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It's the Law: Medal liars face new sanctions
Sacramento Bee ^ | 12/27/7 | Peter Hecht

Posted on 12/27/2007 7:44:51 AM PST by SmithL

State law enforcement may now cite those who falsify their war exploits.

The new director of the Three Valleys Municipal Water District in Claremont introduced himself with tales so harrowing, so seemingly courageous, that people took notice.

Fellow board member Dan Horan said Xavier Alvarez told him he saved a U.S. ambassador – and the American flag – while wounded by gunfire during a daring rooftop helicopter rescue in Lebanon.

Horan said he was puzzled when Alvarez, a board member elected in 2006, later changed his story to say it happened in Iran. And he was skeptical when his colleague also bragged of rescuing Marines pinned down by Viet Cong gunfire in Vietnam.

On Sept. 26, authorities charged Alvarez, 49, with violating a 2005 federal "Stolen Valor Act" by standing up at a gathering of water officials in July and announcing he was a wounded veteran, 25-year Marine and a recipient of the fabled Congressional Medal of Honor. Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Missakian, who is prosecuting the case, said Alvarez never served in the military.

To state Assemblyman Paul Cook, R-Yucca Valley, the case represents just one of many – far too many – episodes of people impersonating veterans, embellishing service records or claiming medals they never earned.

Cook, a Marine Corps veteran and a Purple Heart recipient in the Vietnam War, this year pushed through a California version of the Stolen Valor Act.

The law, which takes effect Tuesday, adds another tier of enforcement to the federal act by allowing state and local law enforcement to cite anyone who falsely dons or claims a military medal or decoration the person didn't earn.

Expanding upon an existing state statute allowing misdemeanor citations against people who falsely claim to be active service members or veterans, the law makes it an infraction to lie about military awards...

(Excerpt) Read more at sacbee.com ...


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Government; US: California
KEYWORDS: fake; phonysoldiers; rushisright; stolenhonor; stolenvalor
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Tom Gentile, a retired Army sergeant major who investigates allegations of military impostors and reports his results to authorities, wanted California to pass an even stronger law. With 42 years of military service, he runs the Legion of Valor Museum in Fresno.
1 posted on 12/27/2007 7:44:52 AM PST by SmithL
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Medals are displayed inside the Legion of Valor Museum in Fresno. A new state law makes it a crime in Caifornia to wear or claim such decorations that weren't earned. Veterans say deception defames the true service of honorable veterans.
2 posted on 12/27/2007 7:45:47 AM PST by SmithL (Merry Christmas and Happy Holy Days to you!)
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To: NormsRevenge

Does this mean that John Kerry won’t be campaigning for anyone in California?


3 posted on 12/27/2007 7:46:46 AM PST by SmithL (Merry Christmas and Happy Holy Days to you!)
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To: SmithL

In these days of instant fact-checking on the internet, foolish liars can be exposed more quickly.


4 posted on 12/27/2007 7:47:07 AM PST by CholeraJoe ("At last my arm is complete!" Sweeney Todd)
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To: SmithL; Squantos; Travis McGee
bragged of rescuing Marines pinned down by Viet Cong gunfire in Vietnam.

He was 6 when he did this.

5 posted on 12/27/2007 7:50:02 AM PST by Larry Lucido (Hunter 2008)
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To: SmithL

Here is a link I’ve found to be helpful when checking on some Wannabe’s “exploits”.

http://www.pownetwork.org/phonies/phonies1050.htm


6 posted on 12/27/2007 7:50:41 AM PST by NCDragon (If you can't stand behind the troops, try standing in front of them!)
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To: Larry Lucido

Excuse me. He was 12.


7 posted on 12/27/2007 7:50:56 AM PST by Larry Lucido (Hunter 2008)
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To: CholeraJoe

In these days of instant fact-checking on the internet, foolish liars can be exposed more quickly.

Well, don’t count on “instant facts checks” to be accurate on military records. Mine aren’t even right. I spent 14 years active duty, and my records reflect 26 years of service. 12 of them were Reserves. My DD214 ONLY shows my ACTIVE duty time, and medals I received on active duty.

I do NOT have a DD214 for my Reserve time and was recently told that “You do not get one, unless part of that time served was ‘active duty’.”

