from Mike Hastie
I slept pretty well last night when I found out that the film American Sniper did not win best picture at the Academy Awards. I also believe that 58,000 American soldiers who were killed in Vietnam
As God walks atop this wall and weeps,
I hear him say, " These were my sons."
The sound of his tears fall silenced, as
hands are washed in the Potomac, and
it runs red with waste.
The Pontius Pilates of the new Rome,
repeat history on full automatic.
This is why the film, American Sniper was such a lie, and always will be. I saw the film, because I wanted to know what the American people were seeing. It is probably one of the best propaganda
films Hollywood has ever made. It is all about God and Country, and the myth that America is spreading freedom and democracy in Iraq, and throughout the Middle East. The audience is duped into believing that Chris Kyle was an American hero, who saved the lives of countless Marines with his expert marksmanship in killing the bad guys before they killed Americans. And, Arabs are always portrayed as savages throughout the film. The only good Indian is a dead Indian.
The film never explores why the U.S.was ever in Iraq in the first place. This is always left out in propaganda."For the love of money is the root of all evil."
America has a War Economy and unless select Americans are dying for this cause the "American Way Of Life" falls apart. Since the end of WWII, the U.S. Government has bombed 29 countries.
In his documentary, Fear Not The Path of Truth ( A Veteran's Journey After Fallujah ), Ross Caputi, a combat soldier in the 2nd siege of Fallujah in November of 2004, interviewed Noam Chomsky.
Chomsky stated in this interview:
"By every standard, Fallujah was a crime."
"The entire Vietnam War was an atrocity. The My Lai Massacre was just an afterthought."
This is the great truth that has great silence, as far as what really happened in Vietnam and Iraq.
This is what the American people cannot face,because it would dismantle their belief system. Whenever the truth threatens one's core beliefs, there is an urgent instinct to deny its reality.
Clint Eastwood's film is a continuous betrayal of all I felt when I came back from Vietnam. Lying is the most powerful weapon in war. This is the internal hemorrhage that almost killed me. It so often reminds me of the words of Malcolm X:
"The only thing worse than death is betrayal."
More Vietnam veterans have committed suicide than were killed in Vietnam.Many of my friends did not die in Vietnam, but as a result of being there. A very close vet friend of mine hung himself in
a motel room several years ago. One of the last things I experienced before I left Vietnam, was trying to save the life of an American soldier who blew his brains out with his M-16. Or, the day I unzipped a body bag to look at the face of an American soldier who shot himself in the head with a pistol.
Twenty-two American veterans commit suicide everyday across this country. I believe the suicide rate among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans will be extremely high as the years go by.
I have read many reviews about the film American Sniper most of them critical. As a Vietnam veteran, I want to focus on the vast majority of the iceberg that is under water. I can think of no better way to end this writing than to quote one of the greatest antiwar novels ever written. The book was written about WWI. It is titled Johnny Got His Gun and its author is Dalton Trumbo.
If the thing they were fighting for was important enough to die for then it was also important enough for them to be thinking about it in the last minutes of their lives. That stood to reason. Life is awfully important so if you've given it away you'd ought to think with all your mind in the last moments of your life about the thing you traded it for. So, did all those kids die thinking of democracy and freedom and liberty and honor and the safety of the home and the stars and stripes forever?
You're goddamn right they didn't.
Army Medic Vietnam
February 23, 2015
Photograph by Mike Hastie
Boys on flatbed truck at Veterans
Day Parade in Albany, Oregon 1993.