Dear Mr. Michael Moore,
Before I address the subject of this letter, I want to first say that I respect your ability as a film maker. While I often don’t agree with your opinions, I will say they have an impact – even if it’s only to reinforce my opinion on a matter. We are both entitled to our opinions, as well as to express them.
With that being said, the subject of this letter is in regards to your recent comments that snipers are “cowards”. First, I understand why you may feel this way, especially considering you lost a family member to a sniper. There is a feeling that snipers, because of the secretive nature and ability to strike from a distance, are “cowardly” in that they use unfair advantage to remain safe.
However, the reality is quite the opposite.
Being a Sniper is one of the most difficult, dangerous and arguably important aspect of warfare. During WW2, we had deployed snipers, just like the Germans and Japanese. Our snipers often protected our soldiers. I imagine that there were often times where you Uncle (who served) had snipers and designated marksman watching his back as he fought. By extension of you comment, you would also consider them cowards.
Snipers are often deployed deep behind enemy lines, mostly for reconnaissance purposes. When deployed for the purposes of combat, they are extremely effective at keeping an enemy force at bay. However, if they are discovered, or are over run, there is only certain death. Because of the nature of their role, they are often hated. Since they operate deep in enemy territory, there is rarely a safe area to fall back to.
When “Snipers” operate in a squad, they are considered a Designated Marksman, in which they differ little from any other soldier.These soldiers are no more cowards than any other soldier since they take the same risks.
Snipers do save lives, particularly the lives of their fellow soldiers. To put this in perspective, consider the use of the atom bomb in WW2; we dropped the bomb in order to save the lives of 300,000 American Soldiers from doing a land invasion of Japan. And since the Japanese surrendered, you could argue it saved the lives of the Japanese as well. This can also apply to Snipers; by taking the life of one person (especially a “high valued target’) you can save the lives of others. Would it had been cowardly to place a Sniper in Berlin that could have shot and killed Adolf Hitler? How many lives could have that one sniper saved?
I won’t address your other comments about the Iraqi War itself, in part because it doesn’t affect the bravery of the soldier and in part I agree with some of the sentiments you express about it’s “legitimacy”. However, serving in the military and facing death is still brave. The Japanese and Germans soldiers still expressed bravery, even if they were on the wrong side of history. Soldiers are still human beings.
I don’t know the circumstances surrounding the death of your Uncle, but I would wonder if that Japanese Sniper died in the war. And if he did, doesn’t facing death in any manner and continuing to fight still constitute some degree of bravery? Shouldn’t the focus be on the horror of war?
War is supposed to be terrible; it’s the act of human beings taking each other’s lives. And while in some cases it’s considered necessary, it should only be used as a final alternative because it is so terrible. But anyone who has chosen to risk death to serve a purpose is not a coward. And since the act of war was created, the methods and technologies of have developed and evolved to obtain an unfair advantage.
I don’t think you’re an evil person, I think you’re a human person – a human who is subject to their emotions as we all are. I think this is what motivates your film making as well. However, in your films where you express your opinion, you at least will substantiate it through facts. I feel your comment was purely emotional, and wanted to give you some factual perspective – even if it only reinforces your opinion.