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The Reaper: 'American Sniper' Critics 'Cowards' Behind Keyboards

By    |   Monday, 02 Feb 2015 06:30 PM

Retired Army sniper Nicholas Irving, who, like the late Chris Kyle, wrote about his own experience as a military sharpshooter, says critics of Kyle and the Oscar-nominated hit movie based on Kyle's book, "American Sniper," ought to come out from behind their keyboards and address people like him.

"I'd like it to be a face-to-face type of meeting. … I'd be willing to pay for their ticket," Irving, author of "The Reaper," told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner on Newsmax TV Monday, referring to those who have disparaged the movie as right-wing propaganda and called Kyle racist and psychotic.

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"It's just these cowards who hide behind the keyboard, that's all they are," said Irving, who recorded 33 kills in Iraq serving with the Army Rangers. "They hide behind the keyboard and type away. I've never seen one of these guys talk to one of us or Chris Kyle's wife or his family or his children. That's a coward."

Irving singled out filmmaker Michael Moore, who tweeted that he was taught snipers are "cowards," and actor Seth Rogen, for a tweet comparing "American Sniper" to Nazi propaganda.

"They just don't get it," said Irving. "All I can say: They just don't get it. They don't understand, and they're also using that movie as a platform to boost their careers. They have dying careers. … They're nothing at this point, so they wanted to create some kind of controversy to get them back in the limelight."

Critics have accused Kyle — known as the deadliest sniper in military history — of glorifying war and death, and treating Iraqis as subhuman.

Irving responded that snipers such as Kyle and himself were simply doing a job, and were not trading high fives over their work.

"Do I enjoy killing people? No I don't," he said. "I wasn't out there being a mass murderer or a racist or anything like that. It was just a job and it's something that I signed up for.

"And my job is to protect American troops and allied troops as well as the civilians on the ground in Afghanistan and Iraq. At no point in time did I go on any killing sprees. If I killed someone, it was to protect my own."

Irving said that he and his peers noticed a change in attitude toward the military when President Barack Obama was elected: official Rules of Engagement were changed, endangering troops in the field by tying their hands; budget cuts sidelined some Special Operations units.

But he said that the political dimensions of war — arguments about nation-building or the moral rightness of a particular invasion — were never part of the sniper's brief.

"We were taught how to be really good shooters and work under stress and eliminate targets," he said. "That's our sole purpose in life. And it sounds blunt, but our purpose in life — especially being in a Ranger battalion — is just to kill people. And they put us in pretty heavy environments, hostile environments, to just take out the bad guy.

"At no point in time do we shake hands and hand out Jolly Ranchers," he said.

Irving said he wrote "The Reaper" over the course of two years. Initially self-published, the book was picked up by a major imprint, MacMillan.

Devastated by the loss of a close friend in combat, Irving said that he was drinking himself into oblivion after he came home and that he had to wait nearly nine months to get his first appointment with a Veterans Affairs specialist.

He said that he experienced suicidal thoughts, and that the book, co-written with bestselling author Gary Brozek, served as a kind of therapy for emotional burdens he carried from Iraq and Afghanistan.

He called writing it "a long process of reliving memories," and said that his life today as a shooting instructor, author and pet owner is "actually pretty good."

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Retired Army sniper Nicholas Irving, who, like the late Chris Kyle, wrote about his own experience as a military sharpshooter, says critics of Kyle and the Oscar-nominated hit movie based on Kyle's book, "American Sniper," ought to come out from behind their keyboards and address people like him.
american sniper, movie, critics, cowards, military
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2015-30-02
Monday, 02 Feb 2015 06:30 PM
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