/shrug

While on RESERVE status I received at least two more medals than my DD214 shows... and I don’t think you’re going to find my military records on the internet.

My ACTIVE 214 DOES NOT show certain things either and never will. My records don’t have copies of the “classified information” in them EITHER. :) So, rest assured that “internet fact checking” is as inaccurate today, as it will be in 20 more years.


8 posted on 12/27/2007 7:54:30 AM PST by Rick.Donaldson (http://www.transasianaxis.com - Visit for lastest on DPRK/Russia/China/Etc --Fred Thompson for Prez.)
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To: Larry Lucido

By the way I’m 50, and I ‘missed’ the Vietnam war... I went in the service in 1976. The last of the troops were pretty much out of there by ‘74 if I recall correctly. So, someone a year younger than myself couldn’t have been in Nam.


9 posted on 12/27/2007 7:56:08 AM PST by Rick.Donaldson (http://www.transasianaxis.com - Visit for lastest on DPRK/Russia/China/Etc --Fred Thompson for Prez.)
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To: SmithL
announcing he was a wounded veteran, 25-year Marine and a recipient of the fabled Congressional Medal of Honor.

Like most liers, he meant it when he said it, so what is the problem?
10 posted on 12/27/2007 7:59:20 AM PST by PeterPrinciple ( Seeking the truth here folks.)
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To: Larry Lucido

No apology needed. This wannabe deserves the shame that comes with claiming false fame.


11 posted on 12/27/2007 8:03:00 AM PST by Lumper20
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To: Larry Lucido

12 posted on 12/27/2007 8:03:13 AM PST by SoldierMedic (Rowan Walter, 23 Feb 2007 Ramadi)
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To: CholeraJoe

This is nothing new. I remember watching an even then, old Perry Mason as a kid, that a situation came out “on the stand”, regarding the reliability of a witness, because of a medal claim.


13 posted on 12/27/2007 8:03:41 AM PST by Calvin Locke
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To: PeterPrinciple

i think hes watched “rules of engagement” one too many times”


14 posted on 12/27/2007 8:04:10 AM PST by abstracTT
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To: Rick.Donaldson

Certain information should still remain in them, though. If you claim to have been a Ranger, there should still be records that you went to that training.


15 posted on 12/27/2007 8:05:25 AM PST by SoldierMedic (Rowan Walter, 23 Feb 2007 Ramadi)
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To: Rick.Donaldson

Very true. Yet your awards would not be classified. Thank you for your service.


16 posted on 12/27/2007 8:06:24 AM PST by Lumper20
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To: Rick.Donaldson

I have (2) DD 214s and I also have an NGB 23 (or is it NGB 22?) for my reserve time in the National Guard. Not sure if I can lay my hands on the National Guard form but I know there are a couple of mistakes on my second DD 214. I had to get them to issue a correction. Of course the NGB form has medals on it that are not on either 214.


17 posted on 12/27/2007 8:07:23 AM PST by Past Your Eyes (You knew the job was dangerous when you took it.)
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To: Larry Lucido

HEY ! It’s his story, let him tell it.......in prison !


18 posted on 12/27/2007 8:09:23 AM PST by Squantos (Be polite. Be professional. But, have a plan to kill everyone you meet. )
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To: Larry Lucido

That’s still pretty good for a 12 year old.


19 posted on 12/27/2007 8:11:51 AM PST by ECM (Government is a make-work program for lawyers.)
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To: SoldierMedic

Oh, absolutely. I agree. I’m just saying that not everything appears in your military records. There are several items of note that won’t ever appear in mine, for good reason. On the other hand, I don’t go around “bragging” about it either. lol

As for training and such, some certainly does appear, some doesn’t, depending on what it was, but things like being a Ranger or Seal would appear - though if I remember my friend’s stuff, it doesn’t actually say “SEAL”, but it has some information about the training program that he went through. I’d have to ask him — but he’s another that wouldn’t brag about it, and probably wouldn’t tell you if you asked him directly, he might even lie to you about it :)


20 posted on 12/27/2007 8:15:30 AM PST by Rick.Donaldson (http://www.transasianaxis.com - Visit for lastest on DPRK/Russia/China/Etc --Fred Thompson for Prez.)
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To: SoldierMedic

“If you claim to have been a Ranger, there should still be records that you went to that training.”


