American Sniper: Don’t
Miss; He Didn’t
We desperately need some heroes.
Our military is being asked to nation build. That’s not what
militaries do. They defend the nations they already represent against real
enemies. They may destroy nations as our military did in Germany and Japan in
WWII. Nation building is for politicians.
Our police are caught in a real and political cross fire
between those who would do them harm simply for doing their jobs and a few
rogue officers who regrettably have stepped over the line in a war-like
environment of some American streets.
Football players beat their women along with other assorted
forms of testosterone-driven malevolence.
Basketball players seem to be in perpetual states of fist
fighting, even with their fans. And I once went to a fight on ice where a
hockey game broke out.
Baseball players take drugs to keep up, so they say. Soon
the World Series will go to the team with the best pharmacologists.
Even Lance Armstrong, American Hero par excellence has
fallen from grace.
Too many doctors are taking too much money from the
pharmaceutical companies to the detriment of their judgment, their patients and
Lawyers are far more interested in winning than justice. “If
the glove does not fit, you must acquit.” I don’t think so.
Even the bravery of the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists came
wrapped in a panache of perhaps overly insensitive satire that was well within
their rights to use, but not necessarily the most adult way to make a point.
Sometimes I am guilty of that last sin myself when my anger overwhelms my
Then, out of nowhere, comes a true hero with no cape, no
mask and only one superpower. He can outshoot anyone.
In what has got to be the most astounding performance of his
career, Bradley Cooper embodies the tough, huge, bear of a Texan named Chris
Kyle, who was the most lethal sniper in US military history and who tragically
died trying to help his fellow veterans, not in Iraq, but at a shooting range in
Texas. To make matters worse, his estate has been successfully sued by Jesse
Ventura for defamation in Kyle’s book, American Sniper.
I simply cannot recommend this motion picture more strongly
for it shows Kyle’s amazing transition from a good old Texas cowboy who joined
the Navy SEALS after American facilities abroad came under attack by Al Qaeda
to “The Legend” who was deployed four times to hostile country as a sniper
protecting American Marines during house-to-house searches in some of the most
dangerous places in Iraq.
was wounded and decorated several times, but that’s not it. He was clearly a
brave and powerful human who bonded with those around him and struggled with
his demons when he got home after his four tours of duty. He was and is an
American Hero and we simply cannot have enough of them these days.
Our astronauts ride into space on borrowed Russian rockets.
You are not allowed to support the police who lay down their lives every day for
us. We seem to have forgotten what the NYFD and NYPD did on September 11, 2001.
And there is no day when one of my former clinical colleagues at MD Anderson does not
have to face the family of an adult or child with cancer and relate bad news.
These are my heroes.
In this film Clint Eastwood has combined his deft touch for
action, and his sensitivity to the tortuous relationships between men of
action, like those he used to play, and the women and worlds they inhabit.
Sienna Miller as Kyle’s wife Taya is also superb and looks exactly like the
real Mrs. Kyle who has been on TV with Bradley Cooper of late. Cooper himself must have gained 40 pounds of
muscle for this role for he is half of the size now as he stars as The Elephant
Man on Broadway that he was when portraying Kyle.
There is no way to not feel drained and sad at the end of
this tragic film, but it does remind you of what an American Hero really is.
He’s an ordinary man or woman called upon by fate to do extraordinary things
and then just doing them.
These people are all around us. Find one. Thank one. Be one.