Friday, February 15, 2013

A Naval War College Professor on Sniper Chris Kyle

John R. Schindler, professor of national security affairs at the U.S. Naval War College, writes:
[Kyle's] views on his deadly work in Iraq have caused less comment than perhaps they should. I don’t doubt for a second that a lot of those 255 dead people were clean shots, taken out to save American lives; some people just need killin’ as they say, often accurately, in Texas. Yet Kyle himself admitted that the first person he took out was a woman who was armed with a hand grenade. Knowing something about how the insurgents in Iraq not infrequently corralled people into acts of war not altogether voluntarily, I wonder: was she a wife, a mother? Did she want to be there?

Kyle assured us that the enemy in Iraq was “a savage” – meaning, one supposes, that woman and the 254 others he felled. He professed zero regrets about any of it, indeed he believed that he was doing the Lord’s work with his rifle and scope. About one of his most remarkable shots, he professed his faith: “God blew that bullet and hit him.” Interestingly I have heard jihadists say exactly the same thing, verbatim, about their combat exploits. There’s a very good chance that many of those 255 dead Iraqis felt that they, too, like the Blues Brothers, were on a mission from God.[...]The needless death of our deadliest sniper ought to be a moment of reflection about our warriors and what we ask them to do for us – also, where and why and how. My own faith tradition, while far from pacifist, embraces a view of war which is a good deal more introspective than many Americans seem inclined to today. Traditionally, Orthodox warriors, even those who had defended their homes against pagan invaders, were instructed to pray and ask for forgiveness, and to abstain from communion for months, sometimes years – since even a just war means killing other humans who, like all of us, are made in God’s image. Chris Kyle stated confidently about his sniping, “I can stand before God with a clear conscience about doing my job,” and perhaps he was right; he’s finding out now.


  1. The agents of modern states and empires do "the Lord's work with rifle and scope" in much the same way that the agents of the old Roman Empire did by crucifying the carpenter Rabbi from Nazareth and feeding his early followers to the lions.

  2. What part of disrespecting a fallen American warrior and a complete lack of understanding of Christianity and World History fall into the category of Economic Policy?

    1. What part constitutes "disrespect"? If it makes you feel any better, this essay was written long before Kyle was killed.

  3. It is my belief that Chris had to rationalize his actions given the situations he was in. Without going on a philosophical rant (Gladly do this later), it can be argued that there is good and bad in the world. Chris was standing up to the neighborhood bullies with the rest of the coalition warfighters. Somebody has to volunteer to do this or extreme ideology will continue to kill more good people in the world. -Brandon Webb, friend of Chris Kyle and former SEAL.