How Do You Forget Your Military Service?

Robert McDonald claimed that his military service included Special Forces. That is now called a “mistake.” Why not call it a lie?

Crossing out Lies and writing Truth on a blackboard.

Is this a problem that is spreading among media personalities, politicians, and heads of government agencies? Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald is now apologizing for a “mistake.”

According to the Associated Press, “VA secretary apologizes for misstating military record.”

Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald apologized Monday for misstating that he served in the military’s special forces.

McDonald made the erroneous claim while speaking to a homeless veteran during a segment that aired last month on “CBS Evening News.”

In a statement released Monday by the VA, McDonald said: “While I was in Los Angeles, engaging a homeless individual to determine his veteran status, I asked the man where he had served in the military. He responded that he had served in special forces. I incorrectly stated that I had been in special forces. That was inaccurate and I apologize to anyone that was offended by my misstatement.”

The VA website says McDonald is an Army veteran who served with the 82nd Airborne Division. The Huffington Post website, which first reported on McDonald’s mistake, noted Monday that the 82nd is not considered part of special forces.

McDonald said he remains committed “to the ongoing effort to reform VA.”

Is this man another Brian Williams?

[See also, “Brian Williams of NBC MISTAKENLY Told Untruths?]

How do you become mistaken about your military career and how you served? I admit I have never been a soldier but I simply don’t think it is possible.

It seems to me that McDonald naturally wanted to say something that the veteran would respect. When the veteran claimed to have been special forces, it simply seemed natural to him to claim the same background even though there was no way he could get away with it.

So why say a lie that will embarrass you and hurt your career?

The most likely explanation is that this is McDonald’s compulsive behavior. These people are given dominion and authority but they don’t have dominion over themselves.