Why Refute Lies When You Can Throw Liars in Jail?


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