Pentagon

Why Refute Lies When You Can Throw Liars in Jail?

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Last month the Supreme Court overturned the Stolen Valor Act, which made it a federal crime to claim military honors one has not actually received, on First Amendment grounds. The law's ostensible goal was to protect the perceived value of military medals and decorations against the degradation caused by false claims. Yet it was not until last week, six years after the statute was enacted, that the Pentagon announced plans for a searchable database that could be used to check whether some blowhard on a local water district board was in fact awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor after serving 25 years in the Marines. In other words, the Defense Department and Congress would sooner threaten people with jail for telling tall tales than take the simple step of disseminating information that could be used to readily refute those stories.

More on the Stolen Valor Act here

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  1. In other words, the Defense Department and Congress would sooner threaten people with jail for telling tall tales than take the simple step of disseminating information that could be used to readily refute those stories.

    Well, yeah. I mean, the default position for anyone in government, defense especially, with regards to sharing information is “Go fuck yourself”.

    1. Dude, you’re like the Meryl Streep of Reason.com!

      This year’s Broken Record award goes to…

      Sarcasmic!

  2. He should get a medal for that mustache.

    1. Isn’t that what the medal next to the Rangers banner is for?

      1. The Army hands out medals for just about everything. Thrown a hand grenade? Medal. Driven a Humvee? Medal. Shopped in the commissary? Medal. The shit the Army wears on their uniforms are about as meaningful and hard-earned as the “flair” your server at Applebee’s wears. I really do think the Army uses all that bling as a recruiting tool. Just look at the flap over the back beret that went down a few years ago. The beret, which had traditionally been exclusive to the Army Rangers (who you could say truly earned it), became standard issue for all Army recruits. Tell me that wasn’t a marketing ploy.

        1. Yeah the rangers “earned” that beret. LOL

  3. I believe the appropriate title is “Medal of Honor” there is no Congressional in front of it. Could be wrong but a number of my military friends have said that was how they were taught.

      1. You do realize that that’s a link to a video game, right?

      2. Time to recalibrate the humor module, Red.

        1. I never claimed to have a sense of humor. Didn’t you read the comment thread under Gene Healy’s article?

      1. Sec. 578.4 Medal of Honor.

        (a) Criteria. The Medal of Honor, established by Joint Resolution of
        Congress, 12 July 1862 (amended by Act of 9 July 1918 and Act of 25 July
        1963) is awarded in the name of Congress …

        That is where “Congressional” comes from – but it is really just the “Medal of Honor”

        1. The use of ‘Congressional’ is intended as an adjective. It is true that the official name is simply Medal of Honor, but the descriptive adjective ‘Congressional’ is often included in reference to it because it is bestowed by the President on behalf of and in the name of Congress.

          1. So a president could veto a Medal of Honor award (which I assume is part of a bill), if he wanted to achieve high levels of dickishness?

            1. Good question. I have no idea. Has there ever been a president that hell-bent on sabotaging his own legacy?

              1. Obviously, you’d have to be crazy and a dick to do that. However, Congress can’t really do anything without passing a law, so I assume it’s possible.

      2. there are some good sources to be found here stating what i said above.
        Links

  4. My bro’s comment on it was a shrug, and, ‘if you didn’t lie about your record to get pussy, you weren’t fit to be a sailor in the US Navy.’

    1. Yeah, he would say that since the USN couldn’t even get a CVN into port in Hawaii if I didn’t tow the ship in, by hand. By myself. Then I had to go throw A-10s like paper airplanes to help the USAF save on fuel. Made me a bit tired and cranky before I had to strap an M-1A2 tank on my back and climb up the Panjshir Valley and kill 5,000,000 Taliban.

      Think I got made an eleventy-star field marshal for that day.

      1. Too bad you didn’t get the Meritorious Gold Star for Valor in Battle.

        1. Didn’t leave witnesses on the battlefield so confirmation for the Gold Star was sadly impossible.

        2. Pffft – Got a bucket of them – first one for killing every member of the Jaish al Mahdi that was alive, will be born in the future or even had previously been alive (I had to have the Chaplains raise them up from the dead, and kill ’em all over again).

          1. I knew it, finally proof that the Army is employing Necromancers.

          2. According to John Buchan the Jaish al Mahdi was a Scotsman in the pay of British intelligence.

        3. “You will receive the Order of Lenin for this!”

      2. I racked up a quite a few Fleet Unit Commendations (Joint Operations Billet) in my day. Seemed like we were getting a FUC-JOB every day sometimes.

  5. Yeah, a few weeks ago I made the mistake of commenting on humanevents about this, mentioning that perhaps giving the government the power to start jailing people for simply lying might not be a road you want to go down. The results were predictible, with one person calling military awards holy and sacred. The replies were very sad but predictable.

    1. That’s a weird bunch over there. Hegelians didn’t even fit into the Germany of their own time very well.

    2. “…military awards holy and sacred.”

      HA! A couple of the high ones – MoH, DSC are ones to pause and take the recipient quite seriously…but holy? Sacred? Not even if a chaplain blesses ’em.

      1. At my agency there’s a portrait of Gene Fluckey (he was head of an ancestor agency as a two-star). He was only wearing four ribbons – on top is the MoH, then the Navy Cross (and if you look closely, you can make out the three repeat award stars).

        For all that he said he was most proud of the fact that he never had anyone merit a Purple Heart under his command.

        1. Just read the wiki article. Jesus Christ….sending a landing party to blow up a train? All the other crazy shit….

          He sounds like the poster child for “If a plan succeeds it’s daring, if it fails it’s reckless.”

