“Kill every male you see”: Chris Kyle and the role of US snipers in Iraq

Our ROEs [Rules of Engagement] when the [Iraq War] kicked off were pretty simple: If you see anyone from about sixteen to sixty-five and they’re male, shoot ’em. Kill every male you see. That wasn’t the official language, but that was the idea.

Chris Kyle, in his memoir American Sniper

Let us be perfectly clear about something here: ex-Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle fought in a war of imperialist aggression that resulted in hundreds of thousands of needless deaths. He alone killed over one hundred Iraqis while fighting on the side that initiated an illegal, unprovoked and unnecessary invasion. If we are to charitably assume that every single Iraqi he killed was actively engaged in armed hostilities against the US occupation, that still makes him an individual who killed people whose only crime was to defend the integrity and sovereignty of their own country.

It needs to be said that snipers serving in the US military were widely reported as engaging in widespread killings of unarmed Iraqis while the war was in its most heated phases. This was especially true for two of the cities Kyle served in: Fallujah and Ramadi.

Following the first offensive against Fallujah in early 2004, an Australian aid worker who was taken hostage by militants in Fallujah decried the occupation force’s brutal treatment of the city in an interview after being released:

Many families were stuck there with few supplies because US soldiers would not allow them to leave, she said. “Even during a so-called ceasefire, Fallujah was under siege with bombing, missiles and mortar attacks […] But the worst form of attack was the US snipers hiding on rooftops who kill hundreds of civilians as they tried to move about the city” (Australian Associated Press, 16 April 2004)

American journalist Aaron Glantz corroborated this description of the role played by the US snipers in terrorizing the city:

The official number killed in Fallujah is 600, but the total number of civilian casualties is likely much higher. The official tally only reflects those deaths reported by the cities mosques and clinics. But American snipers and bombers have killed many people while they [were] inside their homes.

The doctor says his ambulance was attacked multiple times as it sought to bring aid to residents stranded in their homes. Once when it was trying to retrieve dead bodies for burial and a second time when it was attempting to bring food aid to homes cut off by American snipers.

“I see people carrying a white flag and yelling for us saying ‘We are here’ just try to save us but we cannot save them because whenever we open the ambulance they will shoot us. We try to carry food or water by contrainers. As soon as you carry food or water, the snipers shot the containers of food (Pacifica Reports From Iraq, 13 April 2004).

From an interview recorded for Netherlands radio:

MR [Mindy Ran, journalist in Hilversum]: Now, we have been hearing there is a cease-fire. Is there a cease-fire in effect?

LG [Leigh Gordon, journalist and temporary paramedic in Iraq]: No, quite the opposite. Effectively they are fighting. The US has snipers around the city from the West into the center, in houses all around the main streets and are picking off people on the streets, cars and ambulances.

MR: Do you mean they are actually firing on ambulances?

LG: Yeah, I mean, indeed. My colleague and I and some international volunteers from the United Kingdom and the US had to take over the responsibility for getting patients out of bomb damaged hospitals to one of the remaining make-shift hospitals, which is actually a converted doctors surgery effectively – because the ambulances were being shot at by the US forces. In fact, my colleague who is not very far away from me at the moment, was in one of the last functioning ambulances in Fallujah when he was sniped driving. I think they fired four or five rounds at it, just missing him, I think the ambulance was destroyed. When we left, that was this morning, that was the last ambulance – more or less – in Fallujah.
[…]
MR: What’s the scene been like today? You said you left Fallujah this morning, what was it like?

LG: The hospital I was at this morning had a normal night. There were Drones and Helicopters overhead scoping targets, shelling and bombing, mainly of houses in civilian areas. The wounded trickle in, but at a slow rate, it’s what people can bring in. There aren’t any ambulances so, if anyone has a car and can make it through the snipers, they can get someone to hospital where there are some, some, equipment, but not very much. I am now standing in the office of an Italian NGO trying to rustle up some medical aid and we have boxes of surgical equipment which they desperately need in Fallujah. They don’t even have scalpels, few bandages, they don’t even have anesthetics. On the question of the cease-fire, for instance, it was called on Friday just in time for noontime prayer, about 12 – 12.30. About a half an hour after cease-fire had been called I was standing outside the hospital and I saw an Iraqi man of 28 years old who was an Iraqi nurse come from another city to try and help people in Fallujah, shot through the liver by a sniper as he was unloading an ambulance. He was dragged into the hospital and they tried to operate on him and sew up his wound. They had no painkillers, only the painkillers, um the parecetamol, that I could give them from my own bag. Um and we were told that unless we could get him to a hospital in Baghdad within an half an hour, he would die. Of course there was no way out of the city, and he did die.
[…]
MR: Do you have the feeling that American commanders are in control of their forces there?

