One would think that an America that is fourteen years into the War on Terror (if you date 9/11 as the starting point) would be tired of war stories. After all, every Hollywood movie to date that has dealt with the War on Terror has been a box office dud. But then, nearly all of those movies were critical of America’s role.

After fourteen years, Hollywood finally produced a war movie that deals sympathetically with a soldier. The soldier, Chris Kyle, was a courageous and tremendously skilled sharpshooter who killed scores of the men who were set on terrorizing Iraq.

The movie, American Sniper, directed by Clint Eastwood (who took over the project from another director), has broken box office records. Its $89 million opening weekend is the highest opening ever achieved by a movie in a winter release, and Americans are continuing to line up to see it.


It seems that while Americans are still profoundly divided on how to pursue the War on Terror, they are united in their willingness to celebrate the heroism and valor of a soldier who, ordered into combat against truly vile, civilian-murdering, radical Islamists, did his duty, and did it with such effectiveness and skill.

Americans still disagree over whether we should have gone into Iraq, or, after having gone there, whether we should have stayed  (though the collapse of Anbar following our decision to withdraw suggests staying would have had a stabilizing effect, and at less cost than the current mess may involve).

In any event, the passionate differences we held over the war, however, have now faded a bit, now that we have seen the Democrat party struggling with the same issues as the prior Republican administration; Gitmo, Iran’s lunge toward nuclear weapons, massive data searches and privacy invasions, drones, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Assad, and on and on.

We are still debating how involved our military needs to be overseas. But people are approaching the issue a bit more soberly, less stridently. Many who feel Bush blundered into Iraq accept that Obama may have blundered in leaving it.

Meanwhile Libya, Obama’s own war of choice, has created a failed state and terrorist haven, and his policies in supporting the discredited Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, issuing unenforced “red lines” in Syria, and negotiating rather softly with Iran’s mullahs are not necessarily brilliant geopolitical masterstrokes. And so we remain divided, if perhaps a bit more adult in being so.

But the story of a soldier called into battle, against a foe that is totalitarian and that behaves savagely and murderously toward the civilians under its control, can still rouse a divided nation. And American Sniper has done just that.


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