Thul's intro sounded interesting--as I have recently called attention to the false stories 'Vietnam War hero' Bill Schiebler has publicly proclaimed and to our community's willed ignorance concerning Randy Voas' tragic loss.
Since my Schiebler posts, I've been treated to a pleasant meal with my subject. I'd randomly grabbed one of Schiebler's lurid Vietnam tales--the one in which, in 1965, Schiebler personally stops a deranged Puerto Rican who's killed four African American comrades--and attempted to fact-check it. No one who should know has heard of the event, as it happens.
During our 'supper,' Schiebler came clean with me--admitting the name of the Puerto Rican killer he'd provided me, during our telephone interview, is not truthful. He now claims he knows the soldier's name but will not provide it. In addition, he clarifies he's not sure how many men were murdered that day: It might have been as few as one or as many as five, out of a total of no more than 45 men who reported to Schiebler.
While something of a professional laurel-recipient, Schiebler is a nice fellow; his Vietnam recollections cannot be taken seriously.
Researching my Schiebler posts, I listened closely to a lengthy interview with him. The stories he presents therein sound dubious, so I contacted the program's producer--who, upon learning of my skepticism, reacted with outrage and disgust. I contacted the Eden Prairie veterans--who made it clear they don't care whether Bill Schiebler's Vietnam stories are or aren't truthful.
As with Eden Prairie's ongoing Randy Voas fairytale, nobody--including Karla Wennerstrom and Paul Groessel--cares about honesty when publishing within the Schiebler-Voas spectrum. The feeling is that, in this area, the public appreciates patriotic-sounding falsehood and doesn't want to be overburdened with information of a factual nature. Thul writes:
As it happens, the U.S. Supreme Court is currently pondering the Stolen Valor Act, which makes Poe's alleged actions a serious crime. The act makes it a felony to represent oneself, either verbally or in writing, as having been awarded any medal authorized by Congress, such as the Purple Heart. The law has been challenged as a violation of free speech, with the argument being that making exaggerated claims about military service doesn't directly harm anyone, and is in effect a victimless crime.Having put Thul's assertion to several rigorous tests, I have drawn the opposite conclusion: Military veterans--in Eden Prairie, at least--don't care very much when brethren tell falsehoods about their military service. The local media will actively lend a hand, withholding key information from citizens: Almost nobody in Eden Prairie is aware of any of the central facts surrounding Randy Voas' crash, this blog being the only local outlet which has discussed the official accident report.
But military veterans will tell you otherwise. Every time someone is found to be telling falsehoods about military service, every time a politician exaggerates his or her record, every time a down-on-his-luck individual claims to have been decorated for heroism on the battlefield, veterans as a whole suffer.
We swim in a sea of hypocrisy; within the great mass of public commentary swirling around out there, many publish bullshit knowing they'll never be asked to back up what they say. When we talk about veterans and heroism, lying is completely accepted and indeed, veterans themselves welcome it.