Saturday, June 24, 2017

An Eye for an Eye?

A Canadian 3RCR Battlegroup sniper walks up a hill to his position during a mission near Kabul, Afghanistan, in 2003.

A couple of years ago the film American Sniper was a huge box office success. It glorified the sharp-shooting exploits of Chris Kyle, a US Navy Seal. Kyle served four tours in the Iraq War and was awarded several commendations for acts of heroism and meritorious service in combat. Ironically. Kyle was shot and killed by another serviceman suffering PTSD after his return to America.

There is a mystique surrounding snipers who must combine rock-steady nerves with mathematics while in the midst of combat. Canadians are reportedly amongst the best snipers in the world, and recently a Canadian sniper working alongside Iraqi forces in their fight against ISIS successfully struck a member of the militant group from a distance of a little more than three and a half kilometres away. This is now the record for a verified sniper kill, and may never be matched.
This has been all over the media and it seems grisly to me. As Tom Mulcair of the NDP points out we are supposedly not involved in offensive military action in Iraq. And while combatants kill the enemy in any conflict, the fascination is macabre, in my estimation.

As a Christian I constantly wrestle with Jesus' teaching to be peacemakers, to turn the other cheek, alongside the realities of evil in our world. While there are occasions where lethal force must be used, in policing and in situations of war, glorifying the death of human beings doesn't fit with my sense of the gospel. This may sound naïve, but really, has the message of Jesus ever made sense in the ways of the world?


1 comment:

Judy McKnight said...

I have to agree with you, David - and history has shown us over and over that just killing a leader of a terrorist group does not end the terror - there is always someone else ready and willing to step into that role - and the terrorism never stops ! If we need to kill to defend ourselves from immediate peril, we may still need trained snipers, etc. BUt I am not sure going out and killing (especially from a 3 km distance!) should be the primary purpose of our military. (and I always feel anxious about what it does to the killer/sniper 's soul and mind)