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‘American Sniper’ as viewed by real American snipers

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WASHINGTON — For all the debate surrounding the movie American Sniper, few people know the moral choices involved in the job better than those trained to pull the trigger.

“His job is to strike a paralytic fear into the enemy,” said Andrew Pedry, a Marine scout sniper section leader in Iraq in 2003.

For the sniper, killing is more personal, placing a heavy burden of responsibility on those that take up the profession. “It takes a lot of introspection, faith and care to yield that level of power,” Pedry said.

Many welcome the movie, starring Bradley Cooper, for bringing a more realistic look at snipers on the modern battlefield, replacing the Hollywood myth of a rogue operator with that of a highly trainedsharpshooter — and one with a conscience.

American Sniper, nominated for six Oscars, is based on the memoir of Chris Kyle, a Navy SEAL who became the deadliest sniper in U.S. military history. Kyle was later killed by a fellow veteran on a shooting range in Texas.

After the movie set box office records its opening weekend, filmmaker Michael Moore, tweeted that his uncle was killed by a sniper in World War II. “We were taught snipers were cowards,” he said.

Meyer took offense. “How does a man who never served … call the men and women who have the most skin in the game on behalf of our nation cowards,” he said.

Moore’s comments, which he later said were not directed at the movie, “did tap into a very long-running idea that sniping is not fair and Americans play fair,” Pedry said.

Pedry said that public perception of the sniper has changed since Vietnam. Even Hollywood has picked up on it.

“From the colonial period through Vietnam, the sniper was not the hero,” Pedry said. “In the John Wayne movies, he’s not the sniper.”

But the lengthy wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has prompted the public to recognize new military tactics of counter-insurgencies, Pedry said. Because of their precision, snipers have proven their worth in combat where insurgents often hide among civilians.

“Using snipers shows the greatest amount of restraint,” said Jim Lechner, a retired Army lieutenant colonel who served alongside Kyle in Ramadi, Iraq. “Innocent people are not getting killed.”

The change in public perception comes as sniper training has become more professional, and the equipment used by marksmen more sophisticated.

Sharpshooters have been around for centuries. In World War II a designated sniper might have been a farm boy who grew up hunting squirrels. But today’s snipers are the product of training and technology that has made the profession as much science as art.

Some Army snipers have handheld ballistic computers that can calculate the impact of atmospherics on a bullet’s trajectory.

Snipers have to calculate wind and other variables before taking a shot.

“This is a thinking man’s game,” said Marine Col. Tim Parker, commander of the Weapons Training Battalion, which oversees the sniper school at Quantico Marine base in Virginia.

The Marine sniper course is nearly three months long and the attrition rate averages about 50%. The course is both physically and academically demanding. “It’s some of the toughest training in the world,” Meyer said.

Students are taught sophisticated camouflage techniques and must crawl undetected across several hundred yards of terrain while instructors peer through binoculars in an attempt to see their movements. It can take more than five hours to move a couple hundred yards.

Students often have to replace their camouflage as the terrain and vegetation changes while crawling toward an objective.

“People who are comfortable in the woods and are used to being in the field have a natural tendency toward this craft,” Parker said.

The refinements in training and technology have paid off. A sniper in World War II could be expected to hit an enemy target at about 600 yards. Today, snipers hit targets at twice that range.

Marines and soldiers are also carefully vetted before being admitted to sniper school. Officers look for mature individuals who can operate often far from their unit without constant supervision and guidance.

That doesn’t mean they are rogue — they have rules of engagement drummed into them before they set out on a mission. “It’s got to be very specific criteria when they can take their shot,” Parker said.

Killing isn’t their only job. A key part of their mission is to provide intelligence or man observation points to protect conventional units as they move along a dangerous route.

But when they do kill, it has a psychological impact on the enemy. The fear of being killed by an unseen marksman is unnerving and eats away at an enemy’s morale.

“As snipers we have a saying: ‘Kill one, terrorize thousands,'” Meyer said.

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Breaking News:Yoruba Freedom Fighter, Sunday Igboho Arrested in Cotonou

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Yoruba freedom fighter, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, has been arrested in Cotonou, Benin Republic by security operatives in the West African country.

Igboho was arrested Monday night after fleeing Nigeria to evade arrest by Nigeria’s secret police.

A source privy to his departure from Nigeria said he had perfected plans to secretly escape from Nigeria through Cotonou and was heading to Germany.

He was, however, nabbed by security operatives in the neighboring country.

Speaking with SaharaReporters, a source privy to the incident, said, “Sunday Igboho has been arrested in Cotonou. He was arrested about an hour ago.

“He was supposed to travel to Germany through Cotonou this night. He wanted to leave Africa through Cotonou. He was arrested by security operatives in Cotonou.

“They are planning to bring him back to Nigeria.”

Recall that the Department of State Services had declared Igboho wanted after its operatives carried out a bloody midnight raid on his residence in the Soka area of Ibadan, Oyo State.

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Popular Nigerian Singer, Sound Sultan dies at 44

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Singer, Olanrewaju Fasasi aka Sound Sultan, has died. A statement released by his family says he died on July 11 after a long battle with throat cancer.

The singer is survived by his wife and three children.

 

The statement reads;

“It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of Multi-talented veteran singer, rapper, songwriter, Onlanrewaju Fasasi a.k.a Sound Sultan.

Too sad! Singer, Sound Sultan, dies at 44

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#EndSARS: Court strikes out suit against Sam Adeyemi, Davido, Falz, BurnaBoy, Aisha Yesufu and others

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Justice Bello Jawu of a High Court sitting in Abuja has struck out a suit filed by one Kenechukwu Okeke, a human rights activist, against Davido, Aisha Yesufu, Pastor Sam Adeyemi, and 47 other celebrities and activists over their activities during the October 2020 #EndSARS protests.

The judge in a ruling delivered on Friday, July 2, also restrained the Nigeria Police Force and Okeke from taking any steps to prosecute the individuals for their role played during the #EndSARS protest.

Okeke had in November 2020 filed criminal proceedings before a magistrate court in Abuja against the 50 persons over claims they promoted the October 2020 #EndSARS protests.

In the suit, he alleged that the defendants acted in a manner “with intent to assist in the promotion of an unlawful assembly under the guise or composition of #EndSARS

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