American Sniper — My Take

Posted on February 13, 2015 by Robert Ringer

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I finally got around to seeing American Sniper last weekend, and it certainly gave me a lot to think about. First and foremost, it was a grim reminder that since the beginning of recorded history, the most significant and consistent phenomenon about mankind is his penchant for war.

The greatest loss of life in America came in the Civil War, which killed nearly as many soldiers (and, by some accounts, more) than all other U.S. wars combined — between 620,000 and 750,000.

After that, we fought a lot of token wars, but it wasn’t until “the war to end all wars” that we got really serious about state-sponsored death. Unfortunately, World War I proved to be nothing more than a preview of the main attraction coming down the road — World War II, which ended with two atomic bombs being dropped on civilian populations.

Peace at last? Hardly. Construction on middleclass nirvana (commonly referred to as “Leavittown”) in Long Island, New York, had barely begun when North Korea’s organized crime family, led by Kim ll-sung (to be followed by son Kim Jong-Il and grandson Kim Jong-un), started the Korean War by invading South Korea. Today, sixty-five years later, the Kim Thugs are still firmly in control of the world’s largest concentration camp.

Next came Vietnam. I clearly remember that after we hightailed it out of that God-forsaken country, the popular thinking in our modern “civilized” world was that war was passé. That, of course, proved to be nothing more than wishful thinking with the advent of the Gulf War, the War in Afghanistan, the Iraq War, and, finally, the worldwide Islamic Jihad, not to mention many mini-skirmishes in between, such as Panama and Grenada.

Still, most of us are lucky, because we haven’t had to view war up close and personal. What struck me about American Sniper is that, regardless of one’s ideology, the movie does a superb job of taking you by the nape of the neck and shoving your face into the stench of war. Cliché as it may be, it’s a reality check that everyone this side of Watters’ World desperately needs. General Sherman said it all when he came up with “War is hell.”

That being the case, why in the world do we scurry from one bloody conflict to another? I believe the best explanation of why war is a permanent way of life for humankind is revealed in a couple of lines from American Sniper. In one scene, Chris Kyle says to a fellow combatant, “There’s evil here” (referring to Iraq). To which his comrade responds, “There’s evil everywhere.” Talk about saying a lot in a few words.

The fact is that the world is saturated with evil (whether you define evil in the biblical sense or simply as secular malevolence and wickedness), and that includes America. Most evil, of course, comes from those who control governments, but there are always plenty of Brown Shirts ready to click their heels, salute, and march into the pit of Hell at the behest of politicians who sport well-manicured nails and neatly pressed dress shirts.

Of course, it wouldn’t be possible were it not for the fact that most people shudder at the thought that others might believe they are “unpatriotic.” This weakness of the knees stems from the fact that they have absolutely no clue that patriotism and tyranny are linked at the hip.

As David Hume put it, “The heights of popularity and patriotism are still the beaten road to power and tyranny.” We’ve seen this phenomenon in Hitler’s Germany, Mussolini’s Italy, Castro’s Cuba, and, at one time or another, pretty much every country on earth.

John Kennedy’s famous “ask not” statement was a classic in this regard. I agree with the first part of JFK’s admonition, “Ask not what your country can do for you,” but freedom would have been better served had he reworded the second half to say something like, “and don’t allow politicians and patriots to intimidate you into believing that you are morally obliged to do anything the power holders in your country ask of you.”

Also, in connection with the constant drumbeat of patriotism, let us not forget that throughout history weapons manufacturers have profited handsomely from warfare, so they are always highly motivated to keep billions of taxpayer dollars flowing into their coffers. When so much money is at stake, lying, stealing, cheating — even murder — are all on the table. There’s a good reason why the aphorism “All is fair in love and war” has been around forever.

For all these reasons and more, American Sniper also brought to mind that all-too-true quote from Black Hawk Down (attributed at various times to Plato, Santayana, and others), “Only the dead have seen the end of war.”

Which couples nicely with another somber line from Young Lions, an old war movie in which an idealistic young German officer, Lt. Christian Diestl (played by Marlon Brando), ponders a drunken comrade’s reflection on war, “After all the arms and legs have been blown off, it doesn’t matter, because nothing ever changes.” Again, a lot said in a very few words.

If you haven’t already done so, be sure to see American Sniper. It will remind you that the overriding reason why the living will never see the end of war is because there is, indeed, evil everywhere. It’s not so much that evil triumphs because good men do nothing. It’s the lethal combination of too much evil and too few good men.

On that cheery note, here’s a two-year homework assignment for you: Do you believe that new faces at the top of the Washington food chain in January, 2017 will change things?

Multiple choice:

  • Yes
  • Maybe
  • No
  • Don’t care

Hint: You won’t find the answer watching The Simpsons, The Apprentice, or The O’Reilly Factor.

Hint No. 2: Read up on history.

Robert Ringer

+Robert Ringer is an American icon whose unique insights into life have helped millions of readers worldwide. He is also the author of two New York Times #1 bestselling books, both of which have been listed by The New York Times among the 15 best-selling motivational books of all time.

