Another Dem War Hero

| July 28, 2014

My reaction to the revelation that Democrat senator John Walsh, a retired brigadier general and one-time adjutant general (head) of Montana’s National Guard, had plagiarized much of his master’s thesis at the Army’s Command and General Staff War College was similar to that of most veterans. I felt a queasy disgust, not so much at the offense but at his attempt to blame it on PTSD. For an officer of his seniority and long military experience to try to weasel out of an embarrassing exposure of his lack of professional and academic ethics by falsely claiming the stress of battle made him do it, is a huge disservice to all those warriors who, due to their combat experiences, truly are dealing with the very real debilities of post-traumatic stress disorder. My assessment as an old former infantry NCO is that this guy isn’t much of a leader. Reading comments around the internet from soldiers who served under him reinforces that belief.

Those of us who try to stay attuned to developments in the veteran community are keenly aware that PTSD is all too often the first defense thrown up by those phony veterans claiming military service and valorous awards for service and deeds never rendered, once they are exposed, or it is part of their original scam to milk public sympathy. These frauds, most who have never served and the rest actual veterans foolishly trying to add some macho glamour to their military record, are such a prevalent phenomenonin America today that they’ve earned their very own federal criminal statute, the Stolen Valor Act of 2013.

That a United States Senator throws in with that legion of losers as soon as his own Stolen Valor is exposed says a lot about his lack of devotion to the troops he actually led in combat, some of whom no doubt are suffering the real effects of PTSD. Why don’t you just steal their wheelchairs and prosthetic limbs while you’re usurping their emotional wounds for your phony defense, Senator? And yes, I know, you’re trying to backtrack now but your first defensive instinct is what is so telling.

Now, while Democrats are rallying ‘round another of their tarnished war heroes, we hear that the Army Command and General Staff College is opening an investigation of your possible cheating. That became much more interesting to me when I read an excerpt from a Google Book edited by Douglas Higgins, titled Military Culture and Education: Current Intersections of Academic and Military Cultures which contains this very interesting observation regarding the very real seriousness of the offense of plagiarism in a military academic setting.

Academic misconduct is also covered by the UCMJ. Plagiarism is significantly less prevalent among CGSC students. When plagiarism is suspected, however, the procedures involved are significantly more serious than in a civilian setting. If a written assignment aroused my curiosity at the university — or even the seminary, I would call a student in for an informal discussion. At CGSC faculty are required to have an active-duty officer of greater rank than the student involved present to read the student their legal rights under article 15-6 of the UCMJ prior to that conversation. Depending on the circumstances and severity, an investigative board may be formed and — theoretically at least — a student could face the “long course”: confinement in the Disciplinary Barracks, or military prison, at Fort Leavenworth. Here plagiarism is literally a crime. (Emphasis mine.)

Perhaps the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which has jumped to the senator’s defense, should pause for a moment and consider that last sentence from the above quote:

Here plagiarism is literally a crime.

That might also give some pause to his former running mate and now Montana governor, Steve Bullock, who has been staunchly supportive of a man he perhaps doesn’t know quite as well as he thought. The Dems attempts to whitewash a possible military crime by one of their own is typical.

And this is for you, John Walsh: you are now numbered among those who have Stolen Valor. You knowingly allowed the Army to confer upon you a master’s degree that you had not honestly earned. If the successful completion of that course contributed to your promotion to brigadier general then that rank was falsely attainedand your promotion should be rescinded. And because you benefitted financially by the higher pay grade of your fraudulently achieved rank, you have brought yourself under the jurisdiction of the Stolen Valor Act of 2013, which makes it a crime for a person to fraudulently claim having received any of a series of particular military decorations with the intention of obtaining money, property, or other tangible benefit from convincing someone that he or she rightfully did receive that award. If a court should deem your master’s degree from the War College to be an award or decoration, enhancing promotion, you could be prosecuted.

Or, because you’re a Democrat and now have demonstrably phony military credentials, your party might now be looking at you as future presidential material like Jean Fraud Kerry.

Crossposted at American Thinker

Category: Veterans Issues

Comments (37)

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  1. Thunderstixx says:

    Tar and feathers would be an appropriate punishment then a tour of the inner facilities of Ft. Leavenworth KS for a couple of years or so with no time off for good behavior !!!

  2. BK says:

    My skin crawled when I read that Walsh did this. It makes my skin crawl even more than any defends this.

