If there’s one thing for which many military supporters can be counted on, it’s the rich and deeply layered irony of their own behavior, as well as their legendary obliviousness to that irony. Jesse Ventura’s successful libel suit against the late mercenary Chris Kyle is certainly no exception. While taking pride in their perceived role as defenders of this society, supporters and former colleagues of Kyle have openly expressed contempt for the law, by persecuting and shaming Ventura regardless of the jury’s verdict.
Many military supporters of Chris Kyle have expressed everything from wishing violence against Ventura, to calling for his deportation due to his using his right to defend himself in court against Chris Kyle’s claims. This is despite a jury reaching the conclusion that Kyle, not Ventura, was the party guilty of defamation when he wrote in his book that he had punched Ventura after making disparaging remarks about the Navy Seals, a claim now proven in court to be libelous.
Perhaps the most cynically misleading aspect of corporate coverage of this trial, is the propagation of the claim that Chris Kyle’s widow will have to pay the 1.8 million dollar settlement from her own money, leading naturally to accusations of Ventura taking money from a military widow. Not only is this statement false since Kyle’s publisher, Harper Collins, owns libel insurance precisely for instances such as this, but it’s also remarkably insulting to many people’s intelligence, as libel insurance is common for larger publishers. Any part of the judgement not covered by insurance is likely to be withdrawn from future royalties from the book. In other words, rather than paying any money for her husband’s libelous publication, she will simply receive slightly less profit from it. Also dubious is the claim that Ventura “went after” Kyle’s widow, since the lawsuit was filed before Chris Kyle’s mysterious murder at a Texas gun range early last year.
Like their domestic counterpart, the police, the military and its supporters often express little or no regard for actual facts in an instance such as this, while placing loyalty to their institution as their highest priority. For many, the question of whether Chris Kyle really did make up a story about punching Jesse Ventura is an afterthought at best. The fact that he would dare to defend his name and question the integrity of a perceived military hero is enough to evoke truly un-American persecution and hatred.