Lying about military service

In the wake of past wars (pre-Vietnam), noncombatant men used to lie about having served as a way to increase their status: even though one of these confabulators might have spent the war as a sidings salesmen in Paducah, he could increase his standing amongst the credulous by claiming to have fought his way out of fire fights, to have taken down hordes of Huns, or Nazis, or Commies single-handled, or just to have seen the world.

All that changed in 1971, when things suddenly flipped on their heads: depending on the circles in which you traveled, you impressed the ladies when you could boast, loudly, frequently, in graphic detail, and falsely about having beheaded innocent old ladies, raped small children, and strangled parakeets with your bare hands. You’d passed the Kipling-esque threshold of becoming “a man, my son.”

That trend continues in full force with the Iraq War, as media whores, some of whom didn’t serve of at, and some of whom had minimal service, have come forward with increasingly bizarre stories that must sure originate in the same internet warehouse that generates stories in which men boast of unimaginable sexual prowess. Sadly, these sick lunatics, people who aggrandize themselves by spinning sick fantasies that manage to degrade our military and place it in danger, are being embraced by a media that, at least in the early 1970s, still regarded them warily. For example, check out this New York Sunday Times Magazine cover at LGF, which enshrines one of these losers.

Fortunately, since a credulous, compliant media has abandoned any pretense of actually fact-checking these stories (now there’s a concept for a reporter, huh?), bloggers are filling that void. One of the more amusing, on-point examples of that fact is at Vets for Freedom, which examines just a handful of the false stories of military atrocities, and the atrocious people who tell them. Kyle-Anne Shiver also exposes the falsity behind the old Winter Soldiers and the equal mendacity of the new crop, and reminds us not to be stupid enough to be fooled a second time.