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The Right to Lie

Americans can wear bravery and campaign medals they're not entitled to with impunity again. The US Supreme Court recently struck down the Stolen Valor Act which made it illegal to wear such medals in public. The court ruled that it was a freedom of speech issue and the Government should not be in the business of punishing false statements which did not result in material gain. So, an outside observer might conclude that the US version of Freedom of Speech includes the Freedom to Lie. Bogus war veterans are generally sad people. But many would say they do no harm. That's not quite true. It's not so long ago that many western countries hadn't been in a serious war for years. So, when they did send their young people into action in Iraq and Afghanistan, older veterans were asked how the new generation could deal with the stresses of combat. But if the “veteran” was bogus and taking his war stories from cheap paperbacks about the Vietnam War, then the advice given might do more harm than good. I heard of one supposed Vietnam war veteran living outside of the US who bought a box of Purple Hearts in a pawn shop in the States and then made a big deal of presenting them to young injured soldiers fresh from home the wars as if they were his treasured wound medals. How would the families of those soldiers feel if they knew where those medals really came from? I think anything which discourages this sort of dangerous nonsense is to be applauded.
This Thursday (July 5) is supposed to be decision day when it comes to how many battalions the Royal Regiment of Scotland is going to have. Speculation is that the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (5 SCOTS), as the junior battalion, is the most likely to get the chop. But some commentators are suggesting the Royal Highland Fusiliers (2 SCOTS) may be vulnerable because it has so many non-Brits in its ranks. The Highlanders (4 SCOTS) is said to have the worst recruitment record. But some are saying that for political reasons, all five battalions may be spared and a better-recruited English battalion will be sacrificed. I still say it's a mistake to axe any British battalions at the moment. And like old Humpty Dumpty, once broken up, an infantry battalion can't be put back together again.

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