Thursday, June 09, 2005

Stolen Valor: The Iraq Years?

Just this Tuesday I finished reading B. G. Burkett's excellent book Stolen Valor, which describes how, for various reasons, anti-war groups created the myth that large amounts of Vietnam veterans suffer from PTSD, and as a result are ticking time bombs on the edge of mass murder. Burkett, through some detailed research described how so called Vietnam veterans used this as an excuse for their crimes, such as murder, assault and rape, even though many of them were not even veterans, had never been to Vietnam, or had been assigned to relatively safe non-combat jobs. After reading this I asked myself how long it would take before "soldiers" real or imagined would start blaming the Iraq war for their problems and misdeeds.

Well, the answer is two days. On the way to the gym tonight I hear Brian Suits discuss this case on KVI.

TACOMA, Wash. -- A man accused of raping a woman who was working as an escort is blaming his behavior on his experience as a soldier in Iraq, KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reported.

Dagan Walters, 27, of Olympia, arranged to meet a call girl at a Tacoma motel, police said.

He allegedly took her captive at knifepoint, taped her mouth shut and raped her.

She escaped by grabbing the knife and fleeing the motel room.

His defense attorney said when Walters came home from the war in Iraq, he suffered post traumatic stress and alcohol abuse.

Walters' family is trying to get him admitted to a veterans' hospital.

I looked his name up on Army Knowledge Online, which basically lists everyone in the Army, active or reserve, and it had no listing of his name. But it is possible he is (was) a Marine, or is not listed for some other legitimate reason. So I have no way to know definitively whether his story is true or not, although I have a hard time buying the story that being in Iraq causes you to call up prostitutes, assault, and rape them, but hopefully the prosecuter, and the media will investigate this guy and find out whether his story is true or not. More likely it will come down to bloggers or people like Mr. Burkett. Burkett describes how to request info on people through the Freedom of Information Act here, provided you know enough about the person. Regardless, someone has to keep people like this from besmirching the good name of the soldiers who sacrificed so much in Iraq and other wars.