Military Phonies in Politics

Ken Aden -- Special Forces phony, faker, fraud. The lesser of two weevils.

Ken Aden — Special Forces phony, faker, fraud, and 2012 Congressional candidate. The lesser of two weevils.

Today, a friend reminded us of Ken Aden, a 2012 congressional candidate in Arkansas who is a phony “Green Beret.” Aden actually managed to flunk out of SF school so spectacularly — three times, so at least he’s not a quitter — that the Command Sergeant Major of the school distinctly remembered him four years later. It was kind of sad, because Aden served creditably in the Army, he just didn’t succeed in SF, which is hardly a rare thing. What is a relatively rare thing is for a guy who did not succeed to go around claiming he did. Maybe that once was common, but nowadays everybody’s a couple of phone calls or emails away from authenticating just about anybody. Anyway, here’s the post on Aden if you want to pick at that scab. We don’t think he’s running for anything this year; he learned that lesson.

On the other hand, our post about him is so full of typos and grammatical screwups, we have to say, “No, really” about college degrees… sheesh. It was not our finest hour. Anyway, Aden threw in the sponge when his imposture was outed. He’s back in mind today because we have two guys, at least, running on their military records, when the military records haven’t exactly held up to scrutiny.

Ron Dickey, Congressional Candidate in Mississippi: SF Phony

Dickey has claimed to be a “Green Beret”. Here is an example of that claim. You may rest assured that there are many more such examples:

Ron Dickey SF phony

Dickey, whose full name is Flemron Earl Russell Dickey, has already won his contested primary for the Democrat nomination, and will be on the general election ballot 4 November 14. Is he really a Green Beret? Here are his real military assignments.

Ron Dickey real records

Dickey served honorably, completing Basic and Advanced Individual Training and assignments in Korea and at Fort Bragg. As you see, is only AIT was as a 94B, Food Service Specialist. In plain English, a cook. His SF claim hangs on this flimsy peg: he was assigned to HHC, 3rd Special Forces Group, and worked in the Group’s mess hall, where he prepared and served food for real Green Berets on a daily basis.

What the hell? Ron could claim he was a veteran, no problem. He could even say he was a support guy who worked for Special Forces, and we wouldn’t quibble. But normally, even cooks in an SFG’s HHC (or back in the day, support battalion or service company) are required to be jump-qualified, and Ron’s record shows no attendance at jump school, nor award of the parachutist badge. (Maybe it’s routine for some cooks at Bragg to be legs? All we know is that our cooks at 10th Group at Devens, and later in the Reserve and Guard SF units, were Airborne qualified).

Unfortunately, Ron’s false claims do not end there. He also claims to be a Desert Storm Veteran. He has made these claims broadly and in detail, and they are not supported by his records at all. Elements of 3rd Group did attend that party, but he did not.

Even before these false claims were exposed, Ron Dickey had an uphill fight against incumbent Alan Nunnelee, a Republican who retained his seat with 60% of the vote in 2012. The Cook Partisan Voting Index rates the district R+16 in 2014; many Mississippi Democrats are gerrymandered into another district (the 2nd).

FMI: Guardian of Valor on Ron Dickey. This Ain’t Hell on Ron Dickey.  Stolen Valor Offenders Exposed on Ron Dickey. (They have scores of screencaps of his claims; GoV has them well-organized).

Senator “Dishonest John” Walsh: Thesis Thief, and Ethics Violator

Face of a Thesis Thief

Face of a Thesis Thief: Dishonest John Walsh.

While Ron Dickey’s phonyhood has mostly been an under-the-radar phenomenon, John Walsh’s problems have exploded into the national media with a story in the New York Times. Walsh is an appointed Senator; after 30 years as a part-time officer in the Montana National Guard and full-time Guard “technician,” he ran for Lieutenant Governor after retiring. When the Governor, Bryan Schweitzer, had a chance to name a Senator, after the President named incumbent Max Baucus to an ambassadorship, he thought the best chance of keeping the seat in Democrat hands in conservative Montana was to name someone with an unquestionable military background.

Unfortunately for him and his party, he thought Dishonest John was that guy.

The current tornado of news is animated by the discovery that almost all the substance of Walsh’s 2007 War College thesis was plagiarized. From the initial story at the New York Times:

But one of the highest-profile credentials of Mr. Walsh’s 33-year military career appears to have been improperly attained. An examination of the final paper required for Mr. Walsh’s master’s degree from the United States Army War College indicates the senator appropriated at least a quarter of his thesis on American Middle East policy from other authors’ works, with no attribution.

