Lately there are a ton of opinions going back and forth about this sniper movie. Hero and great american say some. Others point out that he stretched the truth frequently and that is why Jesse Ventura won his lawsuit. In all reality the guy was probably a fairly normal person for the time and place we live in but took on a very specialized role in the military. A role that requires a high degree of skill, ability to work alone, cunning, focus and comes with much personal risk. These are admirable traits.

Would I call this person a hero?

 

To put a person on a pedestal for all to admire, to tell children about them for hundreds of years; this is not something to do lightly. A hero must stand the tests of time. History books are filled with generals who lead thousands, leaders who recognized an opportunity to win in adversity or an individual who lead a victory in a decisive battle. Today it would commonly be held that these are examples of heroes in warfare.

Let’s look to the master of military strategy, Sun Tzu, highly regarded for the thirteen short studies found in The Art of War which lay out the timeless foundations for warfare. Whether the participants are aware or not these factors will surely decide the outcome.

Take these translations from The Art of War

” …the skillful leader subdues the enemy’s troops without any fighting; he captures their cities without laying siege to them; he overthrows their kingdom without lengthy operations”

“to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.”

Not to say Tzu is advocating the non-aggression principle but he is saying that the wise choice is to leverage your options and he understands the economic loss that comes with even a minor battle. For there are no real “winners” in war, everyone is going to lose some.

I say do not look among soldiers for a hero, you will find men put in unfortunate situations who have risen to the occasion as best they can amid destruction. They will do amazing feats for sure and endear them to comrades and people back home. Let us find the truest hero to be the person with tact and knowledge who wins the war without a single blow. The first hero is the one who swallowed pride in order for diplomacy to win a war with no blood sacrificed. History books do not feature wars that were avoided, they do not highlight when sons stayed home with their families and died from natural causes decades later. The names of unknown heroes who lead with diplomacy and found a dignified resolution – these are the heroes. We should erect statues of them in our parks, dedicate buildings to them and celebrate them with holidays.