Carson in Hot Water Over West Point Claim

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Oh hell. While I was busy nattering on about Ben Carson’s pyramid theory, it turns out that Carson was busily destroying his campaign. Or Politico was, anyway:

Ben Carson’s campaign on Friday admitted, in a response to an inquiry from POLITICO, that a central point in his inspirational personal story was fabricated: his application and acceptance into the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

The academy has occupied a central place in Carson’s tale for years. According to a story told in Carson’s book, “Gifted Hands,” the then-17 year old was introduced in 1969 to Gen. William Westmoreland, who had just ended his command of U.S. forces in Vietnam, and the two dined together. That meeting, according to Carson’s telling, was followed by a “full scholarship” to the military academy.

West Point, however, has no record of Carson applying, much less being extended admission….When presented with this evidence, Carson’s campaign conceded the story was false.

Evangelicals love stories of youthful rebellion followed by redemption and a full Christian life. They do not like serious lies told many years after finding God. They especially don’t like lies about military service.

If Carson’s fans blow this off, then he’s truly invulnerable. There’s just no excuse. He told this lie in 1992, when he was 39 years old and already director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He wasn’t running for president at the time, so he figured no one would ever check up on it. He deliberately invented a story just because it made him look good.

Ben Carson is either a serial liar or else he lives a very rich fantasy life. At this point, I’m honestly not sure which.

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Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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