Former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, who is recognized as the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history, tells Newsmax.TV that average Americans simply cannot understand how horrific war is.
Nor do they understand the sacrifices of relatives back home as service members fight for freedom, Kyle said.
He wrote “American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History”
partly to acknowledge those sacrifices and honor those who make them, he told Newsmax.TV in an exclusive interview.
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Kyle’s book provides gripping accounts of combat situations from the 10-year-period between 1999 and 2009 in which he recorded more than 150 kills, although the Pentagon wouldn’t confirm the actual number for Kyle’s book. The previous record was 109.
Kyle explained how he steeled himself for the task of killing, from a sniper’s vantage point: “You’re not trying to humanize that person. You’re not thinking about them or their family or anything else.”
“You know when I was in those situations, the only thing I’m thinking of is trying to stop them from the act of violence that they’re trying to commit on my guys, the allies, or the innocent civilians in those cities,” Kyle said.
Kyle, whom Iraqi insurgents nicknamed al-Shaitan (the devil), said the media is unable to capture the true horror of combat and the strain it puts on families of U.S. servicemen and servicewomen.
“Even though you have all this media embedded, it can’t capture the raw emotions that these guys are feeling and they can’t even show all of the graphic details that guys are living day to day,” he said.
Consequently, most Americans have little understanding of war. “They think everyone who comes home has problems and then they don’t even fully understand what goes on over there — how horrific war actually is,” said Kyle, who is donating his share of the proceeds from the book to the families of slain military personnel and to help veterans.
He said he misses “the guys” now that he is no longer an active-duty Navy SEAL and described the closeness he felt as a kind of brotherhood.
“The guys are everything in the world to you. They become your number one family to you. You know their every move, their every thought and their actions,” he said.
Kyle noted that it took time for him to let his guard down after returning to the United States, and he said long deployments typically increase stress on families.
“I’m trying to raise the awareness of the troops that, when they deploy and go to war, it’s not just them at war — it’s also their family. Their family is having to go through all the hardships and the stresses,” said Kyle, who included writings from his wife in the book to highlight the contribution of families.
“You’re not just going out there, maybe sacrificing your own life,” he said. “There’s also sacrifices still going on at home. You can serve in the military and have a good marriage, but you just need to be aware of it so you can take those steps to take care of it.”
Although people often thank service members for their contributions, Kyle urged Americans to take the next step and “show them” the thanks of a grateful nation.
“It’s just little random acts of kindness — whether you want to mow their yard or babysit so they can go on a date or take a nap, cook them a meal,” Kyle said. “If you just show them thank you it will blow them away and it means a whole lot more than just thank you.”
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