Veteran SEAL sniper Chris Kyle was murdered by a troubled veteran in Texas. So many aspects make this a sad story. That Kyle survived tours of combat only to be killed at home. The loss of a devoted family man and father and husband. The demons that surrounded his killer and led him to this insane action. The fact that Kyle was trying to help the shooter through camraderie and some time at the gun range to deal with his demons.
Now lots of people have come to have various views on Iraq. I came to realize it was a mistake, particularly insofar as we didn’t leave nearly immediately after capturing Saddam Hussein. Others thought it not only a mistake but also unjust, though I found this argument a little over-stated. The pre-war Iraq regime always had the air of an “outlaw nation.” Whether a bad idea or not, our men fought on the whole very honorably in Iraq and today in Afghanistan. And our enemies, on the whole, were and remain fanatical, nasty, terroristically-inclined Islamic nut jobs that deserve little sympathy. In other words, the war was a mistake, but not because it was particularly immoral for our men to be killing those whom they killed, but because it did little to advance our national security. Yes, there were many mistakes, tragedies, and cruelties that always surround war. I have been criticized for pointing out some of these cruelties undertaken by those who dishonor the uniform when they occurred. We need not have a childish and completely romantic view of things. But natural affection and sympathy and honor for our fighting men is a natural sentiment. The War in Iraq was undeniably a time of sacrifice, courage, and technical prowess by our men, as exemplified by Chris Kyle.
Only a small minded man like Ron Paul, then, would so habitually and unthinkingly insult Kyle and his memory after his murder. Paul said on his Twitter feed that “Chris Kyle’s death seems to confirm that ‘he who lives by the sword dies by the sword.’ Treating PTSD at a firing range doesn’t make sense.” The last part makes some sense as a matter of prudence, but this was an exceptional situation with an exceptionally troubled young man. Clearly, based on Kyle’s practice, lots of veterans find time among fellow veterans and the familiar feel of firearms to help them regain a sense of power and control over their lives. More important, this nasty comment is typical of Ron Paul who, though he has some good ideas, never seems to be able to help himself from venturing into kooky and nasty territory. Paul’s instincts are unnatural and unpatriotic. He is perhaps the worst standard bearer for a paleconservative outlook in national life.