Wednesday, December 01, 2004

The Navy Times: Mouthpiece for a Known Vietnam Fraud

Email, I love email. A little birdie sent this my way. I couldn't write it better myself. As a matter of fact, he wants to remain anon and told me to claim as my own. With the traffic this blog sees, his secret is safe.

With minor editing.....

I know something sounded wrong as I started reading Wayne Smith’s piece in the Opinion Back Talk section of Navy Times September 27, 2004 issue. Besides the obviously twisted prose and alarmist tone, I noticed something old, putrid, and discredited. His name rang a bell.

Right after Vietnam, an entire army of poseurs, fakers, and professional victim pimps began a process of smearing and mal-defining an entire generation of men that served their country with distinction and honor; the Vietnam Generation. The whole “We are creating monsters” theme of the article brought me back to a book that every military professional should read as part of their professional education; Stolen Valor: How the Vietnam Generation Was Robbed of its Heroes and its History, by B.G. Burkett and Glenna Whitley; Verity Press, INC., 1998. Burkett and Glenna produced a detailed and meticulously documented work. All of the following information is easily found in the index pages and is where I gathered the information on Mr. Smith’s background.

There is a reason that Mr. Smith is trying to smear today’s war veterans with the same filth he spread over the honor of those men 30 years ago, he has made a career of it.

He is not, however, someone that any reputable publication, much less Navy Times, should expend paper and ink to send out to their readers.

In the early 1990’s many veterans’ organizations were having a problem with fake vets in their organizations, from the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) to Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA). While the VFW and other organizations made a solid effort to purge their rolls of these poseurs and fakes, the Membership Director for VVA at the time, Wayne Smith, fearing loosing so many members perhaps, elected not to. Then again, Mr. Smith is not the type who wants records reviewed in any detail.

Mr. Smith is a Vietnam veteran, but not the kind of person you want speaking to your High School age child’s history class. According to Mr. Smith’s military record pulled via a Freedom of Information Act request by Mr. Burkett in 1992, while in the service Mr. Smith was sentenced to hard labor for going AWOL. Additionally, once he left the service he expanded his record of honor. In 1971 Mr. Smith was indicted for the 1971 murder of Kenneth Donnelly, finally convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 10 years on 03 January 1973 (State of Rhode Island vs. Wayne Smith, Case #72-288).

As reported in the 06 August 1993 edition of The Washington Post, these facts finally caught up with Mr. Smith’s career when he was disqualified as a candidate for President of the VVA after loosing his previous job at the VVA. He then moved on the National Vietnam Memorial Fund. Doing a quick Google search, it appears that after spending time with far-left organizations such as “The Justice Project”, he is now with another far-left organization, the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation, an organization that seems mostly concerned with landmines.

Perhaps he sees another growth opportunity for his Victim Industry coming out of the Global War on Terrorism. The space in Navy Times almost seems like his first advertisement. I see his field of specialty has changed little.

Just the fact that Mr. Smith has such a history with the VVA should have raised the alert at Navy Times. As described in Stolen Valor,
“The VVA, while claiming to be the spokesman and friend of Vietnam veterans, has actually done more damage to their public image than any other group in America. They’ve made patriotic and honorable men appear to be whining welfare cases, men who have no pride in their service, and men who can find nothing better to do with their lives than bellyache about what an immoral government did to them.”

Mr. Smith does not have an opinion, he has an agenda.

Let a thousand voices sing, from the left to the right, but as a publication that purports to serve the Navy team, The Navy Times owes it to their subscribers to show judgment and due diligence on your choices. They owe their subscribers an apology for putting such a charlatan, criminal, and disgraced peddler from the professional Victim Industry on the Opinion Back Page.

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