Every journalist, editor, and TV producer should read Stolen Valor. Hopefully that would keep them from interviewing and featuring the scruffy looking liars, fakers, and "wannabees" in camouflage fatigues covered with patches, pins, and unearned medals when they want to interview a Vietnam veteran.
Too many journalists pass on to their readers--and preserve for posterity--whatever lies they are told about secret missions behind enemy lines, American atrocities, amazing Rambo-type combat, and our nation's highest awards for valor which somehow were never recorded in the faker's official records. Are these journalists just naive or are they intentionally supporting an anti-Vietnam War, anti-military, and anti-American agenda?
Burkett and Whitley demonstrate how those opposed to the war (and the military and the government) are using the myth of vast numbers of Vietnam veterans being so psychologically scarred by the war that they are dysfunctional and the parallel myth of widespread American atrocities in Vietnam to validate their own political agendas.
The leaders of the American Legion, VFW, and other mainstream veterans' organizations would also do well to read this book. Many of them have been hoodwinked by fakers who gain positions of leadership and influence within veteran's organizations and become public spokesmen based on their impressive--but false--war records.
The machine copies of DD214 forms used by individuals to join veterans' organizations, obtain VA care, and convince skeptics cannot be accepted as valid proof of service because they can be forged with copy machines. Burkett and Whitley tell us the way to unmask the liars and frauds is to use a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain a copy of their DD214 directly from the National Records Center in St. Louis, MO.
I've encountered some of these phonies myself and my theory is that the longer and dirtier their hair and beards are, the more they look like street people, the more medals, badges, patches, pins, and other gewgaws they are wearing, the more likely they are to be impostors.
It's not difficult for a real veteran to see the inconsistencies in their claims but journalists and the public who have never served are easily fooled into believing these bums are typical of Vietnam vets. That's why "Stolen Valor" is an appropriate title for this book. They are besmirching the reputation of all of us who served honorably and are proud of it.