Mr. Walsh completed the paper, what the War College calls a “strategy research project,” to earn his degree in 2007, when he was 46. The sources of the material he presents as his own include academic papers, policy journal essays and books that are almost all available online.

Most strikingly, each of the six recommendations Mr. Walsh laid out at the conclusion of his 14-page paper, titled “The Case for Democracy as a Long Term National Strategy,” is taken nearly word-for-word without attribution from a Carnegie Endowment for International Peace document on the same topic.

The Washington Post adds some specifics on Walsh’s thesis theft:

The first page borrows heavily from a 2003 Foreign Affairs piece written by Thomas Carothers, vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and a 2009 book by Natan Sharansky with Ron Dermer called “The Case for Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror.”

All six of the recommendations that Walsh lists at the end of his paper are taken nearly word-for-word without attribution from a Carnegie paper written by Carothers and three other scholars at the institute.

One section of the paper is nearly identical to about 600 words from a 1998 paper by Sean Lynn-Jones, a scholar at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, a research institute at Harvard.

Walsh is ducking responsibility for the plagiarism, claiming that it was PTSD from his service as a safe-as-houses battalion commander in Iraq that forced him to plagiarize many sources, essentially adding up to the whole damned paper.

The War College has started an enquiry, according to a follow-up in the Times:

“It’s clear there is indeed strong reason to believe this is plagiarism,” said the War College’s provost, Lance Betros, a retired brigadier general. “We are initiating academic review procedures.”

Dr. Betros said he made the decision after he and another member of the War College’s staff read Mr. Walsh’s 14-page paper and used an online plagiarism detection program to review the document.

The notification letter to Mr. Walsh indicates that an academic review board consisting of War College faculty members will meet no earlier than Aug. 15. Any student or graduate facing such questions is given 10 days after receiving notification to decide whether to appear in person or provide information before the board convenes.

Dr Betros told that Times that six War College graduates have had their degrees yanked for plagiarism since 1990 (and two more for other misconduct). It seems probable that as soon as two weeks from now, Walsh will be the ninth disgraced grad.

Montana’s other Senator, Jon Tester, who is not a veteran, defended Walsh, and indicated that military ideals of integrity were passé and immaterial. After all, Tester explained, “there’s no malice in this.” So, he cheated on a course, so what? Likewise, the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee came out swinging for Walsh. “John Walsh is a decorated war hero, and it’s disgusting” that people would call him on something like plagiarism, spokesman Justin Barasky, who is not a veteran, exploded, before going nuclear on Walsh’s election opponent, blaming him for the “smear” of Walsh that came about when the New York Times, a well-known tool of small-state Republican politicians, exposed Walsh’s plagiarism. 

But the plagiarism isn’t the biggest problem in Walsh’s military history, although it speaks resoundingly of his integrity. Because his political career is nugatory — the 2012 Lt. Governorship was his first office — he has cast his campaign largely in light of his military service — a service in which he not only, as has now been exposed, cheated to get ahead, but couldn’t stay there once he did.

For example, Dishonest John represents himself as a brigadier general in campaign ads, but while he wore the star on state orders, he never received Federal recognition for the promotion because of allegations of corruption in office, allegations that were proven credible. (Had he been cleared, he would have been federally recognized as a two-star Major General; instead, he had to retire as a Colonel). An Army IG investigation substantiated that Walsh had violated the DOD Joint Ethics Regulation; pressured subordinates to join and donate to a political lobbying organization he sought a position with; misused “his official title, position, and official photograph;” “improperly used his government position for private gain;” and misused Federal resources including computer systems and personnel.

The IG investigation came about because of a complaint from one of the subordinates Walsh targeted for pressure.

There’s also a question of how Walsh’s branch morphed so many times, from Armor at commissioning, to Ordnance, suddenly to Infantry prior to his deployment to Iraq — but that’s rather typical for a “political” Guard officer who is in favor in the state capital, as Walsh has been with Governor Bryan Schweitzer.

UPDATE

The Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler, a committed Democrat who could be expected to do what he could to protect Walsh, instead savaged Dishonest John’s “fact sheet” which included, among other things, a fabricated claim that he had “survived hundreds of IED explosions”:

Walsh survived hundreds of IED explosions while in a Humvee, he was targeted – by name – by Al Qaida in Iraq, and his unit endured hundreds of rocket attacks.

