John Walsh Plagiarized Because He’s Not an Academic and…PTSD

by lizard

John Walsh’s campaign to retain the senate seat gifted to him by Governor Bullock has hit a major snag, and that snag is plagiarism:

Senator John Walsh of Montana took most of a 2007 final paper required for his master’s degree from the United States Army War College from other sources without proper attribution. Mr. Walsh copies an entire page nearly word-for-word from a Harvard paper, and each of his six conclusions is copied from a document from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace without attribution.

Rachel Maddow did a piece on this, associating Walsh’s new political problem with Biden’s plagiarism, which derailed his presidential bid, and Rand Paul’s serial plagiarist tendencies.

There is no question as to the plagiarism. Walsh is guilty. The question is, will Montana voters buy the reasoning that Walsh is not an academic, the plagiarism was unintentional and…PTSD:

Walsh, 53, an Iraq War veteran and former adjutant general of the Montana National Guard, told the Missoulian State Bureau Wednesday that he’d made an “unintentional mistake” on the paper and that “a few mistakes in a term paper should (not) define my career.”

“My record is defined by my leadership in the National Guard,” he said. “I excelled on the battlefield. I’m not necessarily an academic. The citations were not done correctly, and I take full responsibility for the paper that I wrote.”

Walsh also said that he “was going through a lot of things” when he attended the War College, such as trying to “reintegrate” himself back into his family, country and job after serving in Iraq. Walsh served 11 months in Iraq, returning in late 2005.

He told The Associated Press he was on medication and being treated for post-traumatic stress disorder when he wrote the paper almost two years after returning from Iraq. He said he is still taking antidepressant medication.

That last part should raise some eyebrows. Is Walsh clinically depressed? What kind of antidepressant medication is he still taking? Do voters have a right to know the mental health status of a candidate?

Walsh’s reasoning for committing this academic offense may have just created new problems for his campaign. Some bloggers are going to be very busy with damage control on this one.

  1. evdebs

    Don’t forget to send Daines a contribution.

  2. Craig Moore

    Roll Call points to the George Costanza defense, “Was that wrong?”

    Then there are the apologists that attempt to use the patriotism shield. It was back in 1775, just like yesterday, when Englishman Samuel Johnson said, ” “Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.”
    Doesn’t Montana deserve better than a scoundrel simply because he has a D behind his name?

    More from the NYT.

    Mr. Walsh’s paper will be run through an online plagiarism detection program, the provost said, and if there is evidence of a violation, the college will convene an academic review board to determine whether Mr. Walsh committed plagiarism and, if so, whether it was intentional.

    The school’s commandant would ultimately determine any punishment.

    “We’re not going to treat this any differently than with another student,” Dr. Betros said.

    But Dr. Betros emphasized that the War College’s students were repeatedly reminded about the strict academic integrity policy. “We drill that in incessantly,” he said.

    Located in Carlisle, Pa., the Army War College is a coveted career stop for ambitious officers, and its graduates since its 1901 founding include Dwight D. Eisenhower and Norman Schwarzkopf. Its current student handbook states that plagiarism will result in disenrollment and that discoveries of academic violations have led to degrees’ being rescinded and names’ being scraped off the bronze plaques honoring graduates on campus.

    The master’s degree in strategic studies from the War College has benefited Mr. Walsh’s career: In a military evaluation the year after Mr. Walsh received it, his commander praised him for it, writing that he “leads his peers and sets example in maintaining continuous military education and training subjects pertinent to today’s leadership challenges.”

    The Missoulian reported today that they ran Walsh’s paper through iThenticate and found a 79% match.

  3. Pogie calls it an “academic misstep,” though we all know that if it were the other party, it would speak to lack of character and integrity. Reminds me of the guy who said that in order to save a village, thy had to destroy it. In order to preserve a man’s character, they have to change the definition of integrity.

  4. Turner

    I’m furious with Bullock for not vetting this guy. Walsh is stiff and dull, which is pretty bad. And shilling for TransCanada’s Keystone pipeline is even worse. But to be exposed as a run-of-the-mill cheat is, and should be, fatal.

