Thursday, June 11, 2009

Thoughts on Rick "Duncan" Strandlof

A little current-affairs bit that seems worth interrupting my Renewables Hump series (still hope to get a new post in the series up Monday):

I was on vacation from June 4-10, and had the chance to read the paper edition of the New York Times cover to cover each day. I was amused to see an article on a Colorado veterans advocate named Rick Duncan (here's a CNN article with no pay-wall). Turns out that Mr. Duncan, actually Mr. Strandlof, was a fraud--albeit a very successful and high profile one.

About two months ago I had lunch with Mr. Strandlof and LtCol John Flerlage (running for Congress in Colorado's 6th district, and certainly not a fraud). Ducan/Strandlof set up the meeting with the intent that I help LtCol Flerlage develop his energy and energy geopolitics platform. While I didn't speak with Strandlof for more than a minute or two, he seemed very sincere and interested--the same qualities, I'm sure, that brought him to a position of influence in Colorado politics.

While I disagree with Strandlof's fraud, my only first-hand impression of him was that he was doing important work. I won't profess that I understand what was going on in his head--we have more than enough media personalities who will happily discuss that without any real insight. What I can say is this: as a veteran, and as someone who worked (though very briefly) with Strandlof, I don't feel in any way hurt by his actions. Other than my assumption that the veterans energy policy conference he was setting up won't materialize as a result of his lies, his brief legacy is more likely to be increased awareness of veterans issues--something I really can't argue with.