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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 2/27/15

American Sniper vs. Baghdad Sniper

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Message Pepe Escobar
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Reprinted from Sputnik

Chris Kyle Navy Seal
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Chris Kyle's story is now enshrined in celluloid, taking over $300 million at the box office, but the Islamic Army in Iraq also had its legend, "Juba" -- the Baghdad Sniper.

A Texas jury found former Marine Eddie Ray Routh guilty of capital murder; in 2013 he shot to death former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, the man behind American Sniper -- the book later turned into a blockbuster movie directed by Hollywood icon Clint Eastwood. Texas Governor Greg Abbott also made his mark, post-verdict, by tweeting "JUSTICE!"

It didn't matter that Routh's attorneys -- and his family -- insisted he suffered from psychosis, caused by post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Texas prosecutors easily brushed it off -- "proving" Routh's episodes of PTSD were provoked by alcohol and marijuana.

American Sniper -- the movie -- could not but become a pop culture phenomenon in the US. Kyle, played by Bradley Cooper, is Dirty Harry in combat gear -- a specialist in dehumanizing the faceless "enemy" as he eviscerates them one by one. The "enemy" happened to be defending the homeland against an invading/occupying force.

Poetic justice does intervene, and the Ultimate Sniper also becomes dehumanized himself. He is diagnosed with PTSD.

In a cruel twist of fate, he ends up eviscerated back home, on a firing range, by someone he was trying to help; a serviceman with -- you guessed it -- PTSD.

For every US soldier killed in 2014, no less than 25 veterans committed suicide. For the second year in a row, the Pentagon has lost more troops to suicide than to combat. Ah, but in Texas, this stuff is for sissies.

Kyle, according to his own version, made more than 300 kills as a sniper for SEAL Team 3. After he left the military, his atonement was to help with war veterans facing PTSD, usually taking them to -- what else -- shooting.

Clint Eastwood is way more nuanced than he is given credit for -- as his deceptively shallow interviews over the years may imply. It just might be that, appealing for the basest instincts, he may have enshrined yet another American hero to better deliver an anti-war movie.

Which brings us to the American Sniper's ultimate opposite number: Juba.

Aiming for that lone shot

"Juba" was the nickname given by the invading/occupying US forces to an Iraqi pop phenomenon; a sniper who became legendary for his kills in southern Baghdad. He was a ghost. Nobody knew his name, how did he look, even whether he was Iraqi or not.

Juba became a legend across the Arab world because he only targeted "coalition" soldiers -- as in the invading/occupying troops, all heavily protected by armored vehicles, body armor and helmets. Translation; he only killed Americans who were led to believe -- by the Pentagon and the corporate media machine -- they were "liberating" Iraq from Saddam, who was allied with al-Qaeda and "attacked us on 9/11." I heard this straight from many a soldiery mouth -- no irony intended.

Juba scored kills from up to 200 meters away -- something that American Sniper would be hard pressed to accomplish.

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Pepe Escobar is an independent geopolitical analyst. He writes for RT, Sputnik and TomDispatch, and is a frequent contributor to websites and radio and TV shows ranging from the US to East Asia. He is the former roving correspondent for Asia (more...)

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