55 responses to “American Sniper — My Take”

  1. larajf says:

    Answer: no

    War definitely seems to be a pervasive part of the human culture. I don't know how we'll change it unless we make the opposite easier and more rewarding. I had a teacher once in high school that said that war was great for technological breakthroughs that made our lives better. He wasn't pro-war…just pragmatic.

  2. Bill says:

    Other items worth mentioning is USMC Major General Smedley Butler's "War is a Racket" speech. And how about Ike Eisenhower's farewell address in 1961 warning the American citizens to watch out for the military-industrial complex? We are here. These endless wars in the Middle East are a racket. the Muslim was needed to fill a gap with the fall of the Iron Curtain. the bankers and defense companies needed new enemies to keep their business going. Government had to manufacture a new threat to justify its draconian laws. And they certainly became draconian: The Patriot Act, NDAA, the new DHS and TSA at airports. NSA's spying on all of our private correspondences, the IRS spying on us all, more financial restrictions, and coming in January 2016 the "domestic passport" law, so that you either have to show a passport or use the national ID "Real ID" to fly. DHS is trying to get a RFID on the Real IDs now. Our society is becoming just as dreadful as the drab gray Soviet Union under Kruschev and Breshnev.

  3. Heny Kothe says:

    Robert's article is one of the most accurate about why we will always have wars. I have been reading his books and articles for at least 30 years. He has a remarkable insight about many important life issues.

  4. Roger Roger says:

    Goering also said it well, Robert: "Why of course the people don't want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally the common people don't want war neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country." –
    Hermann Goering.
    Is this not precisely what they are telling us now?

  5. Mike in Tampa says:

    I think Major General Smedley Butler accurately described the situation in his short book, "War Is a Rackett." I was a willing participant in Vietnam and have now come to realize what a sham that whole thing was. The winners were the ones who produced goods & services for the US military. As a fighter pilot, I did not have to slog it out on the ground but I personally know a good number of young men who spent time in POW camps and others who simply died for no good reason at all. And that's not to mention the many thousands of Vietnamese who were killed, wounded, etc. Butler describes it quite well in his book. He says he was like a hired hit man for the mafia but it was the not mafia for whom he worked.

    One problem with the sniper movie is that it's making a hero out of Kyle. He was no hero in my opinion. But Americans are really attached to their heroes and so the movie is raking in big bucks. Not mine.

    • Mark says:

      Respect your thoughts, Mike, but what would you call a guy who spends his life defending others and then, post-service, gives his life helping the less fortunate?

      War is hell and, as the "evil issue" implies, this side of eternity we are all, knowingly or not, involved in a cosmic war.

  6. Bill Grover says:

    Hello Mr. Ringer,

    This is a very good post.
    This also reminds me of another war related film, "Lords of War" with Nicolas Cage as an arms dealer. The opening credits depict the path of a bullet from manufacturing plant to ammo box to gun in Africa and finally through the head of a young boy holding an AK-47.

    There is far too much money at stake to ever stop wars so my answer to to your reader poll question is No, our arms industry can not afford it.

  7. psychicmindvandervoort231 says:

    Esoterically speaking, the battle between Good and Evil enables the human soul to grow. Or may. The principle is, "Evolution through Involution". That is, we humans involve ourselves in a material world drama, that through that dynamic interaction, we stand to evolve or develop our self or soul. Sounds good to me? Why else have we incarnated on this particular plane of being if not to grow. I doubt that our life purpose or mission in life is to amass money and "stuff", the way of the Materialist. I haven't seen the movie yet, but I hope to.

  8. Steve says:

    Hi Robert-I saw the film also and thought that it was well done, and also disturbing. WHen the subject of war comes up, I must, absolutely, think of General Medley Butler, who was the commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps..
    After retiring from that post, he promptly wrote a book entitled "War Is A Racket' (scam, that is). He addresses these issues that you bring up HEAD ON, and "takes no prisoners", pardon the pun. He says that the reason that war persists, very simply, is because it is highly profitable. He states that war WILL NOT GO AWAY, period. He believed that the only way that it could, would be to (somehow) remove the profit. He begins by stating that as a soldier, what he did was not noble, he "freed" nobody, and that it was all a scam for the benefit of fat-cats. I have to believe that if Butler were alive today, that he would concur with your statement of "patriotism & tyranny being linked at the hip" I do not for a SECOND discount the pain and sacrifice of those in the armed forces. I am pretty sure that you, and most readers of this blog, also do not discount what these people have to endure. Having said that, I appreciate your honest and gutsy comments. While watching "American Sniper", I was very moved at the incredible suffering of the civilian population in Iraq. I could help but think, "What if that were happening here?-What if that were me?" Very chilling. I wonder what Dwight Eisenhower would have to say about this state of affairs. Robert-are we living under a military dictatorship? Thanks again for your comments.

  9. Jeremy says:

    D) Don't Care.

    The energy it takes for me to get worked up about the politicians can be better used getting worked up on personal progress. All I can do is go after my own "American Dream" while adjusting my path according to the political weather of the time. The line in the great movie "Heat" summed up the new America. "Don't let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner."

  10. Hank in Quito, EC says:

    Robert's essay is brilliant.

    However, a poster showed evidence of knucklehead thinking by saying we grow by blowing each other up.