Many Rangers like Duncan Hunter never attended the school, and they were not awarded the tab.

I had a friend that was awarded the Special Forces tab in Vietnam although he never attended the course, that was verified by Sgt Gordon Rottman, who my friend and I served under in an Airborne Ranger LRRP later LRS National Guard unit.


21 posted on 12/27/2007 8:18:37 AM PST by ansel12 (Washington:I cannot tell a lie,Clinton:I cannot tell the truth,Romney:I cannot tell the difference.)
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To: SmithL

Seems like a freedom of speech issue to me. People should be able to SAY whatever the frig they want.

11B


22 posted on 12/27/2007 8:19:23 AM PST by ElectricStrawberry (1/27 Wolfhounds...cut in half during the Clinton years.)
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To: Rick.Donaldson; Larry Lucido
I make it a habit to never contradict Mrs. SmithL in public (life seems smoother that way). I made an exception to that rule when she introduced me to someone as a Vietnam Veteran. I quickly corrected her, saying that I was a Vietnam-era Veteran.

I'm very proud of my service, and I'll tell you submarine stories all day long. However, I knew people that went to Vietnam, and I knew some that never came back. They all have my deepest respect and appreciation, and I can't imagine degrading their honor by trying to steal it.

23 posted on 12/27/2007 8:19:53 AM PST by SmithL (Merry Christmas and Happy Holy Days to you!)
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To: Lumper20

No awards aren’t classified. Just mission details, and sometimes places you’ve gone, things like that. And, you know I’m out of the service now... but I appreciate you saying that to me. :) But know something - and this is coming from someone who didn’t “do anything important” in my life, it was my job, I chose to do it.

Most military personnel join the military for one of a couple of reasons... either they joined it because they really are patriotic, or they joined it because there was a good ad campaign (and perhaps believed, like me, that there were no other real options for college in those days).

I joined because I was patriotic, and because my father was in the Marines and served in Korea. I didn’t join “for college”, though I’ve now taken advantage of that and have gone to college for 30 years now :) (Thank you US Air Force!)

Again though - most military personnel join to do a job, and to them no matter what they do, it was “just a job”.

So, please save the “Thanks” for the kids that are in Iraq and other real world situations now, please.


24 posted on 12/27/2007 8:28:28 AM PST by Rick.Donaldson (http://www.transasianaxis.com - Visit for lastest on DPRK/Russia/China/Etc --Fred Thompson for Prez.)
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To: SmithL
Lefties trying to make themselves look patriotic. They should be beaten with baseball bats about the legs and feet. Stinking slime is what they are.
25 posted on 12/27/2007 8:31:04 AM PST by RetiredArmy (Better prepare, come Nov 08, we have a Marxist Commissar President and Marxist Congress.)
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To: SmithL

Nope. I’m also a “Vietnam ERA” Vet. :)

And the man who is subject of this particular thread very well could have been a “Vietnam ERA” Vet as well, but doesn’t make him a veteran of that war.

I know many of those guys, and my hat is off to them for their service. I’ve seen combat, but nothing like some of them. I don’t think I did anything “noteworthy”.

My son came back from Iraq last April. He’s a hero to me, but he doesn’t think so :)


26 posted on 12/27/2007 8:33:00 AM PST by Rick.Donaldson (http://www.transasianaxis.com - Visit for lastest on DPRK/Russia/China/Etc --Fred Thompson for Prez.)
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To: SmithL

Paging John Kerry


27 posted on 12/27/2007 8:35:15 AM PST by wastedyears (Merry Christmas, FReepers)
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To: SmithL
I should give back my good conduct ribbon, I wasn't that good.
28 posted on 12/27/2007 8:36:12 AM PST by Graybeard58 ( Remember and pray for SSgt. Matt Maupin - MIA/POW- Iraq since 04/09/04)
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To: SmithL

“I make it a habit to never contradict Mrs. SmithL in public (life seems smoother that way). “

Shouldn’t you have said: “ life is safer that way”?


29 posted on 12/27/2007 8:43:44 AM PST by sticker
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To: ElectricStrawberry
People should be able to SAY whatever the frig they want.

