Did Ben Carson really lie about West Point…. and does it really matter?

UF/UF Technical Editor’s Note: Due to unforeseen technical difficulties Episode 113 of UF/UF The Podcast will not be heard tonight. The result of that is an upgrade to our equipment and a revamp of our studio. Check back next week, right here for the next installment of UF/UF The Podcast! I promise it will be some sort of tacular. Not necessarily spooktacular but a form of tacular none the less.

So some earth shattering news today. And no, it’s not that fact I’m actually writing a political article again, although that is a bit surprising. Today Ben Carson’s campaign admitted Carson’s story in his bio Gifted Hands about being offered a full scholarship to West Point was fabricated.

So here’s a spoiler alert. No shit Sherlock. Anyone with a passing interest in the military knows the service academies don’t give out full scholarships. A member of Congress or a prominent military leader can submit you for appointment. If your appointment is accepted then you are in, at no charge, for a full four year education after which you will serve a minimum of 6 years in the active military branch you chose.

At issue here is Carson’s story that after meeting with General Westmorland in 69 as a 17 year old he was offered a full scholarship. Obviously that’s not the case. But what could just as easily be the case is after meeting Westmorland the General said “Hey Ben, (who was the highest ranking Jr ROTC cadet in Detroit at that time with the grades to match), apply to West Point, I’ll vouch for your appointment.” Honestly folks is could have been that simple. The parsing of words in that report today about Ben lying is painful and tedious.

In the spirit of full disclosure let me say I do not like Ben Carson one bit. I have no doubt he’s one of the most gifted Surgeon’s of our time but that doesn’t make him smart in all things or qualify him to be a leader. I’m a big fan of Carly Fiorina for she has the exact things Carson does not. Having said all that, do I think Ben Carson is a liar?

God no. That’s ridiculous on it’s face.

Point to me a 17 year old in 1969 that could correctly explain the admission process to the service academies. Show me a congressman right now who could explain it. Hell the Air Force Academy didn’t graduate it’s first class until ’59’, a mere ten years prior to this event. Are we really down to parsing out sentences and phrases uttered before a person had the right to vote or drink and then recalled some 45 years later, as a litmus test for their worthiness? Really? Not a world I want to live in or elect a president from.

Look gang I don’t think Carson should be President, but not because of that. This line of thinking is how the President was reelected in a landslide with 22% unemployment. People nuttier than a fruitcake wasted good air time on stupid crap like birth certificates and whether or not Obama is a Muslim. Instead of focusing on President Obama’s support for late term abortion, policies that made the horrible Bush economy worse, using a department of the government as a political weapon against his adversaries – IRS v The Tea Party anyone?

If Carson is to be brought down it should be because he is in fact unworthy to lead. Not because he misrepresented some facts about an event that means absolutely nothing that happened 46 years ago.

Now some of this stuff he’s been saying the past few months on the other hand….

Since slavery Ben, really? Really?

Since slavery Ben, really? Really?


4 comments on “Did Ben Carson really lie about West Point…. and does it really matter?

  1. Here’s a direct quote from the Politico article where the story broke:

    “In 1969, those who would have completed the entire process would have received their acceptance letters from the Army Adjutant General,” said Theresa Brinkerhoff, a spokeswoman for the academy. She said West Point has no records that indicate Carson even began the application process. “If he chose to pursue (the application process), then we would have records indicating such,” she said.
    When presented with these facts, Carson’s campaign conceded the story was false.

    He never even applied, therefore, yes, he lied. He’s also trying to dodge questions about incidences of violence in his past that may be additional fabrications published in his autobiography “Gifted Hands”. It all speaks directly to his veracity, an aspect of character helpful for Presidents, though of course some fail these character tests while in office.

    It’s interesting you bring up Fiorina, since she has lost support for exactly the same reason. She already had a history of stretching the truth about her career success, and after clearly making stuff up about the horrific CMP tapes during the GOP debate, her numbers went from 14 to 7% approval in a week.

    • fmlinardo says:

      Appreciate the comment.

      But doesn’t that prove my point? Could we not take everything every presidential candidate has ever said and prove they misspoke, misrepresented, fabricated and lied about something in their past? Could we not do that with your words or mine?

      I get it that people who don’t like him or republicans or conservatives are gonna pounce but that nonsense just doesn’t matter to me. If perfection is your litmus test, best to stay home on election day. No candidate, dem or repub will/can measure up.

      • Of course everyone lies or exaggerates sometimes, depending on the situation (dating being a common one). And I think that media exhibits bias in this activity. But there are still distinctions and matters of degree.

        Many candidates have addressed problems in their past by saying they were young and stupid, and made mistakes. To me, that’s a mature way to approach it. Nobody’s perfect, but it still matters how you relate your own flaws.

        Creating a false central narrative about your own past in order to cast yourself as a hero is different. It illustrates a direct intent to deceive and defraud, or it indicates psychological neurosis. If Carson isn’t a bad boy who had a miraculous conversion experience leading to redemption and fame, but instead an average middle-class guy who eventually discovered his greatest talent through normal trial and error, I want to know before it comes to a vote. I want to know that of every candidate. Can they see things realistically, starting with themselves.

        • fmlinardo says:

          Distinctions and matters of degree are fair points for sure.

          To be honest I’ve already dismissed Carson for things he’s saying now: “Prison makes you gay.” “Obamacare is the worst thing since slavery.” etc… So this thing everyone is blowing up about means little to me.

          I mean I’m a 22yr vet and I’m not even the slightest bit perturbed. He’s not claiming military service, just that he had a chance to go to West Point and he decided not to try. This just seems like more nonsensical stuff that detracts from the idiotic things he’s been saying in the here and now.

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