  11. John Abbott says:

    Haven't seen the movie, but a very sobering article and, sounds like the movie is too. I agree with the article-don't be a "blind" patriot. If you are, then you're no different than a Nazi. Question EVERYTHING your government(and the Media) tells you!

  12. Dan Dan says:

    Yes!
    Gandi said " be the change, you want to see in the world"
    We can all treat our brothers with the respect they deserve.
    Love can smother hate if given a chance:]

  13. patg2 says:

    I don't think your analysis is quite accurate. We live in a country founded by honest and intelligent people who tried to give us a country that guarantees more liberty than any country in the history of the world. The failure of that is not complete, and what failure there is, is not due to whether or not we defend ourselves or others against aggression. The United States has a history of responsive force. We have a moral duty to try to give other people what we have enjoyed. You speak out without fear for your life because of what we have been given.

    We didn't invent communism. Our actions in Viet Nam helped protect 1/4 of the Cambodian population from a death march until we pulled out. It helped prevent the entire region of Southeast Asia from going communist. Communist leaders drag people out of their homes and imprison, enslave, and murder them. We have very little of that here, and helped spare other nations from suffering this fate. You sleep well at night because of our defense against communism. Your characterization of North Korea was spot on.

    We didn't invent Islam and its terrorist practices, nor its suppression of women and other individuals who are innocent of any crime. We helped defend others, and it was only when we got lily-livered "leaders" who refused to continue the valiant defense that these people succumbed to this horror. We had only one choice: defend against terrorism on their soil, or defend against it on ours. I am glad we chose the former.

    In general, patriotism may be misplaced, but there is nothing wrong with appreciating the blessings we have, and being supportive of those who sacrifice their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor so that you can drive safely to work, and speak your mind without fear.

    The two choices are as follows:

    Defend ourselves and others from terror, slavery, and death
    Cower in a hole and let them take over our nation as well, line our streets with IEDs, and cut off people's hands for minor theft, not to mention stoning women for being rape victims. No thank you.

    As for me, I refuse to be a prisoner in my own clothing. And I refuse to back down for my support of the valiant people who are fighting for freedom from fear and terror here and abroad.

    • Ryan says:

      > The two choices are as follows:

      Congratulations, you've won today's prize for expressing the most egregious false dichotomy I've ever seen. If these are *really* the only two courses of action you perceive as possible, and therefore prescribe to everyone, I can only recommend you get out more.

      • patg2 says:

        Oh what a wonderfully persuasive argument! NOT! So what's your third solution? And I have a hard time imagining how I could get out more. I spent much of my life outside. So what's your excuse?

        You think ISIS and the other terrorists are simply going to go away? It's not realistic to think that. They will attack in their region, or they will attack here. Oh, I get it. We're supposed to just roll over and play dead and let them do whatever they want to us. Right?

        Personal attacks always tell me the attacker has no valid argument. If he did have one, he'd use it. Thanks for the win!

    • iheartdagney says:

      Excellent. You do get it. Nice to see some that do. The Christian religion was the foundation of this country, though in very Christian-like manner, none are shamed or forced into this belief system. The purpose of our country defending others is very Christian-centric and courageous. That we decry it now is a blot on our consciousness, evidence of cowardice, and will result in all manner of evil befalling this country not to mention the rest of the world. We continue down this path of evil and the shining city on the hill will be no more. Your phrasing of the dilemma avoiding the religious aspect was well done because some, because of their ill-education, will not read further once the "mystical" is mentioned. LOL.

    • tim_lebsack says:

      re: "We have a moral duty to try to give other people what we have enjoyed."
      What are you going to do to those who disagree ??

      • patg2 says:

        Try to persuade them. Otherwise, nothing. I can't enforce our moral duty on others. (One of the flaws of liberal thinking is that you can and should.) If other people don't want freedom, I can't force them to accept it. However, I believe that deep within the heart of every human being is the longing for freedom. Regardless, it is not my job to force them to accept freedom. If someone asks for help, I will give it if it is within my power. If someone needs my help but is incapable of asking, I will try to provide it. If someone has been so tyrannized that they cannot ask, I will try to deal with the tyranny so they become free to live again.

  14. Dan Stelter says:

    It is my opinion that government changes things, but not in a way that makes any real difference for the average American. So to me, an "average American," my daily life will most assuredly not change when the Washington power structure changes.

    As my uncle said about his job, "Same shit. Different day."

  15. Eric says:

    I would suggest being careful of becoming too influenced by what one sees in the movies. "Based on a true story" is just that . . . it is not the whole truth . . . just enough to make us think it is, (is there ever really a musical soundtrack to go along with the observations you make in real life?) . Often those who wish to tweak our patriotism use the emotional appeal of movies to do so. While I agree with your fundamental points Robert, I think this movie may be purposefully presented by the producers to achieve a political end.

    Real evil starts with deception. We must be careful not to suppose one is evil because of the stories we have heard from others. Our own observation, logic based reason, and only the most trusted Testimony will guide us to the truth.