LG: You know it’s incredibly difficult to tell. Just moving about is, is – literally just stepping out of the hospital is hazardous. There is one sniper that has been positioned a few hundred yards from the hospital on the main street, for the last few days.

MR: An American?

LG: Yeah, of course, yeah. So at the moment there are snipers in houses all around the center of Fallujah. Marines are positioned in houses just west of the center, so just moving about is extremely dangerous. Drones, unmanned aircraft, can be heard overhead, and helicopters at high altitudes spotting for targets. So people aren’t keen on moving about, so gathering information about what is going on, outside one’s own immediate neighborhood is extremely difficult (Radio Netherlands, recorded on 11 April 2004).

From an article by Dahr Jamail:

Crowded inside an empty house in the Al-Adhamiya district of Baghdad, Abu Muher, patriarch of one family that left Fallujah last Saturday, told of a harrowing journey out of his home city. “We were nearly bombed by the Americans when we tried to leave on Friday,” he said. “Bombs fell in front and behind us, so we had to turn back. Saturday we were lucky to escape.”
[…]
Abu Muher said US warplanes were bombing the city heavily last Saturday prior to his departure, and that Marine snipers continued to take their toll, shot after shot, on residents of the besieged city. “There were so many snipers, anyone leaving their house was killed,” he recalled.
[…]
Abdul Aziz, the 15 year-old son of Abu Muher, stated, “I saw two of my neighbors shot by US snipers when I went outside one time. I also saw some of the small cluster bombs on the ground that were dropped by the warplanes of the Americans. Most times, we were too afraid even to look out of our windows” (New Standard, 23 April 2004).

Here is something for us to consider whenever we are told that insurgents referred to Kyle as the “Devil of Ramadi”:

These days, Ramadi is nearly impossible to enter. Against the backdrop of the Haditha massacre, IPS has received reports of civilians killed by snipers, and homes occupied with American snipers on their roof, while families were detained downstairs.

One man, who wishes to be known simply as ‘an Iraqi friend,’ met with IPS in Amman to describe the situation in Ramadi and detail recent events there as he saw them.
[…]
“On the side of the main street you will find destroyed buildings, and military tents on the buildings for snipers. Be careful, if you hear any sound of fighting, hide in the side roads, park your car there and get in any house and hide, because snipers will kill anyone who moves, even if the fighting is in another area.”

Sheikh Majeed al-Ga’oud is from Wahaj al-Iraq village just outside Ramadi, and visits the city regularly. He also described snipers killing without discretion.

The American snipers don’t make any distinction between civilians or fighters, anything that moves, he shoots immediately. This is a very dirty thing, they are killing lots of civilians who are not fighters.”

According to the Iraqi friend, many people have been killed in Ramadi because they simply do not know which parts of the city are now no-go zones.

One such area is the main street through Ramadi. After the first traffic light you are not allowed to proceed forward, only to the right or left.

The way is blocked, not by concrete, but by snipers. Anyone who goes ahead in the street will be killed. There’s no sign that it’s not allowed, but it’s known to the local people. Many people came to visit us from Baghdad. They didn’t know this and they went ahead a few metres and were killed” (Inter Press Service, 5 June 2006).

Also worth mentioning is this Washington Post story (24 September 2007):

A Pentagon group has encouraged some U.S. military snipers in Iraq to target suspected insurgents by scattering pieces of “bait,” such as detonation cords, plastic explosives and ammunition, and then killing Iraqis who pick up the items, according to military court documents.