His unit might have, but he didn’t. In a separate story, the Post’s Aaron Blake, another typical Postie who wishes Democrats well, lit into the “fact sheet”‘s dishonest combat claims.

If surviving “hundreds of IED explosions” sounds unbelievable, that’s because it didn’t happen. Walsh’s campaign followed up with a correction (which they call a clarification), noting that he personally didn’t survive all those IED attacks.

“He survived an attack in October 2005, while his unit endured hundreds of both IED and rocket attacks throughout the deployment,” a Walsh spokeswoman said.

That’s a pretty glaring factual error, especially for a “fact sheet.”

Dishonest John has also tried to explain away his serial and pervasive plagiarism with a PTSD/TBI dodge, but if he’d been blow’d up enough to have a TBI, his records would show the Purple Heart medal, and they don’t; and, as Blake notes, he never mentioned PTSD until he was on the ropes for plagiarism.

Campaign spokeswoman Lauren Passalacqua “scolded the press” and insisted that Walsh’s Xerox-strength wholesale copying was a single “unintentional mistake.” Kessler gives Walsh a well-deserved Four Pinnochios here.

quatro_pinnochios

 

In this case, the media has actually done the military’s work by unearthing and exposing an unethical officer. No doubt another investigation or three will take place, but any way you look at it, we all owe Kessler, Blake and especially the New York Times’s Jonathan Martin a cold one for shining a light on one of the hidden Courtney Massengales.

13 thoughts on “Military Phonies in Politics

  1. robroysimmons

    In Illinois we have a senator from the elephant party who went to lengths to exaggerate his service. Its total ass clownery to make such claims, but it probably says more about the state of our republic than we wish to admit. The GOP fools who make such claim are outright morons, the donkeys are outright evil not a one of them will stand for military readiness except to maybe vote for some big ticket vote purchased item like a fighter plane made out of gold or some other nonsense, pox on them all.

    1. Hognose Post author

      Who is the douchebag? I’m an equal opportunity poser buster here. Since as a small-l libertarian I’m usually closer to the Rs than the Ds I have to watch the bias in my commentary, but the cold hard fact is that all politicians are assclowns.

      I think the nation would run better if all the key public jobs (president, congress, senate, all agency managers) were filled on a four-year rotation by a random draft. The people attracted to such careers are narcissists.It would be like jury duty. “Oh Crap! Honey, I can’t pick up the kids next week… I just got ordered to the Senate.”

        1. Hognose Post author

          Ah, yeah. He is a d-bag on gun issues, too. For some reason, the gun control guys in the Senate seem to have particularly rebarbative characters.

          We all know about Edward M. Kennedy. His partner in legislation, Corrupt Chris (Dodd), was not only enough of a crook to be hounded out of the Senate, he was a second-generation crook; his father, Thomas Dodd, was censured by the Senate (which is a bit like being bounced from NAMBLA or the Mafia for character issues), and Thomas Dodd was the only guy to come out of working on the Nuremburg prosecutions with an admiration for Nazi police methods, which he tried to import to the USA (he was not a fan of Nazi racial policy or expansionism, but thought the Gestapo was on the right track on gun policing, which is bad enough).

          The senior Dodd’s contemporary, Howard Metzenbaum of Ohio, arguably the most anti-gun of them all, was a WWII draft dodger who was a member of various anti-war Soviet front groups that became suddenly pro-war when the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact went under the treads of Hitler’s tanks. He never was personally pro-war though, except as far as sending other people was concerned.

          By and large they were really a repulsive bunch. Their current friends, like Sens. Walsh (does he represent all the academics he’s ripped off, or all the junior officers he’s shaken down) and Blumenthal (the self-promoted “war hero” who was actually a Nixon aide who joined for purposes of draft evasion a no-duty-required palace-guard USMCR unit) follow in that tradition. I think one reason is that people who know, deep down, that they themselves are untrustworthy, project that untrustworthiness onto the citizenry at large and therefore don’t trust them with guns.

      1. TRX

        > random draft

        I’ve been saying that for decades. The reactions I get from people tend to be… interesting. “What if the mentally ill or criminals wound up in public office?” My usual reply is, “…you mean, like we already have?”

        The ostensible goal of democracy is representation, not popularism. You can’t get much more representative than a lottery. And it has been tried before in history, and doesn’t seem to have worked any worse than divine right or popularity contests.

