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The US and Iraqi military use 'The Punisher' skull as an icon in the war on terror

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This weekend, the highly-anticipated Marvel series The Punisher hits Netflix, but the comic book anti-hero has had a huge affect in real life for a while now, as an icon in the fight against ISIS.

In the comics, Frank Castle, The Punisher, is a Vietnam War veteran who takes the law into his own hands after the police fail to bring his family’s killer to justice.

He then uses murder, kidnapping, extortion, and torture to exact his own brand of justice on anyone he deems in need of punishment.

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In Iraq, his white skull logo can be seen stenciled onto fighter’s helmets, vests and trucks, both on American military and Iraqi forces as a symbol of strength and justice by any means necessary.

In fact US Navy Seal Chris Kyle, who was the subject of the 2014’s movie American Sniper, wrote about naming his unit after The Punisher in his autobiography.

He righted wrongs. He killed bad guys. He made wrongdoers fear him.
'American Sniper' by Chris Kyle
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Warner Bros.

But the comic’s creator Gerry Conway said in an interview with Time that in his mind, The Punisher is not a good guy.

Here’s a guy that never questions himself. He never asks ‘am I doing the right thing? I think there is something really attractive about that to people.
Gerry Conway, Co-creator of 'The Punisher' to TIME

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