UPDATED: 1 Jan. 2015

Since this post has new found popularity due to the release of a film about Chris Kyle, I might as well add this report from the Edward Harris during the second US offensive against Fallujah:

An Iraqi journalist in the city reported seeing burned U.S. vehicles and bodies in the street, with more buried under the wreckage. He said two men trying to move a corpse were shot down by a sniper. […] “People are afraid of even looking out the window because of snipers,” he said, asking that he not be named for his own safety. “The Americans are shooting anything that moves” (Associated Press, 12 November 2004).

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74 thoughts on ““Kill every male you see”: Chris Kyle and the role of US snipers in Iraq

  1. Hey “Andrew”, why are you such a pussy that you post this BS about Chris Kyle…but don’t post under a public name? Could it be because you are just a little liberal ball-less prog without the guts to say your real name? Get out of mom’s basement son, there’s a big world out there…that you obviously know nothing about!

  2. The author should go to these places and discuss our differences with these people. Sure, they will enslave and rape her for being a woman. But then her father could come and reason with these people and get them to come to an understanding. I will buy the plane tickets, email if interested in dealing with reality.

  3. Funny the soldiers coming on here and bashing the author, but no one actually debates that these things happened. No one says “hey, american snipers weren’t killing civilians” or even “hey, it’s okay under the rules of war to kill civilians”.

    So basically, all you meatheads want to do whatever you want to do, and if anyone questions it, your only defense is to say the Iraqis/Arabs are so bad, they deserve it. Which of course only feeds the suspicions that you’re racist and prone to wanton killing.

    • No Kyle was a real American fighting in American wars. While bisexuals like you would never even lift a finger to stop your mom from being raped

    • Thinking back, I recall that civilians were given a time period to leave Fallujah before the US attack on the insurgent held city – and many thousands of people made us of that time and left Fallujah.

      I think the majority of Fallujah’s population left – they went through a security cordon so that wanted terrorists couldn’t blend in and escape. Those that remained were considered to be insurgents determined to try and hold the city, and their supporters.

      • That’s only half true. US military didn’t allow military-age males to leave. They forced them to stay. Then murdered them freely.

        Probably many insurgents did escape well ahead of the siege to fight another day.. civilians were slaughtered.

      • You are 100% correct! The population was given ample time to leave the city and it was made known that anyone that stayed would be marked as the enemy. So to all the assholes that think this author is telling the truth I say ” Eat shit and die!”. Unless you were their you dont know shit. The Iraqi sources this author mentions im sure do not exist and are entirely made up. So many pussies in our country that are fully willing to read this shit and not question it. If you want to know the real story email me – bestbuygrind@hotmail.com

    • they kinda do deserve it. There are ROEs which dictate the rules of war. And snipers have to write a report on every kill and have an eyewitness

  4. I wish just one time you would be forced on to a battle field and made to fight. You are a disgrace to Amercia. Please do us all a favor and go live somewhere else. Better yet please go live with the Taliban and see how that works out for you….

  5. The former soldiers commenting here—if that is what they are—aren’t entirely wrong. Chris Kyle was doing his job, and he seemed to have done it very well. When you’re an occupying force, part of your job is to kill people, i.e., soldiers will eliminate any potential threats and will often err on the side of overkill to keep themselves and their colleagues safe, even at the cost of eliminating innocent civilians. If deemed a ‘military necessity’, international law and the Rules of Engagement will allow it; of course, what is a ‘military necessity’ is open to interpretation, and some will be more bloodthirsty than others…
    The only way to avoid that is to not put them in that situation in the first place by initiating an illegal war of aggression and military occupation. Military occupations are all the same, there are no ‘nice’ ones.

    • Exactly. War is brutal and will contain these ugly elements. It should be done only when necessary and debated in the Democratic, legislative way. Looking for sainthood in a sniper won’t work. He is a warrior and nothing more who succumbed to the ugliness of war when killed by a fellow veteran.

  6. 3,000 INNOCENT MEN WOMEN AND CHILDREN MURDERED IN THE WORLD TRADE CENTER. I WOULD JUDGE THAT TO EVEN THAT SCORE, 90 MILLION MUSLIMS SLAUGHTERED MIGHT DO IT–OR MAYBE NOT. UNFORTUNATELY, WE’RE NOT CLOSE TO THAT NUMBER YET. SEARCH THE CAVES AND FERRET OUT THOSE RODENTS.

    • Every single soldier should do the right thing and kill himself for being such a worthless, soulless mercenary who kills nameless, faceless innocent foreigners (Muslim and other) for the sake of the New World Order.