    It’s probably too late now to stop teabagger Christofascist Daines.

    Walsh needs to drop out of the race and slink away in shame. Maybe the Dems’ best chance now is a write-in campaign for Denise Juneau. But Walsh definitely needs to get out of the way.

  5. OK, so this guy has blundered his way through his career with help from friends with varying excuses for the mistakes. So far that’s just a normal politician. We rarely get the cream of the crop choosing politics as a career. We just don’t. We have to get over the idea that the best and brightest choose to serve. But what I find more troubling about this story is what he plagiarized. Did you read that essay? The “scholars” are as obtuse and stultifying cliched as any of our foreign policy “experts”.
    This is what he copied??
    ““Democracy promoters need to engage as much as possible in a dialogue with a wide cross section of influential elites: mainstream academics, journalists, moderate Islamists, and members of the professional associations who play a political role in some Arab countries, rather than only the narrow world of westernized democracy and human rights advocates.”

    Huh? and Duh! This is what is really troublesome. Four “scholars” made up this drivel. This is why we are blundering our way in the Middle East and Ukraine and why ordinary travelers are not safe in airplanes anymore. These are crazy times!

    • I am surprised to catch a whiff of “oh well, they’re all bad” in your comment, FCF, but am with you on the notion of scholars and scholarship in an empire. Original thinkers are drummed out faster than a WalMart timestamped on Black Friday.

      But it is subjective: Alan Dershowitz plagiarized Joan Peters From Time Immemorial, a dishonest work to begin with, and was exposed and caught with his pants down, just as Walsh is here, by Norman Finkelstein. The outcome: For Dershowitz, no consequences. For FInkelstein, Dershowtiz used his influence to ensure that he was denied tenure at DePaul. He destroyed him.

      And that is how it works. As Ron Paul wrote, without plagiarizing, ‘truth is treason in the empire of lies.” What Walsh has done here, if we are true to form, should not harm his career in the least, as he has not made the mistake of saying anything that is true.

    • JC

      In Walsh’s case it appears that:

      “Democracy promoters” = propagandists

      I really dislike militarists.

  6. Big Swede

    Went to comment on Don’s site and he blocked me.

    • Don

      That’s flatly untrue. The only person blocked at my site is Mr. Tokarski. I’ll be happy to check to see if your comment is in moderation, but I’d appreciate, given your commitment to ethics, that you try to tell the truth.

      • Craig Moore

        I gave you notice that your site doesn’t accept comment from Firefox when I have tried. You ignored it. However, IE works fine, that’s how I left the FYI comment. Perhaps that is all that it is.

      • JC

        I see you brought your sock puppet along to play today.

  7. JC

    Talk about Pogie getting his panties all twisted up in a knot over this one! Yep the hypocrisy and dual standards are just spewing forth with his spittle:

    “this is hardly the measure of Senator Walsh as a person”

    Well, judging by the comments of the Army War College in the Times article linked to by Craig above, it most certainly is. The military is guided by principles of honesty and integrity (or so they say). Plagiarism has consequences at the War College, not the least of which is a rescinding of the degree.

    What bothers me more is that Walsh declares that he is “not an academic”. Well, then what the hell was he doing pursuing a Master’s degree? Again the Times article has the answer:

    “The master’s degree in strategic studies from the War College has benefited Mr. Walsh’s career: In a military evaluation the year after Mr. Walsh received it, his commander praised him for it, writing that he “leads his peers and sets example in maintaining continuous military education and training subjects pertinent to today’s leadership challenges.”

    Walsh was just another opportunist looking for a way to paint a pretty resume in his quest to climb into politics. All the rest of the military service he pads his resume with, and Pogie and other patriots commend him for, just paint him as another militarist in my book. Hardly the makings of a good politician.

    Walsh deserves whatever consequences he gets from this. Which is probably a return to the private sector and a cushy job making millions as a consultant for a defense contractor or on the board of one of the multitude of grey ops “strategic” and “logistical” corporate mercenary outfits running rampant in the middle east, eastern Europe, and Africa.

