Monday, November 12, 2012

Military Fakes don't help Veterans

At left: My father, who was not a fake veteran.







I first started reading blogs in 1998, when the USA was still at relative 'peace'--in terms of war and military interventions. In the past decade, I have witnessed the increase and escalation of military activity in several countries... and with this escalation, an astronomical increase in online trolls and fakes, claiming all sorts of bogus military experience.

Yes, you read that right. Fakes.

On this Veterans Day, I am hereby calling out the fakes.

A real military veteran is usually not afraid to name themselves, or at the very least, share a significant part of themselves online: their photograph, their blog, their location, their Twitter or Facebook profile. Like all real people, pseudonymous or not, their experience rings true, because it comes from the heart. They don't always make themselves look good, or certain, or without ambivalence. Like the rest of us, pseudonymous or not, real veterans have a social-media presence that is believable and consistent. People know them, and there is genuine proof of their ongoing interaction in the world, including their military service.

By contrast, the fakes are anonymous troublemakers and the tellers of tall tales. They often claim to be signature bad-asses, such as Marines or Navy Seals (as the Vietnam Era fakes could not refrain from claiming to be Airborne Rangers or Green Berets). They always claim the violent, romanticized, movie-magic aspect of war; the fakes never claim kitchen duty or the boring grunt work of checking in thousands of uniforms. They claim to have seen lots and lots of carnage. They tell stories of car-bombs and how they breezed through such events, unblinking. They brag about drinking coffee next to piles of corpses, unfazed.

And this is how we know they are fakes. Nobody drinks coffee next to piles of corpses, unfazed, unless they are monsters. I simply refuse to believe our veterans are monsters.

For this reason, the fakes are a blight.

The posturing phonies who brag about their fictional service are doing actual harm to genuine veterans, making up bullshit-bad-ass stories, thereby claiming sympathy, expertise and respect that simply does not belong to them. The arrogance and superiority that is frequently obvious in their online personas (undoubtedly reflecting feelings of inferiority and unimportance in real life) creates antipathy in people who would otherwise feel great empathy for veterans. The fictional crap they constantly spew forth (and I have caught them in countless contradictions and lies) aggravates existing negative feelings that many of us have about war; it doesn't do the military any favors.

The stories of well-known Vietnam-era fakes (or 'partial fakes'--such as historian Joseph Ellis and recent congressional candidate Kenneth Aden) have been part of our culture for a very long time... and due to the endless war of the past decade, we can now expect to see a whole new crop of them. The problems with these fakes will be never-ending. There is already enough trouble tracking down the frauds who dare to name themselves and claim jobs they do not deserve.

The online versions are fast-becoming the same sort of plague--and there seems to be little we can do to expose them.

My advice to one and all, is, do not readily assume someone (especially an anonymous online person repeatedly blowing his/her own horn) is automatically telling the truth about military service. The internet has made it exponentially easier to research the specificities of war, as well as the in-depth details of various actions and incursions (and their casualties). There are more photos, facts and figures online than ever before in history. Any of us, gifted enough in story-telling and accompanying ego-driven motives, could likely pull this off with enough effort. Americans typically want to honor and believe the best of veterans, and are unlikely to call someone a fake, unless that evidence is literally staring them in the face.

But in the case of anonymous commenters and people hanging out on blogs, be skeptical. Just as anyone can claim to be a model or cheerleader or actor or math-genius, anyone can claim to be a veteran. When that person decides to show their ass or treat people in a deliberately unkind, nasty fashion, they tarnish the reputation of ALL veterans, while using their supposed (nonexistent) military service as an excuse to be a first-class asshole.

They don't deserve your indulgence, they deserve to be exposed.

Or at least ignored.

Happy Veterans Day.

11 comments:

JoJo said...

My Uncle, sad to say, in his later years began to brag of having a purple heart and bronze star, from his service in WW2. If he had indeed received these items, it would have been part of our large Italian family lore forever. And since he was the kind of person who needed to be the center of attention, and trotted out his fave possessions to new guests, I think these medals would have been part of the show & tell. It was only when he started going to his military reunions that these medals were being bragged about. He saw no action in the war; he was an office clerk. He was injured, but only when a jeep turned over going from point a to point b. It upsets me a lot that he started telling people he had a bronze star. And they believe him. I believe he purchased the medal somewhere.

bryce said...

great post, d... i think i know at least 4.

High Arka said...

word, daisy. word.

Let us remember when the troops booed John Wayne's swaggering bullshit act during a WW2 performance, because they knew--unlike the elite brass and financiers who stage their ridiculous celebrity pep rallies--that all the swagger and tough talk was fake.

Conseglieri said...

High Arka...my life experiences match that. Both my dad and father-in-law were in WWII and *neither* had anything good to say about it. Paul, my father-in-law, told me that WWII was basically about money by the time he got into it, despite all the flowery speeches. As a bomber he knew well that the targets he was hitting were not military targets, but economic targets instead.

Peace benefits the many. War benefits the few.

senchi said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

daisy,

one faker u refer 2 isn't even in the usa - according 2 blog traffic hits [google analytics] from a blogger we know who wont go public.

so not a veteran - not even a fucking american. dont let him dog u.

~a little birdy

Genderratic lurker said...

Congratz Lady Daisy, you've got it beside itself, ranting and raving even worse than it usually does. Good job.

I hate the pompous, arrogant motherfucker and I *am* an MRA.

Cheers.

bryce said...

d, mras stick together. i expect nothing less from them.

just sayin. grain of salt.

ps: thnx 4 great entertainment.

Anonymous said...

General IP Information

IP: 71.228.145.228
Decimal: 1206161892
Hostname: c-71-228-145-228.hsd1.az.comcast.net
ISP: Comcast Cable
Organization: Comcast Cable
Services: None detected
Type: Broadband
Assignment: Dynamic IP

DaisyDeadhead said...

Okay, so is that supposed to be it?

Hellloooo? Who posted that? Proxy server!

Its getting very cloak and dagger around here. LOL

Anonymous said...

d - u wanted dungone's ip - thats it.

if u r gonna go after him, plz do it right.

will forward name to u by email.