Vietnam Sniper: 99% of talk about snipers is “plain bull and mythology”

I came across this article from Veterans Today by the senior editor, Gordon Duff, a former sniper in the Vietnam Conflict. It is definitely a must-read for people who want to know what actually happens on the battlefield. When veterans come back, there are those who glamorize it and those who tell it like it is.

Duff is the latter. One area of sniping he critiques pertain to the stories that come to us. Those, he says, are “mythology,” as snipers don’t work like that.

The initial paragraph sums his sentiment, which he spends the rest of the article proving. With the debate over American Sniper heating up, his reflections on his own work as a sniper are certainly more relevant than that of celebrities, columnists, political activists, and misguided magazine reviewers.

If you kill more than dozen people as a sniper and you aren’t guilty of murdering innocent civilians, I would be very surprised.  If you are insane enough to convince yourself, let’s say you are in Afghanistan or Iraq, countries where it is legal for any civilian to carry a weapon and no sane person would go outside without one, that shooting “armed Muslims” makes you a hero, you are both a liar and a fool.  You are probably also a psychopath.

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4 Responses to Vietnam Sniper: 99% of talk about snipers is “plain bull and mythology”

  1. Pingback: Vietnam Sniper: 99% of talk about snipers is “plain bull and mythology” - Freedom's Floodgates

  2. D says:

    Thanks for turning me on to that site. Ill just have to stay away from the conspiracy articles.
    His article is spot on though. Combat isn’t the way its portrayed in the media. Many soldiers are just thugs who joined up after high school; i had some real sick assholes in my infantry platoon who literally would have done anything i told them too.
    As Ive stated before, it was very hard to find the ‘insurgents’. It took teams of intel guys to track them down. Iraq was not a target rich environment (I guess that also depends on your definition of a target). The movies show a war zone; it wasn’t. Iraq was a place where people were living their day to day lives. Yes attacks were almost daily but they were spread out over an entire country! They were also very short, typically one bomb set off by a cell phone. They didn’t attack us with guns very often. There were some battles, fallujia, etc., but those were also rare. Why aren’t more Americans calling bullshit? Why aren’t more vets? How do the other readers here cope with living in a country where this movie made over 100 million? Where your co-workers think this guy is god’s gift to america? Because ill be honest, it gets me pretty down. I spent 12 years of my life dedicated to the neo-con agenda. Now i talk to people who were never even in the military and they tell me I’m full of shit. We have proof this guy was a pathological liar but I’m the one who is wrong?

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    • Your description of Iraq is very similar to others I’ve heard from vets. As to why Americans are so willing to accept this, as retired Marine Fred Reed put it in one of his columns, veterans have two choices when they come back from a war like this. They can admit they’ve been had by a bunch of corrupt liars who profited off of their suffering and misery. While this is the honest thing to do, it usually doesn’t make them cheerful to be around, especially when they turn to alcohol. Or, they can play the soldier hero part and bask in the ignorant praise of people who only know what they’ve been told by the media. It’s a huge temptation to choose the latter, and I don’t judge them for it, though I’m not going to agree with them for the sake of niceness. Americans themselves have a very hard time accepting the fact that men like Chris Kyle were paid professional killers because it requires them to admit they too were duped into supporting these conflicts and it challenges the belief that America is a shining city on a hill, an example to all other countries. In short, they have to accept responsibility for what they have done.

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  3. D says:

    Its hard to imagine that just 100 years ago Americans had a completely different mentality. Sure you had the war hawks, Teddy and all of them, but most Americans looked at the world completely different than we do. On a side note I take a little bit of sick pleasure in the fact that after Roosevelt’s son died in the great war, if i remember the story correctly, that he finally, at his old age, recanted his position on war. But I can’t put too fine a point on how much we have changed over the last century. Our modern policies were unthinkable then. Americans viewed the world differently, there was no fear of being called an isolationist, we were almost all isolationists, it was a good thing. Im not talking about the founding fathers, these are people we probably still have pictures of, that our grandparents knew.
    Its an interesting observation you made, that soldiers enjoy the attention; they do. Yes, there are some guys who join the military out of some sense of patriotic duty, but most join because Hollywood inundated them with American Sniper type movies and now we feel that this is the true measure of a man. So we join because we want to be admired. When we come back sure, there is a party or a parade and occasionally someone will say ‘thank you for your service’, but there is no book deal, there are no interviews and we are never portrayed in a movie. A lot of vets then go into PTSD mode because this is a way to keep the attention coming. Attention is addictive, trust me. Then there are those with PTSD who should have never been allowed in the military in the first place because they were already unstable. If you think about it, you have to be a little unstable to join in the first place. I had a few guys who we all knew just shouldn’t be there. And then yes, there are those guys who were stable dudes but they just saw or experienced more than a human is supposed to.
    Personally I don’t drink because I was had or duped. I drink because all of the people around me are completely insane. I feel like the world is in a cage but the door isn’t locked; its just that everyone refuses to try the handle. What could it hurt? Lets jiggle the handle, if it doesn’t open then what was the harm? At least we tried.

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