    Here is a line by line exposition of his plagiarism.

    When I wrote my master’s thesis (which was an attempt to prognosticate the use of social media for B2B marketing efforts – back in 2005), part of academic review process seemed to be vetting my attributed sources. My premise and conclusions were my own, but much of what got me there was other people’s work. I was so happy, not to mention grateful, to have the firmament of other people’s well-researched work to stand upon, that it never would have occurred to me to lift whole slices of their work and claim it as my own.

    (nevermind that the intervening years have completely proven my conclusions wrong)

    I am very curious as to how exactly the War College conducts its review, and why it didn’t catch such blatant plagiarism at the time it was submitted.

    I think the Stolen Valor twist is a little bit of a stretch. Plagiarism has its own set of penalties, civil or criminal. It’s odious to me solely because he is ostensibly a leader, not because he’s a Democrat. Republicans have stood by Rand Paul, Stefanie Carter from Texas, Scott McInnis, David Clements, etc., all of whom plagiarized and the only demarcation point between any of those public servants (or aspiring ones) is that they do not wear a CIB or claim PTSD. If we blame Democrats for rallying to their endorsed candidate, then we also should, in the interest if intellectual honesty, hold Republicans who rally to Rand Paul and other plagiarists to the same standard.

    I hope he loses the election. I hope the War College considers punitive action. The military will not need Stolen Valor, since his degree likely played a large part in promotion. But to make it a statement on Democrats in general takes it too far and invites proper (and unfortunately cyclical) accusations of hypocrisy. This is a reflection on his character, not his politics. That we are inclined to either single out or overlook plagiarism based on party affiliation says almost as much about is and the integrity we’re willing to sacrifice to make points.

    • Poetrooper says:

      The reason for the inclusion of the Stolen Valor charge is that even if the college review board finds plagiarism there is likely little that can be done to punish this weasel. He’s retired from the Guard and his promotion to BG was a state promotion so that he could serve as Montana AG.

      With an equally devious and dishonorable Democrat CinC having the final say on any military disciplinary action, even an Article 15 is highly unlikely.

      Also you should consider that a charge of Stolen Valor resonates much more in a state like Montana than in Blumenthal’s Connecticut, even if the charge is never formally brought against him, a little political jiu jitsu if you will.

      • streetsweeper says:

        Being delivered as I type n paste this: a little political jiu jitsu if you will.

  3. Pinto Nag says:

    I’m not sure about using the term ‘Stolen Valor’ in this case, either. He cheated, true, and there is a whole list of terms that can be applied, but I’m not sure that one fits.

  4. MCPO NYC USN Ret. says:


    Great writing and enjoed reading!

  5. MCPO NYC USN Ret. says:


  6. Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

    – A major plagiarized a paper in his Air Command and Staff College’s Master’s Program and made a false official statement regarding his plagiarism, in violation of Articles 92 and 107, UCMJ. The commander imposed the following punishment: forfeitures of $3,369.00 pay per month for two months, and a reprimand.

    It’s been dealt with before using the UCMJ…seems appropriate for this turd as well.

  7. Combat Historian says:

    When I attended the Joint Staff College in 2010-2011, they ran all the syudents’ JRP submissions through a computer plagiarization program to look for any similarities between students’ submitted papers and all academic works already out there floating on the net. Sounds like this program wasn’t around in 2007 or was not utilized to catch this clown’s plagiarized work.

    • UpNorth says:

      A variation of that program has been around since before 07. A couple of the English teachers at the HS I worked at used the program to check their students term papers.

  8. Combat Historian says:

    When I attended the Joint Staff College in 2010-2011, they ran all the students’ JRP submissions through a computer plagiarization program to look for any similarities between students’ submitted papers and all academic works already out there floating on the net. Sounds like this program wasn’t around in 2007 or was not utilized to catch this clown’s plagiarized work.

    • Combat Historian says:

      Sorry for the double-tap; I made a typo correction not knowing the first post was already heading down range.

    • TankBoy says:

      Variations of this program were availavble when I was the AMOI for the NROTC detachments at Duke and UNC-CH in 2000-2003.

  9. COB6 says:

    VoV’s experience is very similar to what I did. Brand new Major I got called to investigate a case of a Captain in the Advance Course. Obvious not his work, no attribution and lied about it in statement. Half months pay for two months and General Officer letter of reprimand. Career over.