      Die slow you genocidal worshipper of genocidal Arab-hating child-killers.

      • as long as they are offing moooslims and arabs they should be memorialized for ridding the planet of this scum

    • So, you are saying that you want 90 million people dead, innocent I may add, as a form of retaliation for 3000 people killed almost 14 years ago? Not counting the innocent and guilty who have already died. You have a very sick mind. You’d be in great company with Mao, Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot etc.

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    • Your tag is right ‘da boy. As for Kyle war isn’t about morality its kill or be killed. If your on the battle field your fair game and Kyle kept his freezer well stocked with lots of “game”

      • I left Islam, hate Mohammed, and to me the day Chris Kyle got popped was one of the happiest days of 2013. You see, I don’t believe in Islam or God at all, but I’m still a “sand n|gger” that many white racist soldiers want to kill, that’s why I take great pleasure when they get attacked at home and when they kill themselves because they know they’re evil child-killers who did horrible things that society abhors.

  8. Many of the comments here are unbelievably insensitive and ridiculously ignorant. the actions of the few don’t represent the views of the many. People actively engaged in warfare are put in a position where they need to stay alive; they need to protect those that will help them stay alive. Kill or be killed. So killing those that potentially could harm you is a very natural reaction. The concept of fighting to defend your nation holds no water when fighting for a country that is actively engaged in imperialist warfare, especially when it is so unclear as to the real reasons of why the conflict was initiated in the first place.

    • You appear to attach zero value to the lives of ordinary Iraqi civilians, so it makes sense to “shoot everybody in sight to reduce the risk to me to 0%” (isn’t that the definition of cowardice?)

  9. “He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would fully suffice. This disgrace to civilization should be done away with at once. Heroism at command, senseless brutality, deplorable love-of-country stance, how violently I hate all this, how despicable and ignoble war is; I would rather be torn to shreds than be a part of so base an action! It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder.”
    Albert Einstein

    It’s very clear that those who relish and champion and celebrate violence and nationalism and this type of demented idolization of an individual who was quite obviously a socio/psychopath are ignorant, arrogant and quite possibly psychologically ill. What I would like to know is what was done to them in childhood and I’d hazard to guess that much of their disorder is sexually based.

    • Einstein had numerous virtues and numerous faults. True he was a pacifist but encouraged the US to develop a nuclear weapon due to his fear of Hitler and his attack on Jews. A agnostic that some how decided that protecting Jews was an honorable decision?? A lover of athletics some how manager to be declared unfit for military service

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    • stop being such a soldier-sniffer who lusts after uniformed authority figures. There’s nothing “manly” about it no matter how much you add “toughness” to your tone.

      A big proportion of American soldiers are illiterate racist rubes who kill strangers for the sake of global elites that wouldn’t piss on their worthless white/ghetto trash ass if they were on fire. They’re not defending me from so much as an incoming fart whiff.

      • An even larger proportion of college entrants only read at a 7th grade level. And would be screened out by the military

    • it takes a real man to defend freedom from a half mile away through a scope

      I’m bored, I think that kid is carrying a grenade

  11. You invaded a country on a pack of lies and now have the gall to invoke “God, country and family.”. Arnold Toynbee put it best: all once-great civilizations are destroyed by lack of morality and military overreaching. Good luck climbing out of the hole of debt created by going into Iraq and other misadventures. While you root out the “ferrets from the caves” at night, you will wake up to being a colony of China.

  12. Kyle was a fat hick turd and psycho who was turned into a vegetable by another Iraq war vet, that’s called karma as well as irony for the majority of you Bubbas here who never made it past high school and basic training. Like those who committed war crimes in Vietnam and got drilled by the indomitable Vietnamese defending their homeland, he deserved it. If that makes you Bubbas mad-good now go jump back into the bayou.

    • You can’t possibly be this stupid. Since when is it fair conduct to “kill all males” in a war, regardless of whether or not they posed a threat? This is all irrelevant anyway as, if any man invaded my country as the US did Iraq, I would lift a gun and do my best to blow his brains out.

