The Washington Times - July 19, 2010, 03:28PM

What a slap in the face of all bona fide decorated war veterans. On Friday The Statesman reported that a federal judge dismissed misdemeanor charges brought against a Colorado man in connection with violations of the Stolen Valor Act, which deems it illegal for anyone to pretend to have been awarded military medals.

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In his opinion, U.S. District Judge Robert Blackburn wrote (h/t Black Five) that the 2005 law “does not serve a compelling government interest, and consequently that the Act is invalid as violative of the First Amendment.”

But one of the government’s principal interests certainly ought to be its citizens – and in the case of Rick Glen Strandlof, who posed as a Sept. 11 survivor and an Iraq war veteran, the good of those citizens was indeed harmed. According to the Colorado Gazette, Mr. Strandlof pretended to be “Rick Duncan,” a wounded former Marinewho had survived the Sept. 11 Pentagon attack, three tours of duty in the Middle East, brain trauma and enemy assault that left a metal plate in his head.

According to the court’s decision, Mr. Strandlof claimed on four separate occasions to have been awarded a Purple Heart, and said once he had received a Silver Star, one of the highest awards given by the U.S. military. He founded the now-defunct Colorado Veterans Alliance, a non-profit that advocated on behalf of homeless veterans, as the medal-winning “Rick Duncan” – and he raised money (h/t Ace of Spades) for that group and for leftist, anti-war organization Iraq Veterans Against War (IVAW), as Mr. “Duncan,” too.

Surely preventing the defrauding of donors constitutes a government interest?