  16. TheLookOut says:

    Robert, as usual you bring much needed clarity to a very serious subject. The elites of the world
    will always sow discontent among the masses for their own corrupt/greedy ends. I have been in
    uniform, and I like most freedom lovers love this great country, but I condemn the tyrants that
    instigate war(s). The current administration is openly spreading division, and hatred among us,
    of course they are mere puppets controlled by the elitist. I pray they will be exposed for what
    they are, and what they have done, and what they are planning to do, before they can accomplish
    their goals. History shows that evil will persist until it's stopped by a force of enlightenment.
    Again Robert, Thanks for another great article.

  17. Clarke says:

    I have a friend who Kyle has nothing on. His confirmed kills are just under 80% of Kyle's record, and his longest shot is at least 100 yards farther away — but he did it all over the world. One of the top half-dozen snipers in the entire US army. And he got rid of some very bad men who really needed to be gotten rid of.

    And now he's disabled. PTSD, degenerative bone disease, liver failure, severe bipolar disorder (inherited from both parents), and his life has been hell. His wife and family were stolen from him by a low-life cocaine dealer and a few years later she was murdered. His mother couldn't raise him because of her own schizophrenia and bipolar, so he was raised in group foster homes run by pedophiles because he never knew his father who died from alcohol abuse self-medicating his own bipolar disorder. He was five years old at the time.

    At age 14, he was driving a tank in the middle of the Vietnam War, and less than 5 years later, he was an Army Ranger.

    I've seen the scars from shrapnel wounds. I've seen the difficulty he has to endure from mental illness. Yet he's one of the kindest, most generous men you'd ever meet, something he insists he learned from my example. He'll go without so he can help another who needs it.

    Yet the political low-lifes in DC who talk about how they "support our troops", and that individual some call President says he's angry because of the problems with the VA.

    I personally supported him — provided him with housing, food, and clothing for nearly 4 years. And when he came to me destitute with no income, disabled and homeless and I showed him where he'd be staying, I said, "Here. This is your room. You're not homeless anymore."

    He told me later that that was the first time he ever felt safe in his entire life. He was 42 years old. He also told me he'd have been dead within 30 days if I hadn't taken him in. Recently, he told me I've saved his life many times, because when he considered suicide to bring an end to the torment (constant severe pain from the bone disease caused by jumping out of airplanes) he didn't do it because he knew I'd always be there for him. He's not just a friend. He's a lot more like a son to me. He tells people he's my adopted step son to go along with our other nine children, some of whom are now grandparents.

    When I get phone calls from charities wanting to help homeless vets, I tell them I'm looking for about $25,000 to help defray my expenses in taking care of one that the worthless scum in the halls of politics and bureaucracy ignored, and when I finally helped him get a disability stipend from Social Security the best they can come up with is $1050 per month? And he's expected to cover housing, food, clothing, transportation, pay a cell phone bill so he can call the hospital when needed and have some semblance of a life?

    There is a God in Heaven, and these big shots who fly on private planes and enjoy the lap of luxury at our expense will rot in Hell for a long time for the way they treat these noble men whose boots they're not worthy to touch, much less clean. And none more so than the fraud currently residing in the White House. As Jesus so accurately stated, "Even as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

    Talks cheap. And a lot of the inside-the-Beltway crowd are little more than paid liars blowing smoke. But they'll get a fair judgment when they face their Creator and account for their lives, so I won't judge them now.

    • JimD says:

      Wow!
      Thank you Clarke for taking the unheralded action to help this vet on a very personal level. Thank him for his service and we're sorry for his sacrifice and pain.

      I think the answer to Robert's question HAS to be A) Yes. Paraphrasing Lincoln, it is for us the living to be dedicated to the unfinished work…

      We have to work for and vote in and hold responsible our representatives, so that we get the kind of government that can do the right thing, rather than to bow to any lobbying special interests – here we're talking about the war profiteers. It isn't easy, and it isn't perfect, but I think it can be done.

  18. Smucko says:

    Mr Ringer, my answer to your two-year assignment is "Maybe", if you clean house in Washington of both parties (the White House, both houses of Congress, and the Supreme Court).
    The two-year assignment is really a generational time-frame, because it will probably take that long to get back to the Constitutional Republic that we inherited. The 4-step process looks like this to me:
    * We have to replace the current crop of Supreme Court judges with ones who are dedicated to the principles of the Constitution;
    * We will only get Constitutional Judges by electing freedom-loving Congressmen who will only CONFIRM Constitutional Judges;
    * We will only get freedom-loving Congressmen when the American People decide that the country that they inherited is worth saving, and that THEIR current Congressman is part of the problem;
    * Those Americans who are not too distracted or detached will have to hit the streets to get out their message of "we are mad as hell and we are not going to take this anymore".
    One of the Founding Fathers said that a democracy can only survive if it has a moral and enlightened citizenry. Well, we are neither.
    As a result, our individual choices appear to be 1) go with the flow (easiest but uncontrollable), 2) head for the hills (the government and the hordes will track you down), or 3) stand and fight (dangerous). My concern is that that is the order that most Americans will take, and the government will be too powerful by the time most people get to option 3. When that happens, then the Army will decide America's fate, as it does in all Banana Republics.
    As you have said, we have a front-row seat to one of the most interesting times in history.
    Sleep well, Des Moines.

