Skip to comments.Why on this 11/11 you should finally read STOLEN VALOR
Posted on 11/11/2013 6:43:22 AM PST by golux
FRiends, it is my sincere belief (as someone not at all involved in the publicatioon or sale of the book, now a few years old) that B G Burkett's book,
STOLEN VALOR: How the Vietnam Generation was robbed of its Heroes and its History
...Is one of the (three) most important books of this past decade.
Who are so many of these ratty-fatigues "veterans" crowding The Wall?
Who are the false "heroes?" Why are they all over America, at all levels?
Why do so many non-vets get VA disabilities?
Why will the media not expose these frauds?
What is "PTSD?" Where did it come from? Why do so many non-combat vets have "PTSD?"
Why are many of our preconceptions about "WWII men" vs "Vietnam men" simply, factually, untrue?
Burkett reveals the stunning truths - the answers.
And more, and more.
I have purchased maybe 20 copies of this book for family and friends. It is a KILLER read - a page-turner.
The stories, the research, even the photographs are stunning.
AND - once you read this book you will find yourself remembering Stolen Valor every Remembrance Day.
(Just a book report for Friends...)
Here is another review by Dr. Loren Pankratz:
In 1986, Dallas stockbroker B.G. Burkett agreed to raise money to erect a Vietnam veterans memorial in Texas. He never realized that negative stereotypes of the Vietnam veteran would make his task so difficult. Three years later at the dedication of the memorial, television crews approached Burkett saying that they would like to get some comments from the vets. But instead of approaching the distinguished men on the memorial-fund committee, the TV crew focused on an uninvited hodgepodge of men in camouflage fatigues and blue jeans, sporting ponytails and scraggly beards. Several wore the insignia of combat units or the green beret of the elite Special Forces.
Burkett fumed. It was exactly this image of veterans as pathetic losers and wackos from war experiences that had made his fundraising extremely difficult.
He was not merely distressed that his fundraising colleagues had been ignored. There was a deeper problem here. Something just didnt ring true. He knew that veterans from elite units were the cream of the crop, almost always college graduates with too much pride to be seen in public unkempt and slovenly.
Sometime during the early years of fundraising, Burkett had sent off a request under the Freedom of Information Act for the release of military records for one particularly obnoxious vet. The records confirmed what he had suspected all along, namely that this man was not a Green Beret nor had he ever been in Vietnam. He had served in Germany where he accumulated AWOLs and was demoted in rank to sergeant. Thus began Burketts private war to expose the lies of those who twisted history. These false stories had driven out the true. The false had stolen the valor of men who served their country with honor.
This is a cant-put-it-down book, even though you often know whats going to happen. Burkett describes the stories of hundreds of individuals, from the anonymous guy holding a sign that says Vet will work for food to the rich-and-famous like the hero behind the movie Born on the Fourth of July, Sylvester Stalone of Rambo fame, Dan Rather, and a handful of congressmen. Then with surgical precision, he opens the truth as revealed in these peoples detailed military records.
But Burkett, by going beyond the anecdotal story, provides the bigger picture. Most people believe that the Vietnam war was fought by minorities and ghetto youth. Most people believe that our vets came home to live on the streets and in prisons, haunted by the atrocities of war, drowning their memories in drink and drugs. Burkett names the reporters, activists and politicians who have distorted or created the numbers for their own ends. He names the mental health professionals who reinforce these myths. He provides excerpts from their reports and court proceedings.
Burkett shows how thoroughly everyone has been caught in the web of lies by pretenders. In 1992, Burkett wrote a letter to Col. Harry Summers, Jr., (Ret.), a distinguished fellow at the Army War College and editor of Vietnam magazine. Summers had boasted in an editorial that the magaziness review board was scrupulous about keeping inaccurate history out of their publication. He stated he and his editors could tell phonies in the first three sentences. Burkett pointed out that they had published in the previous issue a bogus POW story that had been stolen from the book Everything We Had. And even the story in that book was bogus!
