I am a pretty anti-war person. I, personally, feel there is a diplomatic solution to every single problem humans face.
However, I am also not an idiot (I mean not on most things; I still don't totally get football). Finding a diplomatic solution requires all parties set aside differences, and look at things from all perspectives. I know that is not always realistic. As a result, war is sometimes a necessary evil. I may not like it, but sometimes it needs to happen.
But I don't usually watch war movies. I don't like watching good people die needlessly. I don't like watching families suffer. I definitely don't like watching it all happen, knowing the stories are real.
Still, I went to see American Sniper. It's nominated for the Best Movie Academy Award, and I like to try and see the movies that make that list.
(My impression: Amazing movie, tough to watch, moving ending, Bradley Cooper should get the Oscar. But I did think Selma was a better film, and should win for Best Movie. It's tough to say who was better, Cooper or David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King, Jr. He wasn't nominated, so the point is moot. But - that's an issue for a different post.)
I was impressed by the story. Chris Kyle is portrayed as a patriotic man who was raised to believe those who can fight should protect those who can't. He's portrayed as someone who, even as a young boy learning to hunt, had a real talent for shooting. Through the movie, you see Mr. Kyle as a really good guy, who sincerely wants to use his strength and talent to defend the country he loves - and to save the men he fought alongside. (The movie follows Seal Team 3 - so there are no female soldiers in the film. At all. That's also an issue for a different post.)
The movie does a fairly good job explaining why snipers are necessary, how they are used, and the difference they make. Which is important, because it seems people think that snipers are just "murderers" or "cowards." But, if you pay attention and keep an open mind, even the most anti-war liberal would be able to see that snipers are necessary assets. (Also, if you watch the video of his interview with Conan O'Brien, you'll see he seemed like a genuinely good guy in real life, too.)
Everyone has the right to think and say what they want. Even Michael Moore and Sarah Palin - for better or worse. You can be against the idea of war, and still have all the respect in the world for a man who (literally) gave his life to protect and help his fellow soldiers, while defending his country and freedom.
Soldiers like Chris Kyle defend all rights and freedoms - including the rights of others to criticize their very actions.
Giving your life to protect all freedoms...even the right to criticize you. If that doesn't define a hero, I'm honestly not sure what could.