If you notice a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth in the coming days, don’t worry: it’s not the End Times. It’s just conservatives dealing with the news that Chris Kyle’s lies aren’t limited to a fight that never happened with former pro wrestler Jesse Ventura, a gruesome murder of two carjackers that never happened, his claim that he found Weapons of Mass Destruction, that time he bragged that he shot a bunch of black people during Hurricane Katrina, or any of the multitude of dishonesties he pushed in an effort to further himself in the eyes of the Stupid Part of America.
Kyle, a dangerous and racist sociopath who said he “loved killing” people he called “savages” because murder is “fun,” was murdered in 2013 by a fellow veteran suffering from PTSD. While his death was tragic, perhaps even more tragic is the undeserved hero status bestowed upon him by American conservatives.
Kyle became known as the deadliest sniper in American history after he claimed in his book to have received two silver stars and five bronze stars “all for valor” — but like pretty much anything else he ever said, that was a lie, too. The Intercept reports that Kyle only earned about half the medals he claimed. While the ones he did earn are probably deserved, Kyle’s dishonesty once again rears its ugly head. A Freedom of Information Act request reveals that Kyle actually received three Bronze Stars and a single Silver Star during the entire stretch of his ten years of service.
In fact, the publication notes that Kyle was warned that he was lying about the number of medals he received:
Kyle was warned at least once before American Sniper was published that its description of his medal count was wrong, according to one current Navy officer, who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to speak about the case. As Kyle’s American Sniper manuscript was distributed among SEALs, one of his former commanders, who was still on active duty, advised Kyle that his claim of having two Silver Stars was false, and he should correct it before his book was published.
Current and former Navy SEALs interviewed for this article, who agreed to speak on background because they feared being shunned by their close-knit community, did not dispute Kyle’s heroism in combat, but saw the inflation of his medal count as significant because they consider battlefield embellishments to be dishonorable.
Kyle’s separation document, or DD214, contains inaccurate information about his medals, stating that he received two Silver and six Bronze Stars, but those numbers still differ from what he claimed he received.
“The Navy considers the individual service member’s official military personnel file and our central official awards records to be the authoritative sources for verifying entitlement to decorations and awards,” Navy spokesperson Cullen James told The Intercept. “The form DD214 is generated locally at the command where the service member is separated. Although the information on the DD214 should match the official records, the process involves people and inevitably some errors may occur.”
“Given [Kyle’s] celebrity, you’d think the Navy would have gone back and fixed the discrepancy,” one Navy official told the publication. “But he’s only got the three Bronze and one Silver Star.”
Kyle, who self-reported that he had 160 “confirmed kills” (there is no such thing), wrote in his book that “SEALs are silent warriors, and I’m a SEAL down to my soul,”urging anyone who wants to “check him out” to “ask a SEAL” — so The Intercept did:
Two members of the SEAL community said that while Kyle’s actions under fire were commendable, he tarnished his accomplishments through misrepresentation.
“It takes away from the legitimate heroism he showed,” said a retired SEAL who was deployed to Iraq when Kyle was also deployed there.
Despite his lies, nearly 7,000 people attended Kyle’s funeral at Cowboys Stadium. According to one former SEAL, “Everybody went on a pilgrimage to his funeral at Cowboys Stadium, knowing full well his claims weren’t true.”
It’s always tragic when someone who has served his or her country dies — but it is even more tragic when it is revealed that they were dishonorable to the point that nothing they have accomplished in their career means anything anymore, and at this point we are left to wonder how much of Chris Kyle’s tale is true.
Featured image via Portside