MSNBC host Ed Schultz delivered a highly-charged monolog to his dwindling audience Monday night focusing on the blockbuster film American Sniper.
The movie may have garnered an armful of Oscar nominations and brought in a record $105 million over the MLK holiday weekend, but to Schultz, the film was "disturbing" and highlights "the normalization of Islamophobia" in America.
Schultz went on to say the film "underscores how many lives we have ruined because of doing something that was terribly wrong."
It humanizes the struggle of soldiers returning from combat with post-traumatic stress disorder. It also serves as a harsh reminder that Americans were sent to war under false pretense. That's how I took it. The movie's success might suggest Americans are hungry for a hero in the never-ending fight in the Middle East. However, the real Chris Kyle was far more complicated than the hero portrayed in Eastwood's movie. In his autobiography, Kyle described the enemy as "savages" and "despicably evil." Kyle said his only regret is that he didn't kill more.
Kyle even described killing as "fun" and something he "loved" to do. Simply put, Kyle's version of the Iraq war was black and white. There was no room for humanizing Iraqis when he had his finger on the trigger. To Kyle, if they weren't Americans, they were the enemy. Unfortunately, some of those feelings have spread into our culture. The public reaction to the movie American Sniper also highlights some of the most disturbing consequences of this war, the normalization of Islamophobia and being one of them [sic]. Some movie-goers have taken to Twitter. They say the film has inspired them to want to kill Arabs and Muslims. Many use derogatory and racist language. Two journalists who criticized – who criticized the depiction of Kyle in the movie have received death threats and harassment from conservatives.
It isn't just conservatives stirring controversy over the film. Michael Moore came under fire this weekend for tweeting, quote, "My uncle was killed by a sniper in World War II. We were taught snipers were cowards. Will shoot you in the back. Snipers aren't heroes and Invaders are worse." Moore later said his tweet was not a direct reference to Kyle or the American Sniper. But added, "Too bad Clint Eastwood gets Vietnam and Iraq confused in his storytelling." As an American who loves freedom and loves the troops and wants this country to do things right and understand that we have a real role in this world, a moral role, I was disturbed by the movie. I sat there in the movie theater with my wife over the weekend and thought this just underscores how many lives we have ruined because of doing something that was terribly wrong.
I kept hearing Senator Robert Byrd’s voice in my head through the rest of the night. A month before we went into Iraq, Senator Byrd went to the Senate floor and asked this country: ‘Did we understand the consequences of what we were going to do? Did we understand that this could possibly change policy forever and change the world?’
We ruined a lot of lives. It’s very sad, and the fight goes on.