    • YankeeJim says:

      As it should be…how hard is it properly attribute your work/sources.

      • Anonymous says:

        For a hail-fellow-well-met who can only copy out of Wikipedia, it can be excruciatingly hard…

        • Hondo says:

          Anon: check out the link BK provided above that provides a line-by-line analysis of Walsh’s paper.

          The guy’s paper used a freaking boatload of sources – and they appear to be credible, high-quality sources at that. I don’t know how many of those were available in softcopy in 2007, but even if all of them were, simply finding and doing copy-pasta for that amount of material would have been a huge job.

          He obviously did the research, found the sources, and appears to have structured the ideas reasonably coherently. Doing that wasn’t a helluva lot less work than simply writing the paper himself and citing sources properly.

          I cannot believe he just didn’t write the damn paper. He’d done maybe the hardest 75% or 80% of the work.

          This just doesn’t make sense.

          • Green Thumb says:

            The one below.

          • ArmyATC says:

            But there are programs available that will take the hurt out of citations. All one needs do is add a bit of information and the programs will put everything in proper order and even print the citations page. It’s almost a no-brainer.

            • Hondo says:

              He apparently did that to the War College’s satisfaction, ArmyATC. And he strung the ideas together in a logical sequence and flow.

              He footnoted most of what he used, too. Problem was, he lifted maybe 20% or so – including all of his conclusions and recommendations – virtually word-for-word from other works without any attribution at all. And looks like he properly cited – but copied verbatim or nearly verbatim – another 40-50% of the paper while making no attempt to show it was quoted vice a synthesis/reworking of others’ ideas.

              The research (finding the sources, finding the relevant material) and organization are IMO probably 2/3 of this kind of job. The actual writing and formatting are by far the lesser task. And, as you point out, there are tools out there to help with that part. In contrast, the research and organization has to be done by whoever wrote the paper.

              He obviously knew what he wanted to say. He found the material, and organized it. It made sense as organized. He even footnoted a sh!tload of it, for Pete’s sake – nearly 100 citations in the paper overall.

              Yet he didn’t bother to reword 40+% of it – after citing where he’d taken it from for all to see. And he lifted maybe another 20% without any attribution whatsoever.

              I just don’t understand. It would have literally been just as easy to simply write the paper – period. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I’m beginning to believe 2/17 Air Cav’s “sting” suggestion below might be on the mark.

          • Bill says:

            It’s not the work involved, it’s the character of the writer that’s at issue here.

  10. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    Well, if Walsh’s paper wasn’t written by Walsh at all, he might have been the most surprised SOB in the world when he learned that he had plagiarized the work of others. In other words, a ghost writer might have been the plagiarist, kind of like a double switch in which the scammer gets scammed. There is that possibility, you know.

    • Hondo says:

      (chuckling) Hadn’t thought of that possibility, 2/17 Air Cav. If that’s the case – serves him right.

      Damn, and I loved the movie The Sting, too. (smile)

      • 2/17 Air Cav says:

        Can you imagine if that were the case and Walsh defended by saying, “I am not a plagiarist! In fact, I never wrote my paper at all. Um. Wait. Uh-oh.”

  11. Hondo says:

    And ya gotta love it when the Washington Post essentially raises the BS flag and gives a politician’s claim 4 Pinocchios (e.g., calls it a “whopper”).

    • Green Thumb says:

      I am also curious as to when liberal academia calls him out.

      Tester and Bullock are showing support and liberal academia support them.

      This should be good. Or dopes liberal academia overlook this?

      They hate plagiarists almost as much as they do Soldiers. But will they take a stand?

      We will see.

  12. vietnam war protestor aka uss liberty aka deport republicans not the children says:

    At least they are not all vietnam war chicken hawk draft doggers like the republiscum. That is why they have to wheel out old bitter john mccain he was the only one who wasn’t hiding during the vietnam war!

    • Blaster says:

      WTF are you talking about?

      Go back to huffing paint and let the grown-ups discuss the important matters.

    • UpNorth says:

      WTF is a “draft dogger”? And, you left “neocon” out of your lefty screed. That meth must really fuck your mind up.

      • Hondo says:

        Draft dogger: stray dog picked up by authorities on post and trained/put to work as a K9 for the MPs vice being euthanized.

        • UpNorth says:

          Thanks for the explanation, I was afraid that the frat boys would return and try to sort that out. Your explanation makes far more sense that that used condom of a vwp ever could.