    • Big Swede

      A 14 page Masters thesis of which 25% was copied.

      The question remains. Was it double spaced?

    • A Big Fan

      Getting his panties in a knot? That’s some high-minded sexism from the champion of real liberal values.

      Can you settle something for me? Normally, a story in the NYT is part of the Zionist/Capitalist/Globalist/Fascist program, but this one is entirely legitimate to you? How do you discern which stories are real?

      • lizard19

        JC and I have both been criticized a lot lately for the news sources we use. people whine if the source is too conservative or too leftist or too conspiratorial or too sympathetic to demonized regimes, like Russia.

        anyways, I was hoping you could settle something for me as well. who exactly are you A Big Fan of?

        • A Big Fan

          This site, of course. Where else can I get non-stop propaganda from the Russian government and fringe blog sites passed off as legitimate information?

          I love it.

        • A word about sources: Trust no one.

          If you are looking for information on US behavior, go to foreign sources. News about domestic power centers is heavily filtered here by owners and advertisers. NBC, owned by a weapons manufacturer, is not a good source about our wars.

          Also, to learn about any country, avoid that country’s domestic media. Russians do a great job on the US, but are not so good on Russia.

          You’re on your own and have to use your own brain. There is no authoritative source that does honest reporting. You’ve got to be incredulous and always suspicious. Sucks to be a grown up.

      • JC

        Sexist when a man calls out another man for being hyperbolic? Hardly. And I have never claimed to be a champion of “liberal values.” Hell, I think that “liberal values” are half the problem.

        As to discerning which stories are real, in this case, it is the one that pisses you off the most.

  8. Big Swede

    PSTD=Post Traumatic PLAGIARISM Disorder.

  9. JC

    Hehe… I like turner2’s comments over at Pogie’s. Walsh should resign from the Senate and the race, and Bullock should appoint someone else to his Senate seat and to replace his candidacy.

    turner2 suggests Juneau, which would be a great choice. I would have him take another look at Dirk Adams. Either would be a long shot, but Daines is going to kill Walsh.

    If dems were serious about keeping a dem for Montana’s Senator, and trying to hold a majority in the Senate, they’d try something like this. I think they would call it a “Hail Mary”.

  10. Craig Moore

    Then there are the Army Values.

    Focus on Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage.

    Live up to Army values. The nation’s highest military award is The Medal of Honor. This award goes to Soldiers who make honor a matter of daily living — Soldiers who develop the habit of being honorable, and solidify that habit with every value choice they make. Honor is a matter of carrying out, acting, and living the values of respect, duty, loyalty, selfless service, integrity and personal courage in everything you do.

    Do what’s right, legally and morally. Integrity is a quality you develop by adhering to moral principles. It requires that you do and say nothing that deceives others. As your integrity grows, so does the trust others place in you. The more choices you make based on integrity, the more this highly prized value will affect your relationships with family and friends, and, finally, the fundamental acceptance of yourself.

    Personal Courage
    Face fear, danger or adversity (physical or moral). Personal courage has long been associated with our Army. With physical courage, it is a matter of enduring physical duress and at times risking personal safety. Facing moral fear or adversity may be a long, slow process of continuing forward on the right path, especially if taking those actions is not popular with others. You can build your personal courage by daily standing up for and acting upon the things that you know are honorable.

    Plagiarism at the War College is a serious breach of those values. If the War College confirms Walsh’s plagiarism, it wouldn’t surprise me to see him called back to active service to stand before disciplinary proceedings. As the NYT points out Walsh’s career was built on this deception.

    • You ought to read the Realtors’ and Car Sales Personal Code of Ethics too, so long as you’re into window dressing.

    • Don

      This is rich.

      His career was built on coursework he completed in 2007? Not the almost 30 years he served before that?

      • Craig Moore

        Your petty quibble is duly noted. Roll the clock back. Walsh made full colonel in 2006. If his plagiarism in 2007 had come to light while at the War College, chances are he would have been thrown out and hauled before a disciplinary board. He most likely would have been busted in rank and discharged from the Army. His pension greatly affected. Following that he would NEVER had been made Adjutant General of the Montana National Guard. He NEVER would have been chosen to be Lt. Governor. He NEVER would have been picked by Bullock to be Senator. His career path after 2007 would have been greatly altered.

