American Sniper has gotten lots of negative feedback from those who see it as being both a whitewash and a jingoistic claptrap.
This, of course, led to the typical back-and-forth that falls across lazy party lines and ultimately ends up with "aren't both sides sorta right?" pablum like this from The Daily Beast's Marlow Stern:
But the film's most dangerous lie isn't based on one's subjective opinion or political bias. It's a matter of historical fact and it's a lie that's gone entirely unnoticed:
The film depicts Kyle on his "first tour" which we know was March of 2003
And the film clearly shows a military commander on this "first tour" explaining that they are fighting "AQI" or "al Qaeda in Iraq". This is really shitty for a few reasons:
Predictably, some saw this omission as inconsequential.
While some artistic liberties are not that important, some are terribly pernicious.
In this case, America Sniper was guilty of subtly playing in to the dangerous neocon fantasy that the war in Iraq had anything to do with 9/11.
To make matter worse it was revealed years later that even the Pentagon's 2004-2005 focus on Zarqawi (the nominal head of al Qaeda in Iraq) was deliberately "played up" (see: lied about)
The Pentagon, just like the film - and by extension Chris Kyle - wanted more than anything for the Iraqi insurgency to be seen as foreign al Qaeda.
The Pentagon even went so far as to call the "Islamic State" (AQI's predecessor) an al Qaeda front group who's head was an "actor" in 2007