In early 2012 Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, who earned two Silver Stars in Iraq, explained the sniper's point of view for Time Magazine right before the film Sniper was released and one year before his death.
Watch the clip and say whether the statements below are true or false.
1 Special operations soldiers don't usually talk about their job.
2 Chris Kyle has written the book to let the public know about the sacrifices soldiers make.
3 160 refers to the number of people Chris Kyle has killed.
4 Chris Kyle is worried about the legal consequences of his actions.
5 Chris Kyle's first victim was a child.
6 Chris Kyle is accident-prone when he's at home.
7 The reports journalists wrote on the Iraq war didn't help the American soldiers at all.
8 Killing people is the thing Chris Kyle is best at.
Chris Kyle is a former Navy Seal. He’s also quite possibly the most lethal sniper in American military history. And he’s here today to face a little smattering of friendly fire with 10 Questions from Time Magazine. Mr Kyle, thanks for coming.
Thanks for having me.
So, you’ve got this new book, American Sniper. Isn’t it kind of not done amongst you, special operations guys, to talk about your, your stuff?
Yes, it’s kind of frowned upon.
So why did you decide to do the book?
I wanted to be able to get it out about not the sacrifices that the military members make. But the sacrifices that their families have to go through. About, the, the single mothers now, raising the children and doing all the day-to-day house chorus. But then also stories about my guys who deserve to be out there. They didn’t get the Medal of Honour, so you don’t know about them. But they died heroes and people should know about them.
I believe that the number is 160. Is the sort of number of confirmed [Yes, madam.] sniper kills? Can you tell me what, explain what it is to have a confirmed sniper kill?
Alright, well, while you’re on your sniper rifle, you take a shot and the guy goes down, and you have, you have to have witnesses verify that he is dead.
And does it get recorded as part of the battle damage assessment or…?
Every time we come back we have to fill out an assessment of what happened throughout the day. The time, the place, the caliber used, the distance he was, what exactly he was doing, where he was standing, what he was wearing. It’s all in the detail.
So… and there’s that somewhere that we can’t get more than 80, but somewhere there’s 160 of those forms with your name on them.
What goes through your mind when you’re shooting a, a guy, it’s usually a guy?
The first time of killing someone, you’re not even sure you can do it. I mean, you think you can, but you never know until you’re actually put in that position and you do it. And then you double think in yourself, my God, will I do this? Am I gonna be okay? And then you’re asking your leadership, am I cleared hot to be able to do this? Am I gonna be in trouble? You know, this guy’s really bad. And then you’re worried when you get home. All the politicians are gonna hang you out to dry and put you on trial for murder.
But the first kill that you write about in the book, you actually kill a woman, and she has in one hand, the hand of a toddler and in the other hand she has a grenade. Was that the hardest of all the kills you had to do?
Yeah, I had to do it to protect the marines. So, do you wanna lose your own guys or would you rather take one of them out? You have two sets of kind of heads in that you have, I’m back in America head and I’m at war head. You’re two different people. You turn it on and turn it off. You’re a little more aggressive when you’re at work, and when you come home you relax and try to be the different person. And my wife always said that when I came home from work, I’d take my cap off and put on the dork ‘cause I stub my toe or break my toe or something at home. But at work I was fine.
Does your wife still have to say your name before she gets back into bed?
It’s not as bad. But that was even before I was in the military. I’ve always been extremely jumpy when I’m asleep.
And the reason your wife has to say your name before she gets back into bed?
I will come up swinging. So, depends on how tired. If I’m out cold, then you can ring the doorbell and I will be asleep.
I have to ask this question but are there any kills you regret?
No! Not at all.
Because they… you feel like it was either you killed them or they killed other Americans?
You know, you... in your book, actually the most I think, I’m quoting, that most Americans can’t handle the reality of war. And the reports, they, they sent back, the reports being the journalists, didn’t help us at all, which actually sounds a lot like Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men. Did you realize that? You can’t handle the truth. Is that, is that how you feel that Americans just can’t?
So we should just, you’re on Jack’s side in this one.
You, you do not think…
For the most part, the public’s very soft. You live in a dream world. You have no idea what goes on on the other side of the world. That, the harsh realities that these people are doing to themselves and then to our guys. And there are certain things that need to be done to take care of them.
Now if people, if people did start out with the impression, before they have read your book, that you were that person who had killed upwards of 150 other people was a violent person, maybe a bloodthirsty person. I’m not sure that the book would free them of that feeling.
I really don’t care what they think of me. I mean, I’ve got my family. I’ve got my friends. I’m not trying to make new friends. And the people who…, if you actually spend time with me, you’ll find out, I’m just a fun-loving guy. Now, I, yes I have been trying to be a little more aggressive if I need to be, but I don’t go around dumping people.
If you never have… got to kill another person, would you be okay with that?
I’m fine. I don’t have to kill to live.
But you were good at it.
I was decent at it.
What if killing people turns out to be the thing you were better at than anything?
I know it’s not true. I’m a better husband and father than I was a killer. I mean, I’ve got a job now I’m good at. I’m pretty comfortable with not having to kill anyone. Now, don’t take deer hunting away from me.
Chris Kyle, thanks so much.
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