Opinion

A Short Analysis of Americans’ Views on their Soldiers

The Debate Struck up by American Sniper Chris Kyle

By Edward Angell

It is a blessing that America has never been invaded by a military with sufficient strength to make life a prison.

Most Americans have learned to really appreciate the servicemen and women that protect their way of life and their homes and families.

However, a lot of controversy has been surrounding one soldier in particular. Chief Petty Officer Chris Kyle of the United States Navy SEALS has been the subject of much debate among Americans in every corner of the country.

He is the deadliest sniper in American history, with over 160 confirmed kills and an unofficial kill count somewhere in the mid 200s.

With that, he has cemented himself as one of the deadliest Americans to have ever lived.

Most citizens recognize his bravery and understand his job was to take the lives of people who would otherwise wreak havoc on American soldiers and civilians if given the opportunity.

As a sniper his primary objective was known as “overwatch,” meaning he was responsible for surveying the area of operations and carefully watching over American troops while they did things that ranged from going door to door looking for intel on terrorist activity or simply looking for terrorist forces in general.

Most men and women cannot fathom what it must be like to know someone has killed hundreds of people, even if the killing is justified. There are those who simply cannot accept killing as a means of defense.

On February 2, 2013 Chris Kyle was killed along with his friend while attempting to help the very man who ended his life, Eddie Routh.

On February 25, 2015 Eddie Routh was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole as reported by Ed Payne, Dana Ford, and Jason Morris of CNN.

After the verdict, social media was ablaze with arguments concerning Chris Kyle’s life choices and if he really should be a person to be admired, with most of these comments coming from America’s youth.

Teens and young adults in their 20s also criticized Kyle.

War is definitely the most atrocious thing we humans have ever committed against our fellow man.

One thing many people are ashamed to admit however, is that as bad as war can be, it can also at times be necessary.

Where would humanity be if no one had stopped Hitler’s Germany, or if Japanese Emperor Hirohito were not challenged by the United States after the massacre that was Pearl Harbor, or if no one stands up to fanatical terror groups who wish to kill those with conflicting beliefs.

America is at a stage where many of its younger generations do not understand what war really is, after all, how could they?

America has been strong enough to defend herself from any foreign threats and has never experienced the horror that is foreign occupation by an opposing force on our home soil.

America’s occasional distaste for its troops is well documented, with the Vietnam war being a common reference and showcasing how truly horrid some among us can treat those who serve for the good of the country.

American opinion of its soldiers has greatly improved since the 1960s.

Despite the improvement America is still one of the most overly critical nations when it comes to military conflict and how they handle it.

Asking veterans their own opinions on how they have been treated is a more direct way to find out exactly what life is like for those who are consistently viewed under a microscope.

Dennis Nash, a former United States Marine who was honorably discharged at the rank of corporal answered a few questions concerning his interactions with civilians and how they treat him on a day to day basis.

The Banner: When and for how long did you serve in the armed service?

Dennis Nash (DN): I served from 1987 to 1995, I was first assigned to Okinawa, Japan with the third marine division.

From there I went to Thailand and South Korea, where we trained Thailand and South Korean troops as part of Operation Asian Globe.

From there I came to the United States where I was stationed at Camp Pendleton in California with the First Marine Division where I dispatched to Panama to assist in Operation Just Cause.

The Banner: Were you part of any armed conflicts during your time with the Marines?

DN: I was part of the excursion of Manuel Noreiga in 1989, and was then assigned to the first Marine corps field service support group and from there went to participate in operation Desert Shield/Storm with the Marine Corps expeditionary force for one year.

We were assigned on the border of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

The Banner: As a veteran how have you been treated by fellow American citizens in the United States?

DN: We are treated very well in regards to the civilians, I believe the U.S. Government has to simplify the Veterans Administration, they have to make more simple because it is too bureaucratic.

As for civilians, they show me the utmost respect and dignity.

They understand, for example, we do play a role as you can clearly see with the conflicts in the Middle East via ISIS.

They understand that we play a role in defending people’s freedom and understand there are those out there who would harm them if given the chance.

Mr. Nash and many other veterans appreciate the respect American civilians have shown and humbly ask that the respect continues for future generations of American veterans.

They are the ones who will have to answer the call to arms should a serious threat arise to the safety of American freedom.

Younger generations of Americans are showing that they are capable of respecting those who give it all for their country.

Those select few who choose to bash American servicemen and women continue to be a highly alienated minority within the United States, as they should continue to be for the foreseeable future.

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