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Should the Constitution protect from federal prosecution those who lie about their military experiences?

 

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rbrayden

July 22, 2010 - 6:03pm

If a judge believes that it is unconsitutional to prosecute someone for claiming to be in the military or to have been awarded metals for performace of duty or deeds then it should be unconsitutional to prosecute someone for claiming to be a judge or anyone else for that matter.

Jackfrompa

July 22, 2010 - 6:48pm

I am beginning to think that many of today's judges have spent their legal career in the ACLU.

billybuzzy

July 22, 2010 - 6:56pm

This is Much a Do about nothing......We might as well start prosecuting Car Salesmen,All types of Repairmen, Contractors, Politicians, Realtors, Lawyers and the like!!Let Us then build a 20 ft. high wall of razor wire around Our borders!! Unless personal injury is suffered the right to Freedom of Speech must be preserved and enhanced!!! Our Liberties must not be tread upon by imagined insults....that is what we served and fought for and We continue to so do!!!

463x0dude

July 22, 2010 - 7:45pm

bump sory

463x0dude

July 22, 2010 - 7:43pm

To claim Military Service, and knowingly defraud people - is fraud! Plain and simple. This guy should be a recipient of an old fashioned blanket party - if he wants the whole experience..... Freedom of speech means being able to dissent, proclaim your beliefs, even those beliefs that are not shared by the majority. I am sure the founding fathers were not talking of knowingly defrauding people.

AF Sarge

July 22, 2010 - 8:09pm

My problem with those that see this as a "non-problem" is that when someone stands and claims to be a decorated veteran it does two things. First, it can create opportunities and give recognition to someone who does not deserve it, and second, while that fraud is standing there claiming to be a highly decorated veteran he is drawing attention and earned recognition AWAY from a true veteran. It is not only a fraudulent act but it robs the real veterans of their moment.

As a member of another organization we recently had a long-time member who claimed to be part of the famed Tuskegee Airmen. He even went to Washington DC and received a replica of the Presidential Gold Medal which was presented to all members of the famed group. It was only later that he was found out and the embarrassment that individual caused our organization is still ongoing.

The only people who deserve to stand and be recognized are those who have earned the right... that's all I'm going to say about that.

ohio ogre

July 22, 2010 - 11:42pm

Unfortunately freedom of speech includes the right to lie like an old rug. If it did not then nearly everyone in politics, cable news, and talk radio would be in prison by now, or better yet deported 12 miles offshore into a pool of chum.

I have never liked this aspect of the First Amendment, but it is the law of the land. If anyone has any ideas as to how we can modify this to outlaw lying while still protecting humor and religion and other stories and such please do speak up. Granted we'd wipe out whole industries, and likely for a while there'd be more people in prison than out, but on balance it seems worth the effort.

weldred

July 23, 2010 - 8:58am

Having most of our lawyers trained in part by the ACLU would be a benefit to us all. The ACLU is an organization that works to protect us - each and every American. Much like us veterans, they put in their time and dedication to fighting the battles of mass mob rule and special interests to ensure our individual freedoms are maintained. That's a good thing.

EShattuck

July 23, 2010 - 9:50am

Has anyone reading this ever read the Stolen Valor Act?

While I agree with the majority here that people should not be allowed to falsely claim military service and honors, I wonder if this particular law was written properly to do the job. The real issue is not theft (Stolen) or insults. The issue is that these people bring discredit upon true veterns by commission of fraud.

To billybuzzy, with the way this has been going, claiming to be a vetern will be seen as the same as being a [Used] Car Salesman. Why should anyone believe any of us if every "vetern" they see or hear of is a fraud?

Rlwspark

July 23, 2010 - 2:14pm

Iles are not a point of view! The 1st admendment is a protection of free speech to include opinions, a lie is NOT an opinion. It is one thing if someones recollection differs from their service record, it is a whole different thing if someone claims service actions or deeds that differ or are unsubstantiated. There are people that create an entire false service (record) that have never served or have an non deployed service. There are things that I did on my last deployment that are not on my service record. And signing a 50 year non disclosure agreement in relation to that deployment, I simply don't claim to be in places or actions that are not on my service record!

bwacs48

July 23, 2010 - 4:30pm

I'm sorry sir I just can't but that, they have done, as far as I'm concerned, much more damage than they have good.

ohio ogre

July 24, 2010 - 5:01pm

The ACLU stands up for First Amendment rights.
The NRA stands up for Second Amendment rights.
Overall both groups have done much more good than harm.
Of course you rarely hear about the good; no controversy for the media to hype.

