08 September 2008

Be A Phony Vet for Fun and Profit

Baron Munchhausen, the original Phony Vet

2 Dinar writes of an awkward relation between the younger veteran community and the American public. They state that politcos are using shameless plugs for the military to obscure the real policy issues at hand. Judging by the color guard and fake military funeral that was at the RNC, I'd say there is some pretty compelling evidence of this behavior in Washington. But the bizarre infatuation of politicians of utilizing the troops for political theater can generate a lot of sympathy in the American mindset for those poor troops. The shouts of "baby-killer" and "ROTC Nazi!" are pretty much gone from the granola-loving college campuses, but a strange sense of pity exists where most people think military personnel do what they do because they have no other choice. Like a 12 year-old prostitute makin' a living in Bombay, people would only go off and die in Iraq or Afghanistan out of sheer economic desperation...so the misguided logic goes. That's why it is profitable to dress yourself up like a phony vet to cash in on people's collective guilt. From military.com:
A man posing in a military uniform while shopping at local businesses who was afforded tax-free and soldier discounts has bilked mom and pop convenience store owners and other retail outlets out of thousands of dollars and today is jailed in Cumberland County.
This young punk's scheme is nothing new, and it was a serious problem for Vietnam vets, which you can read about in the book Stolen Valor. There have been many others who have done the phony vet thing. Many are like the chap who tried to score free crap from unsuspecting merchants. Others have odd psychological issues where they need copious amounts of attention, like college student Lisa Jane Phillips, who claimed she was flying combat missions in Iraq on the weekends while she was attending a liberal arts school. The historic precedent for phony vetdom is Baron Munchhausen, who told elaborate tales of traveling to the moon and killing scary monsters in 18th century Europe. These folks exploit the graciousness of others in an awkward time for civilian-military relations and deserve whatever's coming to them...