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American Sniper’: Eastwood Turns Lens on Navy SEAL in Iraq

Bradley Cooper Portrays Real Life ‘American Sniper’ Chris Kyle 2:43

“Every person I killed I have a clear conscience of, because they were actively trying to harm Americans, allies or civilians.” — Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle

The wartime days in Iraq of Chris Kyle, who had 160 confirmed kills, is the lens through which director Clint Eastwood chose to tell his latest tale, “American Sniper” (The movie shares the title of the best-selling book that Kyle authored about his career as a marksman in Iraq).

Kyle’s story is set amid the chaos of Iraq’s bloodiest urban battles. “I think I'd like people to try to understand Chris Kyle and the mentality of all the people who were around him,” Eastwood told NBC's Nightly News. “I'd like them to feel what it's like, the nervousness of war, and (have) an appreciation of what they're doing.”

But Kyle won't be seeing the film: He was tragically killed in 2012 at the hands of a veteran he was trying to help, some three years after he left the Navy.

His wife, Taya, said she wished she had understood when he was on the battlefield that it wasn’t just the military brotherhood Chris was staying for.

“He was too humble to say, ‘Taya, I'm saving lives every day out there and I can't stand the thought of not doing that," she said.

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— Miranda Leitsinger