  6. In other words, the Defense Department and Congress would sooner threaten people with jail for telling tall tales than take the simple step of disseminating information that could be used to readily refute those stories.

    I know I’ve made this analogy before, but it seems so appropriate for the governments reaction to almost everything. “When you have a hammer,” you treat every problem like a nail and seek to pound it into submission. A government that is so efficient at putting its citizens behind bars is going to see the answer to all of its problems as “criminalize and imprison.”

    1. So it is, so it must be, for what is the state, but the embodiment of force?

  7. I thought the easy response to anyone’s bullshit tales of valor was to ask them what the color of the boathouse at Hereford was?

    1. I remember the Ronin reference but isn’t Hereford the location of the British Special Air Service? What would be the U.S. equivalent to that question?

      1. That’s the point. No one knows what color the boathouse is. It doesn’t even matter. You start screaming the question at them, repeatedly, and they eventually crack and admit they’re lying.

        1. LOL…I get it.

          But now that leaves me wondering… Is there really a boathouse there, and if so, what color is it?

          1. Even in this day of internets, the answer isn’t clear. Google it sometime.

            1. Not even Google can give me a straight answer. Some say it is grey, others claim that there is no boathouse.

              1. Trick question. It was never painted.

                1. So? My penis isn’t painted but it has a color. At this moment, purple (and throbbing)

    2. I asked a former ‘Marine Sniper’ if he got to keep his Ghillie Suit when he left, for as I understood it, they each make their own. He was left unable to answer the question. I wasn’t even trying to out him, I was genuinely curious.

      1. Dad snuck out his M-1 rifle from Fort Bragg.

  8. Searchable databases aren’t that simple to throw together. You’re looking at a several million dollar project, and that’s just for the first version, which won’t work.

    1. Wha…? A DoD project not work the first time?! Man, that does it … I’m done for today, with a shock like that to my delicate system.

    2. Searchable databases aren’t that simple to throw together.

      Yeah they are. Database doesn’t have to be rocket science. The biggest cost would be the personnel maintaining it.

      1. Depends on how you get the data into it, mostly. If the data isn’t even digitized yet, yeah, getting that database up and running will be an unholy bitch.

        1. That’s always your biggest upfront effort. I would hope… HOPE that the military keeps some kind of centralized database of awards– I mean, the modern military can’t be still typing this shit out and putting it in filing cabinets.

          So that leaves the records from before they computerized those records.

          1. I mean, the modern military can’t be still typing this shit out and putting it in filing cabinets.

            You have no idea how DOD IT procurement works, do you?

            1. Are they still typing out 1348s on an IBM Selectric?

      2. They could get SAP to do it in no time…

    3. Aren’t there fewer than a 100 living recipients and only two since Vietnam. How hard can it be?

      1. It’s not. FoE doesn’t know what he’s talking about. DO YOU HEAR ME FOE?

        1. PM Links is up, loser. Go quote some dumb movie there.

      2. The database would be for more than just Medal of Honor recipients. It would include service members who received any military honor. This particular instance was simply about someone claiming to have earn the MOH.

        1. Does anybody go around falsely claiming a service acheivement medal like an AAM?

          On the other hand, I’ve seen Legion of Merit license plates, which is a pretty effective way to admit you’re a political REMF.

          1. I’ve seen National Defense Medal plates – Maryland offers them for some reason. The only reason I can think of for wanting one is irony, since getting a special plate to advertise a medal they hand out in boot camp is a little pathetic.

          2. Legion of Doom plates would be cooler.

      3. If I were tasked with the project, I’d start with the low hanging fruit.

        Go with the big awards, Medal of Honor, Walking on the moon, that kind of thing. Very small database. Easily built, maintained.

        I mean, it’s not like there are a lot of guys running around telling chicks they won the American Defense Medal or Army Good Conduct Medal.

        Most guys are going to go full walked-on-the-moon stuff, CMOH, Bronze Star, Silver Star etc.

        Plus, the older engagements are getting a little long in the tooth. Are there a bunch of 70 yr olds running around claiming Flying Cross medals from WWII?

        My guess is it’s guys my age trying to convince some chick I’ve done something with my life.

        So you’d cover the latest conflicts back to say, Vietnam. That would be a good start. Then over time you could stretch backwards all the way to the Spanish American war.

        1. And that kind of common sense is why you will never be hired by the federal government.

        2. I had a boss who told me he had been a POW in Vietnam. So, I looked it up. He lied. The piece of shit ended up dying in a FL state prison, convicted of molesting his own grand-daughter.

    4. Sadly, you’re right – I can’t even count on my own admin people to get awards into my record. I had to walk two of them through the process personally.

  9. OT: Huffington Post discovers Unfunded Liabilities, reports them as news:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…..77739.html

    1. “The thing that worries me is the threats to the social order,” Ravitch told The Huffington Post, noting that “cultural and social bankruptcy precede financial bankruptcy.” “You can’t cut human services and cut the ability of government to take care of the people.”

      As the Spanish economist said to Paul Krugman, “We warned you this was going to happen, and when it did, you’re now telling us that you’re the only ones qualified to fix it.”

      State governments have been borrowing to pay for operating expenses in order to comply with state constitutional mandates for balanced budgets, the report said. Those loans and the practice of shifting spending between budget categories make balanced budgets “illusory,” the report said.

      I like how the longer, deeper and more uncut these problems are, the more government budgets look like household budgets. Funny that.

      1. the more government budgets look like household budgets.

        Accounting is accounting, household, government, shrimp boat, doesn’t really matter.

  10. Guy needs to be took down for impersonation of cartoon walrus, too.

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