American Sniper

Chris Kyle’s account of his four deployments in Iraq, mostly as sniper, comes across of a man hugely enjoying his job. He says so himself, and in so doing presents the point of view of the fighter on the front contemptuous of the command above. Some of them, not all. In his opinion, too many battles were lost because of overcautiousness, while he would have pitched into them without qualms.

Kyle’s marriage to Taya is always being put on the back burner, through one child, then another, while he is away on the front. She is understandably resentful of his absences, more so that he enjoys his deployments so much. His closeness to his buddies is what makes them a good fighting unit, but with that comes terrible grief at the deaths of some.

He mentions more acronyms than I can maneuver around, but one, the Polish GROM, earned high praise. The marines, too, come through for him. One point he makes applies even today, that the soldiers of Iraq feel loyalty only to their own tribes, not the country of Iraq, and their performance in battle all too often reflects this, shall we say, lack of commitment.

Taya makes her own entries in the book, and they are what every abandoned wife would say and feel. Resentment as he takes off each time and deathly fear of losing him. And each time he returns Kyle finds himself increasingly the outsider.

Kyle helped found FITCO, an organization providing at-home fitness equipment for emotionally and physically wounded vets. His murder at the age of 39 by another vet presents the continued consequence of war.

The last pages written by Taya, almost too sad to read, belong indelibly with Chris Kyle’s story.

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