  11. Craig Moore

    The NYT has followed with an even more damning article.

    Comments from his War College peers cut deep.

  12. Turner

    The state Democratic Party has until Aug. 20 to withdraw Walsh’s candidacy and name a new candidate. I think, as this story unfolds, this will happen. And way sooner than Aug. 20.

    An academic board at the War College has begun reviewing Walsh’s case. If he has his master’s degree revoked, he’s absolutely done.

    Then there are questions about his mental health. Apparently he’s on anti-depressants.

    I hope Denise Juneau will agree to run against Daines. She’d make a great senator.

    • Auntie Lib

      Slight correction – A candidate must withdraw by August 11 – and then the Party has until August 20 to name a replacement. If the candidate doesn’t withdraw by 8/11, his name goes on the ballot.

  13. Craig Moore

    The Army War College is not please.

    The United States Army War College determined in a preliminary review on Thursday that Senator John Walsh of Montana appeared to have plagiarized his final paper to earn a master’s degree from the institution, and sent a letter to the senator instructing him that an investigate panel will meet next month to conclusively assess any culpability.

    “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…”

    …The review board is expected to deliberate for up to 10 days and then issue a determination to the War College’s deputy commandant stating whether Mr. Walsh is guilty of plagiarism and of intentionally seeking to present the work of others as his own.

    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.

    “I don’t think that’s going to go down very well,” Representative Joe Heck, a Nevada Republican and a 2006 War College graduate, said of Mr. Walsh for citing post-traumatic stress from combat. “This is somebody who is trying to cover their tracks at this point.”

    Among other graduates of what is a coveted academic destination for officers on the rise, there was a sense of disbelief mixed with disappointment.

    “Plagiarism is a really serious ethical violation,” said Margaret D. Stock, a 2006 War College graduate. “And yes, it’s a big problem because someone who graduated from the War College should have the highest level of ethics.”

    John Buss, a 2005 War College graduate who had a paper from which Mr. Walsh copied, expressed “disappointment on a lot of levels” that plagiarism could occur at an institution where one of the core values is integrity. He said that he had not personally checked his old paper to corroborate the report, but that a number of people had sent him the New York Times article about the apparent plagiarism.

    “I’m not personally injured by it, but it’s disappointing that a fellow colonel would do something like that,” Mr. Buss said.

  14. mick

    Parroting the Bush doctrine !?

  15. Just got done reading Conner’s self-serving “in good conscience” piece about removing you from his blog roll, speaking of being whipped with a wet Kleenex. These are closed minds, and authoritarians to boot. In the meantime, he’s figuring out a way to keep supporting Walsh (being a man of conscience and all).

    Man, Democrats drive me nuts with their fake morals and slimy just win baby politics. Too bad the guy doesn’t allow comments. I’d ream him a new one. But that’s why, I suppose.

    • lizard19

      geez, I guess 4&20 Blackbirds is officially a pariah blog. oh well.

    • Yeah, I’m kinda used to it. Takes a stout heart. You’ll survive but you might end up in a different venue. These people thrive on back room deals and late night phone calls. You might just wake up in bed with Dave Sirota, who dared criticize a Democrats here in Denver. they replaced him with a shill. They play hard ball. You either support them or you are gone.

      You have to toe the line with these jackasses. They are nothing but gatekeepers. It is the absence of ethics, of idealism, the insistence that just winning elections ought to be a lifetime goal, that drives me nuts.Gotta write about my ’96 experience running for legislature as a Democrat sometime. A few nice Democrats, but so much sleaze.

  1. 1 Four Years After Invasion of Iraq, John Walsh Plagiarized Idiotic Support for Spreading Democracy | 4&20 blackbirds

    […] watching the comments roll in on today’s earlier post (somewhat hastily put up) one particular comment from feralcatoffreedom stood […]

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