The Stolen Valor Act makes it a crime to steal the reputation won by others by falsely claiming service, awards, decorations and rank that were not earned.
There are three cases going through the judicial system to test the law's constitutionality. One in California deals with a man who claimed to be a 25-year Marine with the Medal of Honor. One man in Colorado claimed to be a Naval Academy graduate, in the Pentagon on 9-11 and commander of a Marine battalion in Iraq. And a man in Texas wore a general's uniform with a chest full of medals to a political function.
None of them could prove anything by way of providing discharge papers or other documentation. The ACLU's position is that these falsehoods do not do any real harm to those who legitimately earned their military honors, and these types of falsehoods are protected speech under the First Amendment. The government says harm is caused by these lies.
Those who do this do so for a reason. They seek to deceive others for personal gain and/or try to manipulate people's behavior through these falsehoods.
I would think the ACLU would have real issues to spend their time and our tax dollars on. What do you say, Augusta Chronicle?
(The writer is a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve.)