Target: Texas Governor Greg Abbott
Goal: Don’t venerate bigoted late military sniper Chris Kyle with an annual state holiday.
Despite his racism and uncritical endorsement of the Iraq War, the late United States military sniper Chris Kyle may be honored with an annual holiday in his home state of Texas. Such a holiday would be nothing but a de facto endorsement of Chris Kyle and his well-documented history of racism and violence under the guise of “honoring the troops.” Demand that the state halt all efforts to give Chris Kyle an annual holiday.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott already held one Chris Kyle Day this year, but now there is an effort underway to annualize the event. Unfortunately, this is not surprising, given the exalted status he has been given by many of the country’s conservatives following the release of film about him, American Sniper. The issue is that this push for an annual holiday does not acknowledge the problematic things that Kyle said and did that should be rightly criticized. In Kyle’s book, the account that the film was based on, he referred to Iraqis as “savages” and said that he loved his role as a sniper, going so far as to say “I’m not lying or exaggerating to say it was fun. I had the time of my life being a SEAL.” He also laughed while reminiscing during a media interview about accidentally shooting an Iraqi insurgent, and told a military investigator that though he’d “like to,” he resists the urge to “shoot people with Korans.”
By not addressing this history, any “Chris Kyle Day” is going to do nothing but whitewash a soldier who, in some respects, reflected the worst of the American war machine and, indeed, whitewash the history of the Iraq War itself. Sign the petition below to demand that Governor Abbott not make Chris Kyle Day an annual state holiday.
Dear Governor Abbott,
I am writing you today regarding your efforts to annualize the February 2nd “Chris Kyle Day.” This is American war propaganda at its worst. Propping a racist and violent man up as some sort of paragon is dismissive and dishonest.
Criticizing soldiers and honoring their service are two things that are much too often, in the American political arena, considered mutually exclusive. This has led to a culture here in the States that venerates soldiers and the causes they go to war for and sweeps under the rug anything dishonorable done by the former in service of the latter. Chris Kyle Day is a horrifying example of this. By venerating him with an annual event, you are saying that a soldier can call Iraqis savages, and wish that it was acceptable to shoot people just for holding Qur’ans, and get away with it just because they serve in the country’s armed forces. You are saying, “Eh, he may have been a racist shooting the very people he was racist towards, but he was really good at it, so what’s the big deal.”
I think we should hold our soldiers to a higher standard than that. Military men and women should not be given a get-out-of-jail free card, but Chris Kyle Day is a transparent attempt at doing just that. I demand that you not annualize Chris Kyle Day.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Stemoc via Wikimedia Commons