LOL.. you can. he did. He suffered the consequences for it.
30 posted on 12/27/2007 8:45:21 AM PST by stylin19a
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To: ECM; Larry Lucido

A grand father of mine, Daniel Agee served in the 4th. Regiment Light Dargoons under Colonel Moyland 1777 (Corder Service National Archives). His tombstone in Union Methodist Church Cemetery near Trenton, Tennessee has his birth date as December 29, 1764, that would make him 12 years old when he served in the Revolutionary War.


31 posted on 12/27/2007 8:45:42 AM PST by Graybeard58 ( Remember and pray for SSgt. Matt Maupin - MIA/POW- Iraq since 04/09/04)
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To: Graybeard58

Dragoons, not Dargoons.


32 posted on 12/27/2007 8:48:16 AM PST by Graybeard58 ( Remember and pray for SSgt. Matt Maupin - MIA/POW- Iraq since 04/09/04)
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To: NCDragon

“Here is a link I’ve found to be helpful when checking on some Wannabe’s “exploits”.

I know a guy here in town who goes about telling of his exploits at Khe Sahn. He was in the Marines, but it always struck me that his story was from a book. Any way of checking out things of this sort? He never makes claims of medals or displays such.


33 posted on 12/27/2007 8:48:30 AM PST by Figment ("A communist is someone who reads Marx.An anti-communist is someone who understands Marx" R Reagan)
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To: SoldierMedic
Good morning.
“If you claim to have been a Ranger, there should still be records that you went to that training.”

I went through an accelerated course at Recondo School in November of 1967 with my platoon from F/51 and one from E/20. We did it all except for the patrol at the end, skipping the patrols so that the companies could be fully operational sooner. We are not entitled to the Recondo patch even though we completed all requirements except for that training patrol and our job was running Recondo missions.

In 1969, I was Team Leader of TM 17, with O/75, with the 3rd Bde of the 82nd. We were a Ranger company, but I never saw Ranger School and am not entitled to the Ranger tab. I believe Duncan Hunter is a Ranger in the same way.

That’s not like some clown claiming to have been Rambo when he wasn’t even Gomer Pyle. It’s a strange sickness, this wannabe thing.

Michael Frazier

34 posted on 12/27/2007 8:55:10 AM PST by brazzaville (No surrender, no retreat. Well, maybe retreat's ok)
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To: stylin19a

As in.....there should be no law against making verbal false claims of military service/valor...when not testifying under oath or applying for a civil service job, etc...

As in....”Congress shall make no law....” no matter how feel good it is.


35 posted on 12/27/2007 9:02:48 AM PST by ElectricStrawberry (1/27 Wolfhounds...cut in half during the Clinton years.)
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To: Graybeard58; ECM

I believe it. I was curious so I Googled “youngest WWII soldier” and came up with this book about a 13 year old soldier (James Clark):

http://www.amazon.com/American-Soldier-13-Years-Old/dp/1412059380


36 posted on 12/27/2007 9:05:42 AM PST by Larry Lucido (Hunter 2008)
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To: SmithL
Cook, who unsuccessfully pushed for a felony statute in California, said he is seeking public humiliation for people peddling phony stories of heroism.

A felony? This guy may be a veteran, but he is also an idiot.
37 posted on 12/27/2007 9:06:15 AM PST by microgood
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To: brazzaville; SoldierMedic; Squantos

I never got my certificate for completion of the “Ranger Correspondence Course.” All those weekends doing pushups under a cold shower while spraying myself in the face with CS wasted!


38 posted on 12/27/2007 9:10:38 AM PST by Larry Lucido (Hunter 2008)
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To: brazzaville

Kudos to you!

That was wholey a differant time back then, though. I’ve been reading about the Lima Company, 101st LRRPs, and the writer makes it sound like a lot of training was done without a standard school or anything like that.

But it’s very true in my time now that any training leaves a trace.


39 posted on 12/27/2007 9:11:20 AM PST by SoldierMedic (Rowan Walter, 23 Feb 2007 Ramadi)
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To: Larry Lucido
Good morning.
“All those weekends doing pushups under a cold shower while spraying myself in the face with CS wasted!”

