Rick Perry blames President Barack Obama and “snakes” in the media for apparent discrepancies in “American Sniper” Chris Kyle’s military service record.
The former Navy SEAL, who was known as the deadliest sniper in U.S. military history, apparently earned about half as many medals as he claimed in his book — despite warnings from at least one commanding officer about the inaccuracies.
The Intercept reported on those inconsistencies last week, including quotes from several Navy SEALs and military officials — and Perry has joined a number of conservatives who have attacked the website but have been unable to prove the late Kyle’s claims.
“If there is any inaccuracy in Kyle’s account it’s that he didn’t take ENOUGH credit for his awards,” wrote Perry, the former Texas governor and failed Republican presidential candidate.
Kyle claimed in his book to have been awarded two Silver Stars and five Bronze Stars, “all for valor” — but internal Navy documents obtained by the Intercept showed he earned only one Silver Star and three Bronze Stars with Valor.
Navy officials confirmed that service record, and Perry called for “seemingly indifferent” military officials to be punished for complying with the federal Freedom of Information Act by sharing public records.
“I am calling on people of conscience to join me in calling for the retraction and deletion of the offending article and reprimand of the Navy personnel who have fed this misperception with their lackadaisical handling of the original information request,” Perry said.
The former governor recognized that his demands potentially violated constitutional law, but waved away those concerns with some unsubstantiated claims.
“This request might seem odd from someone who is committed to the constitutional freedoms our military fights to defend, but freedom of speech and deliberate libel are two entirely different things,” Perry said.
He compared the report to urban myths about hippies spitting on returning Vietnam War veterans — and blamed the whole affair on President Barack Obama, as he so often does.
“Perhaps it’s a byproduct of nearly eight years of an arch-liberal in the Oval Office combined with an American population increasingly disconnected from the men and women who serve in the military,” Perry said.