  19. Sandy says:

    You forgot one in your multiple choice answers: I hope so – which would be my answer. I hope that for once they would put politics aside, and do what's best and what's right for our great country. I have to keep believing that someday we will get to this point. I can't give up on our country, our politicians, and our people. Thanks for a great article.

  20. Avery Horton says:

    Was that a "trick" question? History has shown it will not change. It is the 21st century and slavery still exists!! Some people must have it in their DNA to want to control other people and force their will upon others. We have the technology that puts the sum of all human knowledge at our fingertips yet we behave no better than savages and have been dumbed down to the level of "mouth breathers". Maybe this IS the human condition.

  21. Sean Baltz says:

    Evil will always exist and until it doesn't, then war will be necessary.

  22. Michael says:

    No. Politicians don't work for the people, they work for the corporations, the military industrial complex, the powerful and wealthy…. The military is just cannon fodder for achieving the goals of the power elite and the politicians, including the president, are just puppets for the power elite. America, once the country of liberty and freedom, is no more. The founding fathers architected the the most brilliant constitution of all time, but it has been overrun by those mentioned above. There is as much evil in America as there is elsewhere in the world — make no mistake.

    I truly hope that America returns to its non-agression policy. Defence is one thing, invasion another. If America (meaning America's power elite) would stay the hell out of the rest of the world's business then there would be much need to defend against anything. America is attacked because it meddles where it shouldn't, for the benefit of — well you know who.

    Don't trust your government; they are not on your side. The people are pawns, either as soldiers or as taxpayers to pay for it all. As several have observed above, America is moving more and more to a totalitarian government. And our civic response: apathy. Wake up and fear your government. Take back your country from evil. I fear it is too late and it will take revolution and bloodshed to restore freedom and liberty.

  23. John E. Gabor says:

    Don't care. There's not that much difference between the political parties. One party will be a slightly lesser of two evils depending on which way you lean politically, left or right. But the only thing that's going to change is some of the faces.

  24. Rocketman says:

    Actually, Mr. Ringer, Sherman never actually said "War is hell". He was misquoted by a newspaper reporter. What he actually said was "War is cruelty and you cannot refine it."

  25. Scott theczech says:

    No! Any meaningful change has to be bottom up: you and me first, then local school boards, city councils, county government, state government etc. In America, our destiny is on our hands, not elected officials nor bureaucrats.

  26. Scott theczech says:

    Like a master magician employing the art of misdirection, we are led astray and our attention is turned to the Presidency etc. We are even drawn into to endless arguments about this tittle or that dot, this race or that race, this 'crat' or that 'repub,' this enemy or that enemy – while Rome burns!

  27. Scott theczech says:

    A state of war usually exists long before the shooting starts. History has shown that economic, political and social conflict lead to that last phase of warfare; the attempted or actual destruction of the enemy's means of war including the interdicting of transportation, communications, shipping, commerce etc. In fact, if nation states could effectively cause and enemy to suit for surrender without firing a shot, most would. That is what make cyber warfare so potentially dangerous and insidious, i.e., the ability to bring an enemy to his knees without the "fire" of war. the coming "sniper" may be a master programmer/hacker!

  28. CARA NOME says:

    I FIGURE NOTHING WILL CHANGE. I'VE FORGOTTEN THE NAME OF THE MOVIE THAT ALAN ALDA WROTE AND ACTED IN BUT IT'S ABOUT THE CORRUPTION OF A GOOD GUY WHO WAS GOING TO CHANGE THE WORLD (HIS WORLD) WHEN HE GOT ELECTED AND, GUESS WHAT? HE WAS THE ONE WHO CHANGED. EVIL IS SEDUCTIVE.

  29. whip says:

    good one Robert, to answer your survey question in my opinion NO —nothing will change this coming election cycle the American people are pawns in the system of the elites. we have a two party system so as to avoid an uprising revolution these elections bounce the citizens around like a ping pong ball giving everyone a little hope to hang on to that there will be changes for the better but as we all come to realize most of our awesome elected officials have their own selfish agendas. its not what is best for the country no not a all. we have become a country run by fools. so sad but we get what we deserve we have become a country without morals or integrity and we will continue to reap what we have sown. the elites think nothing of using these young men as fodder. God help the United States of America.

  30. Heather says:

    Engaging post, Robert – thank you. I am a bit surprised with your use of the word Evil, as it seems a bit primitive for an enlightened individual such as yourself. Our humanity may seem evil, but who we are as a species has a tremendous amount of integrity – we honestly are who we are and there ultimately is a reason for it. Hell on earth is an apt phrase, and one that I tend to agree with. Of the many things humans do, the majority of them are done because of our pre-programming, DNA, wiring – however you would like to say it. Doing what comes naturally to us should not be deemed evil, any more than the Lion killing the Zebra is evil. Though we may have a different purpose and you can throw consciousness into the mix, we are a part of the natural universe and we cannot deny those rules that hold us. How I see us evolving as a species is not by surrendering to other's ideas and foregoing our own, but in seeking and celebrating our differences without the fear of being judged or compared. Quite a tall order, particularly when our basic survival seems threatened when people do not see things our way. In some ways we have not seemed to evolve past our prehistoric ancestors, but then again time is really our own invention. I have a hunch that we are progressing in the wink of an eye, and that this proving ground that we call earth is merely a portal to more amazing things that our physical minds simply do not have the capacity to imagine.