LOL

Michael Frazier

40 posted on 12/27/2007 9:15:43 AM PST by brazzaville (No surrender, no retreat. Well, maybe retreat's ok)
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To: SmithL
Concur. I feel the same myself..

What is ironic about all the phony "heroes" is that they feel compelled to tell, and retel, their "exploits" over and over...in larger and more public forums. That is almost a sure sign that they are at the least, embellishing..at the worst, complete liars. Every comabt vet I've ever know..whether or not they've been highly decorated...is usually loathe to talk publicly about wartime experiences or medals..

41 posted on 12/27/2007 9:18:54 AM PST by ken5050
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To: SmithL; NormsRevenge; RonDog; SierraWasp; tubebender; Interesting Times; BIGLOOK; ASA Vet

Would this law apply to Kerry if he ever visits California and says his Nam lies.

“To state Assemblyman Paul Cook, R-Yucca Valley, the case represents just one of many – far too many – episodes of people impersonating veterans, embellishing service records or claiming medals they never earned.

Cook, a Marine Corps veteran and a Purple Heart recipient in the Vietnam War, this year pushed through a California version of the Stolen Valor Act.

The law, which takes effect Tuesday, adds another tier of enforcement to the federal act by allowing state and local law enforcement to cite anyone who falsely dons or claims a military medal or decoration the person didn’t earn.

Expanding upon an existing state statute allowing misdemeanor citations against people who falsely claim to be active service members or veterans, the law makes it an infraction to lie about military awards...”

Kerry is safe in Mass. and DC. The anti Americans in those areas would never pass a bill like this.


42 posted on 12/27/2007 9:25:29 AM PST by Grampa Dave ("Ron Paul and his flaming antiwar spam monkeys can Kiss my Ass!!"- Jim Robinson, Sept, 30, 2007)
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To: SmithL

[I quickly corrected her, saying that I was a Vietnam-era Veteran.]

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

I concur.

I also make sure to point out that I was a Vietnam-era service member.


43 posted on 12/27/2007 9:25:54 AM PST by Col Freeper
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To: Graybeard58
I should give back my good conduct ribbon, I wasn't that good.

Did you get caught?

44 posted on 12/27/2007 9:39:06 AM PST by SmithL (Merry Christmas and Happy Holy Days to you!)
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To: SmithL

Just don’t call these imposters “phoney soldiers” or you’ll have DingyHarry after you.


45 posted on 12/27/2007 9:52:20 AM PST by hsalaw
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To: Graybeard58

“...that would make him 12 years old when he served in the Revolutionary War.”

Every able-bodied male who can carry a rifle, as they say. Sounds like your many-greats grandfather was a true patriot, and my genuine thanks to him for his service.


46 posted on 12/27/2007 10:09:14 AM PST by beelzepug ("Smith & Wesson - don't leave home without it.")
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To: Grampa Dave

As another convicted criminal, Martha Stewart, would say... “It’s a good thing!”


47 posted on 12/27/2007 10:10:09 AM PST by SierraWasp (Too much religion mixed with politics just leads the participants into too much hate & discontent!!!)
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To: SierraWasp

My wife had Martha on for a few minutes yesterday to get a recipe from a visiting chef.

Martha looks like she could play middle line backer for USC, Oklahoma or some other pro football team.


48 posted on 12/27/2007 10:12:51 AM PST by Grampa Dave ("Ron Paul and his flaming antiwar spam monkeys can Kiss my Ass!!"- Jim Robinson, Sept, 30, 2007)
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To: Larry Lucido
We've got one of those guys here--he's 50, yet claims he's a combat vet of Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, and the first Gulf War.

Or at least he did until I pointed out that he would have had to have lied about his age to join the Army at age 14.
49 posted on 12/27/2007 10:13:20 AM PST by OCCASparky (Steely-Eyed Killer of the Deep)
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To: ElectricStrawberry
As in.....there should be no law against making verbal false claims of military service/valor...when not testifying under oath or applying for a civil service job, etc... As in....”Congress shall make no law....” no matter how feel good it is.

Agreed. I think these "phony soldiers" are disgusting and falsely claiming medals is very offensive. But I don't think governments should be in the business of regulating offensive speech.

50 posted on 12/27/2007 10:32:26 AM PST by timm22 (Think critically)
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