Moreover, Summers had written an introduction to Shelby Stantons book, The Rise and Fall of an American Army, praising him as a Vietnam combat veteran decorated for valor and now retired as a result of wounds suffered on the battlefield. But Stanton was not a Ranger performing underwater scuba missions in the Mekong River as he had claimed. He had a desk job in Thailand for one year and was retired from the Army because of his asthma. A few issues later, Shelby Stantons name disappeared from the Vietnam masthead.
How did we mess up so badly? We looked for what we wanted to find. And where we could not find what we wanted, there were pretenders who were eager to give us the stories we expected. We have parallels from history. At the end of the 16th century, Bragadino arrived in Venice with stories of his accomplishments in distant lands, like the ability to make gold multiply through secret alchemical methods. The people of the city eagerly laid their fortunes at his feet. How, asked DeFrancisco (The Power of the Charlatan, 1939), could such a singular aberration be explained in this great city? Bragadino was immediately lionized because everyone had been looking for him so earnestly.
The next time your buddy shows you his Medal of Honor, open the appendix of Stolen Valor and see if he is one of the surviving 170 Vietnam vets who actually earned the award. Burkett reveals how fake medals and citations have become a cottage industry. Distinguished Service Cross, Navy Cross, and Air Force Cross recipients are also listed here for the first time.
Yes! READ THE BOOK!!!!
There are several Stolen Valor websites. Go there and learn! The phony vet photos are as appalling as they are stupid looking.
FWIW I’m a Vietnam vet. DD 214 upon request.
The phonies are not that difficult to spot, if you are a real veteran. They don’t understand that young soldiers have to spend hours learning how to wear their uniform and how to recognize all of the badges and ribbons that belong on it. They also have to learn a dialect of acronyms and slang that must be placed in a very specific context to make sense.
You don’t get all of that spending your days at the county drug rehab center, or working down at the recycling center. So, when later in life, you decide that you want to be a hero, it’s not that easy to fool the real ones. The press, on the other hand, are a piece of cake.
It's even worse if your injuries are permanent - people talk a good game of being sympathetic but the reality is that your injury is only important to yourself and maybe your immediate family. Limping is not an attractive trait.
I never could stand the parades and the ceremonies and the speeches. They don't mean anything at all. Veterans themselves know what they did or they didn't do and they have to accept and accommodate the changes that came from their experiences.
In United States v. Alvarez the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on June 28, 2012, that the Stolen Valor Act was an unconstitutional abridgment of the freedom of speech under the First Amendment, striking down the law in a 6 to 3 decision.
An obscenity as bad as taking credit for medals one didn't earn or war heroics one didn't do.
Burkett, this author, a fellow 199th Light Infantry Brigade Redcatcher.
I bought his book as soon as it was published, a very good read.
A new version of the bill, introduced by Heck in late 2012, narrowed the act to say the liar must be attempting to somehow materially profit from the lies, making the would-be crime more akin to fraud. A tweaked version of that bill was reintroduced in 2013.
President Obama took a hard stance against military phonies last year when he announced a new government website to track awards for legitimate heroes. It may no longer be a crime for con artists to pass themselves off as heroes, but one thing is certain it is contemptible, he said in reference to the Supreme Courts ruling in 2012. [N]o American hero should ever have their valor stolen.'
As much as I despise obama and his policies, he finally did something I can agree with.
Thanks, golux. Great book.
There have been two great phonies in my life. One a bigshot TV distribution VP, and a HS softball coach. They were really big on their “secret missions” stuff until I asked them a few questions about Basic Training that anyone who’s ever served could answer, which unceremoniously shut them down.
I let them alone after that, but they knew that I knew they were phonies, hopefully putting an end to their braggadocio.
Yes, quite the warrior. Especially impressive is his Combat Infanryman’s Badge, Third Award. He did make a few, teeny weeny mistakes, didn’t he.
I guess he forgot to do the math, or else he was the bravest 11-year old Marine who ever served in Vietnam.
Yep here’s more on that poor soul:
But really, the focus isn’t on nutcase wannabes -
it’s on real frauds, some of whom are famous,
all of whom are used by the MSM to further their agenda.
Yes I have met at least a few fake SEALs.
Capt Larry Bailey has done a lot to ferret out the trash.