January 29, 2015

We've heard lots of controversy about 'American Sniper,' including this lawsuit. But the real issue, it seems to me, is that we send relatively functional people off to these manufactured wars, and they frequently come back broken, or dead. We then call them "heroes," because to do otherwise is to admit that they were only pawns in the great game of American Empire, and what family member wants to hear that?

These families need to believe in heroes in order to keep going. And after all, how would we ever get more impressionable young men for the war machine if they really understood their ultimate function?

MINNEAPOLIS — "American Sniper" is tops at the box office, but don't expect to see former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura lining up at a theater for it.

Ventura, a former Navy SEAL, won $1.8 million in a defamation lawsuit last year against the estate of the late Chris Kyle, the SEAL protagonist of the movie, which has sparked debate over whether snipers should be considered heroes. Ventura said Wednesday he won't see the film partly because Kyle is no hero to him.

"A hero must be honorable, must have honor. And you can't have honor if you're a liar. There is no honor in lying," Ventura told The Associated Press from his winter home in Baja California, Mexico. He also noted that the movie isn't playing there.

Ventura also dismissed the movie as propaganda because it conveys the false idea that Iraq had something to do with the 9/11 attacks. "It's as authentic as 'Dirty Harry,'" he said, referring to fictional movie series starring Clint Eastwood, the director of "American Sniper."

Ventura testified Kyle fabricated a subchapter in his "American Sniper" book in which Kyle claimed he punched out a man, whom he later identified as Ventura, at a California bar in 2006 for allegedly saying the SEALs "deserve to lose a few" in Iraq. Ventura said it never happened.

The jury gave Ventura the legal vindication he craved. Publisher HarperCollins removed the passage from the best-seller, and it gets no mention in the movie. Kyle's estate has appealed. Ventura's separate lawsuit against HarperCollins remains pending.

[...] Ed Huddleston, a lawyer for Kyle's widow, Taya Kyle, said they won't comment on Ventura's remarks because the lawsuit is on appeal.

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