I said this right here on my blog Thursday: “You can also expect an angry backlash from some veterans for Walsh trying to blame PTSD for his 2007 plagiarism.”
The next day, here was the headline dogging the campaign for appointed Sen. John Walsh (D-MT):
Some Montana veterans have spoken out in response to the plagiarism allegations facing Sen. John Walsh (D-Mont.), and they’re not happy.
Timothy Pentecost, a veteran of both the Vietnam and Iraq wars, told the Bozeman Daily Chronicle that Walsh, who served in Iraq, using post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as an excuse for his alleged plagiarism is “totally bogus.”
More on that story below, but first, as The New York Daily News notes, Walsh went even further than claiming PTSD caused the plagiarism- he used the death of a soldier under his command as an added excuse.
New York Daily News: Stolen words, stolen honor
“I don’t want to blame my mistake on PTSD, but I do want to say it may have been a factor. . . . My head was not in a place very conducive to a classroom and an academic environment.”
After the Times article appeared, Walsh’s staff sent out a fact sheet about the “inadvertent mistake” and claiming, incredibly, that “Walsh survived hundreds of IED explosions while in a Humvee.” When pressed on that point, a spokesperson offered a clarification conceding that, in fact, he had survived one attack, while his unit had been hit by many others
That’s especially cynical, given Walsh’s willingness to use the death of a soldier as political cover while he exploits his service record to shield himself from accountability for a poor decision.
Montana Media Trackers: Top Media Responses to the John Walsh Plagiarism Scandal
6. “He probably shouldn’t count on any campaign contributions from me.” -Sean M. Lynn-Jones (one of the authors whom Walsh allegedly plagiarized) in The Washington Post
The Walsh campaign even made the opening joke during The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon Thursday night. Grabien.com has full video available here.
Montana Senator John Walsh plagiarized his thesis. Even worse, it’s mostly TRIPLE spaced and he REALLY went in on the margins. #fallonmono
— Fallon Tonight (@FallonTonight) July 25, 2014
The New York Times: Army War College Starts Plagiarism Inquiry of Senator John Walsh’s Thesis
“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.”
Mr. 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”
But some graduates of the school were already expressing anger at Mr. Walsh, who graduated in 2007, for the allegations of plagiarism — and over his comments on Wednesday that his behavior was shaped by mental health challenges after his 2005 combat deployment to Iraq.
Montana Lt. Gov. Angela McLean was a high school teacher and chair of the Montana Board of Regents before Governor Steve Bullock appointed her to replace Walsh as lieutenant governor in February. She declined comment on questions of Walsh’s possible violations of academic ethics.
Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau also declined comment. Montana Commissioner of Higher Education Clay Christian, who was appointed by then-Gov. Brian Schweitzer, did not return a call to his office.
VIDEO: Chris Matthews on MSNBC’s Hardball
Bozeman Daily Chronicle: Veterans react to Walsh plagiarism response
“It’s totally bogus,” an outraged Pentecost (a retired Sergeant Major) told the, Chronicle. “I can’t believe he’s using the PTSD as a reason for what he has done in plagiarizing the paper, and that weak response he had was terrible.”
Brian Rudolph, 31, an Iraq and Afghanistan combat veteran from Great Falls, said he still has not heard Walsh apologize.
“That’s what bugged me the most. He almost said he was taking Paxil as if he had to say it but that it was just a small dose so people wouldn’t think he was crazy,” said Rudolph. “I feel like it’s a slap in the face to people who have obviously been through more than he has. I just don’t see how if you have a PTSD issue it’s going to cause you to plagiarize a paper. I can see how somebody could have a flashback and hit their spouse while they’re sleeping. But if you’re totally cognizant typing a paper and then say, ‘Ah I’m a little bit depressed so I’m not going to cite this.’ It just doesn’t make sense.”
By the way, I earlier criticized Troy Carter’s (a former staffer to Democratic Sen. Max Baucus) recent articles, so with this reporting I have to say he deserves a pat on the back. Then again, Walsh is such an easy target right now, even The Huffington Post and several other left-leaning outlets are going after him.
WashingtonPost.com: Army War College to investigate plagiarism claims against Walsh
Washington Post editorial: Sen. John Walsh should stop making excuses for his actions
“Uncle Jimbo” also has a post up at BlackFive.net, a site run by and dedicated to US military special operations forces troops and their families. I had the honor of meeting Uncle Jimbo at a big Soldiers Angels event down in San Antonio, Texas. (H/T a commenter named “Touchstone” on my blog)
Here’s his take: Plagiarizing Senator claims PTSD made him do it
Walsh said he made an unintentional mistake and did not intend to plagiarize.
“I don’t want to blame my mistake on PTSD, but I do want to say it may have been a factor,”
If you don’t want to blame PTSD, then you shouldn’t have. And you shouldn’t have. Not only is it a factually inaccurate statement since PTSD does not cause lying or cheating, but now you have smeared all the people fighting their PTSD who do not use it as an excuse to cover up some sad character flaws.
— CopperCommando (@CopperCommando) July 25, 2014
— Michael LaRosa (@MichaelLaRosaDC) July 25, 2014