Why Blumenthal's Vietnam 'Lies' Matter

Ben Adler writes that Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal had not really done anything wrong when he claimed to have served in Vietnam, and that it would probably not be a political death blow. "Blumenthal's problem is not anything he did," he writes, "it's the lying about something that he otherwise would be in no trouble for at all."

I disagree. Military service is a special case, and Vietnam service is an even more special case. I don't fault Blumenthal for avoiding getting drafted.

But there's something uniquely heinous about assuming the mantle of someone who served in that horrific war and then, on top of that, to use that false experience to empathize with vets who were jeered when they returned. It reveals a serious narcissistic streak. It's about character more than the lie. Most people have at least pondered committing adultery if not actually doing so. But few people who lived through the Vietnam era (particularly men who had to face the prospect of shipping over there and what to do about it) would tell a lie that cuts so deeply into the American psyche.

Fortunately, we'll be able to see who's right.