I am going to start this post by remembering my wife's brother in law, Joseph Barnaba, and some of the good times that we shared together.
I would always look forward to visiting Louisiana and hanging out with Joseph while our wives (Mrs. Field and her sister) hung out. This was before he was called to duty in Iraq and did a couple of tours during the height of that brutal campaign.
When Joseph came home from Iraq we all saw that he had changed. Unless you have lived through it, it's hard to explain to you the changes that some returning veterans go through. He would try to smile but his eyes were not smiling. He would look through you instead of at you, and you always got the sense that his mind was back on the streets of Ramadi or some other part of that god- forsaken country.
Joseph couldn't stay away from his comrades, and against his wife's wishes he went back for another tour. Sadly, it would eventually cost him his life. And it cost my sister in law, my wife, and his family; immeasurable grief.
I took a few paragraphs to write about Joseph because I want to weigh in on this controversy surrounding the movie, American Sniper, and I want you to understand where I am coming from as it relates to this issue.
Unlike some of my friends on the left, I am not going to trash this movie and everything it stands for. Primarily because I think that we owe it to our fallen soldiers like Joseph to have a conversation about PTSD and other problems facing returning soldiers and their families. In my opinion this movie has generated such a buzz that it is causing us to have that conversation.
I wish we could have had it with Hurt Locker, (a better movie in my opinion) but that's just me. Better late than never I guess.
"Michael Moore ✔ @MMFlint Tomorrow's Sunday School (1) What Would Jesus Do? Oh, I know what he'd do -- hide on top of a roof and shoot people in the back!"
I do, however, believe that there is a certain amount of right wing flag- waving that goes on with movies like this that is a bit unsettling. Movies like this are embraced by FOX viewers and the chattering class over there for all the wrong reasons. Not because it shows the horrors of war, but because it gives us a chance to cheer on our good ole USA, as we send our young men and women off to die in misguided campaigns that are drawn up in Washington primarily for political reasons.
And then there is the man who the story is based on, Chris Kyle. From all accounts he was a racist and a lunatic. He was a man, it is alleged, who bragged about murdering looters during Katrina, and who, in his own words, "Loved killing savages."
To be sure, this is one of the reasons that the right has embraced this film. To them the world is black and white, and if you are not with the USA you are against it. Kyle represents everything that is "good" about America to right wing false patriots for all the wrong reasons.
Chris Kyle didn't save America; he is not Super Man. Chris Kyle was one of many soldiers who volunteered to serve their country and did their job in a time of war. Some, like Joseph, paid the ultimate sacrifice, and some are still with us suffering with whatever demons attached itself to them in Iraq.
So I don't blame Michael Moore when he speaks out against the movie and the false narrative being created around Chris Kyle. Michael Moore has every right to speak his mind and give his opinions about a movie that he finds troubling. Good men like Joseph Barnaba died for him to have that right.