We’ll send them all we’ve got,
John Wayne and Randolph Scott,
Remember those exciting fighting scenes?
To the shores of Tripoli,
But not to Mississippoli,
What do we do? we send the marines! – Tom Lehrer
Hollywood has itself another blockbuster movie with American Sniper. A film that once again portrays some soldier as a hero that gives his all in a very justified war.
And that is precisely what Gordon Duff in this essay says .
The job of sniper has nothing to do with the stories of movie and television, nothing related to the heavily fictionalized books foisted on the public decade after decade. Snipers with high kill numbers shoot primarily armed American allies they “mistake” for enemy or unarmed civilians. The best of them protect American bases and small units with precision fire and take great risks.
If you kill more than dozen people as a sniper and you aren’t guilty of murdering innocent civilians, I would be very surprised. If you are insane enough to convince yourself, let’s say you are in Afghanistan or Iraq, countries where it is legal for any civilian to carry a weapon and no sane person would go outside without one, that shooting “armed Muslims” makes you a hero, you are both a liar and a fool. You are probably also a psychopath.
Duff is a Vietnam War veteran and as such gives his view on the role of the sniper as well as what the fighting was really like. His take is fairly tough and yet nuanced.
Most of the armed “insurgents” the US has killed during the War on Terror were friendly militias, local herdsmen or, at best, armed tribal units that were armed tribal units when they fought the British and Russians as well for hundreds of years. We are talking about “patriots” defending their country against foreign invaders who support drug cartels and criminal politicians like the governments the US has placed in power over and over.
I do expect this; I expect an American Sniper to use his skills to protect American personnel from attack even if America is there as part of an armed aggression on the part of whoever it is that runs America, which sure as hell isn’t the American people. At best it can be considered a sad necessity and any moral person would, as soon as possible, rectify that mistake. When wars were fought by draftees, that was harder. Today you can simply not sign up again or ask for another job.
Oh, I am forgetting “stop loss,” that the US stopped letting people simply quit when their enlistment was over. We don’t talk about that either. We don’t talk about not thousands of suicides but hundreds of thousands. Yes, this is not a simple story and there are no entire good or bad people. Welcome to reality.
I was a sniper in Vietnam. I held that occupation for a short time, seen as a “relief” from every day life there which for Marines involved 3 hours sleep, starvation, sleeping on the ground “behind enemy lines,” and the rigors of the backpacking trip from hell. Here, decades later, the weapon I used isn’t even officially listed and doesn’t exist.
Sniper “talk” is largely mythology and, far too often, simply crazy.
Anyone ever find a .243 M14 National Match with Gen1.5 Starlight Scope? Shooting a handful of people at night from 400 meters away could be done in less time than it takes to open a can of beer and this was with what some might consider “junk” by today’s standards.
Duff then goes on about what he is up to now. Making weapons and more of his thoughts, believing there are those who deserve to be killed but then explains why.
There are bad people who deserve killing but most of them are trained and supplied by the Mossad, CIA and our British and French allies, I am talking Boko Harum, ISIS and that gang. You didn’t know that? Imagine that.
There is a reason for this as many military organizations send out reconnaissance units with short ranged weapons and are incapable of defending themselves from accurate long range fire or require “overwatch” protection while engaged in building searches.
In South Vietnam there were some legitimate targets, sort of. In truth, the US was in South Vietnam illegally and on the wrong side in the first place so any moral high ground disappears immediately anyway. So, if you were a “sniper” killing the enemy, one thing for certain, you were shooting people better than you are.
At this point Duff goes into explaining what it was really like being a sniper and soldier in Vietnam and why there were few snipers there.
Let me explain. In the day, instead of having snipers, we had forward observer teams, one NCO with a radio operator. One of our best Marine teams was a gay couple. No one cared as Vietnam was almost like a real war, no Playstations and no contractors serving meals. Closest thing we had to that, air conditioners and steak and lobster for lunch was the Air Force. Yes, they really lived like that.
When an “enemy” unit would come out during the day, invariably in an area designated a “free fire zone,” they would be seen. Then artillery would be used to bracket the “grid square” they were in, a square kilometer. Using up to naval 16 inch and down to 4.2? mortar and everything in between, the grid square would be obliterated. By that, I mean taken from forest to ready to plant once someone filled in the huge craters. Nothing would be standing.
People with guns didn’t walk around during the day, not very often, not anyone other than Americans. At night, were they to approach DaNang or other defended areas, they would be picked up by sensors, magnetic or seismic. Artillery would fire on that as well, often killing small local deer. In between times, artillery would continually fire “H &I,” or “harassment and interdiction.” Vietnam could be quite dangerous.
Another point is the Vietnamese themselves. For Americans walking around during the day, Vietnamese would watch us and follow us, if we allowed that. Many Vietnamese resented us, imagine that! We worked hard to evade being seen but also had protection in numbers, though a typical Marine squad was maybe 7 men.
The idea of a lone sniper with a funny outfit creeping around during the day with a bolt action rifle seems a bit unlikely. There was another problem. There was no one to shoot.
During one “ambush” we killed 3 people, a woman, a child and someone over 70. They had one weapon, an unloaded and broken AK47.
At this point he gives his view of that is really going in in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Ukraine etc.
Defending war and war crimes, the kind of things Israel was involved in this summer, what the ICC will “white wash” when threatened or bribed, or what is going on on behalf of the Kiev junta against the decent people of the Ukraine is what war is really about.
War is about thugs with guns working for banks and oil companies, for drug cartels and crooked politicians. War is a racket, but wait a minute, I stole that from someone else. There are no good wars, there never were. The Civil War wasn’t fought over slaves and the American War of Independence, in the end, turned out to be a struggle between international banking cartels with the worst one winning in the end when the Rothschilds took over the US in 1913.
After that, we fought World War I and II on their behalf and the rest is history, a history we live every day. Hiring criminals from “clown colleges” to rewrite history, making movies about snipers and staging Paris street theatre isn’t going to change any of it. The whole thing is a con.
Which pretty much sums it up. I know that most on the right still believe in a “Just War” and even the supposed left and Hollywood both can come up ways to justify war and glamorize it. All those great movies and TV series where we are ALWAYS the heroes and good guy and everyone else is the enemy and bad guy. Even Catch 22 portrayed the officers as merely opportunistic clowns.
Just about every Vietnam vet I knew when I was in college would echo the same experience as Duff with a few variations. Completely at odds with the official narrative, of course. And the reason the official narrative can get so much airplay and is swallowed hook, line and sinker is the the American public is completely clueless ad chooses to remain so. one part of that PBS series on WWII that really struck me was that when the veterans and victims came back home and wanted to tell the story of what it was really like for them, nobody wanted to her it. Since it contradicted the propaganda they had been fed over and over by Washington, Wall Street and Hollywood.
The elites in this country and right wing zealots want to believe that the military will always protect them and their ill gotten booty from their current bad guys. But who is going to protect them from the people and the ex-military one more and more of the truth gets out. Especially since the elites insist on treating them like dirt and yesterdays garbage when they return.
Even Al Capone was smart enough to treat his guards, henchmen and lieutenants well.