Letter: World War II necessary evil; Iraq War unecessary

From: John Vanderbur


War is mankind’s ultimate insanity. Young men and women are thrust into a world of death and carnage where all sense of civility and morality are cast aside for the sake of survival. For all of its evil, there are some wars that must be fought, such as World War II. I call these wars a necessary evil.

I recently watched the movie “American Sniper.” The movie is Hollywood’s version of the American sniper, Chris Kyle. In the movie, Kyle is portrayed as an American hero who during his four tours of duty in Iraq is credited with killing 160 of the enemy. As with Hollywood movies, the line between fact and fiction is sometimes blurred. In the movie, there was a Syrian sniper named Mustafa who constantly stalked Kyle. In reality, that never happened. Kyle even states in his book that he never saw Mustafa.

In real life, I didn’t find Kyle as a complex person. He was a braggart and very loose with the truth. One story was about how he had gotten in a bar fight and had punched a person he identified as “Scruff Face.” He later claimed that Scruff Face was Jesse Ventura. Those events were false, and Ventura filed suit against him and won $1.845 million in damages from his estate.

Another story: Kyle claims that the U.S. government sent him to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. It placed him on top of the Superdome, and he claims that he picked off 30 looters. That was not verified, and if it were true, he would be guilty of murdering 30 people.

In late 2011, Time magazine did an interview with Kyle. Here is one of the questions and the answer that I find quite revealing. Question: “You actually say in your book that you think God might have some things to talk about with you.” Answer: “Oh, I know he does. I have sinned my entire life, so we definitely have things we’re going to have to sit down and talk about, or I get a talking to about, but shooting those guys is not going to be one of them.”

Kyle served four tours of duty in Iraq and showed courage in doing so. He had 160 confirmed kills during his time in Iraq as a sniper and most probably saved the lives of many Americans. But through those actions there is a darkness that seems to prevail. Based on what I’ve read, I have the impression that Kyle loved war and enjoyed killing. When he came home, he embraced his celebrity and basked in the spotlight. 

It seems a shame that Americans and Iraqis had to die when there were no legitimate reasons by this nation to enter that unnecessary war. Was Kyle a hero? No, he was a necessary evil. He lived and died in a world of violence.