There is a conflict stirring about the U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle move. The right wing hero worshippers are screaming about cowardly liberals who have criticized it. The film industry promotion for the film make pronouncement such as Chris Kyle, “takes his sole mission—protect his comrades—to heart and becomes one of the most lethal snipers in American history”. All the element of heroism that so thrill John Wayne worshipers are there; he is lethal and alone protecting the weak by doing what only heroes can do; “killing people”.
I cannot tell you how many times I have heard or read about heroic stories from what I call bar stool heroes. After discharge from the navy, I went to join the Veterans of Foreign Wars and that was what I ran into so I quite the same day I joined. If you believe this does not happen or is rare, you are in for a shock when you Google “false claims of heroism” on the internet. It seems endemic among politicians even though it is often revealed much to the shame of the perpetrator.
Many years ago, I put on a uniform for four years and served two tours of duty in Korea while the “police action” was in progress but I certainly was not a hero or did I ever think of myself that way. I actually resent it when someone says “Thanks for your service.” I resent it even more when someone exchanges false claims of heroism for something of value; free drinks, or movie and book royalties. It takes away from those people who are really heroes. In Iraq it takes guts to drive a truck while in the Second world war driving truck was a behind the lines job. Do you have any idea of how many tank commanders were so scared they shit their pants but still drove their tanks into battle—do you think they will make movies about that or even mention it from a bar stool in some bar somewhere.
U.S. Navy Seal Chris Kyle may have been a hero but how do I know? If that is the case, I sincerely respect and thank him for what he did; however, all of those who falsely claim they have medals for bravery, glorify putting on a uniform, or exaggerated what they did have taken from his heroism. In comparison, the story of Iraq War Veteran Garett Reppenhagen, as told on Lawrence O’Donnell’s show (MSNBC) is much more contrite; thus, believable.