Monday, September 27, 2010

Stolen Valor

MG David Bockel
ROA Executive Director

“The 9th Circuit Appeals Court reversed the conviction in a case involving a Southern California man who claimed to have won the Medal of Honor. The court found that simply claiming to have won the medal is protected speech under the First Amendment, even if it is false.” – Huntsville Times

“A panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with him in a 2-1 decision Tuesday, agreeing that the law was a violation of his free-speech rights. The majority said there's no evidence that such lies harm anybody, and there's no compelling reason for the government to ban such lies.” – Associated Press

Are you mad yet? If not, you should be. Of particular note was the majority’s statement that “there's no evidence that such lies harm anybody and there's no compelling reason for the government to ban such lies.” No compelling reason? No harm? For the millions of currently serving and former service members, their widows, widowers, orphans, brothers, sisters, friends, and probably the majority of this country, not to mention our country’s history, there is SERIOUS harm that has been done. These frauds have trampled on the memory, heroism, patriotism… name it…of the brave men and women who have served. Most of them served with very little to show for their service in the way of awards. But they all respected what those awards represented. Frankly, Mr. Xavier Alvarez and other impostors should be locked up at the disciplinary barracks at Fort Leavenworth for life.

Unfortunately, there are some still serving who have “stolen valor." Recently, a sergeant major, the senior enlisted advisor at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, claimed a chest full of awards he never earned. And there are public figures who have claimed heroic service even though their service was questionable.

What about the 2 (out of 3) judges who came up with this ridiculous ruling? It's too bad they've been appointed for life and can't be fired. The majority decision was rendered by Judge Thomas D. Nelson and Judge Milan D. Smith, Jr. They should be shamed in all the media. The lone dissenting judge, Jay S. Bybee, deserves credit for standing his ground.

And, if the U. S Attorney does not pursue this in the Supreme Court, he should be rebuked. Let your elected representatives know how you feel. Ask them to contact Attorney General Holder and demand that this case be taken to the highest court in the land.

Is this the way our veterans and our country are honored? There is no glory in stealing valor not earned or in excusing those who steal it. Only shame.

1 comment:

Steve said...

In addition to the millions who have served in the military to whom this is a great slap in the face, what about the slap in the face to the one who ultimately awards the MOH, the President of the United States? Free speech, I don't know about that because there are some benefits that are afforeded to MOH recipients. A claim to have received the MOH brings several financial as well as preferential treatment benefits. One is that regardless of rank a MOH recipient is to be saluted by ALL military personnel. In other words, if Army Chief of Staff General George Casey were to meet up with Sergeant First Class Jared Monti, General Casey would initiate the salute because of Sergeant Monti's status as a MOH recipient. I know that Judge Bybee did everthing in his power to argue to support the lower court decision and perhaps the ROA could recognize him for that. And yes, this should be pushed to the Supreme Court because the MOH is presented by the President!