  2. Y.

    How stupid can someone be? I mean, a public figure plagiarizing stuff in the age of google?
    That’s about as sure a way of getting humiliated later as booking a couple of hours with one of them discipline providing ladies..

  3. Bill T

    It’s really hard to understand why a guy who has served honorably feels he has to lie about his service.

    A good 94B10 is one of the three groups of soldiers you stay on good terms with, Cooks, supply, and medics.
    Without them you are in a world of hurt.
    I knew a SP4 medic who got it in for a wise ass E-6. He somehow “lost” the E6’s Immunization records. The E-6 couldn’t produce them so he had to take the whole batch before he could leave Ft. Bragg.
    That’s when I started gathering and keeping copies of everything in my 201 file! I kept it until after I got out.
    Unfortunately, An ANGRY X-wife and a small bonfire did away with it and most of my other souvenirs.
    I have gone to Archives and had reproduced key pieces of paper that I needed from time to time,such as My “S” suffix on my MOS, Discharges, Medals and Badges, ETC.
    Like the General told the Major in the Eastwood Movie Heartbreak Ridge, “Were you any good in supply, where you came from?” The Major replied,” Yes Sir!” then the General said. “Well, You aught to go back there!”
    Assholes aren’t very glamorous but we’d be in trouble without one!

  4. Wise Cave Owl

    based on precedent, Walsh will be in like flint. Don’t forget Senator Whats-iz-Name from Conn.: claimed to have been a Marine in VN, turned out to be doing toys-for-tots in DC. Then there’s the VP, long known to have plagiarized his way thru Law School. And finally, S. Ambrose, still the “Dean of American WW II Historians” …according to the Establishment. Yet, as also well known, Ambrose faked sources and plagiarized huge chunks of other peoples’ work from his Ph.D. Thesis onward.

  5. aGrimm

    I’m reading Walsh’s clarification as, “I survived the one IED attack, but wasn’t a survivor in the hundreds of others.” It is true and better explains why he is a brain dead zombie.

    Wise Cave Owl: thanks for the heads up on Ambrose. I was just considering getting one of his books. I’m reading Pacepa and Rychlak’s “Disinformation…” and can’t put it down.

    Bill T: from personal experience , it is fun to get revenge via lost shot records. I’ll leave it at that as I’m not necessarily proud of the action (but still chuckle at the thought some 40 years later). Another trick was to bury the needle to the bone so it slightly bent the tip and doing a little extra tearing as it came out.

    1. robroysimmons

      My drill instructor played that game on me (if any of you ever meet a retired Marine a dark green version by the name of Carr punch him in the mouth for me) Anyway I’m from Illinois and I know how to lay a bribe, so it cost a case of Michelob to the corpsman to fill in most of my shot record, well worth it.

    2. Hognose Post author

      That first graph cracked me up, Larry. Yeah, that explains a lot.

      If you like Pacepa and Rychlak, three authors I’d recommend (in order of readability) are John Barron (KGB and KGB:The Hidden Hand, the second is about Dezinformatsiya, both are a little dated but generally hold up well), Robert Conquest (the duke of western Soviet Union historians: The Great Terror and Harvest of Sorrow were so well researched that the opening of Soviet archives changed essentially nothing), and Mitrokhin, the defector who carried a mountain of archives with him.

      Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s Archipelag Gulag is an incredible work but is classically Russian, dense reading. It was available in the West in a three volume English translation and a single-volume abridgement; both are long out of print but as it was an “often bought, seldom read” bestseller of the 1970s, lightly used copies are common.

      Re: revenge. I can neither confirm nor deny that the team’s difficulty in finding one team leader’s vein during IV practice was rooted in something other than the peculiarities of his venous physiology.

      1. Bill K

        Ya know, we teach bright dialysis patients to start their own IVs. Sometimes even dialysis nurses are like Forrest’s box of chocolates.

        Just sayin’

  6. robroysimmons

    A warning about Russian writing should always be included, their version of “truth” is a bit different than the Anglo-Saxon version. I read “Gulag” one of the finest books I have ever read, then at the end the author basically admits that it is a bit stylized. Anyway the author wrote one of the greatest bits about tyranny and resistance about meeting the thugs in the hallways with axes, “later how we burned.”

    If anyone is really feeling frisky towards accepted history then read Suvarov’s “Chief Culprit” in it he basically states that Germany’s army saved Western Europe from Stalin’s grasp.

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