The late Chris Kyle spent his post-military career basking in the role of conservative icon. He wrote books, went on publicity tours, and often appeared on Fox News to tout pro-gun talking points and to bash President Obama. But mostly he bragged.
He bragged about how many people he had killed as a sniper. He bragged about knocking out former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura in a bar. He bragged about killing black people in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. He bragged about also killing attempted carjackers in Texas. He bragged about how many medals he had received.
And while conservatives were too starstruck to bother asking for details, reporters and the military both started to notice one troubling thing: Almost everything Chris Kyle said was unfettered bullshit. Since his death, the Kyle legacy has been tarnished by the fact that he was clearly a compulsive liar who didn’t just lie about little things, but about major ones as well.
It might be heartening to know, for example, that there is no evidence that Chris Kyle ever perched himself atop a building in New Orleans and sniped looting black people. He said that solely to serve as fan fiction for right-wing racists eager to have their fantasies realized. There is no evidence that he killed anyone in Texas, either. And even more costly, his estate was sued by Gov. Ventura about his “knockout punch” story – and it lost to the tune of $1.8 million.
Now the Navy has released a damning report that confirms Chris Kyle also lied about his military accolades – a major no-no in military culture. Despite having claimed to be the most decorated soldier in American history, with two Silver Stars and five Bronze Stars for valor, the Navy found that this was not the case.
In its “very thorough” review of Kyle’s record, the Navy reviewed records from Navy Special Warfare Command, the awards board, which adjudicates major awards for the service such as Silver Stars, and Navy Personnel Command, Rockwellpate said.
“After thoroughly reviewing all available records, the Navy determined an error was made in the issuance of Chief Petty Officer Chris Kyle’s form DD-214,” he said. “Specifically, the DD-214 did not accurately reflect the decorations and awards to which Kyle was officially entitled.
The co-authors of Kyle’s book, which had been heavily marketed on the fact that he was highly decorated for valor, have pushed back – saying Kyle really did earn all of those medals, but shoddy paperwork is to blame for the discrepancy. It’s certainly possible. It’s also possible that a man who was willing to lie about killing 30 people after Hurricane Katrina and about punching the governor of a state also embellished his military service.
After all, Fox News was visibly salivating at promoting him and his legend, why let a good story go to waste, even if it weren’t true?
Featured image via Fox News screengrab