A Cinematic and Literary Analysis of the Iraq War

Subject: Political
Type: Expository Essay
Pages: 3
Word count: 963
Topics: Military Science, Government

In the year 2003, the United States with some of her allies, begun a series of attacks in the Iraq territory, in what became known as the Iraq War. Under the stewardship of President George Bush, there were reasons that were put forth, that was the basis justifying the invasion by the United States (Mcgirk). Over time, there have been different accounts that have been able to emerge, which provide the background for the war, seeking to analyze its origin and overall impact. Several stakeholders including scholars, academicians, and policy-makers have all brought out their opinions on the war, with different directions and conclusions arrived at substantively. In this connection, there have been filmmakers as well as journalists who have been able to come up with content that critically evaluates the action by the United States, analyzing whether the country’s forces have been able to wage a ‘just war’ in the 2003 invasion (Taibbi). 

The reporter Richard Brody in his article, “America Sniper” takes apart the myth of the American warrior”, to review the decision by the United States to launch a military offensive in Iraq (Brody). There is an account of the manner in which there was a political agenda to ensure that there is the maximum effort by all Americans to eliminate the Iraqi socio-political order, with the narrative at play being that the country was a threat to the American ideal. The author takes the approach of reviewing the 2014 film, “American Sniper’ looking at how America arrived at the decision to invade Iraq (Brody). In the review, the military forces on the ground through the soldiers such as the lead character Chris Kyle take on the cause to assault the Iraqi forces, having been led to believe that it is only such action that will lead to the protection of American values. In the article, he asserts, “He comes off as righteously angry at politicians who sent Chris into Iraq—not least for feeding him a false story about the national interest, which Chris swallows completely and which ratchets up his furious sense of protecting the American homeland from threats originating in Iraq (Brody).” In this section, he is expressing the manner in which the film depicts Chris as having believed that fiercely fighting against the Iraqis amounts to protecting American interest, which is the message that the military commanders are perpetuating to the soldiers. In this way, it is apparent that the war in Iraq that the United States wages are not ‘just’ according to the author since there is no proof of the commission of the alleged atrocities by the Iraq administration. 

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The article, “An Iraqi massacre, a light sentence and a question of military justice” by Charlie Savage and Elisabeth Bumiller reviews the approach taken by the United States in waging the war in Iraq (Savage and Bumiller). This is evident where the authors assert that “The collapse this week of the prosecution of a Marine for a civilian massacre in Haditha, Iraq — a striking outcome, even in a military justice system with a mixed record of charging soldiers for war crimes — has not only outraged Iraqis but also stunned some American military law specialists (Savage and Bumiller).” There is a conclusion that what informs the military action as seen in the conviction rates for soldier’s offenses, means that it is not a ‘just war.’

In the film American Sniper, there is an account of the Iraq War from the perspective of a soldier that is particularly effective in executing the Iraqi forces within Iraq as a sniper. There is an overview of how the United Sates administration at the time took the approach of giving the soldiers a narrative that defines the Iraqis as the enemy of the ideals that define America. In this way, the concept is to inculcate a sense of patriotism, since the war will be seen as being ‘just’ and therefore necessary. Chris as the main character is able to view the war as being just by asserting, “I’m ready to meet my creator and answer for every shot that I took (Sniper).” In this way, it is evident that the government has been able to successfully inculcate the sense of the war being justifiable, as he regards his actions as being an act that was necessary. The United States was however not waging a ‘just war’ going by the toll it is having on the soldiers and their families. This is evident in the scene where Chris is conversing with his wife Taya about the impact his decision to return to Iraq will have on their family. Chris Kyle: “Babe, I do it for you. You know that. I do it to protect you.” Taya Renae Kyle: “No, you don’t.” Chris Kyle: “Yes, I do.” Taya Renae Kyle: “I’m here. Your family is here. Your children have no father.” Chris Kyle: “Well, I have to serve my country (Sniper).” It is evident that the war occasions more harm than good and therefore not justifiable. 

The 2006 documentary “My Country, My Country” by the director Laura Poitras serves to highlight the manner in which America’s invasion of Iraq is not a ‘just war’. This is evident in the scene where the character Dr. Riyadh is seen as being outraged by the hypocrisy of the Americans insisting on democracy for Iraq, after occasioning chaos in the form of military action. He asserts, “we are in an occupied country, with a puppet government”, indicating his disdain for the military intervention in the lead up to the 2005 general election (Poitras). His wife similarly contends, “we will never vote, never”, indicating the extent to which the war was not justifiable on account of the destabilizing effect it has on the Iraqi landscape (Poitras).

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  1. Mcgirk, Tim. “Collateral Damage Or Civilian Massacre In Haditha?”. Time.com. N.p., 2006. Web. 20 June 2017.
  2. Taibbi, Matt. “‘American Sniper’ Is Almost Too Dumb To Criticize”. Rolling Stone. N.p., 2015. Web. 20 June 2017.
  3. Brody, Richard. ““American Sniper” Takes Apart The Myth Of The American Warrior”. The New Yorker. N.p., 2014. Web. 20 June 2017.
  4. Savage, Charlie, and Elisabeth Bumiller. “Haditha Massacre Case”. Nytimes.com. N.p., 2012. Web. 20 June 2017.
  5. Sniper, American. “American Sniper”. yesmovies.to. N.p., 2017. Web. 20 June 2017.
  6. Poitras, Laura. “My Country, My Country”. Fandor. N.p., 2017. Web. 20 June 2017.
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