    • iheartdagney says:

      Oh, brother! You're saying we have no choices in the matter, eh? What idiocy. Yes, there is EVIL, and included in the list of evils is your whole screed above. Because you misunderstand the nature of evil, you spout ill-informed justification for evil as in "I can't HELP it! I was wired this way!". LOL. So, you justify whatever evil you like to do in your own life. Comparing people to animals is another over-used justification of evil. WE HAVE A CONSCIENCE. Animals do not. They must live with survival of the fittest. That is their lot in life. WE are better than that. And, determining, in each and every action the good vs. the evil is OUR TEST. You fail with your admonishment of Robert using the "primitive" word, "EVIL".

  31. RealitySeeker says:

    "I'm enormously opposed to the whole Vietnam mess…….. the draft is immoral and unworkable….. and my views shall probably be normal in the future, but not now" ~~ Ayn Rand 1967

    You can watch Johnny Carton interview Ayn Rand on the topic of war here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNTfuDkFTXo

    Take note how the dimwitted fools in the audience booed her. This is what happens to people who are light-years ahead of their time. They get booed, ridiculed and/or they are given a hemlock beverage.

    Warning: you'll rarely get correct answers from the ignorant majority. Especially Americans! You hardly find them asking the right questions. Why? Because Americans vigorously pursue the superficial; their inability to distinguish among salient and insignificant information and issues; and their need to be entertained prevents Americans from rejecting their ignorant, immoral ways.

    You want to know what's among the top problems in America today? Americans lack intellectual curiosity. They'd rather watch a football game or a made-up story full of falsified facts presented in a movie based on mostly bullshit—- like "American Sniper". Americans lack depth. They focus on style and not substance. What analytic abilities they do have are poisoned by collectivism. America has become governed not by natural law ( The Bill of Rights) but by collectivist, warmongering men. Americans learn how to be obsequious in their public schools. They learn that they must respect the police state and the Blue Shirts who enforce collectivist laws. Americans learn to worship Washington's hired killers who have no legitimate business whatsoever invading and occupying dozens of foreign countries. Instead of demanding less foreign entanglements the fatally-conceited Americans actually believe they are "the exceptional people" who must confront "evil" wherever it lurks.

    You want to confront evil? Then start with Washington……

    "You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye".

    Yes, Americans need to start by extracting the "plank" out of Washington's eye"

    • boundedfunction says:

      War is a mere continuation of politics by other means (Clausewitz). Hell is the other (sarte). Which way I fly is hell; myself am hell. (Milton) As long as war is regarded as wicked, it will always have its fascination. When it is looked upon as vulgar, it will cease to be popular. (wilde)

      2% Solution, not necessarily literally: “I've been to a town Del.” (jeremiah Johnson).

      Townie-ism & toadyism & sous vide: dinner’s served…we’ve met the meal & the meal is us…& that’s the way, uh-huh-uh-huh, we like it, uh-huh-uh-huh. & by “we” I mean the applicable “ya’ll”. Wherever you go, there you are; wherever the bell curve tolls, not just philly, there it clangs – & cracks. Don’t join. Especially any school of groupers that would have you. because it means to have you. & you mean to be had. That’s the mean/median/mode of bell curvers & bell jar(head)s everywhere. Symbiosis. Now you be the parasite & I’ll be the host – then we’ll switch – that’s amore (ah-mor-eh…as in a strenuously vicious eel with a mouthful of needle-teeth)…his/hers wife-beater t’s for everybody!

      “evil” is a snipe hunt: “fool's errand is a type of practical joke that involves experienced people making fun of credulous newcomers by giving them an impossible or imaginary task.[1] The snipe hunt may be assigned to a target as part of a process of hazing.” “plausible” denial. & guess who the experienced people & the credulous newcomers are? right. the symbiotes mentioned above.

      Kyle’s an example of how denial, via the snipe hunt “evil”, can make a person indistinguishable from a sociopath. And how Hollywood & jingo patriotism can paint sociopathy heroic. & sell it. He was a predator. “licensed” to kill. Homo homini lupus (man is a wolf to man): Lie down with feral dogs, wake up with flea bites, & bubonic plague…live by the sored, die by the sored.

      Freddy & the boys doing the sous vide theme song…the visuals resonate https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uuzmub5PXNQ

      • RealitySeeker says:

        "Hollywood & jingo patriotism can paint sociopathy heroic. & sell it [like hot cakes]"……

        ………Yes, and then some. Americans who support Washington's troops actually create and add more evil in the name of fighting evil. Americans have truly become what I call a skin-deep people. Brainless, with only an auto-pilot to guide them. Furthermore, it's getting more and more difficult to have an intellectual discussion nowadays. When I try to have a meaningful dialog with an American the disappointment grows until I end up with a bad case of ennui. There's only a small minority who can hold my interest. What the world needs now is another great thinker, a genius the likes of Ayn Rand.