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  15. The statement about “every male you see” was made in the context of areas that were officially evacuated, a no-go zone. The author “Andrew” doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

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  18. Everyone of these comments make me sick. Makes me realize were no better than the towel heads over there. If there wasn’t law just about everyone of you would be just as savage as they are. And don’t tell me I’m wrong, deep down you know what we all are. Everyone fights for something whether it be there god, family, country, money, its been this way since the dawn of man and that will never change. Call me an ignorant dumbass or tell me I’m a bitch, deep down you know you enjoy hurting other people physically or just through words. And if you still think I’m wrong tell me you never beat or trash talked someone just because you didn’t like the way they look or act or something they said. Tell me you never went online and called people names for having a different opinion than yours. Tell me you’ve never done any of these things and then I will admit I’m wrong.

    • “If there wasn’t law just about everyone of you would be just as savage as they are.” That’s why we have law. Without law we have very little idea what is right and wrong. No one lives long enough to figure it all out by trial and error. Even those of us who are pretty much self-governed need to have law to remind us of what we already know to do and not to do. Practically everyone wavers one time or another. Knowing that punishment or disgrace is possible helps keep the upright upright.
      No, I don’t enjoy hurting anyone. It is very hard for me to smack one of my children on the butt when they just refuse to listen. I try not to run over opossums. I go online and call people down for using ad hominem illogic to support their comments.

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  22. This indiscriminate killing reminds me of the free fire zone door gunner in “Full Metal Jacket.” : “Anyone who moves is a VC: anyone who freezes is a well disciplined VC.”. Resource wars, both, with horrific consequences.
    Oh, and, by the way: I have a friend named Rania: different person. And I don’t appreciate people’s calling this author a Cunt, for calling out the obvious: everybody knows killing is wrong, whether it is necessary or not, and bragging about it is disturbed, or worse.
    And, by the way, my friends in the military don’t brag about killing: they talk, seriously and respectfully, about Service.

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  26. Most of you readers were still in diapers when I was training combat troops to DEFEND this country. I served my coutry my family and my God with dedication and honor. Chris Kyle was not a man – nor even human! He was a monster and a demon. – Criminally ignorant moron animal – a sick twisted racist remorseless Godless Christ mocking psychopathic murderer. I have never felt more ashamed to be called an ‘AmeriKan’ in my life! Kyle and his entire filthy nest of red-neck racist filth should be an embarrassment to every decent man woman and child on EARTH! He was a rabid mad dog that needed to be killed. Scum like him represent everything that is evil and Godless about America today. May he and the filth who spawned him burn in hell for their crimes against humanity.

    Joe Cortina Cmdr Basic infantry company E-5-2 USATC 1962
    Cmdr. Op Det A-32 Co. C 20th SF Gp Abn. 1st SF gp. 1965 -66

  27. I was a soldier and can confirm the baiting, hell, ive even had seals admit to it! They gave me the impression Kyle wasnt very popular with the teams.
    Of course if a green beret had done those things and then wrote a book about how awesome he was he would be png.
    It surprises me how many ‘soldiers’ are on here bashing the author. If you were in iraq you know this shit is true and secondly, why are you slobbering all over this seal? Back in my infantry days we didnt want anything to do with the navy. They were unscrupulous, unethical and their tactics were horrible.

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  29. Wonder why the more people the United States slaughters “over there” the more of “them” join the organizations that want to destroy America and Americans? Kill a jihadist and ten new ones join up. Where is it all going?
    A friend who was a sniper in Vietnam was asked by an officer what his kill score was. He said that he didn’t think he had killed anyone. His intent was to wound and take out of action without killing if possible. That score was 23.
    A fellow I knew many years ago managed to join the Rangers. On one leave he commented that he thought he was going “over there” to defend America, but so far all he had been doing was grenading huts with nobody but women and children in them, and shooting any who tried to escape. He was becoming disillusioned.
    A door gunner was asked why he was machine-gunning unarmed people on the ground. He responded that they were throwing rocks at the copter.

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  31. Why were we even there? WMD? Where were they, oh yeah they never existed and it was all a lie told by Bush/Cheney. That was an illegal war under international law and that is a fact. Truth is what you call insurgents were merely citizens of a country we were illegally invading and occupying, no way around that fact. Once you accept that, the rest makes sense. Imagine how many “insurgents” we would have if the US was invaded in such a way.

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