This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," January 05, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: "Personal Story" segment tonight, Chief Chris Kyle, a Navy SEAL, is officially the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history. The chief has written a brand-new book called "American Sniper" that chronicles his amazing story in Iraq. I spoke with him last night.
O'REILLY: So Chief, I read your book. Very entertaining. I recommend it for my audience. I think they'll like it.
First of all, you said you knocked Jesse Ventura to the floor with a punch. Now you don't mention his name, but everybody knows who that is. No. 1, that happened? Knocked him out?
CHRIS KYLE, FORMER NAVY SEAL SNIPER: Well, I knocked him down.
O'REILLY: Why? Why would you punch Ventura?
KYLE: It was in '06. It was the year we lost our first two SEALs in Iraq. We came home. We lost our last guy just before coming home. We had the wake in a SEAL bar there in Coronado, and he was there. He was there for a speaking engagement at a bud ceremony, graduating class.
O'REILLY: Because he was a SEAL, right?
O'REILLY: He was a Navy SEAL. So he was bad mouthing the war. Right?
KYLE: Bad mouthing the war, bad mouthing Bush. Bad mouthing America.
O'REILLY: And you took exception?
KYLE: I did find a problem with it. The family was there. I asked him to please tone it down, that we did not want to upset the family members of Michael Mansoor.
O'REILLY: Who was killed?
KYLE: Yes, sir. And he earned the Medal of Honor. He jumped on a grenade and saved everybody else around.
O'REILLY: But I want to be clear. Ventura wasn't attacking him at all, verbally bashing him. He was just bashing the whole thing in general?
KYLE: Yes, sir. Until he said we deserve to lose a few guys.
O'REILLY: He said we deserve to lose -- we, the United States...
KYLE: No, he said, "You, y'all deserve to lose a few guys."
O'REILLY: Navy SEALs?
KYLE: I am assuming he was saying that to me.
O'REILLY: Was he drunk?
KYLE: No, sir. I never saw him with a drink in hand at all.
O'REILLY: So once he said, "You deserve to lose a few guys," you popped him?
KYLE: Yes, sir.
O'REILLY: Did he fight back?
KYLE: He went down, the cops were there. I took off running.
O'REILLY: You ran?
KYLE: Yes, sir.
O'REILLY: Did they arrest you?
KYLE: No, sir. I have a master chief that always said, punch and run.
O'REILLY: Now if I ask you a tough question, you going to pop me tonight?
O'REILLY: OK. All right. Now, the other thing in the book is that you are credited with 150 certified kills, which means you, as a sniper, took out 150 guys and somebody else saw it, witnessed it. So you are the most lethal sniper in U.S. history, and you have the medals to prove it. Five Bronze Stars, two Silver Stars, and all that.
What struck me in the book, though, is that you considered the people you were killing, the Iraqis you were killing, quote, unquote, "savages."
KYLE: The people I was killing. Not just Iraqis.
O'REILLY: Why did you consider the enemy savages?
KYLE: From their actions. The way they lived day-to-day as far, as the violence they commit on American troops, the beheadings, the rape of innocent villagers and townspeople that they go into just to intimidate them. They live by putting fear into other people's hearts, and civilized people just don't act that way.
O'REILLY: You were so effective in Iraq that they put $20,000 on your head. If one of them had killed you, they would have been paid $20,000. Do you believe that they considered you a savage?
KYLE: I'm sure they did. Honestly, I don't know, and I really don't care.
O'REILLY: So you were committed to killing these people because you, in your heart, believed that they deserved to die?
KYLE: I wasn't so much committed to killing them as I was -- I'm committed to making sure every service member that was over there, whether American or ally, came home.
O'REILLY: But as a sniper, your job is to kill them, not wound them, not arrest them. You have to have a certain mentality to be a sniper. You're killing them.
KYLE: I'm killing them to protect my fellow Americans.
O'REILLY: And you liked it? You liked the job. In the book -- you know, your wife didn't want you to do it. She wanted you to stay home. You went back how many times did you go back?
KYLE: Four times.
O'REILLY: Four times. You liked killing these guys. Did you ever figure that out?
KYLE: Well, I mean, it's not a problem taking out someone who wants your people dead. That's not a problem at all.
O'REILLY: Do you ever now, looking back, have any regrets at all about anything that you did?
KYLE: Yes, I do. It's the people I couldn't save.
O'REILLY: The Americans you couldn't save, or the allied forces?
KYLE: Americans, the local Iraqis, anyone who I witnessed violence coming down on them and I could not save them.
O'REILLY: That's your regret?
KYLE: Yes, sir.
O'REILLY: You don't have posttraumatic stress or anything like that that you killed so many human beings? That doesn't come back at you?
KYLE: None of my problems come from the people I've killed.
O'REILLY: It's very fascinating. And that's why I want people to read your book, because I think if they do, if they read your book, Chief, "American Sniper," they'll understand what war is really about. 'Cause I think too many of us don't understand what war is really about.
KYLE: I mean, war is hell. It's definitely -- Hollywood fantasizes about it and makes it look good. It's -- war sucks.
O'REILLY: But they need guys like to you win.
KYLE: Definitely, you have to get in the mentality and you have to not think of them as a human being. You have to portray them as -- that's why I put savages.
O'REILLY: Right. All right, chief. Thanks very much. We appreciate you coming on in.
KYLE: Thank you for having me.
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