On Saturday I bought American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History. On Sunday I started reading it. Tonight, I finished it. Needless to say, it was worth the $27.00 I laid down on the counter. If you’re a fan of Marcus Luttrell, you’ll want to add this one to your collection. If you’re a fan of Harry “surrender monkey” Reid, you might not. My full review will come in the near future, but there is one excerpt that I think sums up the essence of the book:
One night a little later on, we were in an exhausting firefight. Ten of us spent roughly forty-eight hours in the second story of an old, abandoned brick building, fighting in hundred-degree-plus heat wearing full armor. Bullets flew in, demolishing the walls around us practically nonstop. The only break we took was to reload.
Finally, as the sun came up in the morning, the sound of gunfire and bullets hitting brick stopped. The fight was over. It was eerily quiet.
When the Marines came in to relieve us , they found every man in the room either slumped against a wall or collapsed on the floor, dressing wounds or just soaking in the situation.
One of the Marines outside took an American flag and hoisted it over the position. Someone else played the National Anthem—I have no idea where the music came from, but the symbolism and the way it spoke to the soul was overwhelming; it remains one of my most powerful memories.
Every battle-weary man rose, went to the window, and saluted. The words of the music echoed in each of us as we watched the Stars and Stripes wave literally in dawn’s early light. The reminder of what we were fighting for caused tears as well as blood and sweat to run freely from all of us, (American Sniper, 84-85).
American Sniper is a very telling book. Patriots exist. But the patriotism displayed by Chris Kyle is not instilled in children today. It’s ironically very foreign to them, which is why Kyle’s run-in with anti-war protestors earlier in the book has such a profound effect on him. Once upon a time an overwhelming majority of Americans knew what it was the Chris Kyle’s of the world stood for, even if they could never know what it was like to be a SEAL. Once upon a time an overwhelming majority of Americans were rooted in the same love of country, even if military service wasn’t their calling.
Today, it’s different. It seems as though decades of moral and cultural relativism, taught in universities and reenforced through media, has taken its toll. The country is desperate for someone—anyone—who can articulate why the bedrock values the country was built on (e.g., limited government, free markets, and a strong national defense), are still relevant today. The Tea Party and the “Occupy” movements have charted two very different paths for Americans to walk down, and those in the middle are confused as to which road to take. American Sniper is a portrait of the type of American we should all aspire to be, and while Chris Kyle isn’t particularly political, the principles that guide him are deeply tied to our political discourse.
I highly suggest reading American Sniper. When you’re done you’ll have a deeper respect for the work that guys like Chris do, but you’ll also see why modern American conservatism is the last, best hope to preserving our great nation.
Update: Please pray for the Kyle family. Chris was murdered on February 2, 2013.