Another day, another American Sniper controversy.
Yes, Clint Eastwood’s biopic of the late Chris Kyle, the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history with 160 confirmed kills over four tours of Iraq, has captured the fascination of the American public, earning a whopping $135 million-plus in less than two weeks of wide release, as well as 6 Oscar nominations, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Bradley Cooper’s committed portrayal of Kyle.It’s also proved divisive, with Hollywood stars like Seth Rogen and Michael Moore making colorful comments about the film (both have since apologized, claiming their statements were taken out of context), and critics being split on whether the film is jingoistic, anti-war, or both.
Enter provocateur Bill Maher.
On Friday’s episode of his HBO series Real Time with Bill Maher, the outspoken satirist pondered whether Kyle was a “hero or not,” and revealed he’s decidedly anti-American Sniper.
“Hurt Locker made $17 million because it was a little ambiguous, and thoughtful,” Maher said. “And this one was just, ‘American hero! He’s a psychopath patriot, and we love him.’”
Maher then proceeded to fire off a string of questionable quotes from Chris Kyle that he wrote in his autobiography of the same name—upon which the film is based:
- “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.”
The stand-up comedian compared Kyle’s alleged lack of empathy to 5-star general and former president Dwight D. Eisenhower who, after helping lead the Allied forces to victory during World War II, became very anti-war.
“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,” said Maher. “And if you’re a Christian—I know this is a Christian country—‘I hate the damn savages’ doesn’t seem like a very Christian thing to say.”
You can watch Maher’s comments here: