February 4, 2013
Yesterday, former congressman Ron Paul sent the following Tweet:
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
— Ron Paul (@RonPaul) February 4, 2013
Chris Kyle, highly-decorated veteran, was killed at a Texas gun range by another veteran over the weekend.
The Tweet is an example of what happens when you address tragedy without demonstrating sufficient empathy.
Yes, by all accounts Kyle “lived by the sword.” Fox News reports that Kyle was the most lethal sniper in the U.S., with 160 confirmed kills. For those of us who see the US intervention abroad that Kyle participated in as illegitimate, it may be difficult to view Kyle and his fellow veterans sympathetically. But Kyle was a real person, not a lesson.
The knee-jerk desire to hold people accountable when they don’t measure up to our standards of conduct is understandable. But even the most dovish of us would do well to understand that Kyle was a victim before he was shot. Indeed, he was simultaneously a victim and a perpetrator of the tremendous, powerful machinery of American foreign policy. Kyle was a victim of the military industrial complex and mainstream media which seeks to strike fear into the hearts of the American people and justify any means necessary to keep Americans safe from attack.
He was quoted as explaining the combat actions that garnered him multiple awards thusly: “I did it because I felt like it was something that needed to be done and it was honorable,” Kyle said. “I loved the guys.” By all accounts it appears that he risked his life in combat because he believed he was keeping America safe.
I believe that Kyle was mistaken, and that US military intervention makes Americans less safe.
And I believe that it’s wrong to flippantly use a decorated veteran’s tragic death to make political potshots.
I want to say on behalf of the noninterventionist foreign policy community that Tweets like this don’t represent us. I want us to extend my deepest sympathies to the victims and families of victims like Kyle, his killer and countless veterans who get injured and die everyday due to widespread and persistent deception.
If we believe that he who lives by the sword dies by the sword, let’s stop turning our swords on each other through our words and instead fight for and on behalf of veterans.