William T. Sherman“There is many a boy here today who looks on war as all glory, but boys, it is all hell.” ~William Tecumseh Sherman~

No one likes war. Well, let me qualify that…no sane person likes war. Okay, let me qualify that as well…no sane person, who doesn’t see war a means to their political and power ends, likes war.

All right, we have that out of the way. We don’t like war. We are opposed to war…all of us. Got it?

Sometimes, however, I am amazed at the  rhetoric that overwhelms some in their distaste and opposition to things…like war. Reason Magazine (a magazine and website I recommend if you want to stretch your thoughts on freedom) recently published a blog post by Sheldon Richman titled, “The American Sniper Was No Hero”.

I feel compelled to respond.

Nine times out of ten I find myself agreeing, or at least, sympathizing with the writers and bloggers at Reason. They tend to boil things down to the basics of Liberty and the erosion of our Freedoms caused by government intrusion into our personal lives.

But this time…

Sheldon Richman, addresses Clint Eastwood’s movie, American Sniper by pointing out that the Iraq war was, in effect, the invasion of a sovereign nation, that neither Iraq nor Saddam Hussein had anything to do with the 9/11 attacks and that Al Qaeda was not there before we “invaded” the country.

Okay, so far so good. As a matter of fact, I happened to say the same things long before it was popular not to be in favor of the war in Iraq. Islamic Terrorists attack us, go to war with us, I say go to war with them…kill them…kill them all…or enough of them that they decide they don’t want to kill Americans anymore. Iraq never threatened us. Islamic Terrorists did.

But Richman then goes on to compare the U.S. war in Iraq with the wars of aggression waged by the Nazis. He says, “The only reason Kyle went to Iraq was that Bush/Cheney & Co. launched a war of aggression against the Iraqi people. Wars of aggression, let’s remember, are illegal under international law. Nazis were executed at Nuremberg for waging wars of aggression.”

I am not a Bush/Cheney defender, but to actually compare them to Nazis goes beyond the pale. Richman’s passion for his subject (i.e. Opposition to War) has overloaded his brain…or keyboard. Where I’m from, we say, “Your mouth overloaded your ass”, meaning you talked yourself into more than you can handle. In this case, Richman’s passion for his Agenda, overloaded his ass.

For the record, Nazis waged a war of aggression and committed murderous atrocities, including the attempted genocide of an entire ethnic, racial group. That is why they were hanged. Good riddance.

The invasion of Iraq may have been ill-advised, misguided, and wrong. In my opinion, it was.

To be clear, though, we attempted (naively, in my opinion) to institute a form of democratic government, allowed Iraqis to vote in real elections, provided aid, protected the Shiite Muslim’s from the Sunnis that were Saddam Hussein’s power base. Many Iraqis were grateful for the presence of the Americans. In short, our intentions were not even remotely similar to the invasions of the Nazis, Japanese and Italians during the Second World War.

American troops were not under orders to commit atrocities, did not wantonly murder, rape and pillage, something the WW II Axis forces and our current enemies do routinely. Any comparisons of our troops to those who do commit such atrocities, Nazis, Jihadists, or any other two-bit murdering dictator, are more than offensive to those who put their lives at risk so that Richman, and I…and all of you…can say or think or do or oppose whatever you desire.

Such comparisons indicate a small-minded, myopic, self-centered, selfish, personal-agenda-driven, ungrateful point of view, and yes, Sheldon (may I call you Sheldon? Oh well, too late.) that is what you are…all of the above. Oh yes, I would add that your total disrespect for those who put themselves in harm’s way, for you, makes you a complete jack ass. See, we all get to say what we want…free speech is wonderful. My sincere thanks to all that serve and have served.

Mostly, Richman attacks Chris Kyle and his portrayal in the movie as an American hero. To him, the Americans were the invaders, the Iraqis the “invadees”. Therefore, in Richman’s mind, Kyle’s role as a sniper did not make him a hero. He was the aggressor. The Iraqis were merely defending themselves from the ‘evil’ American Yankees.

Amazingly, I get his point…to a point. We were the invaders. As I said, I thought the Iraq war was at best, misguided, at worst…well, there are many possible scenarios as to why we were there, but that is not what this post is about.

But Richman loses me completely and totally when he denigrates Kyle and those who served with him. Kyle and all of his comrades from all branches of service were, and are, heroes for this reason.

They put on the uniform, and do their duty, believing that they are doing something good and honorable for their country. They are loyal Americans. Most of all, as anyone who has been in harm’s way will tell you, they believed in, and fought for, their comrades. Don’t believe that? Ask any veteran of any war. In the end, you fight for the person next to, who has put his/her life on the line as well.

Trust me, Sheldon. If you, or a family member, or a friend were alive today because Chris Kyle took a shot and killed an Iraqi, you would consider him a hero. And I have no doubt that your perception of Kyle’s heroism would change completely if your particular hide were on the firing line.

Richman finds it objectionable, appalling, even that Kyle was good at the assignment that we gave him. He says and I quote, “Appalling! Kyle was a hero because he eagerly and expertly killed whomever the government told him to kill?”

Yes, he was a hero, because he carried out a difficult assignment in difficult circumstances, and did so because he believed he was doing what his country asked him to do. In the previous paragraph, I said that he carried out the assignment that “WE” gave him. That was intentional.

Understand this, if you understand nothing else. WE, the PEOPLE, sent Chris Kyle and his comrades to Iraq. If WE the PEOPLE are not happy about that, then We should be careful whom we elect to the highest offices of the land. There was not some, shadowy, backroom government pulling the strings. In this democratic republic we can all take responsibility for the actions of our government. And since we put Kyle there, we can be proud that he carried out his assignment, saved American (yes, Sheldon “American”) lives.

Chris Kyle did not send us to Iraq. He did not start the war. He was not a war criminal. He did what he did under fire, in combat, putting his life on the line with those who served with him. We sent him there.

But the most despicable of your irrational comments is at the end of your piece. You say,

“Excuse me, but I have trouble seeing an essential difference between what Kyle did in Iraq and what Adam Lanza did at Sandy Hook Elementary School. It certainly was not heroism.”

I almost do not have the words to respond to such an offensively despicable statement. Comparing a man, who served honorably and risked his life , whether you, or he for that matter, agreed with the war, with a psychotic murderer is loathsome beyond belief. I reiterate what I said earlier…Sheldon Richman, while you are free to be such and to say what you will, you are a complete and total jack ass.

To those who serve, have served and will serve, you have my heartfelt, deepest appreciation. Your willing sacrifice binds us as a nation of freedom lovers.