I believe we Vets especially should stand firmly beside both groups.
In their own way both are doing what each of us did.
Defending the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic.

It seems what really gets some folks panties in a such a tight bunch against either of these groups is the implication, and sometimes clear fact, that they personally are one of the domestic enemies being defended against.

Gunner42

July 25, 2010 - 4:23pm

well, now, just let someone go down and take a civil service exam and put down their veteran's service and benefits to add the points for the results. Then you can hire them or will you charge them with falsefying records for personal gain? In my book that is a CRIME!
Lieing about your service is a crime! Not to be dismissed so lightly!

Nucvictory

July 26, 2010 - 11:02am

People who lie to make their military service appear more valorous, etc., that's not a crime, however despicable, and is already a protection under the Constitution.

If they get something financial, such as claiming they served so they can get discounts or membership, etc., they should have no protections from being sued or prosecuted for fraud, the same as if they lied about being an insurance beneficiary, etc.

If they lie to get tax-supported benefits, that should be prosecuted under the Stolen Valor laws. That's not protected speech under any, any circumstance. That's theft of government services.

Anything else is just despicable, like cheating on your wife or bragging about other achievements, and so on, and while the ACLU should choose very carefully before they support such crumbs, the Stolen Valor concept should be very carefully applied only where it counts, and let public opinion take care of non-criminal miscreants, as it always has.

Condor46

July 26, 2010 - 11:52am

Why should we even be asking the question? The unfortunate thing about our nation is that we have sunk to new depths of depravity, lying and stealing even the valor of those who have served, often times giving their lives for our country. The Constitution is a document of immense importance and not one to hide behind in lying about service to our country. I rebuke all of those who would use dishonest means to lift themselves up especially at the expence of so many who died in the pursuit of liberty and justice.

USNXRM

July 26, 2010 - 5:56pm

It is difficult to enforce this law since many tend to exaggerate their military service. It seems many vets and non vets like to claim some special forces duty and it is difficult to draw the line. It is hard to tell what is bs war or sea story and what is stolen valor. some cases are clear cut as the politician here in CA claiming to be Medal odf Honor winner among others when he never is saw any combat.
Those that engage in this practice are despicable but unfortunately the lying cannot be made illegal.

jcookwc

July 28, 2010 - 2:55pm

There is a big difference between Stolen Valor, running around with medals never earned in a uniform never worn and kicking back telling war lies with a group of friends.

Exaggeration is each and every Vets god given right, key word being Vet. What did you do in the war Daddy, a whole lot more than I remeber so lets make it good. However, seeking gains, politcal favor recognition and never having served it totally different than lies over a beer. Many a Vietnam Vet never served a day in Vietnam, they still are Vietnam Vets and they do recall the treatment of Veterans during this period, both here over seas and returning to the United States. If you wish to assume that they actually served in Vietnam well thats your problem.

jcookwc

July 28, 2010 - 2:55pm

There is a big difference between Stolen Valor, running around with medals never earned in a uniform never worn and kicking back telling war lies with a group of friends.

Exaggeration is each and every Vets god given right, key word being Vet. What did you do in the war Daddy, a whole lot more than I remeber so lets make it good. However, seeking gains, politcal favor recognition and never having served it totally different than lies over a beer. Many a Vietnam Vet never served a day in Vietnam, they still are Vietnam Vets and they do recall the treatment of Veterans during this period, both here over seas and returning to the United States. If you wish to assume that they actually served in Vietnam well thats your problem.

bbz3qmt

August 5, 2010 - 7:17pm

In last week's Army Times there was an article about a SGM who claimed he was jump qualified, had earned a truck load of medals and combat ribbons and all sorts of nonsense. Well, that SGM (E-9) is now facing court martial if I remember the article correctly. He has been relieved of his duties and so he should have been.

My question is always the same, Where was the verification of the awards and decorations that he supposedly had earned? Are the Administrative personnel so handcuffed that they are not allowed to ensure that the records are correct? I know that as the Admin Supvr, when I signed off on an official record, I had personally had seen the orders awarding whatever and that there was no lying in the real records. Many of the guys were true heroes and they never said anything, but everyone knew who had the Silver Stars, Soldier Medals and Purple Hearts.

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