December 10, 2004


When Army Sergeant Dennis Edwards spoke at Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School last month, 100 students listened in rapt silence as he told chilling tales of battlefield horror in Iraq and criticized President Bush's motives for going to war. . . .

Now, Edwards has admitted to his superiors in the elite 82d Airborne Division that the story about the shooting was a lie, Army officials yesterday. As a result, the veteran of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan could be charged with making false statements, face a court-martial, and be stripped of his rank.

His confession has also saddened Dennis-Yarmouth teachers and students, who said they felt honored and captivated by his appearance.

''We need to use this as a teachable moment," Superintendent Tony Pierantozzi said yesterday. ''We need to make sure our students . . . clearly understand that sometimes individuals might elaborate stories or examples for their own benefit."

Yes, they might. Some such stories are true, of course. But some aren't. And I suspect that we're in for more bogus "Winter Soldier" type charges in the post-election milieu.

UPDATE: Bad link before. Fixed now. Sorry.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Jim Treacher observes: "If you create an environment in which stories like that are the only ones given any attention, people who seek attention will concoct such stories."