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Today's Washington Post has an article concerning a case of a man falsely claiming military service awards. http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/is-lying-protected-speech-military-medal-case-is-on-track-for-supreme-court/2011/03/27/AFXcplkB_story.html?hpid=z3 At what point does fabrication of credentials become illegal? At least one agency is attempting to make any false military award claim a misdemeanor with fine and jail time. Is that reasonable or is it a clear infringement upon one's freedom of speech?

asked Mar 28 '11 at 11:10

ethwc's gravatar image

ethwc ♦

edited Mar 28 '11 at 12:27

Greg%20Perkins's gravatar image

Greg Perkins ♦♦


The only area in which one should be held in violation of another's rights (illegality) is the initiation of force. Fraud indirectly falls into this category. Lying is obviously not direct force and if it is not part of a contractual agreement, written or otherwise, involving the exchange of values, then it would fall outside of the realm of fraud. Is lying about your past in order to beat yourself on the chest fraud? Hardly. Is lying about your credentials in order to gain customers fraud? Yes.

(Mar 28 '11 at 11:33) dreadrocksean dreadrocksean's gravatar image

I heard an interview many years ago about the book Fake Warriors written by Henry and Erika Holzer which laid out a rather objective case for considering this particular activity as fraud. Freedom of speech is not a blank check to say whatever you want without consequences. These claims are often used to elicit sympathy and appeal for money from their victims. On their webpage Fred Kiley targets the heart of the issue:

this deplorable con game that feeds on the valor of others and leaches millions of dollars a year from the pockets of American taxpayers.”

helping to put this issue into better perspective.

answered Apr 14 '11 at 20:26

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dream_weaver ♦

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Asked: Mar 28 '11 at 11:10

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Last updated: Apr 14 '11 at 20:26