American Snipers

American Snipers

Positionality in Embodied War Imaginaries: American Snipers

Benjamin Schrader

Abstract

This paper maps the positionality of two soldiers embodied experiences as snipers for the US military. One, Chris Kyle who is labeled as “the most lethal sniper in US military history,” wrote a book uncritically glorifying his experiences, which was later turned into the Oscar nominated film American Sniper. His attempt to help veterans heal from PTSD by taking them shooting was a possible trigger that reignited the traumas of war, which can be traced to his eventual death. The other, Garett Reppenhagen, who was the first active duty member of the antiwar group Iraq Veterans Against the War, and currently works to help others heal from the traumas of war by getting them engaged in wilderness programs and environmental activism. Both stories expose a range of traumas of war, both within wartime and in peacetime, and we see the ways in which their narratives of war have different reflections of what it means to heal during times of peace. This paper juxtaposes these two stories, their war imaginaries, and how one works to reinforce the military dispositif, while the other works to impede it in favor of human rights.

Key words: Embodiment, Militarism, Soldiers, Veterans, War Imaginaries.

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