What’s this about The New Republic publishing a review of a movie the reviewer hasn’t seen?

He’s not kidding. The review, written by Dennis Ross, actually includes the paragraph, “I have not seen American Sniper. But if the trailer is any indication, Eastwood’s film, like Zero Dark Thirty, tries to make a straightforward situation more complex than it is.”

Oh, did we say written by Dennis Ross? Make that Dennis Jett, professor of international affairs at Penn State University.

What could a university professor have to say about a film he hasn’t seen? Let’s just skip to the end of the “review.” Don’t worry about spoilers, as the film isn’t discussed.

A recent study estimates there were 461,000 war-related “excess” deaths in Iraq between 2003 and mid-2011. If true, President George W. Bush may be responsible for the deaths of more Iraqi civilians than Saddam Hussein was. But Bush is not solely culpable. We live in a democracy where the people elect the government, and therefore citizens cannot escape the blame for what it does. In that sense, it is not just Kyle who pulled the trigger. We all did.

Can we all write reviews for The New Republic?


Editor’s note: An editing error in the headline of this post has been corrected.