Tags: Steve Malzberg Show | Nicholas Irving | Army Ranger | American Sniper | Howard Dean

The Reaper to Newsmax: Howard Dean Clueless to 'What We Go Through'

By    |   Wednesday, 28 January 2015 04:28 PM

A decorated U.S. Army Ranger and master sniper says he doesn't forgive former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean for comparing fans of the Oscar-nominated film "American Sniper" to angry members of the tea party.

"I don't think I do," Nicholas Irving — author of "The Reaper: Autobiography of One of the Deadliest Special Ops Snipers" — said Wednesday on "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

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"There's a really big disconnect with our politicians – not all of them, but some of them – there's a big disconnect. They can't relate to some of the things we go through and the struggles."

Last week on "Real Time With Bill Maher," Dean linked audiences seeing "American Sniper" — Clint Eastwood's film about real-life sniper Chris Kyle, one of an elite team of sharpshooters who protect American troops — with the tea party.

"There's a lot of anger in this country. And the people who go see this movie are people who are very angry. This guy basically says, 'I'm going to fight on your side.' They bite for it," Dean said.

But he later walked back on that statement, telling MSNBC, "I'll apologize to the veterans. I haven't seen the movie and I think I was wrong. I make no apologies to all of the right-wing nut-jobs that have been twittering me in nasty language, but I do apologize to the veterans."

Irving, a member of the 3rd Ranger Battalion — who racked up 33 confirmed kills in his five tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq — said of Dean: "You're touching a very sensitive topic when you make ridiculous comments and statements. There's 22 vets a day who kill themselves every single day and there's a fine line about what you say."

"American Sniper" — which stars Bradley Cooper as Kyle and is rated R for strong and disturbing war violence, and language throughout including some sexual references — has been nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

Irving doesn't believe it's a war movie.
"It's more or less [about] the struggles that we go through and the family goes through. It's not really a shoot 'em-up movie," he said.

Irving called criticisms of the film, which he said was an accurate depiction of a sniper's ordeal, "irritating a little bit, especially when it comes from a person who has not been overseas and gone through the things we've gone through."

"I don't have any regrets," Irving added. "I only have one regret — and that's the guy I could not save. Corporal Benjamin Kopp … He saved our lives when we were pinned down by a Chechen sniper for three hours."

Irving said his book, written with Gary Brozek and published by St. Martin's Press,
mainly focuses on "the guys I was around and why I protected those guys."

He said among the highlights in his tome is the description of a nine-hour firefight around a village, during which "we debated on killing ourselves so we wouldn't get captured."

The book also explores his personal life and the struggles he faced back home.

"The first two years I was pretty much a raging alcoholic and very secluded," Irving said.

He was able to recover after having an inspirational dream in which he was approached by legendary Army sniper Anibal Santiago, a member of the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment.

"He came to me in a dream and pretty much told me to stop and I stopped and now I'm just taking care of my three kids. All four-legged kids," Irving said referring to his beloved dogs.

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A decorated U.S. Army Ranger and master sniper says he doesn't forgive former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean for comparing fans of the Oscar-nominated film "American Sniper" to angry members of the tea party.
Nicholas Irving, Army Ranger, American Sniper, Howard Dean
Wednesday, 28 January 2015 04:28 PM
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