Saturday, 7 March 2015

Book Review: A Sniper's Conflict

A Sniper’s Conflict
I read a peculiar story, a strange encounter for her, by blog buddy Gil, which spurred me on to finish this book review. It seems a competition for the longest (farthest away) sniper kill, with records listed on Wiki, make this information public.

I've been avoiding reading this book. Sometimes, when life throws you a curve, you simply must avoid death and gore. It was time to review this book.

What an autobiography, A Sniper’s Conflict! He pulls no punches, as far as I can tell. He calls himself Monty B, this author. It's a pretty gruesome saga, with gory details about death, sniper kills, and dying. There are some photos, as well. Some faces, of soldiers still living with faces blurred to protect them. Many were lost, as we know.
Royal Marine snipers with L115A1 rifles
Francis Flinch at en.wikipedia

It was an timely read, in that there is much fooferaw around American sniper Chris Kyle ((April 8, 1974 – February 2, 2013), whose autobiography resulted in the US movie, American Sniper. Kyle and a buddy, Chad Littlefield, were murdered on a shooting range. Sad tale. There are those calling the movie War Porn. I would go with this. The media someone called the 'lifeblood of terrorism.' This is what fuels young men to go overseas, armed and dangerous. This is what motives the young women, looking for excitement.

This book, A Sniper’s Conflict is very precise in teaching the reader how to focus, hold a breathe, relax and prepare to shoot an insurgent. Monty B was a sniper instructor for 14 years of his 26-year career, and taught many others the discipline of sniping. He served in operational tours in Northern Ireland, the Balkans, Iraq, and Afghanistan. I found it gruesome. It is truly an manual for being a sniper.

There is a glossary of terms, for we know how fond the military is of acronyms!
His writing is excellent, with colourful language, as one would expect.

He also manages, for me, to explain PTSD.
"It is only when you are back in the sanctuary and security of your patrol base... Then when you finally get chance to put your head down, your mind and body let you know what the F you have just put them through as you lie there in would-be silence with the battle noise still ringing in your ears. Surrounded by complete darkness, you finally try to close your eyes and rest but there is one more final battle: a battle against the still very active and conscious mind and aching body that only you as an individual can fight. All you need and want to do is simply shut your eyes and rest and make it all go away."
He writes eloquently of the landscape and the arrival of dawn.
Light was slowly penetrating through the dark clouds that blanketed the heavens, breaking through and beaming down onto the earth below. As I observed this effect it reminded me of the images associated with a classic old big-budget biblical Hollywood epic...Gradually the darkness was replaced by bright colour: a mixture of light purple and red that tainted the low-lying dark clouds and skyline on the far horizon."
From a UK news article: The father of two, who has written a book about his experiences called A Sniper’s Conflict  under the pseudonym "Monty B", adds: “I can’t emphasise enough that sniping is not about shooting every day. It’s about hours and hours of observation.” 
This from a YouTube video synopsis

Certainly, this overseas conflict is hitting us here in the Ottawa Valley.

Dillon Hillier, 26, a former Canadian solider who has gone to Iraq to help the Kurds fight ISIS. (Courtesy of the Hiller family)Two Ottawa Valley locals, each on different sides in the Middle East
They estimate that perhaps 100 young people have gone to fight in the ISIS battle, including our MPP Randy Hiller's son, Dillon Hillier, who fought with the Kurds.
Then there is John McGuire, who was fighting with ISIL.


William Kendall said...

From what you've said here, it doesn't sound like a glorification of the sniper's role.

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

I thought American Sniper did a good job of showing the effect of the war on a person and their families.
The battle scenes were very intense and I thought glorified things a little too much.

Gill - That British Woman said...

it takes a certain type of person to do that sort of job. One that can turn his emotions on and off at a drop of a hat. I am not one of those people. Not sure if I would read that book? Something to think about though. Thank you for posting the review.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
(ooohh think my comment to the previous post fell away... but well done on ladders and stuffs...)

As to this one. I just would not read such a thing. Not that I don't have concern and interest in the men who have to do this, because it is what they are paid by government to do, but because I feel there is no room for such material to be available to those who will completely misread it - which is what you refer to in regard to such appearing on film also. As always, you give a nicely balanced review Jenn...