        "There is, therefore, only one categorical imperative. It is: Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law" ~~ Immanuel Kant

        Hollywood's categorical imperative is not much better than the U.S. military's. Two things would happen if the acts of Hollywood and the U.S. military were in alignment with a profound moral code: 1) No movie would ever be produced glorifying a habitual lier and psychopathic killer (sniper). And Edward Snowden would receive the Congressional Medal of Honor and be hailed as the greatest hero in living memory.

        Americans love to gawk at such movies as American Sniper, not because they have a passionate desire to analyze, but rather their passion is confined to the superfluous; they want to see the sniping, but never wonder how it occurred or how it could have been avoided.

        They are far more interested in the form or style of something than the components that make up the object of interest; theirs has become a mentality which lacks an intellectual tradition that rewards insight, forethought, and forward planning, and the inability to identify problems before they "smack you in the face". I have now come to believe that this perspective is primarily a result of two things: an educational system that basically teaches rote memorization rather than analysis, and a general lack of interest in learning for its own sake (keep in mind what our Western word for education came from the Greek word [schole] that meant leisure; yes, learning was a leisure activity!). Nowadays the leisure activity has become watching American Sniper, then going home and watching football..

        Ayn Rand provided the correct ( albeit imperfect) viewpoint in less than 15 min. Her imperfect answers for an imperfect world were as applicable then as they are now. Much better answers than Hitlerian Washington provides to a ingenuous public.

        I, too, have a homework assignment for the anybody who wants to learn and/or admit the truth: Who of the two is the patriot, and who is the traitor? Edward Snowden or Chris Kyle?

        If you voted for Kyle as the patriot, congratulations, you are a neocon Nazi.

        • Stephan F says:

          Congratulations… you have just set the world record by accurately describing someone, using a mere two word trenchant phrase.

          Let me explain, using my own limited mindset.

          You: “If you voted for Kyle as the patriot, congratulations, you are a neocon Nazi”

          Me: “If you voted for Kyle as the patriot, congratulations, you are a lobotomized, brain-dead, propagandized pathetic excuse for a thinking human being.

          See, it just doesn’t have the ring your pithy phrase has. If you (or RJR…Robert are you listening?) ever decide to teach Composition101, sign me up.

          • RealitySeeker says:

            Who are you trying to kid? Your English competency level is beyond 101.

            I was offered an English teaching job once, about ten years ago; actually I was offered a choice of positions in three different Chinese Universities. The benefits included a private office, an on-campus two-bedroom apartment with all the utilities paid in full, a private driver and maid service, free health insurance, free cafeteria meals, over two months paid vacation and an end of the school-year bonus. In return I was to put in 20 teaching-hours per week and give a public lecture twice a month. A university graduate would be my teacher's aid, and I would't have any office hours or grading to worry about. Yes, it's true. Being a tertiary educator is like riding on a gravy train, but that's not the train I wanted to catch— ever.

            I can't be a grammarian. I'm too damn lazy. Just look at my work. It's always riddled with sloppy errors. Being responsible for elite students is beyond my capacity. I've met some kick-ass grammarians, and I'm not in their league. Even some of the Chinese grammarians are fabulously competent. They like to discuss topics pertaining to participial phrases and participles as adjectives— you know, all that esoteric, pointy-headed professor stuff. Man-oh-man! Lecturing them would require way too much effort. Moreover, every time I've lived in a foreign country as a private citizen I always make political statements which upset the Marxists. You know how it is with guys like me: we just can't help chattering on about how great freedom is as opposed to Communism. It would be the same way for me in any outpost of Marxism ( aka American universities).

            I would, however, highly recommend that any young person, who wants to travel the world on a limited budget, should contemplate doing so by becoming an ESL teacher. If you are one of those out-of-work college graduates with a worthless degree, you can still become an ESL teacher by obtaining a 120hr ESL certification. Your degree and ESL certification will get you hired. You'll need a passport, enough money to buy a plane ticket and a since of adventure and an appetite for risk. That's it. That's all you need! Oh, yeah, one other thing: you'll need to keep your mouth shut on political issues. No complaining about the government until after you're long gone and out of range.

            For adventure and risk/reward: go east, young man!

          • RealitySeeker says:

            opps! There I go again! *since* of adventure should be sense of adventure!

          • Stephan F says:

            “I can't be a grammarian… Just look at my work, it's always riddled with sloppy errors.”

            Riddled with sloppy errors? Au contraire, you’re overstating your case. Besides, I’d rather learn from a dabbling but aspiring grammatist who happens to possess a pure intellect combined with an innate ability to assess, contemplate, reason & deduce, than some pre-programmed schmuck from Harvard with a PHD in pedagoguery.

            “I can't be a grammarian…I'm too damn lazy.”

            This is even more overstated than prop #1 above. I wouldn’t dare call anyone lazy who has the ability to quickly & continually belt out 2000 word theses (is this the plural form of thesis?) or exposé’s (what the hell is the plural form of exposé?) on command and with the seeming ease of writing, “Mary had a Little Lamb”. I sure wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of my new professor. Sorry RS, but that excuse simply won’t fly with this keenly interested reader.

