(PHOTO: Chris Kyle as a Navy SEAL sniper in Fallujah, Iraq.)
(February 5, 2012) The Pseudo-Courage of Chris Kyle
That kind of courage, which is conspicuous in danger and enterprise, if devoid of justice, is absolutely undeserving of the name of valor. It should rather be considered as a brutal fierceness outraging every principle of humanity.
– Cicero, The Offices, Book I Chapter XIX
As a sniper with the Navy SEALs in Iraq, Chris Kyle was shot twice and wounded on several other occasions. He is credited with 160 confirmed kills. He received several commendations. Of his fierceness there is no reasonable doubt. Whether his exploits display courage is an entirely separate question.
"American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History," the ghost-written memoir for which Kyle claims primary authorship, offers convincing testimony that Kyle not only failed to display genuine courage in Iraq, but was incapable of recognizing it when it was exhibited by desperate patriots seeking to evict the armed foreigners who had invaded and occupied their country.