Until I caught up with the on-going chapters of the infamous Scott Beauchamp, faux journalist, I hadn’t realized there was so much deception in the U.S. surrounding military service.It seems to be a growth industry, for a variety of reasons.
One factor is getting those nice Veterans’ Administration benefits. Another is all the glory you get from the anti-war groupies. More than fifteen minutes worth of fame, and all those sweet young liberal girls so proud of you for admitting your shame… why it’s the shades of John Kerry, post-Vietnam.
The fakers became so numerous that the Stolen Valor Act of 2005 was signed into law by President Bush after its trip through the House and Senate. Before the law was enacted, there was nothing on the books that criminalized this behavior unless the person was caught in the act of, say, wearing medals or trying to sign up for benefits.
One of our commenters, IRA Darth Aggie, left me a link to the latest story of one of these fake soldiers that appeared in a Seattle paper. For those of you who aren’t aware of Seattle, it’s the latte/liberal capital of Washington state, in our northwest. There would certainly be a fair number of the fake valor guys hanging out in the vicinity, waiting for the next anti-war demonstration and their chance to tell tall tales of the horrible things they did in Iraq to civilians.
Jesse MacBeth never was an Army Ranger, much less a corporal, never received a Purple Heart for wounds inflicted by a foreign foe, and neither saw nor participated in war crimes with fellow U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, claims for which he became a poster boy for the anti-war movement.
So, there was likely no way the 23-year-old Tacoma man suffered post-traumatic stress disorder from the horrors of war and other injuries.
MacBeth was sentenced to five months in jail and three years’ probation for falsifying a Department of Veterans Affairs claim and an Army discharge record.
At a sentencing hearing before U.S. District Court Judge Robert Lasnik on Friday, MacBeth’s federal public defender, Jay Stansell, said that if MacBeth didn’t have PTSD from a war, he had mental health problems and grew up in a harsh environment, homeless on the streets, surviving by seizing whatever angle or positive feedback he could get.
This psychobabble from the public defender means MacBeth ia not supposed to be held responsible for his actions. His momma made him do it. It’s not his fault at all, though he sure does feel bad for being caught:
Under a plea agreement in May, MacBeth admitted guilt to falsifying a claim for veterans compensation benefits and altering his military discharge record, which was issued after he washed out of Army boot camp after 44 days in 2003.
That six weeks of boot camp allowed him to talk the talk — he had the military lingo down well enough to fool the anti-war Bush haters.
So now he’s contrite:
MacBeth said he felt bad for what he did.
“I’m sorry not only for lying about everything and discrediting anti-war groups, but also for defaming the real heroes, the soldiers out there sacrificing for their country,” MacBeth said. “I was trying to pull a fast one, to make money to get off the streets.”
MacBeth fooled peace groups and alternative media to become something of an anti-war star over the past four years.
He claimed he witnessed and participated in war crimes in Iraq with other Rangers, slaughtering hundreds of unarmed men, women and children.
In a widely distributed Internet video translated into Arabic, Macbeth said. “We would burn their bodies … hang their bodies from the rafters in the mosque.”
[Judge] Lasnik noted that the case operated in two arenas, one in the courtroom where he was sentenced specifically for the crime of falsifying records, and another “in the blogosphere and elsewhere where he became a symbol.”
“Too many people with a political agenda grabbed ahold of Mr. MacBeth’s story and ran with it because they wanted to believe it. Any sober look should have lead people to believe it was all a made-up rant,” Lasnik said.
“They tried to make him a poster boy for their point of view, and I think that is outrageous,” Lasnik said.
Operation Stolen Valor… has resulted in a dozen cases under investigation in the Pacific Northwest, with fraud totals of more than $1.4 million. Eight cases have been filed and are in various stages of prosecution.
The act allows authorities to pursue phonies they previously could not touch. In the past, authorities rarely could act unless they caught someone wearing an award.
“As a Vietnam veteran and the father of a decorated Army officer currently serving, I feel very keenly the damage done by Jesse Macbeth and these other fakes,” U.S. Attorney Jeff Sullivan said.
Hmm… I wonder if this law — if it had been in effect at the time — could have covered any of the embroidered stories John Kerry told about his valiant Vietnam experiences. How much different his life would have been if Operation Stolen Valor had been in effect for Vietnam…