            So it looks like you need to dig up some newly conceptualized valid excuses, else I’ll soon be forced to ask, “where do I send my check, and what time does class start?” (btw, my classmates & I want to know if potty breaks are allowed…? Just asking)

            Oh, one more thing before class begins. If you can coax RJR for an occasional lecture, there’ll be an extra Hamilton in it for you.

  32. Robert Bonter says:

    I don't patronize Hollywood movies, anymore, not since "Open Range" and "Boiler Room" going on 15 years ago, became my last forays into what passes these days for movie theater entertainment. (I am 50-50 on Open Range, and appreciate the power and the honesty- depicting dishonest people – of Boiler Room.)

    Having said that, just a couple weeks ago, and it started as a "lark," I rewrote the lyrics to the Rolling Stones epic rendition of "Gimme Shelter," which I retitled what should have been it's actual title: "War Children." So here are my rehashed lyrics for my nomination as the best recording of the Rock Era. I can't say what I have come up with compares on merit with the original lyrics, but it's a formidable challenge to even try.

    "WAR CHILDREN" ("Gimme Shelter")

    Oooh, the dawn is breaking, over the world today,
    I hear the thunder rolling, Apocalypse is on the way.

    War Children, it's just a shot away, the skies are turning gray.
    War Children, it's just a shot away, this could be Hell to pay.

    Oooh, the Moon is hanging, high in the midnight sky,
    Millions of people praying, it's not their time to die.

    War Children, So much for waving flags, now they're just burning rags.
    War Children, My country, right or wrong, a death knell of a song.

    Oooh the tide is rising, shore battered by the waves,
    The ships are all capsizing, straight to a watery grave.

    War children, the levy broke today, we're being swept away.
    War children, it never goes away, there's nothing left to save.

    ( Rape, murder – It's just a shot away, it's just a kiss away, etc.)

  33. Jon Mayer says:

    We live in a great country, blessed by a founding that codifies our inalienable rights. A first in human history.
    On one hand we cannot live without a government that protects those rights found in the Bill of Rights. On the other, political power corrupts those that hold it.
    Our Constitution was written not on the assumption that all men are basically good, but on the tragic confession that they are not.

    So the answer to Robert's Q is, "No, no change." The Bush/Clinton ticket will win. They _are_ from the same party, are they not? (The Tax & Spend Party).

    Kyle was a hero and a lot of guys made it home in one piece because of him. R.I.P.

  34. Gitfiddle says:

    I am a pretty good student of history and I do concur that our species is sufficiently evil to spiral into WWIII and WWIV and WWV .. except there is one little problem NOW that did not exist before: we are capable of self destruction. We know that a large enough stockpile of nuclear weapons are owned by the U.S., Russia, NATO, China and India .. and Pakistan, Israel, N. Korea and Iran is about to acquire it. Each has a stockpile of biological agents (enough that they were not sure Ebola was not a terrorist thing at the outset) .. we cannot survive a World War. .. all out destruction. WWIII seems inevitable and yet .. it will cause the destruction (and toxification) of most of the planet.

  35. Dana says:

    The evil in the world quenches the thirst of the greedy and powerful. It makes the greedy more money and the ego's of those in power even larger. I believe the only time to fight, is in defense or help those who cannot defend themselves.

    WW III hasn't happened yet, so Washington DC will remain the same.

  36. jurgy says:

    reminds me of the Vietnam War era slogan "Suppose they gave a way and nobody came" … what if …

  37. the gipper says:

    Good thread Robert….hope to keep reading many more from you.

    NOTE: War is and has always been, ABOUT MONEY. (yes, i know….i'm pretty smart—sometimes). Ever since Eisenhower's farewell speech address to the nation, the Military Industrial Complex has worked round the clock (they can do this as they are of course, an international Oligopoly), to make sure that the business of WAR is properly promoted and marketed through the conventional means by brainwashing the public of every nation to believe "the bad guy on the other side of the fence" wants to hurt you (and indeed he does, after receiving his mega dose of propaganda and braincell damage by the propaganda). WAR: What better business is there?
    ~The Gipper

  38. Glenn says:

    THE UNITED STATES HAS NOT BEEN IN A WAR SINCE WORLD WAR II.

    We last declared war against Bulgaria, Hungary, and Romania on June 5, 1942. Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War, Iraq, Afghanistan, ad nauseam, were "military intervention" activities—no declarations of war, no one surrendered as you would have done in a real war (see Appomattox, USS Missouri, etc), and we didn't "lose" any of them because you can't lose something you didn't try to win, and how can you win something that technically doesn't exist? We brilliantly send our soldiers and our money to countries that squander our aid, send back the dead soldiers, and do only what they have to do to help themselves while offering moral support when they are not griping at us for doing more or hanging around longer so that we can lose more soldiers and money. Too late to tell Hillary, but not too late to tell Kerry to leave the checkbook at home while on diplomatic journeys. You can vote for the candidate of your choice in 2016, but you may want to remember Hillary's quote while discussing our foreign affairs: "We have to be everywhere."

    Memo to Hillary: NO, WE DON'T!

    want to remember Hillary's quote while discussing our role in foreign affairs: "We have to be everywhere."

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