Bill Maher Predictably Vilifies 'American Sniper' Chris Kyle as 'Psychopath Patriot'

January 24th, 2015 10:15 PM

Those awkward silences from your audience, Bill Maher? That's them saying they aren't amused. You might want to pay more attention to what they're telling you.

First time it happened on Maher's HBO show last night came when he was speaking with The Atlantic's James Fallows about his cover story in the January-February issue, "Why Do the Best Soldiers in the World Keep Losing? The Tragic Decline of the American Military."

"Well, I read your article," Maher said after introducing Fallows. "I mean, you're a pretty brave guy to call it what you did, the tragic decline. You must be worried that the American ISIS is going to get you."

Yes, Maher actually asked that, introducing the phrase "American ISIS" for its first and quite possibly only appearance in the lexicon. After all, ISIS kills people, our soldiers kill people -- see the obvious parallel? How about that, ISIS militants have taken two Japanese men hostage and reportedly killed one of them. So reminiscent of World War II in the Pacific.

Here's how Fallows answered -- "Among the more heartening reactions, I've gotten thousands and thousands of messages, mainly from people in the military, mainly saying thanks for pointing out these issues." Yeah, sure sounds like our version of ISIS.

The audience's reaction? Barely discernible laughter amid pin-drop silence. Did he say what I think he said ...?

The second time Maher lost them last night came later in the show during a panel discussion on the film American Sniper --

MAHER: I want to talk about this movie because there's another controversy besides, of course, Deflategate, which is American Sniper. It made $105 million up at the box office. This is unheard of in January, that's what super-hero movies make. I'm not surprised, Clint Eastwood's a great filmmaker. But somehow a Twitter war broke out and now we have to take sides whether the American Sniper is a real hero or not. 

Now, I said last week, we had Kathryn Bigelow on, who had made (The) Hurt Locker and I said, it kinda goes over the same territory. (The) Hurt Locker made $17 million because it was a little ambiguous and thoughtful and this one is just American hero (slams hand on desk for emphasis), he's a psychopath patriot and we love him. (scattered, feeble laughter from the audience).

You know, I read some of the quotes from the real Chris Kyle. He said, I hate the damn savages, talking about the Iraqis, and I've been fighting and I always will. I love killing bad guys. Even with the pain I loved what I was doing. Maybe war isn't really fun but I certainly was enjoying it.

Um, I don't know, Eisenhower once said, I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can. I just don't see this guy in the same league as Eisenhower, I'm sorry. And if you're a Chris-tian (sarcastically), I know this is a Chris-tian country, I hate the damn savages, I don't give a f*** what happens there, doesn't seem like a Christian thing to say. (applause)

Wading first into the discussion was former Vermont governor and ex-DNC chief Howard Dean --

DEAN: You know, it's a very interesting point. There's a lot of anger in this country and the people who go see this movie are people who are very angry and this guy basically says, I'm going to fight on your side and they bite for it.

This from a man whose short fuse may have cost him the Democrats' nomination for president in 2004. Dean is correct that anger abounds in America -- he's just unwilling to acknowledge that the vast majority of it emanates from the left. Liberalism is a state of constant anger, fanned by the shimmering mirage of utopia always just over the horizon.

Next up was Washington Post reporter Nia-Malika Henderson, who said American Sniper is the latest in a long search for a "totemic war hero," comparable to Pat Tillman, Jessica Lynch and David Petraeus. But "beneath the surface" of these narratives, she added, "it's obviously more complicated." She wondered if many people went to see American Sniper for the same reason they saw The Interview -- "At some point Americans want to do some sort of patriotic act."

Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens, the token conservative in the mix, challenged Maher --

STEPHENS: So I went to go see it last night because I'd heard about it and I wanted to try to know what I was talking about. I can't believe you came away with that impression of the film. What I saw was a movie that treats what veterans and soldiers go through in a way that was subtle. It was not just about war, it was about PTSD, it was about what the wives of soldiers go through. And by the way, the savages he's talking about, OK, aren't ordinary Iraqis. The savages are al Qaeda killers who put drills into children to enforce orders.

Maher responded with a half-truth about the movie --

MAHER: OK, you know what, when he was sitting up there and looking 200 yards away, he didn't know that's who he was shooting. In the first scene, he's about to shoot a kid.

Spoiler alert -- if you haven't seen American Sniper and plan on doing so, you might want to stop reading. Consider yourself warned.

Early in the film, Kyle does shoot a child -- but Maher has surgically stripped the scene of any context. Just before taking the shot, Kyle is warned by another soldier that he'll be sent to Leavenworth if the child is not a lethal threat.  The young boy had been given a Russian-made grenade and was throwing it toward a column of American soldiers when he was shot by Kyle. Afterward, the soldier next to Kyle praises him, and Kyle swears back in anger.

Another scene in the movie, one that's included in the trailer for the film -- after Kyle has shot an insurgent who was attempting to fire a rocket-propelled grenade at American soldiers, a boy comes out of nowhere and grabs the weapon. "Don't pick it up," Kyle quietly pleads from hundreds of yards away. "Drop it." When the boy finally does, without firing it, Kyle's relief is immense, and so is that of the audience.

Also coming to Kyle's defense on Maher's show was comic Bill Burr --

BURR: You can't sum up a man by one quote taken out of context. You don't know how he said that. And I think if you're fighting a war, I bet you say a lot of f***ed-up s*** in the middle of it ...

MAHER: Well, that was after the war when he wrote a book ...

BURR: All right, but you've been through a war.

Having misled those who've yet to see American Sniper with what it actually depicts -- and anyone who thinks it glorifies the war in Iraq hasn't seen the movie or wasn't paying attention when they did -- Maher took refuge in the familiar haven of absurdity --

MAHER: I'm just saying, you know, the idea that Americans cannot see any ambiguity, that somebody has to either be pure hero or pure traitor, is ridiculous.

Or pure psychopath? Seeing how Maher allegedly hates this idea, he should stop perpetuating it.